7 Tips for Exploring Greece on A Budget

7 Tips for Exploring Greece on A Budget

Been reeling to visit Athens, Mykonos and Santorini? Here are some nifty tips and information about food, accommodation and transport that will help you significantly save!

Greece has always been a firm favourite on the bucket list of many. From its idyllic islands (6,000 to be exact) scattered in the Aegean Sea, mesmerising cerulean waters, exquisite Greek-Mediterranean cuisine to its intriguing archaeological sites, the list of reasons to visit can go on and on.

However, the misconception that a holiday in Greece carries a hefty price tag does deter people from making the trip. Fret not, this useful guide will upend all those myths about this “high-end” destination and promise you a life-altering experience instead. Follow these budget-friendly tips with regards to food, transport and accommodation and save a few hundred bucks (or more)!

1. Visit off-season to save on flights and almost everything else

greece travel budget

If you have the flexibility of time, the best way to save is to fly off-season. If you are flying from Asia, consider budget carrier Scoot which flies directly from Singapore to Athens. Greece is insanely popular during summer months from June right up to August. During this period, prices for accommodation, food and even ferry tickets see a steady 20–50% hike. If you are available to travel on other months, consider going in May or September if you still wish to enjoy summer minus the ludicrous prices. Another alternative would be to travel during the shoulder season in October right up to early November when temperatures are a lot cooler.

2. Sign up for FREE walking tours in Athens

greece travel budget

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. There are actually countless of free walking tours available in Athens city centre for you to witness and discover the neo-classical monuments and ancient historical landmarks. History buffs can delight in the fact that these comprehensive tours will lead to places that even tour buses cannot access.

Boasting a rich history spanning some 3,000 years, the Cradle of Western civilization is really best explored on foot. Having withstood the sheer test of time, these historical sites are absolutely worth seeing. From the Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Monastiraki and Syntagma Square, spot first-hand the intriguing blend of old and modern Athens all within three hours. If you find that the tour guide has done a fantastic job and would like to express your gratitude, feel free to tip them accordingly.

3. Stay in Airbnb or couchsurf to dodge exorbitant hotel costs

With the influx of tourists, there has been a rise of alternative accommodations such as Airbnb, hostels and even backpacker inns to cater to all sorts of travellers. Consider ditching those lavish five-pearl hotels for something equally comfortable but yet will not burn a giant hole in your pocket. Be it in downtown Athens itself or on the multitude of islands, Airbnb is a very prominent and safe option. If your host is awesome, you may even get bonus insights and be offered extra amenities! As a rough gauge, shared rooms under Airbnb go for as low as 10/night in the cities while entire homes cost between 25 to 50/night (great if you have pals tagging along!). If you stay for a week or longer, look out for discounts!

The same rate of 25 to 50/night can also get you a decent room that sleeps two at a simple budget hotel. Hostel rates are half that of budget hotels and you can easily snag a dorm for 12/night with free Wifi included! Private rooms in hostels are also available if you prefer to be on your own for about 20/night. Be sure to do your research and cross-check with several websites before confirming your reservations.

If you wish to really immerse yourself in the local culture and do as the locals do, Couchsurfing will be the way to go. This unique moniker refers to connecting with locals online through an online platform and later, bunking in with them without having to fork out a single cent. Yes, your stay is completely free! Nothing beats hanging out with the locals and finding out hidden gems or places that conventional tours would never take you to. Moreover, you leave the country adding more people from all over the globe to your social circle.

4. Book overnight ferries in advance to save on accommodation

Image credit: Discover Greece

A trip to Greece is incomplete without island-hopping around the numerous gorgeous islands. The best tip you can note is to make use of the overnight ferries such as Blue Star Ferries. Although they take double the time to arrive at your destination, you end up saving almost half the costs. As a rough gauge, you will spend 29 on a direct one-way ticket to Mykonos from Piraeus port in Athens on Blue Star Ferries (almost seven hours) while the speedboat one-way option (under three hours) will cost you about 44.

Also, remember to book in advance as you can save up to 20% of the ticket price and do ensure that you secure a return ticket too. Overnight ferries are a win-win solution as you not only save on accommodation, you get to enjoy more of that swoon-worthy ocean view!

5. Venture off the beaten path to other islands such as Corfu and Milos

greece travel budget

Greece is synonymous with vibrant party islands such as Mykonos and romantic spots like Santorini. However, there are countless of other hidden gems worth exploring and satiating that crave for adventure. Enchanting islands like Corfu and Milos are not teeming with maddening crowds and better allow you to appreciate the authentic sights and sounds, unspoilt by the effects of mass tourism.

The best part of it all? You end up not spending as much as you would foresee! These islands do not charge exorbitantly as opposed to their uber-popular counterparts that target upscale honeymooners.

6. Rent a moped to get around the Greek islands

Eager to explore the picturesque islands? Skip the costly car rentals and opt for a moped instead! These light motorcycles are way cheaper and allow you to easily navigate the narrow streets and alleys. Parking will also not be a burden; you can simply scoot off to your next destination point fuss-free. The rentals usually operate on a daily basis, allowing you to maximise your time with your own vehicle in hand. As taxis are very scarce and limited and walking might not be the best option if your accommodation is a tad far out, renting a moped solves everything!

7. Make gyro and souvlaki your go-to eats instead of dining at seaside tavernas

greece travel budget

Street food is not only easy on the pockets, they also prove to be an authentic way to sample some of the local cuisines. In Greece, you will definitely find gyro and souvlaki at almost every corner of the street. A gyro is similar to a pita wrap that consists of meat that is usually either chicken or pork. The meat is wrapped with tomatoes, onions and french fries! These usually cost no more than 2.50. A souvlaki can be pictured as skewered meat chunks serve a la fast food, also around the same price range.

Avoid the main tourist strip and seaside restaurants when deciding where to satisfy those hunger pangs as the prices are normally scaled higher. If you are putting up in an Airbnb equipped with a kitchen, consider cooking your meals and save even more!

Despite the common myth that Greece is mostly for the rich and famous, with careful planning and proper research, the country is also accessible to budget travellers. So be sure to incorporate these useful tips when planning that long-awaited Greek escapade. It’s high time you check Greece off your bucket list!

About Author

Nur Sofia
Nur Sofia

When she isn’t plotting her next solo trip, Sofia daydreams about Santorini sunsets, Cape Town coasts and Barcelona’s beaches. Born and bred in Singapore, she feels like her heart belongs to the world though. There is a high chance you'll find her munching on Nutella cupcakes while predicting the next blindside on Survivor.

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