Helpful Tips For Traveling the Greek Islands

March 19, 2020

Embark on an unforgettable journey through Greece’s breathtaking landscapes, ancient ruins, and vibrant culture. With its rich history, stunning beaches, and delicious cuisine, Greece offers many experiences for every traveler. Whether planning a solo adventure, a romantic getaway, or a family vacation, these tips for traveling to Greece and the Greek Islands will ensure you make the most of your trip. In addition, discover the hidden gems, indulge in local traditions, and immerse yourself in the beauty of this Mediterranean paradise.

Greece, known as the birthplace of democracy and the land of ancient gods, has captivated travelers for centuries. From the iconic Acropolis in Athens to the pristine beaches of Santorini, Greece offers a tapestry of experiences that will inspire you.

Getting Prepared for Your Greek Adventure

Greece offers diverse experiences, from historical sites to pristine beaches. Therefore, preparing beforehand is essential to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Let’s explore some key factors to consider.

Finding the Right Time to Visit Greece

Greece experiences a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and mild winters. The peak tourist season is from June to August when the weather is ideal for beach activities and outdoor exploration. However, this period also brings large crowds and higher prices. On the other hand, if you prefer a more relaxed experience with milder weather, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) or autumn (September to October).

Packing Essentials for Greece

When packing for Greece and Greek Islands, remember the activities you plan to engage in and the weather conditions during your visit and some essential tips for packing:

  • Lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for warm weather, including shorts, t-shirts, and dresses.
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring archaeological sites and cobbled streets.
  • Swimwear and beach essentials for enjoying the crystal-clear waters of the Greek islands.
  • Sun protection items such as sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Modest attire for visiting religious sites, including covered shoulders and knees.
  • Travel adapters and chargers for your electronic devices.
  • A lightweight rain jacket or umbrella for unexpected showers.
  • A small medical kit with bare essentials such as pain relievers, band-aids, and any necessary prescription medication is also a good idea.

Exploring Athens: The Heart of Greece

As Greece’s capital and cultural hub, Athens offers a fascinating blend of ancient history and modern charm. Immerse yourself in the birthplace of democracy and discover Athens’s iconic landmarks, vibrant neighborhoods, and delectable cuisine.

Must-Visit Landmarks in Athens

Athens is home to some of the world’s most famous historical sites. Here are a few must-visit landmarks that should be on every traveler’s itinerary:

The Acropolis: Dominating the city’s skyline, the Acropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the symbol of ancient Greece. Explore the iconic Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike while enjoying panoramic views of Athens.
Ancient Agora: This old marketplace was the center of Athenian life and commerce. Explore the ruins of temples, stores, and the beautifully preserved Temple of Hephaestus.
Plaka: Known as the “Neighborhood of the Gods,” Plaka is one of Athens’s oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods. Wander through its narrow streets, visit traditional tavernas, and browse charming shops selling local crafts.

Indulging in Greek Cuisine in Athens

Greek cuisine is renowned for its fresh ingredients, vibrant flavors, and healthy Mediterranean diet. Athens offers a plethora of dining options that will satisfy every palate. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor these iconic Greek dishes:

Moussaka: A hearty baked dish made with layers of eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce.
Souvlaki: Grilled skewers of succulent meat (usually pork or chicken) served with pita bread, tzatziki, and fresh vegetables.
Greek Salad: A refreshing combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta cheese, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano.
Spanakopita: A savory pastry with spinach, feta cheese, and herbs wrapped in crispy phyllo dough.
Loukoumades: Deep-fried dough balls drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon—these sweet treats are irresistible.

Venture beyond the tourist areas and explore local tavernas to experience authentic Greek cuisine. Athens is also home to modern gastronomic establishments, offering innovative twists on traditional dishes. Don’t forget to pair your meals with a glass of ouzo or local Greek wine for a complete culinary experience.

Island Hopping: Tips for the Greek Islands

No trip to Greece is complete without island hopping. The Greek islands are renowned for their stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque landscapes. Here are some tips for planning your island-hopping adventure.

Choosing the Perfect Greek Islands for Your Trip

With over 200 inhabited islands, deciding which Greek islands to visit can be a delightful challenge. Each island offers its unique charm and character. Here are a few famous Greek islands to consider:

Santorini: Famous for its whitewashed buildings, blue-domed churches, and breathtaking sunsets, Santorini is a romantic paradise. Explore the caldera, relax on black-sand beaches, and indulge in exquisite cuisine.

Mykonos: Known for its vibrant nightlife, Mykonos attracts partygoers worldwide. Explore the narrow streets of Mykonos Town, sunbathe on stunning beaches, and dance the night away at world-class clubs.

Crete: The largest Greek island, Crete offers diverse experiences. Discover ancient archaeological sites, hike through stunning gorges, and immerse yourself in the traditional Cretan culture.

Rhodes: Steeped in history, Rhodes boasts impressive medieval architecture, ancient ruins, and beautiful beaches. Explore the UNESCO-listed Rhodes Town, visit the ancient city of Kamiros, and relax in Lindos.
Consider the island’s atmosphere, activities, and accessibility when choosing your destinations. Combining famous islands with lesser-known gems can create a more personalized island-hopping itinerary.

Discovering the Beauty of Santorini

Santorini is a postcard-perfect destination that captures the hearts of travelers with its stunning landscapes and romantic ambiance. Here are some highlights to experience on the island:

Caldera Views: Explore the iconic cliffside towns of Fira and Oia, known for their breathtaking views of the caldera. Watch the sunset from Oia’s famous blue-domed churches for an unforgettable experience.
Volcano Excursion: Embark on a boat tour to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni. Hike to the crater, bathe in natural hot springs, and learn about the volcanic history of Santorini.
Red Beach: Visit the unique Red Beach near Akrotiri, known for its red volcanic cliffs and distinctive red sand. Spend a day sunbathing and swimming in the crystal-clear waters.
Wine Tasting: Discover Santorini’s renowned vineyards and sample the island’s exceptional wines. The volcanic soil and unique grape varieties create distinct flavors that wine enthusiasts will appreciate.

Santorini offers many accommodations, from luxury resorts with infinity pools overlooking the Aegean Sea to traditional cave houses with stunning views. However, booking your accommodations well in advance is advisable, especially during the peak summer season. This is because Santorini is a popular tourist destination, and hotels can fill up quickly.

Experiencing the Allure of Mykonos

Mykonos is synonymous with vibrant nightlife, luxury beach clubs, and cosmopolitan vibes. Here are some tips for the Greek Islands:

Mykonos Town: Lose yourself in the maze-like streets of Mykonos Town (Chora), lined with whitewashed buildings, colorful doors, and bougainvillea-covered balconies. Visit the iconic windmills and explore the charming shops and art galleries.
Paradise Beach: Dance to the beats of world-renowned DJs at Paradise Beach, one of Mykonos’ legendary party spots. Enjoy cocktails, soak up the sun, and indulge in beachside entertainment.
Delos Island: Take a day trip to the nearby island of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites. Explore the ruins of ancient temples, statues, and mosaics.
Psarou Beach: Relax in style at Psarou Beach, known for its luxurious beach clubs and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Rent a sunbed, sip on refreshing cocktails, and enjoy VIP service.

Mykonos offers many accommodations, from high-end resorts to boutique hotels and stylish villas. Moreover, the island’s nightlife scene is renowned worldwide, attracting international DJs and party enthusiasts. Experience the vibrant energy of Mykonos by visiting iconic clubs and beach bars such as Cavo Paradiso, Scorpios, and Nammos.

Dining Etiquette in Greece

Greek meals are a social affair, often lasting for hours. Here are some dining etiquette tips to keep in mind:

Taverna Culture: Embrace the traditional Greek taverna culture, where meals are shared and enjoyed leisurely. Don’t rush through your meal—savor the flavors and engage in lively conversations.
Katoi: In many Greek tavernas, you’ll find a katoi, a small plate placed on the table. It’s customary to use this plate as a shared serving dish for appetizers and meze.
Greek Coffee: Try a cup of traditional Greek coffee, a solid and rich brew, in a small cup. Take your time to enjoy it, and let the grounds settle at the bottom before drinking.

Respect for Religious Sites

Greece is home to numerous significant religious sites, and it’s essential to show respect when visiting churches and monasteries. Here are some tips for the Greek Islands on a religious site:

Dress Modestly: When entering religious sites, men and women should dress with covered shoulders and knees. Avoid wearing revealing clothing, and consider carrying a shawl or sarong to cover up if necessary.
Quiet and Photography: Maintain a calm demeanor and avoid loud conversations or disruptive behavior. In addition, always ask permission before photographing inside churches, as some may have restrictions.

Embracing the Greek Lifestyle

Greeks have a relaxed approach to life, known as “siga-siga” (slowly-slowly). Embrace the laid-back pace and enjoy the simple pleasures of the Greek lifestyle. Here are some tips for the Greek Islands:

Leisurely Meals: Take the time to enjoy your meals and savor the flavors. In fact, Greeks prioritize quality time with friends and family over rushing through a meal.
Evening Strolls: Join the locals for an evening stroll, known as the “volta.” For Greeks, this is a popular way to socialize and unwind. In fact, they often take leisurely walks in city centers and waterfront promenades, stopping to chat with friends and neighbors along the way.
Greek Music and Dance: Experience the joy of Greek music and dance. Attend a traditional Greek music night or participate in a spontaneous “syrtaki” dance at a local taverna.

With its rich history, stunning landscapes, delectable cuisine, and warm hospitality, Greece offers an unforgettable travel experience. Following these tips for traveling to Greece, you’ll be well-prepared to explore Athens, embark on an island-hopping adventure, embrace the local culture, and create lasting memories. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the beauty of Greece, and let the magic of this ancient land captivate your heart with Zitango Travel.

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