5 Mistakes People Make When Travelling to Greece | Visit Greece

What mistakes do visitors make in Greece? Here are five things you should avoid doing during your trip to Greece.

Travelling to Greece is many people’s dream. The country is generally safe and offers many options for people who love history, theatre, gastronomy, and sunlit seaside locations. This person might be you.

Although you don’t necessarily need any special preparation before visiting Greece, it is important to know a couple of things in advance. In this way, you will enjoy your vacation without surprises. The advice is based on people’s experiences!

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5 Mistakes People Make in Greece | Greece Travel

  1. Not Dressing for the Weather
  2. Not (Double)-Checking Google Maps
  3. Avoiding the Local Food and Delicacies
  4. Renting a Car in Athens
  5. Not Checking Prices in Mykonos

Not Dressing for the Weather

There are two types of people who don’t wear weather appropriate clothes in Greece:

  1. the ones who think that there is no winter season in Greece
  2. the ones who underestimate Greek summers

Greeks are often surprised when they see tourists walking in shorts and sandals in the middle of January. Although the winter in Greece is generally mild, with not much snowfall and the average temperature varying between 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, it still does… exist. Greece is not in a constant summer period and it is important to check the weather conditions of the location you are visiting before packing your bags. If you are from Canada, Siberia, or the Nordic countries, winter in Greece may seem like late spring. But packing only short-sleeved shirts, miniskirts, and shorts for your winter vacation in Greece is still not a good idea.

On the other hand, many people underestimate how hot Greek summer can be. When you visit Greece in the summer, make sure that your clothes are from breathable materials, such as cotton and linen, and opt for light colors. Black and dark shades absorb sunlight and increase your chances of getting a heatstroke while sightseeing. Helinika has a dedicated article on that subject.

Not (Double)-Checking Google Maps

Another mistake tourists make in Greece is that they don’t double-check the locations they are heading to on Google maps. There are two different reasons why this is crucial:

  1. some recommended Airbnbs/hotels might be in a complete different location than you may think
  2. many places in Greece have the exact same name

For example, let’ say that you are looking for an accommodation in Athens, Greece and you get recommended a very affordable Airbnb located in your desired destination. Booking it without checking the map first may be a grave mistake. Athens is quite spread out and, although it is smart to avoid the super touristic areas, finding accommodation in the outskirts may require you to spend hours in buses, trams, trains, and taxis to get to all the museums and archaeological sites.

Another example is when looking for accommodation in an island, which is surrounded by other islands. Sometimes, booking platforms assume that the nearby islands are not surrounded by the sea and, therefore, you may be recommended accommodation that requires you to… swim there. For example, if a small island like Folegandros is overbooked, you may see some options for Serifos or Milos instead.

Moreover, some places in Greece are simply named the same. For example, there are two places named Trikala – a town in Thessaly and a group of villages in the Peloponnese. Or there might be multiple streets with the same name in one city. That is especially true in Athens, which is separated into multiple municipalities with their own postal codes and main squares. Therefore, specifying the municipality and double-checking the area on Google maps is crucial before booking a room or a cab.

Not Trying the Local Food

Greece is a popular culinary destination. Its local cuisine is voted as the fourth best in the world by US American tourists and the 7th best by CNN travel. No matter the rankings, it is hard not to see Greece in the top 10 culinary destinations in the world. However, some visitors often make the great mistake of not trying the local cuisine at all. These include tourists who:

  1. stick to American fast-food chains
  2. choose tourist traps over restaurants for locals

Many tourists who visit Greece are often seen moving around with their Starbucks coffee and entering McDonalds for a quick lunchbreak. But there are many more high quality and, at the same time, affordable food options when travelling to Greece. Greece has some of the most exceptional sit-down restaurants in the world but you don’t even have to spend a fortune on eating out every single day. Greece has many tavernas and street food options, where you can eat great quality local dishes for cheap. Some well-known taverna dishes are kolokythokeftedes, tzatziki, and dolmadakia, whereas the most popular and affordable street food option is souvlaki. And let’s not forget that you can always walk into the nearest bakery and try a piece of their homemade pies!

At the same time, many tourists in Greece do in fact want to try the local dishes. But they end up in pricey tourist traps that sometimes offer a mediocre food and a badly designed menu that may resemble the one of “Greek” restaurants abroad. For example, you may be served an overpriced “Greek” salad with lettuce in it or a small plate of meze food (Greek tapas) at the price of a full meal.

Renting a Car in Athens

This travel mistake (and the next one) is location-specific.

Many tourists are unaware of:

  1. the traffic and chaotic driving at the streets of Athens
  2. the lack of parking spots in Athens

Many people are not aware by how busy the streets of Athens can get. The capital of the Hellenic Republic has a very good public transportation system, while taxis are always available and quite affordable. Therefore, most visitors (and many locals) avoid driving at all costs. Not only that, but Greeks are considered reckless drivers and driving in Athens is often described as: “chaotic”, “stressful”, “dangerous”. These adjectives shouldn’t describe your vacation in Greece. Moreover, finding free parking spaces in the busiest parts of the city is almost an… impossible task!

Not Checking Prices in Mykonos

Santorini and Mykonos are two popular and expensive Greek destinations. Mykonos in particular attracts many jet setters from all around the world who seek a luxury vacation. That means that many regular tourists who visit Mykonos:

  1. end-up in very expensive restaurants, clubs, or private beaches
  2. order without checking the prices on the menu first

Every year, many tourists complain on social media about the high prices in Mykonos’ restaurants and clubs. The truth is that, although there are indeed many places that serve the richest people in the world, there are still options for those who are on a budget. Always make sure to check the price range of each business online and don’t forget to check the price list on the menu before ordering. These two tips will save you hundreds of euros!

These were five mistakes people make when travelling to Greece. Have you ever made any of these before? Which of the five tips surprised you? Comment down below!

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Marialena Perpiraki is a journalist and writer from Athens, Greece. In 2020, she founded Helinika as a cross-media platform.