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Getting Ready to Go to Greece

Travelling to Greece? Here's what you need to know before you go!

Culture and customs

A hearty welcome!

Welcoming strangers is a Greek point of pride! In fact, it is said that Zeus would visit Greeks in disguise to test their hospitality.

Breaking plates

Greeks love to break plates, but sadly it was outlawed in Greek taverns in 1969 because of too many injuries.

Weather

Due to its geographical position, Greece has mild winters and warm summers, cooled by different kinds of seasonal winds. If you visit Greece during the high season from May to August, prepare to sweat. In the winter, temperatures drop significantly and Athens and Crete can even see snow. Shoulder season (April, September, October) sees milder weather throughout the country.

Money

Bring cash

Greece uses the euro like the rest of Europe. When travelling in the country, it's a good idea to bring your own euros with you as long lines and limits on ATMs make it somewhat tricky to take out money. Try to avoid using cards, as smaller shops and restaurants may be reluctant to accept credit and debit cards, preferring customers to pay in cash instead.

Food

Eat and drink like a local

There is much more to Greek cuisine than Greek salad. On the streets of Athens, souvlaki is a popular fast food of skewered pork with tzatziki, lettuce, and tomato in a pita. Gyros are also a ubiquitous offering. In Crete, locally grown snails sautéed in olive oil and garlic are a popular entrée. Don’t forget the holy trinity of Greek spirits: ouzo, tsipouro, and mastic!

Transportation

Forget the car, take the ferry

Book ferry tickets online before your trip especially during peak season. You can book tickets the day of during off season or for lesser visited islands. Keep in mind some ferry trips can take up to 8 hours from Athens, so plan accordingly. Most ferries depart from three ports in Athens – Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion.

Language

It's all Greek to me

Learning a few key phrases in Greek will really earn you points with the locals. Hello is “Chaírete”, Goodbye is “antio sas” and thank you is “efcharisto.” "Yamas" is the Greek cheers and means to your health.

Smart Travel

You're more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion than any kind of crime in Greece. An unstable economy has led to an increase in pickpocketing - always be vigilant in busy bus stations, markets or on crowded streets.

General Tips

Strikes

Strikes are a common occurrence in Greece and can often affect airlines, taxis, trains, and ferries. Greek unions will say strikes are the only way to get the government’s attention. Strikes occur mostly between June and September to have a maximum impact on tourism. It’s best to plan your trip without tight connections should a travel delay arise, but there is really no way of predicting or avoiding a strike.

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