How to Plan a Trip to Greece from India
Everything you need to know on How to Plan a Trip to Greece from India, including major destinations, weather, flights from India, Visa, accommodation, cost etc.
Introduction to How to Plan a Greece Trip from India.
Greece is one country you could fall in love with over and over again each time you visit. Beautiful coastlines, majestic monuments, fantastic beaches and truly warm and welcoming people. Greece is a beauty.
Although Greece is part of Europe, it stands out from other typical European countries due to it's rich culture, history and location.
Planning a Trip to Greece is a topic that needs to be talked about separately. It is not something to be clubbed with a typical European itinerary.
FYI. You do not need to buy a Greece Tour package to do your trip. You can plan the entire thing yourself. Below, we show you how.
Well, you should have a fair idea of the location before your Greece Trip.
To many of us, Greece seems like a far-off destination in some corner of the world. Well not really.
It's closer to India than many of the popular European destinations such as London, Paris, Barcelona etc.
Greece is a typical Mediterranean country with Italy and Turkey as its prominent neighbors. It is flanked on almost all sides by the waters of the Aegian, Ionian, and the Mediterranean seas. And that is where the beauty of Greece lies.
That Athens is the capital is well known. It is a beautiful well laid European city. However, what Greece is really popular for is it's Islands. The sunsets of Santorini and the party scenes of Mykonos are particularly enticing to honeymoon couples in India.
But that is not all Greece has to offer.
Here is a tourism map of Greece (from Wikipedia) depicting the various areas of the Country.
See the island groups down south? Many of them are destinations by themselves
One could spend days together in islands such as Crete, Corfu, and Rhodes and still not get enough of them The Island of Delphi is famous for its Archaeological sites.
Same goes for Thessaloniki in the north, which holds an important place in ancient history. Greece is a beauty to which one cannot do justice in a single visit.
You get the idea. Greece is vast when it comes to diversity and experiences. It is outside the scope of this article to talk about each and every destination in Greece. You should custom design your Greece Trip based on the stuff you are interested in.
In this article, we will stick to the basics of travel planning such as visa, flights, food, accommodation etc.
When to Visit
Go in summers is a good thumb-rule to have when visiting Europe. Summers in Europe are warm enough, pleasant, lively and teeming with activity. Visit in the summers unless you are specifically planning for a winter holiday.
Considering that Greece is an Island destination, it is all the more important to visit in summers when the waters are warm enough to wade into. Even in early spring, when the land temperatures are pleasant, the waters can be cold.
If you want that warm sunny beach holiday, you better visit once summer has set in. Besides, there is nothing much to do in Greece in the winters anyway.
Here is a temperature chart for your reference.
The conclusion is clear. The good times start in May and extend all the way up to October. The ideal Greece trip should be done during this period.
Greece is party to the Schengen Agreement. Hence, to visit Greece, one needs to apply for a Schengen Visa that is common to 26 countries in Europe.
In case you have further queries after reading it, you can always post them in the BorderTribe FB Community.
While Greece is geographically closer to India compared to other popular European destinations such as Paris, London, Amsterdam etc, connectivity is a bit of a problem.
There are no direct flights from India to Greece. There are budget Airlines such as Egyptian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Indigo etc that connect to Athens through Turkey and Egypt (the shortest route). However, these Airlines mostly fly from Mumbai and Delhi only. In fact, Indigo flies only from Delhi. The fares are pretty competitive though.
Most of the non-budget reputable Airlines from India connect through their hubs in West, and Central Europe. E.g. Lufthansa flies via Frankfurt. This is a longer route considering that Greece is located in south-eastern Europe.
if you intend to take any of these non-budget airlines, you may want to spend a day or two in one of these European cities such as Amsterdam, Paris or Brussels. You are connecting through them anyway. You can easily find local flights to Athens from these popular hubs (probably cheap budget airlines too). The incremental costs and not much, and you won't need a separate visa considering you already have the Schengen Visa. You get to add another destination to your trip without much hassle and cost.
How to book flights from Greece to India
Go to Skyscanner and input your destination and dates and it will show you the cheapest flight.
However, skyscanner may not be a comprehensive source of all available flights.
Pro Tip: Go to Airport Website of the neatest metro city (e.g. Mumbai Airport Site) and you may find flights that are generally not available on aggregator sites such as MMT or skyscanner.
Some of these Airlines may very well have connections to your destination of choice.
If you plan to fly budget Airlines such as Egyptian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Indigo etc, you can directly head to the website of the respective airline and make the booking. The return journey should cost around Rs. 40,000.
If you plan to book through other popular airlines with hubs in Europe, the fares will be higher (Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 60,000) depending on the day of travel.
As mentioned before, you could opt to spend a day or two in these destinations to do justice to the airfare paid.
Book return tickets from a popular European city first. This should cost around Rs. 40,000. You can then book separate tickets from this city to Athens through cheap budget airlines at competitive rates.
Accommodation in Greece
Like in any other European city, you can find all kinds of accommodation in Athens. Everything from Airbnb to Five Star hotels are available.
However, the story is different in island destinations. Many of these small islands have limited accommodation options. Popular islands such as Santorini and Mykonos charge higher rates especially if staying at scenic locations.
Other not-so popular destinations such as Milos, Paros etc may not have too many options to choose from.
Here are the details of some decent accommodation options available in various places in Greece.
In Athens, you can find a decent airbnb accommodation for Rs 2,000 to 2,500 per night for a double room.
However, the rates are quite higher in places such as Santorini and Mykonos
If you are travelling as a group of 4 or more people, we highly recommend you consider staying at an Airbnb. Rent one of those Greek Cycladic houses. Imagine having an entire house all to yourself, with a kitchen to cook, and a living room to hangout at.
BTW have you read our article on "How to use Airbnb for a perfect stay abroad"
Those who have been to Europe already know that public transport is pretty well developed there. This applies for Greece too. Even for the popular Islands such as Santorini.
Athens has metro lines, buses and lot of taxis. Besides it is a beautiful city to explore walking. Lot of parks and historical monuments and structures around every corner.
All the main centers of Santorini are well connected by buses, and they are not too expensive.
If you are travelling to other not-so popular islands such as paros, naxos etc, local transport could be a bit difficult. Public transport infrastructure many not be well developed and taxis would be expensive.
Most travelers hire cars or bikes when travelling to such places. In fact you can even travel from one island to another by transporting your car/ bike on the ferry. This is a common practice among travelers.
Please note that the Greeks drive on the right side of the road. If you do not have experience with this, you would need some time getting used to it
If you are interested in driving in Greece, we advise you to apply for an International Driving License in advance. In fact, we have written a detailed article on "How to get for an International Driving License in India"
We suggest that your research in advance regarding the public transport infrastructure available on each island before travelling. If you wish to travel to not-so touristy islands, be prepared to rent a car/ bike.
To summarize here are your options when in comes to local travel:
Between Islands: Flights and Ferries
- Flights: Lot of budget airlines available. However, the seats get filled early during peak season.
- There are 2 kinds of ferries. Fast and Slow.
- Slow ferries are large ships with restaurants, bars etc. They are more stable in the sea but take more time. If you rent a car or bike, you can even transport these on the large ferries as you move from Island to Island.
- Fast ferries are smaller ships that move faster. However, they can be quite unsteady if the seas get rough.
Within the City/Islands
- Taxis are available in plenty and could be expensive.
- Metro line is present in Athens.
- In other cities, you would have to rely on buses or walk.
- Popular Islands such as Santorini have bus services between popular spots.
Mediterranean food is mouth watering. If stuff such as Souvlaki, Gyro, Pita bread and hummus/ other dips, Mediterranean salads seasoned with fresh olive oil, Greek desserts etc sound enticing to you, you are going to have a hell of a time in Greece. The food is delicious and you have plenty of options from street food to five star restaurants.
They are not that expensive to compared to other European cities. A good meal for 2 should cost about 15 Euros. A decent snack can be done at 5 euros a piece.
The icing on the cake is that they are pretty healthy too.
There are 2 very popular Greek dishes that are quite filling, cheap and are available every where:
1. The Gyro: Pita bread filled with meat, veggies and sauces (similar to the Shawarma. It usually costs 2.5 to 3 euros.
2. The Tzatziki: Cucumber salad served with Pita Bread. A very tasty appetizer. Costs around the same as the Gyro.
These 2 could be your go-to dishes in Greece.
What about Vegetarian food?
All the above mentioned dishes are usually available in vegetarian too. However, you may not find too many variations of them to choose from.
What about Indian Food?
Don't even dream of it. Considering that not a lot of Indians visits Greece, it is highly unlikely you would find an Indian restaurant. Even in Athens, you would have to look hard to find one.
However, there are options for other cuisines such as Asian, Italian, Continental etc.
Things to do
As mentioned above, there is not dearth of stuff to do in Greece.
If you are travelling to Greece, you are most likely going to make a stop over at Athens. Athens is a beautiful European city with a lot of history and culture to explore.
Here are some things you could do in Athens:
- Take a walking tour of the city and explore it. There are historical structures around every corner
- Visit the Pantheon and the Acropolis Museum
- Visit the market and grab some street food.
- These are just a couple of things you could do. Athens is a big city with a lot more to explore.
If you are travelling to the Islands, each of the Islands are famous for specific activities.
For e.g Santorini is famous for it's beautiful sunsets and Mykonos for it's party scene.
Besides, you can always laze around on the beach sipping drinks with little umbrellas in it.
Either way, you would never be short of stuff to do in Greece. Just do your research while picking the destination.
The official currency of the Eurozone (that includes Greece) is the Euro
1 Euro = Approx Rs. 80
Most places accept International Credit Cards. So as long as you have one, you are safe.
Your next best option would be to carry USD from India and then exchange it for Euros once you land in Greece. Exchange centers are plenty in most prominent places.
ATMs too are available everywhere.
For a detailed understanding to carry and spend money abroad, read our article on the same.
How costly is living in Greece.
Well Greece being a European country is on the expensive side compared to Asia.
The mint globetrotter index compares the expenses of cities worldwide (shown below)
As shown above, cost of living in Athens is lower than Dubai, Singapore and Madrid etc but higher than Prague, Moscow, and Budapest.
Here is a list of common items of purchase and the respective prices of each in Athens (source numbeo.com)
So how much does a Greece trip from India cost?
Well, Here are the details of expenses incurred for 2 people for Trip to Greece from India.
This is for a 8 day Trip from Chennai to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. It includes all expenses including flights, visa, food, accommodation, local travel etc.
Flights (Chennai to Athens return and Athens to Santorini): Rs 1,03,129
Accommodation (Airbnb): Rs. 42, 342
Food and Drinks: Rs 22,650
Local Travel (Ferry, bus, taxi etc): Rs. 18,692
Visa: Rs. 15,637
Total expenses for 2 people for 8 days: Rs. 2,02,450
Some other stuff you may want to know
The official language is Greek. However, Greece being a tourist destination, most people speak English. Language will never be a problem for you if you speak decent English. Signboards in English are present in plenty.
Greece is an absolutely safe place to travel around. Even the island destinations have crowd and activity throughout the night.
Just exercise common sense and you are going to do alright.
We kid you not when we tell you that Greece has one of the most wonderful people on Earth. They are very welcoming, warm and friendly. It's like hospitality runs in their blood.
And that covers everything you need to know about planning a trip to Greece. Think we have missed out something? Do let us know and we will add them.