Need to know how warm it will be, what the time zone is and how gratuity is handled. Our handy list will give you a little bit of advance information to travel in Greece.
Average air temperatures
Temperatures from April to June, range from 21-30°C (69-86°F). From July to September you can expect temperatures to rise to 26-38°C (78-100°F).
Average water temperatures
Water temperatures are cooler through April and May, ranging from 15-22°C (59-72°F). In the hotter summer months, from June to September, the surface water reaches perfect swimming temperatures of 22-27°C (72-80°F).
Wind and sea
The seas in the Saronic Gulf and Cyclades north and east Aegean are generally calm with Ostria or southwesterly winds in the spring, and stronger Meltemi northerly winds in the summer. Generally there is 5-15mph of wind offering wonderful light air sailing conditions May through October, however stronger winds above 25mph are not uncommon throughout the season. On the Ionian side winds tend to be lighter and from the northwest in the spring and potentially stronger from the north or northwest in the hot summer months. A one-meter short chop is the typical wave height but three to five-meter swells can develop. Longer passages of 40-60 miles are relaxing in light winds but can be more challenging if the wind and seas come up. Tides are minimal in the Mediterranean ranging between 20-60cm.
The main international airport in Greece for North American direct flights is Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport. There are other International airports accessed via Europe to Santorini, Corfu and Mykonos.
How to get to Greece from North America
Star Alliance partners fly daily from North America directly to Athens. Air Canada and American Airlines have regular scheduled departures.
How to Greece from within Europe
If you are flying from the UK or other destinations in Europe then Aegean Airlines or Easy Jet offer direct flights to Athens Santorini and other islands.
Travel within Greece
Domestic flights available to most islands via Athens with www.aegeanair.com Ferry schedules and tickets are available at: www.ticketsonline.gr/. Ferries leave from the port of Pireaus. To get to Piraeus port from the airport, take bus X96 which runs every 30 minutes and costs approximately 5 Euros.
Hiring a car in Greece
If you hiring a car on the mainland then you require an international driver’s licence. Once in the islands this is usually not required.
The crime rate is very low in Greece but be aware of pickpockets, especially in crowded subway trains or city buses. Avoid people suggesting a good restaurant and please report any overpricing by restaurants, taxis or others services to the Tourist Police at telephone number: 171. Keep a restaurant name and receipt or a taxi cab number and call from your hotel, or from the yacht when you arrive, to make a complaint report.
There are no travel visas or vaccinations required by North American or European visitors to Greece. Guests traveling from other countries not holding valid US, Canadian or European passports, must check with their nearest Greek Embassy/Consulate.
ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorization System
North American visitors are permitted to access Europe for up to 90 days visa free. Visitor are not allowed to work or study, but can engage in business and tourism activities. To reduce procedures and wait times, as well as address security concerns, the European Commission (EC) has come up with a solution – ETIAS. It is a completely electronic system completed in advance which allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa. The system is expected to be in place by early 2023. You can find out more by visiting the ETIAS website.
Vaccinations, insurance and health
It is advisable to check that your tetanus shot is up to date. All islands have medical clinics or smaller hospitals, but with limited staff and medical equipment, transportation to Athens is the norm for more serious injuries and illness. It is advised to purchase medical and cancellation/interruption insurance when traveling abroad on adventurous holidays.
The Euro (€)
It is better to get Euro in Greece than at home by using your debit card at the ATM machines located as you exit the airport or from exchange offices at the airport. Traveler’s checks are no longer used. ATMs are available on almost all islands. Credit cards can be used for shopping at most islands but are not always accepted in smaller restaurants. The most well known are MasterCard (EuroCard) and Visa. AMEX is lesser known.
On shore: 220V, 2-pin European plug, so adapters and power converters (110 ~220) may be required for North American electronic devices. Be sure to check device compatibility especially for medical equipment such as CPAP machines. On yacht: Generally, the power supply aboard yachts is 12V DC by cigarette adapter so an AC anywhere cigarette 12 volt inverted device is a handy thing to pack if you wish to charge at all times. Yachts can also offer power from yacht electrical sockets when connected to shore power or by generator power if the yacht is equipped with a generator. The power supply will then be the same as on shore power.
Provisions and alcohol can be purchased at supermarkets on most all islands. Ice cubes can be found at island super markets and ice cream shops. Laundry can be dropped off at numerous laundry services in the islands. A shopping bag sized load can cost 10-15 Euros. There are shower services at the Athens marina, but shower services for yachtsman are not common in island ports.
Telephone and internet services
Greece’s country code is +30. There is digital phone service on all islands and calling cards are available at cigarette kiosks for between €3-20. These cards allow calling home directly from phone booths by following the prompted instructions. Wi-fi service is available at almost all islands in restaurants and coffee shops.
Appetizers and main dishes often arrive at the same time as Greeks are accustomed to many small meze dishes. When eating in a Greek taverna, it is customary to look into the display case and see what is fresh for the day. Seafood such as calamari, octopus and swordfish is inexpensive but larger white meat fish like grouper and lobster is sold by weight and can be pricey (ask for the price/weight of the fish before ordering). Local tavernas average around Euro 20–30/person but can be more depending on your order. It is advisable to carry some cash with you for dinner at the more remote locations as credit cards may not be accepted.
There is always a service charge (approx 1 to 2 Euro per person) for sitting at a table in Greece, which includes bread and cutlery – but this service charge is not a tip. If good service is delivered then a 10% tip is welcome. For taxis a few Euros is acceptable. It is recommended you book a taxi via your hotel reception and pre-negotiate taxi fares in order to avoid unpleasant surprises at the end of the journey. Small tips can also given to chamber maids, hairdressers, beauticians etc.
TRAVEL AND EXCURSION EXPENSES
There are always additional costs that mount up on any trip so we’ve created a handy list of expenses.
|Hotel in Athens mid-range per night
|Taxi one way Athens marina to/from airport
|Athens airport bus to Athens Marinas one way per person
|Evening meals in restaurants per person
|Entrance to Temple of Aphaia per person
|Entrance to Kea museum
|Entrance to Delos per person
|Average bottle of wine
|Large bottle of beer
|Small bottle of water
Visit to Santorini
|Studio apartment per night with caldera view
|Double hotel room per room per night for non-caldera view
|Ferry to/from Santorini one way
|Small car rental per day