Holidays in Greece – Between Antiquity and the Present

Holidays in Greece

A holiday in Greece had been on my agenda for ages, but more in the “won’t run away” category. Since I didn’t want to experience a third lockdown abroad, I decided on a two-week trip across the Greek mainland this summer. No one could have guessed that it would be up to 48 °C during the day and around 35 °C at night in the hostel without air conditioning. Well, a certain amount of heat was still to be expected. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful holiday, this time more cultural.

Germany is about 3 times the size of Greece in terms of area. Nevertheless, the country appears to be at least as large, as it extends over 3,000 islands, some of which are far away from the mainland. However, the islands make up only about one fifth of the total area. Almost half of the 10 million inhabitants live in the two large cities of Athens and Thessaloniki. Those who cross the mainland will notice that the country is extremely sparsely populated and one rarely encounters villages.

Travel preparations for Greece

As always, the preparation for my trip to Greece took about 2 hours. This is partly due to the fact that I booked my flight only a few days before departure. Actually, I had planned to go to Georgia, but due to the increasing incidence, I decided to go to Greece. If the incidence increases here and there is a lockdown, I would quickly rope myself off to Albania or northern Macedonia. Sunscreen, camera, shorts and hiking boots should suffice. My smartphone unfortunately fell off on the way to the airport, making it unusable. Luckily I was able to print out the documents on the spot and had my analogue vaccination certificate with me. So now I was travelling really oldschool with a map, which somehow also had its charm.

Griechische Landschildkröte

Holidays in Greece

Greece is one of the countries where I would recommend having some form of transport with you, be it a motorbike, car or bicycle. I found public transport relatively expensive. Also, there are certainly great things to see in between the cities that you just pass through by bus/train. As I don’t like leaving from the same airport as the one I arrive at, I chose to arrive in Athens and leave from Thessaloniki to make the best use of the time available.

Top 5 highlights for a holiday in Greece

Since I only had 14 days, I travelled a bit faster than I normally do. This time it was mainly culture with a little relaxation on the beach towards the end.

1 The Floating Monasteries of Meteora

Upon arrival at the railway station of the small village of Kalambaka, you can already marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage Site from a distance. You can get to the monasteries either on foot, by bus or in your own vehicle. In this article on the Meteora monasteries, you can find out what else you need to know, when the monasteries are open, how to dress and much more.

2 Athens

Anyone who voluntarily walks through a city at 48 °C must really be taken with it. Besides the Acropolis and the like, the city has a lot more to offer and makes everyone’s heart beat faster. From cosy bar streets, the student quarter Exarchia and the mountain with a view of the city, there is something for everyone. Here you can find out everything you need to know for a holiday in Athens.

3 Ioannina

In Ioannina, things are a little more relaxed. The city is located in the west of the country and lies directly on Lake Pamvotida. Besides the Ioannina Island, the Perama Cave, the Vikos Gorge Canyon, there are also some very cosy bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the evening.

4 Thessaloniki

The second largest city in the country is located in the north-east of Greece, directly on the Aegean Sea. The unmistakable landmark of the city is the white tower on the eastern shore of the city. In addition to the upper old town, there are several churches and excavations to marvel at. You can end the evening nicely with a kiosk beer by the sea.

5 Chalkidiki

The Halkidiki peninsula is located about 60 km south of Thessaloniki. It is especially popular with people travelling by car, as it has beautiful beaches and a certain island feeling. The great thing about Halkidiki is that free camping is tolerated in some places. So you can just pitch your tent and spend the night there for free. Even though it is undoubtedly super beautiful, it is just as crowded in summer. Crowds of tourists, especially from Serbia, flood the area.

My itinerary through Greece

As already mentioned, I only had one start and one destination and thought about how I could make the most sense of it on the spot. First, I wanted to spend a few days in Athens, from where I went on to Kalambaka to see the floating monasteries of Meteora. Then I was going to go to Ioannina until my last but one stop in Chalkidiki before heading to Thessaloniki.

Route durch Griechenland

Practical travel tips for your holiday in Greece

  • Most people speak at least a little English
  • Pack your sunscreen! This is relatively expensive here.
  • Train and bus cost about the same as in Germany
  • Vermeiden Sie die Monate Juli und August, da es dann unglaublich heiß wird.
  • The tap water in Greece is good to drink (best to bring a bottle).

Means of transport for your holiday in Greece

Those who do not arrive in Greece with their own vehicle are usually dependent on public transport. It can be worth buying tickets a day in advance, otherwise they may already be sold out. Unfortunately, Blablacar does not really work as an alternative in Greece.
In the larger cities of Greece, the bus terminal and train station are often located outside the city centre. As it is not possible to book transport online, it is advisable, depending on the season, to make a trip there to buy tickets for the next day.


Most places in Greece can be reached by bus. There are often only a few connections per day, so it is usually a good idea to book them in advance, otherwise you may not be able to get on until the next day. Buses in Greece are relatively expensive compared to Germany. For example, a bus from Athens to Ioannina costs €40 for a five-hour journey. The buses are relatively comfortable and have air conditioning.


Trains in Greece are relatively comfortable and about as expensive as buses. Therefore, I travelled by train rather than by bus whenever possible. The train from Athens to Kalambaka (Meteora), for example, cost me 30 € including change.


Normally a viable alternative to travelling by public transport – but not in Greece. I, as well as some other travellers with whom I exchanged ideas, had difficulties getting a lift. Although it has worked here and there, it doesn’t seem to be the norm here. Especially when you consider that there are often only a few small villages between two towns, which are difficult to get away from if you are let out.

The best time for your holiday in Greece

Of course, the best time to travel also depends on your plans. In general, I would advise you to avoid the months of July and August. For one thing, it gets incredibly hot here and for another, the country is flooded with tourists during this time. Therefore, the best times to travel are spring and autumn. If you want to swim, you should go to Greece in June or September. If you want to explore the country without freezing, you can do so from April to November.

Food in Greece

In general, I would describe Greek food as tasty but monotonous. There are some vegetarian dishes, but for vegans it’s a bit cramped in classic Greek tavernas. In the following I have listed the classics of Greek cuisine:

Gyros Pita: Surely the classic among the Greek budget dishes. The gyros in the pita is available with pork or chicken. The roll comes with tzatziki, chips and some vegetables. Usually costs 2.50 €. Gyros is also available as a plate with fries and salad for ~ 6 €.

The meat skewers are also available with chicken and pork. These are also available in the pita for approx. 2.50 € to 3 €, as a plate (several skewers with chips and salad) for ~ 6 € or individually for approx. 1.50 € per small skewer.

Greek Salat:
For me, the best summer meal in Greece. So simple and yet so good. In a restaurant, you usually pay ~ €5 for a salad consisting of cucumber, tomato, capers, olives and feta. To save money, I always prepared it myself at lunchtime. All you need is a cucumber, 2-3 tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, salt, 1/2 onion and half a feta. It’s super quick, super cheap and healthy.

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes

Grilled Feta: Another vegetarian dish is the grilled feta with olive oil, onion and spices.

Moussaka: Another famous Greek meal is the eggplant gratin with potatoes and grounded meat.

Frequently asked questions about your holiday in Greece

As it gets extremely hot in Greece in summer, I recommend the months of April to June or September and August. At these times you also avoid the high season and have much milder temperatures on site.
In Greece, both bathing fans and those interested in culture and history get their money’s worth. The Greek mainland in particular is ideal for people who want to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks.
Overall, Greece is slightly cheaper than Germany. Food and accommodation are cheaper, but public transport (for long distances) is a bit more expensive.
If you want to explore mainland Greece, it’s a good idea to fly to Thessaloniki or Athens and back from the other city, as this saves you the return journey to your arrival point.

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We are Julian & Naomi and we love to travel the world and immerse ourselves in other cultures. We have an adventurous, spartan, sustainable and reflective travel style. In our opinion, the greatest adventures are experienced when you do things on your own and try to live like a local. The taste of a country is best captured on the road
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