Greece, a civilization as old as time itself that rose from the obscurity of its dark age to mould and shape humanity in an abundance accomplished by few. Home of ingenious minds and magniloquent poets. The epitome of cultural affluence and scientific brilliance. The cradle of Western civilization and birthplace of democracy.
This is the Greece of yesteryear, however.
Today this ancient land, steeped in history, appears vastly different. And yet, even though it has lost its forefathers’ claim for cultural hegemony, its prowess and aspiration for greatness remains. Renowned are the prancing steps of its dances, the grandeur of its songs laden with sorrow, and the aromatic richness of its fresh produce. Travellers sing the praises of its rugged peaks and splendid shores, and the hospitality of its people.
Still, it feels like the country is performing a delicate balancing act: emancipating itself from its glorious past, while staying true to its roots.
VISA | Greece grants visa-free entry to all European countries with the exception of Belarus, the Kosovo, and Russia (up to 90 days for countries outside the EU). If you are a resident of a non-European country check Passport Index for a quick overview.
MONEY | Currency: Euro. ATMs are widely available, however, be aware that Greek banks charge a transaction fee (2,5-5€), thus always withdraw as much as possible to minimize your loss.
Also, be aware that costs will be significantly higher than in the rest of the Balkans, despite the state of the Greek economy.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT | Beside a few train routes and the ferries connecting the countless islands with the mainland, most public transport is carried out by buses. All major cities and towns can be reached from Athens either directly or via connection, while smaller settlements and villages will be trafficked by local companies.
Keep in mind however that bus schedules in Greece tend to be extremely infrequent, should you venture out into the lesser visited parts of the country (especially in low season). Therefore, you might want to plan ahead if you’re heading off the beaten path.
Tickets are either bought in the station or directly on the bus.
| GREECE TRAVEL TIP
If you are contemplating on doing the whole van life thing in Greece, including a stop in Athens (wicked idea btw, as Greece perfectly lends itself for a road trip!), be warned that your precious vehicle might not leave the Greek capital with the same appearance as it entered.
Athenian sprayers (might be similar in other cities throughout Greece) are notoriously known for giving unattended vans a good ol’ facelift.
Therefore, if you don’t want your baby to become the canvas for the artistic excesses of the rebellious Greek youth, make sure to have a secured parking space at your disposal!
| GREECE TRAVEL TIP 2
Tourist attractions in Greece can get quite expensive when travelling on a budget (the Acropolis in Athens will set you back a whooping 20€!).
However, all places I came across had a discount for students, cutting the price in half or even offering free entrance. The catch is that your student status isn’t really the primary criteria rather than your age. You need to be a student AND under 26 in order to be applicable for the discount. The only exception seem to be the museums run by the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (e.g. the Silver Smithing Museum in Ioannina, or the Olive Museum in Sparta.
If you are enlisted at a university always make sure to bring your student ID when visiting tourist attrations to safe you some bucks!