Ah, Greece — the birthplace of Western civilization. Positioned prominently along the southern coast of Europe on the Mediterranean Sea, Greece is just as much of a paradise today for many travelers as it was for adventurers of ancient times.
Beautiful coastlines, divine food and wine, and thousands of picturesque islands characterize this land of classical mythology and legendary lore.
With all the copious truths that can be distilled from Greek fables and philosophy (a word that, like many academic terms, is derived from Greek), no one can deny this historic nation has had an outsized influence on European and American civilization that extends to the modern day.
Many would even say you can date the very concept of democracy itself back to the ancient Greeks.
As a destination for travelers from all over the world, Greece has an allure that owes as much to its role in the formation of many of our societal structures as it does to the nation’s rugged, natural beauty and coastal seascapes.
Allow our experts to help you discover Greece in the best and most affordable ways possible, as we offer you up-to-date information about the real costs and opportunities of a trip to Greece.
Average Trip to Greece Cost in 2023
The average seven-day vacation in Greece costs close to $2,100. This can be broken down as follows:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $600
- Average Flight Cost: $900
- Food, Drinks & Activities: $315
- Transportation: $245
- Total Cost: $2,060
Of course, these costs will likely vary greatly depending on where and how you choose to be accommodated and the food, activities, and transportation you choose to use.
Keep in mind that Greece is not a small country, and the landscape can change dramatically, depending on whether you’re in the mountainous north of the country versus the urban centers of Athens or Thessaloniki or the idyllic scenery of one of the country’s many islands.
Although Italy can lay claim to ancient Roman aqueducts and Latin texts, the theaters and temples of Greece are older and arguably more important.
The ancient structures of the Parthenon, the Acropolis, the Agora of Athens, Rhodes, Mycenae, Olympia, and Delphi (which all comprise UNESCO World Heritage sites) are as historically significant as any of the most important cultural locations in the world.
And their preservation and maintenance are some of the most foremost responsibilities of the Greek government.
Fortunately for travelers, once you get to Greece (it’s not necessarily an inexpensive journey, as you’ll read below), life can be very good and relatively cheap, especially compared to the rest of Europe.
Because Greece is at the southern edge of the Continent, it’s been influenced by the Balkan lands to its north, the Middle Eastern and North African countries to the south, and the Mediterranean island nations like Malta and Cyprus that lie not far off its coast.
Greece is undeniably a core part of Southern Europe, and the economy, pace of life, and lifestyle of its citizens reflect that.
Greece Trip Cost: Average by Item
As with the other trip components listed above, the cost of accommodation in Greece can vary depending on your location, where you’re staying, and what amenities you deem essential (bear in mind that adequate air conditioning may be far from a given, even in moderately expensive properties).
High-end luxury hotels can be found in Athens and on several of the better-known islands, such as Corfu, Santorini, and Mykonos.
But other than these standout properties, many of the mid-range and lower-end accommodations can be surprisingly inexpensive, as are many of the other items you’ll be consuming on your visit, but you’ll read more about these later.
For instance, one of the better-known luxury hotels (which might feature swimming pools, tennis courts, and/or fine dining) can easily run $350 per night, whereas mid-range accommodations with fewer amenities may cost an average of $87 per night.
At the lower end, modest hotels that still have private bathrooms and sometimes even separate living room areas can run just $30 per night.
On the other hand, youth hostels (which technically take people of all ages but which tend to be favored by people under 25) range from just $12 per night. It should be said that people who favor the backpacking lifestyle will find ample bargains in Greece.
As opposed to hotels, vacation homes offer another option for travelers, and, like hotels, these can vary widely in price depending on their location and size (see the table below.)
In order to be legal, vacation home/home-stay rental properties must be licensed by the Greek National Tourist Organization (GNTO).
In fact, any accommodation you stay at should be licensed by the GNTO, as this can mean protections for you as a guest and repercussions for the property manager or owner if you’re mistreated (or, say, overcharged).
Recently, the Greek government raised taxes significantly for income from vacation home/home-stay rental properties, which has increased the nightly prices of many of these listings.
But because there’s still a relatively large number of bargain-priced options to choose from, a more important question may be where you want to stay for your trip.
Cosmopolitan Athens can be sophisticated, intriguing, and quirky, but also noisy, crowded, and dense with air pollution at times.
By contrast, many of the Greek islands feature a breezier and more aesthetically appealing environment (such as Santorini, with its marvelous white-as-chalk buildings built into hillsides)
But you should also know you may end up paying significantly more (meaning two to three times as much) to be isolated and away from “urban life.”
Here is a table comparing prices of hotels and vacation rentals for popular locations in Greece:
|Location||Average Hotel Cost/Night||Average Vacation Rental Cost/Night|
Some of Greece’s cheaper islands for accommodation include Crete, Agistri, Lefkada, Kythnos, Hydra, Ikaria, and Tinos. Overall, you should likely weigh what’s important to you.
Do you desire to be proximate to the ancient sites of Athens, like the Parthenon and the Acropolis, or do you want to be on an island, with the sea all around you?
Greece has more than 3,000 islands, but only about 200 of them are inhabited. The most popular ones tend to be crowded with visitors and have no lack of restaurants, nightclubs, and bars (which may be grossly overpriced).
On the one hand, your chances of running into fellow travelers from the States are high in these locations, but on the other hand, all of the qualities of “tacky American tourists” may also be on full display.
Some of these islands, like Mykonos, tend to be gathering places for members of the boisterous younger generation, who like to imbibe alcohol and partake of other substances, so be warned!
You may find more solace (and cheaper accommodations, to boot) on a less-visited island, but this may also mean fewer (but more reasonably priced) dining options and a lower concentration of residents who speak English.
There’s also a question of how often ferries arrive at and depart from such islands, but more on that below. If at all possible, get confirmation of any accommodation pricing in advance by email or — even better — by fax (yes, fax!).
This is to avoid misunderstandings later; for instance, many properties may quote you prices that are only valid during certain times of the year, for one person only, or under any other number of conditions.
Another tactic you should use to your advantage is to try and negotiate your accommodation price. Always ask what the price is for the “cheapest room” in their property, and work from there.
Note that a “double room” can sometimes mean a room with two twin beds, versus one with a double or queen-sized bed, so be sure to clarify what’s included in the room in writing if possible.
It’s true that Greece can be a relative bargain, given what it offers and in comparison to the rest of Europe, but getting there is not necessarily cheap.
Whether it’s because it takes more jet fuel to fly there or because the airport taxes are high, flights to Greece can be measurably more expensive than those to many destinations in Western Europe.
As with other faraway locations, you may be able to save on airfare with a layover or stopover in another city (common ones are London, Paris, or Rome).
But an even cheaper option may be to make your transcontinental endpoint in a relatively cheap destination (perhaps Madrid or Barcelona) and then take one of the low-cost short-flight European airlines like Easyjet or RyanAir to Athens, Thessaloniki, etc.
This second flight may well cost less than $60, particularly if you don’t have a lot of luggage.
It’s best to book your flight to Greece fairly far in advance, meaning six to 10 months before you travel. This means booking by the previous Thanksgiving if you want to travel in the early summer!
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
One of the true bargains of Greece is its food. In many places, you should be able to eat for less than $35 per day (including wine or beer), especially if you avoid restaurants that appear to cater only to tourists.
With these latter eateries, be very careful what you order if you go to one; tales abound of Western tourists who were charged hundreds of dollars for a meal simply because they didn’t read the menu’s fine print or because they ordered whatever the waiter suggested.
Many of these venues were created with the sole purpose of extracting money from relatively wealthy foreign tourists, so be wary of using your credit cards, and double-check the prices with the waiter (ask them to speak very slowly and clearly if necessary) before you order.
Be mindful if the prices are different depending on the quantity, size, or combinations of the food you order or if a minimum quantity or number of drinks is required to be ordered.
In general, the smaller a restaurant is (such as those known as “Tavernas”), the more trustworthy it may be. But a wiser policy is to steer clear of obvious tourist draws, even if the food looks tempting.
Another smart move can be to question patrons who are leaving and ask them about the quality of the meal, the service, and how much they paid. It’s not unheard of for proprietors to charge different amounts for the same food based on how much they think someone can pay!
Online, you may find more information about various restaurants, so don’t be shy to look at review websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor if you’re unsure of whether you want to patronize an establishment.
Bear in mind that the cheapest food will be Greek or Mediterranean and that other cuisines, such as American steaks or Japanese sushi, may be many times the cost of local specialties.
Instead, consider sampling the various cheeses, tomatoes, figs, dates, pistachios, and olives that you’ll find seemingly endless varieties of.
Drinks are cheapest in supermarkets and corner stores but may be ridiculously marked up in bars and restaurants, particularly if such places are outside, they have a view, or they’re on an island.
In terms of activities, most visitors to Greece are eager to see (and possibly be photographed with) some ancient ruins, which, fortunately, are plentiful and accessible.
However, be aware that the most popular sites, such as the Parthenon, the Acropolis, and the Agora of Athens, have admission costs and long lines. Thus, it may pay to buy combination tickets for these sites online (which allow you to skip the lines) several days or weeks in advance.
It’s quite common for people to take ferries to and from the Greek mainland to the islands, either for a day trip or a short excursion that lasts several days. The city of Athens has three main ports where ferries depart from: Lavrion, Rafina, and Piraeus.
If you do take a boat, it may be more convenient to buy your tickets in advance rather than on the boat itself, but most ferry journeys are rarely sold out (an exception to this are the most popular routes during the peak summer months).
A great website to buy your tickets from is Ferryhopper, which lets you compare routes and prices. Another good website to use is Ferryscanner, but be aware that not all ferry companies or schedules are listed online; for some ferries, you’ll need to buy tickets in person.
Currently, Athens is the only Greek city to have a public metro system (although Thessaloniki is scheduled to inaugurate a line of their new subway in 2024).
Athens’ metro is fairly extensive and costs about $1.50 to use. You can also use the same tickets and transfer for free to buses, trolleys, trams, and suburban commuter trains.
Other Greek cities with public transportation include Thessaloniki, Meteora, Kalambaka, and Larissa; in fact, the country’s KTEL network of buses reaches all but the most remote areas of the country.
Note that 25 of the larger and more popular islands, including Crete, Corfu, Kos, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Syros, also have buses that run with regular frequency.
Buses are the cheapest way to travel long distances in Greece, but there are also regional trains, which can be slower and less reliable. In Athens, taxis cost about $1 per kilometer, and a cross-town journey will cost you roughly $7.
Most of the cab drivers speak English, so you shouldn’t have any communication problems. With long journeys, be sure you can see the route on a screen or a phone (try downloading the BEAT taxi app on your smartphone) so that you know you’re not being overcharged.
Be wary of being stuck on routes that have heavy traffic. If you’re taking a taxi from the airport, always make sure you’re getting in a licensed, metered taxi.
Never pay the fare in advance, even if the driver offers you a better deal this way. Make sure the meter is running for the whole journey, announce how much you’re giving the driver before you give it to them, and give them one bill at a time when you pay.
Renting a car in Athens or other places will cost you an average of $18 per day, and you’ll need a passport, a driver’s license that’s been valid for at least a year, and a credit card to do so.
Note that rental cars are generally not permitted to be taken aboard the ferries between the islands and the mainland, so driving in multiple places may necessitate multiple car rentals.
You can also rent a bicycle for about $16 per day, but understand that most Greek terrain incorporates hills and inclines, and 80% of drivers are known to drive both fast and dangerously. You should take this into account if you only intend to be a pedestrian as well.
Things to Consider
Although Greece is well known for its ancient ruins, you wouldn’t be the first tourist who’s thought about trying to take a piece of history back with them to their home country.
Note that this is highly illegal, and if you’re caught attempting to do this, you can be imprisoned for up to 10 years, deported, and/or barred from ever entering Greece again.
Even thinking you could possibly get away with this is foolish; many of the major ancient sites have surveillance cameras that are closely monitored, so anyone seen taking even a small remnant of a crumbling wall or sculpture will be pulled aside, searched, and/or questioned.
If you seriously desire to acquire a piece of antiquity, there are stores and outlets that specifically sell such items, and their prices may be shockingly affordable, given the age of what they’re selling.
That said, however, be very careful about where you buy such items. It pays to check reviews and references for such stores online to make sure you’re not buying counterfeit or illegally gotten relics.
If you’re serious about such a purchase, in some cases, it may be worth hiring an expert to check out an item to make sure it’s real.
Another good idea is to make the purchase through eBay or another auction site so that you have some protection in case what you buy is found to be fake or illegally acquired.
In Greece, much business is conducted with cash rather than credit cards or other means of payment. Therefore, it’s wise to exchange your money for Euros at your bank before you leave (but don’t carry all of your cash with you when you walk around).
Although ATM fees are lower than in many other European countries, they can still be higher than what you’ll pay in the U.S.
Many shopkeepers and business proprietors welcome and even expect haggling over prices. If you want to purchase something, start out with a low-ball offer, and see what they say. There’s a good chance you can get a bargain this way!
Crime is relatively uncommon in Greece, but it’s not unheard of for tourists to be pickpocketed, conned, or defrauded by street criminals or by unscrupulous taxi drivers at the airports.
The Exarcheia, Omonia, Kolokotroni, and Vathi squares of Athens, as well as the neighborhood of Monastiraki, are known hangouts for pickpockets, as are some of the other public plazas, parks, tourist attractions, and farmer’s markets.
In general, it’s a good idea not to carry valuables and to keep your wallet, cell phone, and other valuables secure and dispersed on your person. Stay away from political demonstrations, and don’t travel alone through Athens at night, especially under the influence of alcohol.
Generally speaking, you should trust your instincts; if a stranger appears threatening or is making you an offer that seems too good to be true, you should likely stay away from them.
Beaches can get crowded, especially during the summer months and on some of the more popular islands, such as Santorini and Mykonos. To steer clear of crowds, consider going to beaches in less populated places, like Ithaca, Astypalaia, Donoussa, Tinos, Sikinos, Andros, and Kimolos.
Because of the heat, it’s smart to bring a refillable water bottle with you each day (iced coffee is another option). This will allow you to save money and the environment at the same time. If you get too hot, try visiting one of the many air-conditioned museums.
Take a well-made pair of comfortable walking shoes with you because, in many places, you’ll be walking on ancient cobblestones.
Because of the number of places to see and go, consider spending more than a week’s holiday in Greece. Two weeks, or at least 10 days, will allow you to explore some of the islands, even if most of the rest of your time is spent in Athens or Thessaloniki.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Greece safe?
Beyond the words of advice offered above, Greece is a fairly safe country for tourists, with crime rates on par with places like London or Dublin. Violent crime is rare but has been known to occur between criminals in several places like the Syntagma and Glyfada squares of Athens.
Petty theft is much more common in Athens than it is in Thessaloniki or on the Greek islands. Overall, Greece is very safe for women, and incidents of sexual assault are much less common than in other countries.
What’s the best time of year to visit?
The late spring (May) and early fall (September and October) are ideal times to visit Greece because the summer months can be very hot and overcrowded with tourists, and the winter can be colder and rainy.
How hot does it get there?
Many parts of Greece are known for their clear blue skies and sunshine nearly 300 days per year. Temperatures in the country average 84 degrees but can rise to over 100 degrees in the summer.
So it pays to pack light clothing, sunblock, sunglasses, and perhaps even a hat, as long as you’re not visiting in the winter. Keep in mind that Athens is the hottest capital city in Europe.
Can I rent a boat?
For any sailboats or boats with motors over 30 horsepower, you need a boating license to rent a boat in Greece. But fortunately, there are numerous options for boats with less powerful engines, and you can rent these boats by the day for about $150 on average.
You can also charter a boat or a yacht by the day or the week and sail to and from many of the islands. Chartering a small yacht can run roughly $2,000 for a week, but fuel and a licensed skipper may cost extra.
So, What Does the Average Trip to Greece Cost?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$600 total|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$900 round-trip|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$315 total|
|🚕 Transportation||$245 total|
|💲 Total Cost||$2,060|
All told, you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on a trip to Greece, particularly once you get there, and especially if you don’t go at the height of the tourist season (the summer) or stay on the most expensive, popular islands.
A total budget of around $250 to $300 per day should be adequate if you’re not staying in a four- or five-star hotel. It pays to plan in advance and take along a guidebook that can explain many of the innumerable ancient sights.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Greece has to offer. Happy travels!