Exploring Greece is an exercise in not breaking your ankle or twisting your knee. Uneven pavement, stairs, and cobblestone abound. Giant holes, missing stones, and wobbly steps are all over the place.
Once you feel safe walking, there are plenty of other eyesores to get over. Public grounds are mostly ignored; graffiti is literally everywhere. Stray dogs and cats huddle under doorsteps and block walkways.
If you can get past all of this, however, Greece is amazing!
When my husband and I visited in November, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. But now that we’re home, I can say with certainty Greece was one of our best trips yet.
Here are 12 reasons (some frugal) I think nearly anyone could enjoy a visit to Greece:
The people are so glad you’re there. No matter where you go in Greece, you’ll find friendly smiles and people who are glad you came. People we met were glad to give directions or answer questions, and most seemed to be enjoying their day. Out of all the places we’ve traveled, Greeks seemed like some of the happiest over all.
Vegetarian food options are plentiful. As someone who doesn’t eat meat, I was thrilled by the natural selection of vegetarian options at every place we dined. From saganaki and cheese and zucchini croquettes to stuffed peppers and tomatoes, we never went hungry or tired of the food.
The food itself is amazing. The food was consistently amazing no matter we were dining at a café or picking up street food. Some of the best meals we’ve ever had were in Greece, and that’s saying a lot.
Greece has the freshest tomatoes ever. If you love tomatoes, you’ll love Greece. When you order a dish with tomatoes (like a fresh Greek Salad), you’ll get fresh and delish produce like you wouldn’t believe.
You’ll get great dining recommendations. Asking for restaurant recommendations in Greece always made us laugh. Not only were people happy to share their favorite places to eat, but they would go to great lengths to explain. One shop owner suggested a restaurant and talked for 20 minutes about his favorite dish.
Dining out is cheap. Speaking of dining out, you can eat inexpensively all over Greece. Prices vary, but we had plenty of excellent meals with beer, appetizers, and main courses for $40 USD total or less. A gyro or souvlaki can cost just $1-$2, although we never had any.
Hotels are cheap. November is off-season in Greece and prices reflected that, but hotels were still crazy-cheap. We spent our first two nights at 360 Degrees in Monastiraki Square (paid for with Chase Ultimate Rewards points). It was less than $70 per night if you paid in cash, and came with a huge breakfast and stellar view. The hotels’ rooftop bar also came with one of the best views of the Acropolis in Athens!
The cats and dogs are a vacation enhancement, not a threat. Stray dogs and cats are all over the place in Greece, but people treat them like their own pets. A lot of them are fat and happy, almost all are friendly, and no one makes a big deal if they’re laying around. I made it my goal to pet every animal I saw, and I loved them all.
The historical sites are second to none. Greece is home to an array of historical sites from before Christ, from Olympia (the home of the first Olympic games) to Delphi, Mycenae, and of course, the Parthenon and others. If you love ancient monuments, start planning now.
Athens is underrated. I read countless stories about Athens before our trip, and many travel writers listed the city as a one-day stop. Some said the traffic made it unbearable, or that there was little to do outside the Acropolis and a handful of museums. I disagree wholeheartedly. We both loved Athens – the food, the people, and the sights. I could easily spend a week or longer in Athens for the food and the feel alone.
There are mountains everywhere. If you love amazing scenery, a trip through Greece will take your breath away. Climbing up and down the various mountains and hillsides gives you beautiful views of the water, not to mention the rolling hills littered with olive trees and vineyards.
So many islands to choose from. While we didn’t visit any islands during this trip to Greece, I can’t wait to go back and explore. There are thousands of islands in Greece, including famous spots like Santorini, Crete, Mykonos, and Lesbos.
If you’re considering a trip to Greece, I would highly recommend it. From the food and the people to its ancient history, Greece is one-of-a-kind, making you feel like you’ve gone back in time. And due to its many affordable hotels and dining options, a trip to Greece may actually fit your budget, too.
Have you ever been to Greece? What would you add to this list?
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