Greece

With astounding archaeological sites, islands of extreme beauty, bucolic villages and some of the greatest food you’ll ever consume, Greece should be on every traveller's list. This gem of the Aegean will satisfy your thirst for knowledge, lust for adventure, desire for partying and craving for cuisine. Opa!

Greece Tours & Travel

All our Greece trips

greece mykonos dinner seafood squid fresh

Athens to Santorini

8 days from

Travel from ancient Athens to the spectacular island of Santorini on this wonderful Greek adventure. Also visit Syros...

View trip details
Colourful buildings of Santorini

Sail Greece - Santorini to Mykonos

8 days from
USD $1,396.08*
CAD $1,425.42*
AUD $1,473.20*
EUR €996.00*
GBP £876.46*
NZD $1,739.61*
ZAR R13,490.81*
CHF FR1,224.63*

Set sail across the Mediterranean exploring Greece's heaven-sent islands. The spoils of Santorini, Ios, Amorgos, Naxos...

View trip details
Colourful fishing boat, Syros

Dubrovnik to Santorini

22 days from

Witness the jewels of the Mediterranean, from Dubrovnik to Santorini. Explore the old towns of Montenegro, Croatia’s...

View trip details
Old town in Kavala, Greece

Athens to Istanbul

15 days from

Visit Greece and Turkey via Athens, Delphi, Gallipoli and Istanbul. Discover the natural beauty and ancient wonders of...

View trip details
Temple Zeus, Greece

Dubrovnik to Istanbul

29 days from

Travel from Croatia through Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Greece to finish in Turkey. Explore fabulous European...

View trip details
Ohrid lake

Dubrovnik to Athens

15 days from

Explore highlights and hidden treasures while travelling through Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece on...

View trip details
greece mykonos bay scenery boats harbour ocean village

Sail Greece - Cyclades Islands

10 days from
USD $1,195.44*
CAD $1,219.56*
AUD $1,259.26*
EUR €851.00*
GBP £748.62*
NZD $1,485.48*
ZAR R11,570.74*
CHF FR1,047.84*

See the best of the Cyclades Islands on this Greece sailing adventure. Take to the glorious Mediterranean Sea and...

View trip details

Greece trip reviews

Our Greece trips score an average of 4.87 out of 5 based on 52 reviews in the last year.

Sail Greece - Mykonos to Santorini, May 2014

Sail Greece - Santorini to Mykonos, June 2014

Articles on Greece

Slow and steady in Greece

Slow and steady in Greece

Posted on Wed, 24 Oct 2012 by Sue Elliot

"Sailing the Greek Islands is about more than just movement. The stopping is just as important..."

Read more
Sun, sea and Santorini

Sun, sea and Santorini

Posted on Thu, 1 Dec 2011 by Sue Elliot

"I had a picture in my mind of Santorini and it certainly didn't disappoint..."

Read more
good morning in greece

good morning in greece

Posted on Wed, 10 Sep 2008 by Sue Elliot

“Travelling with my parents, they’ve always impressed upon me respect for other cultures and how learning some words in their language can be fun and show respect. So – at [...]

Read more

Transport

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in Greece, you may find yourself travelling by:

About Greece

At a glance

Trips Available: 7
Capital city: Athens (population 750,000)
Population: 10.7 million
Language: Greek
Currency: EUR
Time zone: (GMT+02:00) Athens, Bucharest, Istanbul
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)
Dialing code: +30

Best time to visit Greece

Greece generally has a mild, Mediterranean climate, with July and August being the busiest months for tourism. With warm weather and plentiful sunshine, this is a great time for visiting the islands, swimming in the sea and lazing on the beach. Summers are generally hot and dry, with daytime temperatures rising to 30°-38°C (85°-100°F). Days are usually cooled by prevailing north winds, especially on the islands.

By mid-September, temperatures begin to fall and crowds thin, but it can still be hot. The weather remains generally calm and balmy well into October. If you can't get to Greece in the spring, and beaches are not your primary goal, this is a fine time to visit. By late October, ferry service and flights are cutting back and most facilities on the islands begin to close for the winter. But the cooler atmosphere makes Athens and the mainland all the more pleasant.

Greece weather chart

Culture and customs

Greek musician Bell tower, Santorini
The origins of Greece’s current culture lie in its ancient heart. Greece is the celebrated birthplace of some of the world’s most famous art, architecture, language, dance, literature and culinary traditions. The hallmarks of Western medicine, philosophy, drama and government can all be attributed to the mighty ancient Greek civilisation.

With more than 90% of the population being Greek Orthodox, religion plays an important part in everyday life. Religious festivals and ceremonies are commonplace, both in the mainland cities and small rural villages. Christmas and Easter are particularly important dates on the calendar, although religious celebrations are not limited to these times as there are daily, weekly and annual rites and rituals performed all throughout Greece’s mainland and islands.

Family plays a strong part in Greek life, with extended families tending to remain close and gathering together for meals and celebrations. Special foods are created at different times of the year, some of which date back to centuries ago. Weddings are typically large affairs and usually celebrated with much merriment and fanfare. To be Greek is to be proud of your country, your heritage and your traditions.

Eating and drinking

Greek salad

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

Visitors to Greece will be spoilt with the very best of fresh produce and ancient cooking traditions.

Things to try in Greece

1. Olives and Olive Oil

No trip to Greece is complete without savouring olives and their legendary oil. Greeks cook with copious amounts of olive oil and also serve it on the side with bread. Fresh green and black olives can be found everywhere – in markets, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, and in people’s homes.

2. Yaurti (Yoghurt)

Thick, smooth and rich, the yoghurt in Greece is unlike other yoghurts around the world. Grab a bowl of it smothered in honey and nuts for breakfast, lunch or a snack.

3. Feta

The national cheese of Greece should definitely be sampled in its native environment. You’ll find this salty treat in fresh salads, baked into pies, stuffed into fish and fried and served with bread.

4. Ouzo

This strong, distilled spirit has a distinct aniseed flavour and is perfect for cleansing the palette before meals. Sip on some while visiting an ouzeri for an authentic Greek experience.

Geography and environment

Meteora landscape greece santorini view seaside village city ocean
Sharing land borders with Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Macedonia, Greece is located in Southern Europe and is surrounded by the Ionian, Mediterranean and Aegean Sea. Consisting of the mainland peninsula and an archipelago of more than 3,000 islands, Greece is typically mountainous, containing peaks, karsts and canyons all over. Despite the mountainous topography, there is much arable land on Greece with small-scale farms successfully producing olives, peaches, melons, grapes, tomatoes and grain for export and local use.

History and government

Parthenon, Athens

Early History

The early history of Greece is among the world’s most fascinating, and like the other ancient civilisations of Egypt and Rome, Greece has many monuments still standing after centuries. The Greeks have been both the conquerors and the conquered, withstood the Plague and other natural disasters, and birthed some of the greatest literature, scientific developments, mathematical formulas and thought movements.

Recent History

In 1821, the Greeks fought against Ottoman rule during the Greek War of Independence, which resulted in Greece being recognised as an autonomous region in 1828. This was a time of great upheaval for the Greek people, with political assassinations, battles and plundering. After autonomy was granted, many years of change followed, with continued war and confrontation alongside intermittent periods of relative peace. The two World Wars had a profound effect on Greece, with many battles fought in Greece during the early 1940s (during the Axis occupation). Athens was liberated from this occupation in 1944 and the Greek government was restored. Greece joined the United Nations (as a founding member) in 1945 and NATO in 1952. During this time, many Greeks started moving to other parts of the world in a mass wave of widespread migration. The USA, Australia and Europe were popular destinations in this move, which saw hundreds of thousands of Greeks immigrate to other lands. In 2004, Athens successfully hosted the Summer Olympics once again. Yet more recently, Greece has come under the shadow of the European debt crisis which has crippled the economy. Despite this, the spirit of the Greek people endures as it has for eons.

Top Picks

Fresh seafood Fresh market vegetables in Greece Dolmades with yoghurt in Greece

Top 10 Must-Eat Dishes of Greece

1. Dolmades with Yoghurt

Probably one of Greece’s most famous culinary triumphs these vine leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts and herbs are usually served with fresh, tangy yoghurt and due to their supreme ‘eatability’ don’t last long.

2. Grilled Octopus

The Greek Islands are arguably the best place in the world to savour char grilled octopus. Nothing beats freshly caught seafood, teemed with a cool beer and a golden sunset.

3. Horiatiki Salata

Known as Greek Salad in the English-speaking world, the combination of olives, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, feta, olive oil and oregano shows that the simple flavours are often the best.

4. Mezedes

These small plates of vegetables, cheese, olives, dips and peppers are typically served before meals and are a perfect, light starter to a meal.

5. Fried Calamari

Known as Kalamarakia Tiganita to Greeks, this quick and simple deep fried delicacy is best served simple – with a slice of lemon and an amazing view!

6. Kleftiko

This slow-baked lamb dish features the mouth-watering flavours of garlic and lemon. The cooking method ensures that the meat falls off the bone to create a tender masterpiece.

7. Moussaka

This classic Greek dish of layered eggplant, spiced meat and creamy sauce is delicious, decadent and delectable.

8. Loukoumades

Sweet tooths shouldn’t miss these deep fried doughy treats! Soaked in a sugary syrup or honey and cinnamon, they are small but simply sensational.

9. Spanakopita

A favourite with vegetarians, this dish of layered filo pastry, feta cheese and spinach is filling and flavoursome.

10. Yiros

For a cheap and tasty meal, head to a yiros cart to choose from tender, grilled beef, chicken, lamb or pork yiros. This popular hangover cure consists of oily meat, wrapped in bread with salad and tzadziki and could possibly be one of the best examples of fast food in the world.

Shopping

Komboloi beads

From public markets and designer boutiques to European chain stores, Greece has every aspect of retail cornered.

It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in Greece

1. Komboloi (Worry Beads)

These stress-relieving resin beads are meant to be turned through your fingers as you muse over life. With roots deep in ancient Greek cultural tradition, they make a great souvenir for friends wanting a slice of authentic Greece.

2. Botanical Skincare

Greece is home to many brands of premium, organic skincare. Stock up on luxurious olive oil soap or enriching yoghurt-based moisturisers before you head home.

3. Mati

Travel safely and ward off evil by attaching a Mati (an ‘Evil Eye’) to your backpack. They’re cheap, available almost everywhere in Greece and are a great reminder of your travels in the Aegean.

4. Jewellery

Whether you prefer gold, silver, amber resin or colourful beads, Greece has a huge variety of jewellery on offer. Prices are typically lower than in many other parts of the world, so it’s likely you’ll be able to snap up a few bargains.

Festivals and Events in Greece

Epidaurus Festival

This festival offers the chance to experience the classics of Greek drama being performed in their original setting - an ancient theatre. With performances being held every Friday and Saturday night during the festival, there are plenty of opportunities to see Greek tragedies as originally intended.

Epiphany

If you find yourself in Greece during this time, you’ll feel ‘blessed’. Each year, Athens’ ancient port of Piraeus sees this religious day celebrated in an extraordinary way. A local priest flings a crucifix into the sea and young men dive into the cold water to retrieve it. This ritual is echoed throughout Greece in small villages and on islands. This special ceremony is performed for locals, by locals, but tourists are welcome to watch and learn.

Athens Festival

This annual feast of Aegean culture features visuals arts, music, dance and theatre performances take place in both the ancient and modern performance venues of Athens. Don’t miss getting along to one of the performances if you’re travelling in Greece during this time.

FAQs on Greece

Tipping is considered optional in Greece, but considering that most waiters and waitresses earn a low wage, rounding up the bill is considered polite. Tipping extra for good service is a personal choice – use discretion.
Internet access is good in Greece and internet cafes are easily found in most cities and major towns.
Mobile phone coverage is generally very good on mainland Greece, but less so on some of Greece’s more remote islands. Ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive.
Western-style, flushable toilets are the standard in Greece. Expect to pay a small fee when using public toilets in some parts of Greece.
Ticket for short metro trip = 2 Euro
Takeaway souvlaki = 2-3 Euro
Greek coffee in a cafe = 4 Euro
Beer in a bar or cafeteria = 4-6 Euro
Simple meal at a restaurant = 12 Euro
Drinking water from taps in Greece is considered safe, unless otherwise marked (tap water may not be of drinkable quality on some of Greece’s small and remote islands).
Major credit cards are widely accepted by stores in Greece. Smaller cafes and shops may not accept credit cards so ensure you carry enough cash to cover small purchases.
ATMs are common in Greece, so finding one won't be a problem in most towns and cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Jan 6 Epiphany
Mar 25 Independence Day
May 1 Labour Day
May 3 Orthodox Good Friday
May 6 Orthodox Easter Monday
Jun 24 Orthodox Whit Monday
Aug 15 Assumption
Oct 28 Ochi Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Greece/public-holidays
GREECE:
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Not required
UK: Not required
USA: Not required Intrepid requires you to provide a clear scanned copy of the front page of your passport (photo page) for relevant port Authority registration in the Ionian sea region. Intrepid must receive the passport copy at least 30 days prior to travel. Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport please bring your old passport with you as well.

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Greece Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Greece

1. Be considerate of Greece’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

8. Refrain from touching or interfering with ancient monuments, relics or historic sites.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Captain Corelli's MandolinLouis de Bernieres
The Corfu TrilogyGerald Durrell
The Colossus of MaroussiHenry Miller
Zorba the GreekNikos Kazantzakis
The GreeksH.D.F. Kitto