Everyone knows Greece is an ideal summer destination and thankfully, it is now establishling itself as a great location outside the summer season as well. While visiting off-peak can help guarantee better prices when it comes to accommodation and many other activities, it is still possible to enjoy the country on a budget. Here is all you need to know.
Just like anywhere else, youth hostels are a great option for those travelling on a budget. You can find excellent hostels offering shared rooms as well as private quarters in every big city for a decent price (usually with free breakfast). Some also offer more discounts to those who carry a European Youth Card or the International student Identity Card.
Rooms to let
Before the advent of Airbnb, renting rooms by locals was the cheapest option. Rooms or studios would be equipped with a bathroom and sometimes a kitchenette. During the off-season, this option is best for any spontaneous traveler, but you can always check Airbnb to secure housing in advance.
In main cities, notably Athens and Thessaloniki, you will be able to find low-budget hotels and short-term apartments for very good prices, especially if you travel outside the touristic season. These sometimes include free breakfast, although you may find some offering breakfast at a small price.
As in many parts of Europe, wild camping is strictly forbidden in Greece. But it is not unusual to spot happy campers on a beach or in a national park, here and there. If you feel like you want to take a risk, feel free but know that you can find plenty of camping sites around the country and on the islands. Check out Camping Greece to find a map and a guide.
Transport in Greece is fairly cheap. If you plan on travelling over long distances, especially on the mainland, the Ktel (bus company) is the best option, although you may have to book your ticket in advance during the high season. Each region has its own specific Ktel company and website.
Trains are limited but it can be a cheap option to visit a few destinations such as Meteora and Thessaloniki. There is no need to book in advance, unless you opt for the night train connecting the two largest cities of the country, Athens and Thessaloniki.
Flying can be a great option if you need to cover long distances and your time is limited. Check well in advance to ensure competitive prices.
Finally, ferries to islands are usually cheap though definitely long if you are travelling to the far-flung islands.
Food can be cheap in Greece. If you don’t have breakfast at your hotel, a coffee or tea and a cheese pie (or tiropita) or a spinach pie (spanakopita) will do, and if you have a sweet tooth, opt for a bougatsa, a creamy pastry which can be found in a fournos (or bakery). Focus on one big meal per day (a Greek salad, one or two side dishes, soft drink or alcohol), which should be between 15-20 euros, depending on where you are. Steer clear of touristy places.
Once you’re here, check the many free tours available in Athens and Thessaloniki, though you may not be so lucky in smaller cities and towns. However, if you are travelling during the off-season, then good news. There are a few free admission days for several sightseeing places in Athens, including the Acropolis and its museum on March 6 (in memory of Melina Mercouri), April 18 for the International Monuments Day, May 18 for the International Museums Day, as well as the last weekend of September annually, October 28 and every first Sunday of the month from November 1 to March 31.