A First-Timers Guide to Greece: Exploring on a Budget

With picturesque island sunsets, distinct architecture, delicious food, and ancient history, Greece is a popular European travel destination.


Photo © iStock/Starcevic

Top Things to Do in Greece

With over a thousand islands to hop, which of the Greek islands should you make top priority?

From its charming whitewashed houses and windmills, to its hot nightlife, Mykonos is the most popular ­– and expensive – island to visit in Greece.

But if you love sunsets and architecture, you won't want to miss picturesque Santorini!

Once you’re done island-hoping, head inland to Greece’s ancient cities Athens, Sparta, and Meteora. History fans will love the ancient ruins of the Acropolis in Athens and the Sparti Lakonia Archaeological Site in Sparta. Don’t leave Greece without seeing the majestic monasteries that sit atop 1,200m rock mountains in Meteora.

Places to Stay in Greece

Athens is a massive city with many neighbourhoods. Stay close to the Acropolis in Plaka or Monastiraki. Many hotels and hostels have wonderful rooftop views of the Acropolis at night.

If you’re looking to save money, skip Mykonos and head to Crete for a taste of the islands. Crete is a large island with lots to offer travelers. If you’re after the beach, head to Rethymno. If you’re looking to party 24/7, head to the Iraklio region. For a more quiet and local experience, head to the hills and small villages.

If you want to catch a world-famous Santorini sunset, then you need to stay in Oia. But, if you’re after cheaper prices and less crowds, head to Firostefani or Kamari.

Cost Guide to Greece

Compared to Western Europe, Greece is a bargain. Prices will typically be about 50% higher during the summer high season, especially on the islands.


A typical hostel dorm bed will cost between €10-35 and a double room at a budget hotel will cost about €30-50 during the off-season.


A gyro from a street vendor is about €3 and a delicious meal with wine at a nice tourist restaurant will start about €30 per person. Groceries are extremely affordable if you prefer to self-cater.


You’ll spend most of your budget on transport, especially if you’re island-hopping. An average ferry ride is about €36 per trip. If you book ferries several months in advance, you can save up to 25% on your ticket price. The Athens metro and bus system is cheap and reliable. And, of course, walking is always free.

Know Before You Go

  • Locals are very lively and friendly, and many speak at least some English. 
  • Almost all signs will be written in both Greek and English, but it's is helpful to download an offline Greek dictionary onto your phone. 
  • The toilets in Greece are not quite up to Western standards, so most places will ask you to toss your toilet paper in the rubbish bin instead of flushing it.
  • Greece can get very hot during the summer months, so drink lots of water. The government has regulated the price of bottled water so you should pay no more than 50 cents for a small bottle of water. Tap water is safe to drink in most places in Greece.

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1 Comment

  • glentzes.gr said

    thank you for the information

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