We’ve had a lot of people asking us what advice we have for anyone planning their first trip to Greece. So we decided to put together a little list of the 6 top tips for those of you that are looking to head to this amazing country but don’t know what to expect.
Leave Your Diet at Home
There’s no point coming to Greece and not indulging in the amazing food. It’s some of the heartiest and healthiest dining you’ll come across. From the freshest of seafood and goat stews, to delicious sweets and baked treats, you can expect to be putting on a few kilos while here. Make sure you try the different olive oils and local delicacies at each of the places you visit. The variety of what’s on offer will amaze.
Do the Clichéd
You occasionally hear people say “That landmark is overrated!” or “Don’t waste your time, the lines to get in are a pain.” However, as crowded as some of the main attractions can be, we believe seeing these iconic places up close is well worth having to endure a few queues. So visit the Acropolis, stroll through Plaka, watch the changing of the guard ceremony and head to the Panathenaic Stadium. These are some of the most recognizable sites in the world, let alone Athens. Just get up early to avoid the worst of the chaos. There are similarly impressive landmarks on many of the Greek islands too, only outside of the major tourist destinations they often come free from hoards of visitors.
Get Off the Beaten Path
Once you’ve seen the clichéd destinations it’s time to spread your wings a little. Book yourself a few nights in a remote village or one of the tiny islands that most people don’t go to. That way you’ll get a more authentic experience of what the ‘real’ Greece is all about. Head to the small street markets where the locals shop and buy some fresh produce. Visit the port early in the morning and meet a fisherman selling his good off the back of his boat. These little experiences are often the things you’ll remember most fondly.
Pack for All Seasons
Most folks head to Greece in Summer. It’s when the islands are at their best and the climate is generally hot and dry. But there can be cool nights, particularly if you stay on the mainland and head for the mountains. Even on the islands there are occasional stormy weather systems that roll through, and with them comes rain and a big drop in the temperature. It’s not always sunbathing weather!
Talk the Talk
Greek is one of the tougher languages to learn to speak, let alone read. Many of the words in modern English are derived from Greek, however there are all sorts of subtleties, intonations and grammatical variations that make it quite complicated. There’s a reason for the saying “It’s all Greek to me!” However, learning a few simple phrases that are used quite regularly will not only make life that little bit easier, but is a kind gesture towards the locals you speak to. We have previously written an article on what to learn to say here.
Attend a Panigiri
Throughout the warmer months there are always parties and festivals being held. Every island has it’s traditional panigiris and somehow there’s a reason for celebrating almost every weekend! Of course there are big cultural events, like Easter, the Miaoulia Festival on Hydra and Ouzo Fest in Lesbos. But there are also smaller festivities for religious occasions or landmark moments in a town or island’s history. They’re a lot of fun and very inclusive, so make sure you get amongst the action and celebrate like a Greek.