19 Interesting Things To Know Before Traveling to Greece

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission that will help me feed me and my cat, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link! Thanks!*

Studying abroad in Greece was one of the most impactful moments in my life. I honestly miss Greece so much and must go back. But here are the things I wish I knew before traveling to Greece.

things to know before traveling to greece

Greece is one of the most popular and most traveled countries in the world. Between its rich history, influential culture, museums, and beautiful landscapes, Greece has a right to be so popular.

I studied abroad in Greece in May 2019. I promise to go back in a few years because it changed my life. It was also my first time outside of the United States and showed me how different the world is. I also gained a lot of knowledge about Greek culture and the Mediterranean lifestyle. I truly miss it.

But here are the top 19 things to know before traveling to Greece.


19 Interesting Things to Know Before Traveling To Greece

1. It’s mountainous.

This is coming from a girl who in lived near below-sea-level Louisiana most of my life. I honestly underestimated how much the high altitude and traveling constantly would affect me the first week. I honestly assumed that since Greece was near water it wasn’t going to be so high above sea level. I got motion sickness a few times being so high up in the mountains and looking over the cliffs from our tour bus.

But if you are cool with mountains, you’ll adjust well to Greece’s climate and altitude.

The mountains are beautiful inland. Some of my favorite photos are one when we stopped in the country to take in the views.

interesting things to know about Greece
We made a stop in the countryside on Crete.


2. It’s 98% Greek people.

According to WorldAtlas, 98% of the population is Greek. Again, I live in the U.S., so it was a bit of a culture shock seeing only Greek people. I also will acknowledge that in the city and most tourist attractions we went to, there were people of other races and nationalities. So, Greece is mostly homogenous.

3. Eating times are different, but the food is fantastic.

If you travel into smaller towns more than cities in Greece, you’ll learn that most places temporarily shut down for a siesta or mid-afternoon break. It’s best to travel and eat before or after these times. It’s usually 2 PM-4 PM.

For example, we stopped in Delphi and were searching for food and came across a few ice cream shops and other places that served sandwiches.

4. The weather is amazing.

One of the best parts about traveling to Greece is the weather. It was temperate most of the month of May, which is when we traveled. There were a few times when it was hot or rained. When it did rain, it was light and quick.

5. Beautiful water.

Yes, the water is actually that blue and beyond beautiful. It’s nothing like the brown water of Galveston, TX, where my family’s summer vacations were when I was in high school. A good bit of my photos from Greece was of the water. Calling it beautiful is an understatement.

6. There is a lack of water sources in some areas. 

While staying in Meteora for a while, our hotel owner/bed-in-breakfast owner told us that there is a limited supply of water in the region, so we couldn’t leave water on for a long time. This is one thing to know about traveling to Greece, especially inland, and to be respectful to the locals.

7. Use the euro and always carry cash.

Greece uses the Euro. I had no problems getting money to convert, and I usually got all the money I needed at ATMs. However, the conversion rates got pretty high and I was shocked at how much it all added up to when I returned home.

I also recommend using cash and having some with you because some places do not take cards and if they do, they take certain cards.

8. Most businesses and shops are owned by locals, so be respectful.

The locals are nice and friendly. They’ll invite you over for dinner or give you a discount sometimes if you speak to them.

However, I wish my class/travel group was more respectful at night when returning from the bars. They came back loud some nights in small towns where we stayed. It was just embarrassing when our professors came back and said that some of the locals were upset about the noise. (And I don’t blame them!)

9. Don’t pick up rocks.

DO NOT PICK UP ROCKS. Do not pick up rocks. It doesn’t matter if it looks like a regular rock. Don’t pick it up. Someone in my class picked up a rock outside and the workers at the museum that we were about to call the police.

From what I learned is that a rock may or may not be an artifact. It’s also part of the museum’s property. Even if it’s outside and you’re just walking around the ruins. Don’t pick up anything, even the pretty colorful rocks in Santorini. You may get stopped by airport security.

10. Some places do not allow photos.

Taking photos in some museums is prohibited. Why? It honestly depends on the museum and the artifact and exhibit.

I know some workers told me “No photo, ma’am” a couple of times. Make sure you pay attention to the signs. There are several photography restrictions, but there also are plenty of places to take photos.

11. Some big tourist areas are packed full of people aka Santorini.

Honestly, Santorini was the most stressful part of the trip (considering my friend and I had an 8-hour layover in Newark, and it was our first time flying alone). Santorini is a tourist location, let me be honest. It’s fun, but it’s packed during its lower season. Everything is also more expensive compared to even Athens.

It’s one of the better places we stayed in, but it’s crowded. You’ll need to hold onto your friends or family members while pushing through the crowd.

12. Some walkways are old, so be careful with what shoes you wear.

I learned that some of the mountains, trails, and roads have been there since Biblical times. There were moments when I was sliding in my sandals because of how slippery the paths were. So, if you are planning to walk then make sure your shoes are made for it.

13. There’s a lot of walking.

Yes, you will be walking a lot in Greece. Luckily the weather is great and it’s not that bad. Again, make sure you have comfortable shoes while in Greece, especially when you’re heading to any ruins or mountains. Also, some villas do not have elevators, so be ready to haul your luggage.

14. You pay for water.

Unfortunately, as an American, I’m used to ordering water at a restaurant and it’s free. But I had to pay for it in Greece. Honestly, wine was cheaper in some areas than water.

15. Some shops close early.

Obviously, there are no huge department stores in some Greece towns. For example, I needed another bottle of sunscreen and the only place around was a pharmacy. I had to get up early and go with some classmates to get some in the morning before we left for our day’s plans. By the time we came back around two o’clock, it was going to be closed. So be aware of when grocery shops and other shops that you need to go to are open and closed. It’s not 24 hours or late like in America.

But nightlife is so much fun and restaurants stay open later.

16. Lots of cats everywhere.

Whenever I show people photos of Greece, I end up swiping to a random cat. There are everywhere and friendly! From the Parthenon to the window in your villa, they are everywhere. They’re on merchandise, too.

17. You’ll find ancient ruins and historical sites everywhere.

Some of my classmates were not impressed by a huge rock, but it was a historical ruin! Yes, this is why you should not PICK UP A ROCK because you might be standing in the middle of an ancient ruin. What I found fascinating is how towns and cities are built around these sites and they were off to the side casually in a park or something like that.

18. Be careful walking across streets and driving.

After touching down, exhausted, and dragging my luggage, my friend and I had to meet our class at our hostel in Athens. It’s a busy city. Cars are everywhere. So be careful walking and especially crossing the street. The drivers are not going to stop and will likely zoom past you. (Honestly, that’s no different here in Dallas, LOL.) Again, it was culture shock for me coming from a small town and a slow college town.

19. Wear sunscreen.

Finally, the last thing to know before traveling to Greece might be the most obvious: wear sunscreen. I got sunburnt for the FIRST TIME in my life in Greece. I thought because I had a little melanin and lived in Louisiana that I was going to be fine. The sun was getting everyone, especially my pale friend who got sunburnt several times.

The sun is always out in Greece, which is beautiful, amazing, and great. However, it doesn’t care about our skin. But seriously, wear sunscreen and always carry some if you are going to be out all day.

(Ironically, years later, I move to Dallas where there are barely any trees, and get attacked by the sun during the summer. Greece prepared me.) 

Final FAQ:

Will I ever return to Greece?

Of course! Why not?

Where in Greece did you travel?

We landed in Athens and stayed for about 3 days before staying in Nafplio. Then we also stayed in Delphi, Meteora, Salonika, Crete, and Santorini. We returned to Athens to fly back home.

Favorite city?

We traveled to this coastal town called Nafplio. I want to go back so badly. I loved it there. We were next to the sea, in the middle of the town center, and saw beautiful sunsets.


So, I studied abroad in 2019 and saved every penny I had. I begged my parents for some money (after not telling them after paying off the whole trip) so I can eat during the trip. I even up paying around $3000 for a month-long group trip.

That’s it for this blog post all about things to know before traveling to Greece.

Pin for later! ⬇️

Greece travel tips

Check out more of my travel-related content:

About Me

Hi, my name is Ariel. I like self care, Spanish guitars, boybands, and miss travelling. I also am writing a book...kinda. Welcome to my lifestyle blog.

Follow Me

Support My Content

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Leave a Comment