Memo for Tourists about Greece
Greece has a variety of hotels both on the mainland and on the islands. In addition to the star classification familiar to us, an older letter system is adopted here: from L – luxury, that is, 5 * to E – approximately 1-2 *. Sometimes E hotels, however, have better service than some three-star hotels. It should be borne in mind that in popular resorts, especially in summer and on weekends, there are often not enough hotel rooms, so you need to take care of booking in advance.
Most of the Greek hotels are private. On the territory of the country there are hotels from well-known chains like Hilton. There are also purely Greek hotel chains with a wide range of room prices. If you want to feel the Greek atmosphere, then you should stay in a boarding house or a private hotel. Of interest are traditional Greek hotels – xenones. Usually these are two-story buildings with a calm environment. Hostels are very common in Greece, where accommodation is quite inexpensive. Tourists sometimes stay in monasteries, which are distinguished by strict rules – for example, people of different sexes are not accommodated in them. Island monasteries are usually closed and do not accept guests there. You can stay at a campsite for very little money – however, you should not expect amenities from such accommodation.
The rooms in Greek hotels are usually small, often the bathrooms are very small, with only a walk-in shower or a sit-in bath. But almost everywhere there are balconies. The rooms are almost always air conditioned and are clean.
If you prefer to relax in a more homely atmosphere, then in Greece it is very easy to rent an apartment or even a villa.
Greece is a good place for tourists who like to eat well. This is especially true for Cyprus, where there are a lot of different taverns, coffee shops and restaurants. It should be borne in mind that the closer to the sea there is a food point, the more expensive lunch will cost.
Eating in a city tavern costs 11-15 euros, which is not very expensive for a European country. If you order good wine, seafood and haute cuisine, then the price is unlikely to rise above 18-30 euros per person. In modern resorts, you can easily find cafes and restaurants with European cuisine, but you can always find small taverns where locals eat. Prices in such places are more democratic, and the cuisine is really traditional Greek. In small provincial towns, such a tavern is even easier to find than a European restaurant. Lunch on the waterfront will not cost less than 25 euros.
In general, Greek cuisine is quite familiar to Russian tourists – there are no too exotic dishes here. A meat dish will cost about 10 euros, a bottle of good wine can be taken for 7-8 euros. Portions are usually large, so it’s best to order food little by little.
Coffee lovers should definitely look into Greek coffee houses – they serve traditional local coffee and great sweets.
Most tourists go to Greece for a beach holiday. There are really a lot of beaches here, and the sea is warm during the swimming season. The best beach holidays in Greece are on islands such as Crete, Santorini, etc. However, there are good beach resorts on the mainland – on the peninsula of Kassandra or Halkidiki.
There are many opportunities in Greece for active recreation, especially water sports: surfing, catamaran riding and even diving. Diving is especially good in Corfu. The resorts of Faliraki and Mykonos are known for their abundance of clubs and generally vibrant nightlife.
Many people go to Greece to improve their health – along the coast there are a lot of resorts with a unique microclimate. Balneological resorts in Greece are suitable for both those who want to cure any disease, and people who just want to relax and unwind.
There are many ski resorts in Greece. Particularly stands out the resort of Parnassus, located near the famous mountain of the same name. You can also ski well in Delphi.
Do not underestimate sightseeing holidays in Greece – after all, this is a country with an amazing history, one of the very first centers of human civilization. Ancient temples and amazing architectural structures can be found almost everywhere, and there are especially many of them in Athens, Delphi or on the island of Crete. Anyone who is not indifferent to ancient history and architecture should definitely visit these majestic monuments of the past.
On average, an excursion to Greek historical sites costs 30 euros. In street tents, you can buy an excursion twice as cheap, but here no one guarantees that everything will really go the way you want. Often tourists rent cars and drive around the sights themselves, but this is only suitable for more experienced travelers who have already been to the country.
If you are staying on the mainland, then be sure to visit the islands – in addition to beach resorts, there are a lot of really interesting sights there. Always wear comfortable clothes and shoes on excursions – you will have to get to many monuments on rather uneven terrain.
It’s no secret that many tourists go to Greece just to go shopping. In any Greek city there are shops and malls with a unique assortment. Usually they are conveniently located on one or more streets that are considered shopping. Here you can buy everything – from souvenirs and food, to branded clothing.
The main product imported from Greece is a fur coat. Greece is the center of production of these fur products, most of the shopping tours to this country are just aimed at purchasing fur coats. Natural fur is relatively inexpensive here, especially compared to Russian prices, and the quality of Greek fur coats is really impressive.
The main places for the sale and production of Greek fur coats are Kastoria and Paralia Katerinis. It is better to buy a fur coat there, although you can buy it even in Athens – it will cost, however, it will be more expensive. The price of fur coats here starts from a thousand euros, although if you search, you can find cheaper ones – especially during sales seasons.
In addition to fur coats in Greece, you can buy excellent leather products, which are also of high quality and reasonable prices.
It is also worth buying local wine, silverware and real high-quality olive oil in Greece.
Be sure to keep receipts – a check for a fur coat, most likely, will be required from you at customs.
What you need to do in Greece
- Visit the Acropolis – the symbol of Athens and all of Greece, an ancient monument of architecture;
- Walk around Plaka – the Athenian district with ancient architecture, souvenir shops and street musicians;
- Conquer Olympus. If you are confident in your physical form, then you should definitely climb to the top of this mountain, where, according to ancient Greek myths, the gods themselves live;
- Hold the finger of Aristotle, or rather, his statue in the square in Thessaloniki. According to legend, anyone who rubs the sculpture by the big toe will gain wisdom and knowledge;
- Look at Meteora – a complex of temples located on bizarre rocks. Even if you are not a religious person, you will definitely be impressed by the local scenic view.
In order to avoid infections, standard rules must be followed in Greece. You can only drink bottled water, although tap water is theoretically drinkable. Vegetables and fruits should be thoroughly washed, and seafood and meat should be eaten only after heat treatment.
It is generally accepted that medicine is not very well developed in Greece, although in fact it is at a completely European level. You can get medical care for money or insurance – it is not provided here for free. Be sure to take care of insurance before the trip.
In Greece, you can buy almost any medicine. Please note that you may need a prescription. Usually pharmacies are open only until lunch and close on weekends. Pharmacists often speak English and can help you find the right medication for your symptoms.
Greece is one of the safest countries in Europe and in the world. Theft and serious crimes are rare here. For example, if you forgot your wallet in a cafe, then the next day you can find it in the same place or with the owner of the cafe. However, crime is steadily on the rise, especially in the Athenian quarter of Omonia.
It is possible to encounter scams in bars or restaurants, but they are not difficult to avoid. Taxi drivers often cheat – sometimes they take the longest route or “accidentally” do not turn on the meter. In this case, it will be enough to call the operator of the company.
In large cities, you should be wary of pickpockets. It is better not to carry large sums and documents with you – all this should be stored in hotel safes. Often there are no bars on the windows of hotels, so there are thefts from the rooms. Do not leave valuables in cars, and it is better to park the car itself on a well-lit street or paid parking lot.
It is practically safe for a woman in Greece, although sexual crimes occasionally occur in popular resorts. To avoid it, it is better not to walk alone, not to visit bars in the evenings and in no case go anywhere with strangers.
Actions in case of emergency
The country has a single police service, which has a reputation for a fairly rigid structure. Many police officers do not speak English. If you contact the police, be sure to have your ID with you.
In general, if you have become a victim of an offense, it is better to contact the tourist police, whose offices are located in places popular with tourists. The employees there know English and will help solve any problem, be it theft or something else.
If you have lost your passport, then immediately contact the nearest Russian embassy.
To call Greece from Russia, you need to dial 8-10-30 (country code) – area code – phone number. To call from Greece to Russia, you need to dial 00-7-city code – the phone number.
- Code of Athens – 210;
- Thessaloniki Code – 2310;
- Code of Heraklion – 2810;
- Castor Code – 467.
- Ambulance – 116;
- Fire – 199;
- Police – 100;
- Tourist Police in Athens – 210-9025-992;
- Embassy of Russia in Greece – +30-210-672-52-35.
The official currency of Greece is the euro. In some places they accept dollars, but it is more difficult to pay with them. You can exchange currency in banks that are open from 9 am to 3:30 pm. It is worth exchanging money only at official exchange offices, otherwise you can run into scammers.
If you are relaxing economically and not in the midst of the tourist season, then 50 euros per day per person will definitely be enough for you. If you rent a motorcycle or a car and stay in a good hotel, then you should not count on spending less than 90 euros per day. At the height of the season, the bar should be raised to 130 euros. But during the holidays from May to mid-June or in September, you can save on almost everything.
The most convenient way to travel in Greece is by taxi – this type of transport is not very expensive and fast enough. Buses are widespread in large cities, and in Athens there are also trams, trolleybuses and commuter trains. Tickets for the bus and other public transport can be bought at the newsstand.
In addition to land transport, Athens has a metro with two underground and one land line. Ground trains are much slower than underground trains. Tickets are sold at the stations at cashiers or at automatic ticket offices and are valid for 1.5 hours from the date of purchase.
The fine for attempting to travel without a ticket on ground transportation is 60 times the ticket price. In the subway it will be 40 times the cost.
Buses run between cities in Greece.
It is very convenient to rent a car, although it is better not to drive around Athens – the traffic here is chaotic, and traffic jams happen at any time of the day. Renting a car will cost approximately 35 euros per day. You will need an international driver’s license to rent.
It is customary to leave 10-15% of the bill for tea or, with a small order, 1-2 euros. In general, you should not leave too large a tip – it is considered indecent.
You can give a porter 0.5-3 euros, a maid – 3-5 euros, a doorman – 1 euro. Especially don’t skimp on tips for the maid – so your room will be cleaned better.
There are no clothing standards in Greece – it is a fairly democratic country. Since it is always warm here, you should definitely take light clothes, a swimsuit and a hat from the sun. Shoes should be comfortable and light, especially if you are planning excursions.
It gets chilly in the evenings in Greece, so bring a jacket or a light sweater.
National features and traditions
In Greece, you need to be especially careful about your gestures – most of them mean something completely different from ours. For example, if you put your finger to your lips, the Greeks will think that you want to say something. Shaking your palm as a sign of goodbye, on the contrary, will be regarded as a request to come up. And the fingers clenched into a fist with the thumb protruding upwards is a demand to shut up, and a very rude one at that. Also in Greece it is not customary to shake hands when meeting.
In Greece, it is not customary to appear on the street drunk or smoke in public places.
The Greeks themselves like to criticize their state and politics, but it is better not to have such conversations with them – they do not want to allow foreigners into internal affairs.
If you are invited to dine, the inviter always pays.
It is not customary to take off your shoes at the entrance to the house, as in many European countries.
Everything that is allowed for import is allowed to be exported duty-free. It is forbidden to take out of the country drugs and explosives, as well as weapons and ammunition. To export a fur coat or jewelry, you will need a receipt. You will also need a special permit if you want to take the icon out. It is prohibited to export antiques, except in certain cases.
Holidays in Greece
Many people go to Greece just to catch a glimpse of the sights and spend the rest of their time sunbathing on the beaches, but in vain. In Greece, it is worth visiting wherever you can, for example, in a variety of restaurants where you can taste and appreciate local wines and dishes, as well as in shops and markets where it is worth buying an outlandish handmade little thing, an unusual outfit or a special cosmetic as a keepsake. means. In addition, Greece will appeal to both lovers of silence and spiritual practices, and fans of active entertainment. Greek nature and seascapes pacify and inspire, and entertainment events and discos will not let you get bored even at night. The locals are quite welcoming to the guests of the country, some tourists even manage to communicate with the Greeks. Greece has fans all over the world, after all, here the Mediterranean sea vacation is perfectly combined with visiting historical places, the flavor of local cuisine, new acquaintances, vibrant shopping and outdoor activities. In addition, numerous hotels in Greece offer various accommodation options for tourists, differing in level of service, price category, comfort and convenience of location.
Balos is considered one of the best Greek beaches. It is located on the island of Crete, in a bay surrounded by mountains. There is no infrastructure, in general, Balos is a wild beach, although you can find sun loungers here. It is better to buy food and drink in advance.
The graceful beach is located on the coast of the island of Ios, washed by the Aegean Sea. This place is perfectly protected from the effects of winds, so there are no high waves. Clear water, golden sand and picturesque views of Manganari Beach attract a large number of tourists here.
The sand of Elafonisi Beach has a pinkish tint and the water is crystal clear. The bizarre color of the sand is given by sea shells, shells and corals broken into crumbs. The shade of local sand becomes even more pronounced under water, near and far from the coast. Elafonisi beach has a developed infrastructure, there are sun loungers, taverns, beach bars and many options for outdoor activities – windsurfing, diving and much more.
Sani Beach is located on the peninsula of Halkidiki and is included in the list of the best Greek beaches. The coast, covered with golden sand, is washed by the warm Aegean Sea and is surrounded by bright greenery. On one side, Sani Beach is surrounded by a local ecological reserve.
The beach is equipped with sun loungers and umbrellas, there are restaurants and bars, as well as clubs. For fans of outdoor activities there is the possibility of diving and other water sports. The local hotel complex offers visitors a wide range of services.
This crescent-shaped beach is located on the Greek island of Mykonos. The name of the island translates as “paradise”, but this place is not the best option for a family vacation. The cost of rest here is high compared to other resorts in Greece. At night, the coast becomes a place for dancing, so there are always a lot of young tourists here.
Shopping in Greece
Greece is a good place for shopping, not lagging behind, for example, countries such as Italy. Relaxing on Greek beaches and sightseeing in Athens and the surrounding area is perfectly combined with a trip for elegant interior decorations and outfits. For example, a decorative vase or a fur coat in Greece can be purchased at a fairly low price, of course, if you know where are the best places to purchase specific goods.
There are more than 2000 fur factories in the city of Kastoria, for example, Estel Furs, Avanti Furs, Ego Group, Rizos Furs. In stores located at these factories, you can successfully bargain, especially if the seller speaks Russian (which is not uncommon).
There are many large shopping centers in Greece, for example, Golden Hall, The Athens Mall and Notos Gallery in Athens, Mediterranean Cosmos in Thessaloniki, outlets (shopping centers where products of popular brands are sold at a discount) – Factory Outlet, McArthur Glen, Mega Outlet.
There are department stores in Greece where you can buy products – Sklavenitis in Athens, Masoutis in Thessaloniki, Ariadni in Crete, AB Vasilopoulos (premium class supermarkets), Carrefour (worldwide supermarket chain), Lidl (German supermarket chain).
Among other things, Greece is known for its markets (including flea markets and bazaars). Here, any visitor can purchase fresh products at a low price, including olives and products based on olive oil, as well as Greek wine and feta cheese made from goat and sheep milk. Remember: Greek markets usually close at around 3pm.
Especially popular goods for shopping in Greece:
- Souvenir and antique products;
- Olives and products based on it, such as cosmetics, extra virgin olive oil;
- True, some varieties may seem overly sweet in taste;
- Cosmetics with ginseng, sage, mastic, thyme and so on. The acquisition of such brands as Mastic Spa, Aphrodite, Bioselect and Helixir is especially relevant.