High on the bucket list for many is Greece, an idyllic holiday hotspot made up of over 6000 islands. Boasting delicious food, stunning island landscapes and more history than you can poke a sword at, it's no wonder Greece is a long-standing tourist destination.
Despite their recent economic struggles, Greece continues to thrive with millions of tourists gracing it’s shores each year. If you've decided to pull the plug and experience Greece's glory for yourself, you're going to need to consider your travel budget.
We know holiday budgets can be a painful process that is often put in the too-hard basket as you instead look at gorgeous Waterview villas and island day trips. This can lead to disaster though, as a last-minute budget is often rushed and inaccurate, leaving you scrambling for cash at the last minute.
To solve this issue and make things as easy as possible for you, the talented team at Travel Money NZ have put together a nifty holiday budget calculator. Simply punch in your holiday details, and it will punch out a budget personalised to you. Sound good?
First things first, let's check out what goes into a holiday budget for Greece.
What goes into a budget for Greece?
As with any European destination, flights will generally be your most significant expense. European summer is notoriously more expensive for flights; however, you can snag early-bird deals if you buy far enough in advance or at an expo.
Once you arrive in Greece, there are a few options for getting between destinations. A few islands have their own airport. Flights are relatively cheap and can save a lot of transport time that can otherwise be spent relaxing by the pool. Double-check your baggage allowance when booking flights as extra bags can make the price add up quickly.
Flights aside, the other most common mode of transport is private boat (if you're a baller) or ferries. Popular routes are serviced regularly by large ferry companies. Tickets range in price and can sell out, so be sure to book in advance to secure your spot. Often you need to pick up your ticket at the terminal, which is usually super busy, so give yourself plenty of time to arrive, get your bearings and grab your ticket before the boat leaves.
Alternatively, if you want to see as much of Greece as possible without having to pack and unpack your bags, several cruises go between the islands. These are a great way to reduce stress and let someone else take care of your transport. Just keep in mind that your time on the islands will often be limited to a day or a few hours, so if you want to keep exploring more, it might not be the best for you. MSC Cruises often have great sales and offer several Greek routes if you are on a budget.
Once you're in your destination, your main form of transport will often either be a bus or your own two feet. Buses are relatively inexpensive (a few euros for a trip) and are needed for long distances on hot days. Athens is the exception as a metro system and trolley cars service it.
Finally, another popular mode of transport in Greece are scooters and ATV rental. If you're there for a few days and want to explore at your own pace, this is an option for you. Just be cautious of dodgy rental companies taking advantage of tourists and ensure your travel insurance covers you for ATV or scooter riding as it is often an added extra.
Accommodation in Greece is often a bit more on the pricier side. With this in mind, there are still options for all travellers and budgets. In bigger cities, you will find hotel chains, homestays, Airbnb and hostels. On islands expect villas and mountainside hotels that have stunning ocean views.
The ocean view villas with private pools you see on social media are stunning; however, they often have a price tag to match. If you're after the same amount of luxury with a smaller price tag, move your search away from the ocean view properties.
Alternatively, move away from the super touristy islands like Santorini and Mykonos in favour of lesser-known but equally gorgeous islands. Lower prices + fewer tourists? Sounds ideal if you ask me, plus your tourist dollars will be helping smaller vendors.
The food in Greece is out of this world good, so prepare to leave a few kgs heavier than when you arrived. Expect fresh seafood, delicious salads, mouth-watering cheese, flaky pastries and more gyros then you can poke a meat stick at.
Most of the islands need to import all of their fresh ingredients/ almost everything as the barren landscapes don't yield much in the way of crops. This can depending on the meal, push up the price. With this in mind, expect to pay around the following:
Gyros, pastries, bakery goods etc.: 3 - 10 euros
Greek salads: 10 euros and up
Meals at a restaurant (think Moussaka, meat etc.): 15 euros and up
Western food like pizzas and burgers: 10 - 20 euros
Seafood: 25+ euros
Consider these baseline prices. If you are eating anywhere with an ocean view, expect prices to increase exponentially.
Alcohol ranges in price depending on what you get, but beers start around 5 euros and go up from there. You might find cheaper ones at hostel bars if you're lucky. I recommend scouting out what bars and restaurants are offering happy hours as you will often get 2-4-1 drinks and cocktails.
Aside from eating and laying by the pool or beach with a good book, there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied in Greece.
Water sports are a big one, with pretty much everywhere offering island hopping, snorkelling and diving tours. While there isn't much in the way of coral and reefs, water visibility in Greece is amazing and well worth it. You can also pump up the adrenaline with tubing, parasailing and everything in between. These activities aren't cheap, and start at 30 euros for a basic tour and go up from there. Once again, hostels are often paired with more competitive tour operators, so suss them out if you're on a budget.
Greece is also known for its rich and intricate history, and there are plenty of tours in every location covering historical monuments as a result. Some of these historic areas can be accessed without a tour and will charge an entry fee. If you're short on time or are keen to get some of the backstories instead of just looking at rocks and stone with no idea, I highly recommend getting a tour guide. Their knowledge will make the experience far more interesting and memorable.
Finally, the islands boast plenty of gorgeous hikes and walks that allow you to take in the scenery. You can source a tour guide, but most of them are easy enough to do on your own so grab a bottle of water and be on your merry way.
Like any holiday, you also need to consider other expenses like travel insurance, visas and any vaccinations. Greece is part of the Schengen zone, so Kiwi's don't need a visa for stays under 90 days.