When travelers daydream about quintessential Mediterranean getaways, Greece is usually one of the first visualizations. Striking coasts studded with variations of white-painted architecture over a clear, blue sea is textbook beach vacation goals (hello, Santorini).
What is amazing about this Southeastern European country is not just its black sand beaches, but its delicious cuisine, extensive history, and offering of outdoor activities. Whether you decide to sail your way around the Adriatic or Ionian Seas, enjoy Greek barbecue with generous locals, or immerse yourself with Greek legends as you explore the ruins of an ancient civilization -- Greece is a destination for everyone.
Use this guide to discover some of Greece's most popular activities and tours, information on how to prepare for a trip, and when to go.
Here are popular tours and activities to experience regardless of whether you want to drool at delectable barbecue or marvel at ancient architecture in Greece. From history, land, and sea, this Mediterranean country offers much to explore.
Beach & Sea Tours
A visit to Greece wouldn’t be complete without a sailing tour -- whether for a few days or a few weeks! With some of the clearest water in Europe, you’ll love going out on a catamaran with the sun on your face. The local villages and enviable coastline will seem like a living postcard.
Those with experience can rent a sailboat to take out to sea. If you prefer to kick back and relax, book a spot on a chartered tour. They’ll guide you around the different islands to some of the best swimming spots Greece. If you are more of a beach goer, there are plenty of the world's top beaches to choose from.
Culture & Food Tours
From the hill of the Acropolis to divine ruins in Olympia, Greece is rich in culture and history. As a significant influencer of modern western civilization, ancient Greece holds the key to much of the history we've learned in academia and humanities and offers an opportunity to see it all first hand.
Local tour guides can grant you access to some of the country's most sought after or underrated sites, making it easier for you to soak it all in, stress-free. In many of these culture tours, you'll likely experience some Greek food and life as well. Whether it is the coffee culture, eating Cretan ntákos, or becoming obsessed with feta, you'll be sure to have a true taste of Greek flavor.
While Greece might be known for beaches, food, culture, and history, it is also a great destination for adventure sport. Some local rivers offer the perfect rapids for white water rafting during the warmer months and, during the off season, colder climates allow you to head away from the ocean and to the mountains to go skiing.
Planning Your Trip
Refer to this guide when planning your trip to Greece. It will help you take note of ideal times to visit for the activity of your choice, as well as budgeting and packing tips.
Best Time to Visit Greece
When to visit depends on what your tour itinerary includes. In general, Greece's weather is ideal from the spring through fall (April - October) -- be mindful, though: summer is high season and will be considerably more expensive and crowded.
If you are visiting Greece for niche activities (like winter sports) you should visit in the winter when the mountains are full of snow (December - February) or confirm with your tour provider for the best dates.
What to Look For In a Tour to Greece
There are many activities to choose from in Greece, so decide on how long you want to be there. A sailing trip, for instance, might be best enjoyed for at least a week to be able to see multiple islands.
Make sure to double check that your activities are in the same location if doing multiple excursions. Greece has many islands, so it’s important to check whether you need to be on the mainland to participate in a trip, or if you'll need to allot for travel time in between.
Typical Tour Costs
The cost of your trip will depend on how long you go and what’s included. Day trips will be much cheaper than longer trips that include lodging. Sailing trips will be on the higher end, as they need to include your accommodation and hire staff.
Tour prices have generally stayed the same despite changes in the economy. Some deals are easier to come by. On average, tour packages cost about $1,500 - $3,000.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
It’s important to pack appropriately for the weather during your visit. History and culture tours often involve a lot of walking, so wear appropriate footwear. If going on a sailing excursion, bring lightweight clothing with sun protection for the day, and layers for when it gets cooler at night. If renting a boat yourself, make sure to stock up on food and necessities depending on how long you will travel between stops.
Other adventure activities will require minimum equipment, as tour companies often provide the majority of it. Make sure to confirm with your tour provider in advance, and consider costs if you have to rent items yourself.
Other Tips for Travel in Greece
- Budgeting & currency: Greece uses the Euro for currency. Accommodation, meals, and transportation in Greece are fairly affordable in comparison with other European destinations, though remain higher than other regions. Note that while locals may still have limits on ATM withdrawals, foreign accounts should not be affected.
- Transportation: Flights between larger cities are a quick and easy way to travel. Rental cars, private transfer, and buses are other options. Islands will need to be sailed to: the larger ones may have ferries whereas smaller will require private sailboats to reach.
- Accommodations: There are many hotels or vacation rentals to stay in while in Greece. Vacation rentals are a nice option when traveling with a group, though options also include hotels of every level of quality, and plenty of youth hostels in popular tourist destinations.
Health & Safety
When visiting during the summer months, being out in the sun all day can pose a health risk. Make sure to protect yourself with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat while outside. It's also important to drink water throughout the day so you don't get dehydrated.
Greece does not require vaccinations for entry but it is advised to have all routine vaccinations up to date.
As with any country, be wary of wandering alone at night in unfamiliar areas, and always take care with valuables. When doing adventure sports, leave important items behind in your hotel.
Due to Greece's location, it would be wise to stay up-to-date on safety and travel warnings for the region. Make sure to keep copies of your passport safely in your hotel or hostel locker at all times.