Welcome to Greece: Your Ultimate First-Time Visitor’s Welcome Pack

Are you gearing up for your first adventure in Greece? Get ready to be swept away by the stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture of one of the most beautiful Mediterranean country. To ensure you make the most of your trip, we’ve put together this comprehensive First Time to Greece Welcome Pack covering everything from money handling to dining etiquette.

Money Matters:

When it comes to handling money in Greece, here are some essential tips:

  • Currency: The official currency is the Euro (EUR). It’s advisable to carry a mix of cash and cards, as some smaller establishments may only accept cash. USD and GBP are accepted in some rare cases like a purchase of a very expensive jewellery or for tipping.
  • ATMs: ATMs are widely available throughout Greece, especially in urban areas and popular tourist destinations. However, it’s always a good idea to inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid any issues with accessing your funds. Be aware of the ATMs you are using though. There are only four bug and fully legit banks to make use: Alpha BankNBG (National Bank of Greece), Piraeus Bank & Eurobank
  • Exchange Rates & Cash: Keep an eye on exchange rates to ensure you get the best value for your money. Currency exchange offices are common in tourist areas, but rates may vary, so compare before exchanging and always inquire about commissions before any transaction. The best way is to have an app on your smartphone like xe.com, so you can always be aware of the latest exchange rates. 

Packing Essentials:

Packing for Greece depends on the season you are planning to come visit. Here’s a quick guide:

Summer (June-September):

  • Lightweight clothing (think breathable fabrics like cotton and linen)
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun
  • Swimwear and beach towels
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring ancient ruins and cobblestone streets, sandals and flip flops

Shoulder Months (March-May, October-February):

  • Layers for cooler evenings
  • A good jacket or sweater (especially during winter time)
  • Comfortable shoes for walking

Tipping Etiquette:

While conventions can vary from country to country, tipping is not customary in Greece, yet appreciated and often expected. There will be several times during the trip where there will be an opportunity to tip the local guides, the drivers and other service providers. You may want to do this individually, or collect the money and tip as a group. 

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Restaurants: A service charge may be included in the bill in very touristic places like Mykonos or Santorini, but it’s nice and quite common to leave an additional 5-10% for exceptional service.
  • Cafés and Bars: Small change or rounding up the bill is always appreciated.
  • Tour Guides and Drivers: It’s customary to tip tour guides and drivers about 15-20% of the total especially if you experienced an exceptional service.

Language and Communication:

It might come as a surprise but most of the Greeks speak good English. Yet, learning a few basic Greek phrases can enhance your experience and show respect for the local culture. Consider bringing along a phrasebook or using language learning apps to pick up some key phrases. Lets start here with the basics:

Kαλημέρα – Kalimera that means Good morning

Καλησπέρα – Kalispera that means Good afternoon

Kαληνύχτα – Kalinichta meaning Good night

Γεια σου – Yassou that means Hello!

Ευχαριστώ – Efcharisto which means Thank You!

Παρακαλώ – Parakalo which means You are welcome.

Ios Evia Private Tours IMG_4474 OUZO

Dining Experiences:

Greek cuisine is renowned for its fresh ingredients and Mediterranean flavours. Here are some types of restaurants you’ll encounter:

  • Taverna: Traditional Greek eateries offering hearty, home-cooked meals and traditional Greek style appettizers like greek salad (choriatiki), ntolmadakia, tzatziki spread, keftedakia (meat balls), kolokythokeftedes (zucchini fritters) and house wine. 
  • Ouzeri or Tsipouradiko: Perfect for sampling a great assortment of mezes (small plates) accompanied by ouzo or tsipouro, two traditional Greek spirits worth trying while in Greece.
  • Fresh Fish Taverna (psarotaverna): Seafood tavernas specializing in fresh fish and seafood dishes.
  • Grill House for Gyros (psitopolio or psistaria): These local places specialize in serving up gyros, a beloved Greek street food made from meat (typically pork, chicken, or lamb) cooked on a vertical rotisserie and is often very casual and inviting, with an open kitchen where you can watch the guys expertly slicing the meat from the rotating spit and wrapping the pita bread. They also offer a variety of grilled meats like souvlaki (skewered meat), Greek salads, and other traditional Greek dishes. 
meteora evia tours
Monasteries in Meteora, Kalampaka

General Tips:

  • Respect Local Customs: Greeks are known for their hospitality, meraki and philotimo. Embrace the local customs and traditions, such as greeting people with a friendly “Yassas” (Hello) and always drink the tsipouro (or raki) shot you will be treated without questioning! 
  • Stay Hydrated & Play Safe: Especially during the hot summer months, it’s essential to stay hydrated and use sunscreen at all times. Carry a reusable water bottle or buy locally. Always remember that a 500ml bottle of water costs 50 cents at every place (especially in little kiosks that are spread around touristic places in Athens and the islands).
  • Explore Beyond the Mainland: While Athens and the Greek islands are must-visit destinations, consider exploring lesser-known regions to discover hidden gems and authentic experiences like Evia 😉

For more practical information and links about embassies, emergency numbers and more, please visit also this page

With this First Time to Greece Welcome Pack in hand, you’re all set to embark on an unforgettable journey through Greece. Get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime as you immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of this ancient land. OPA!!!

If you still have any questions about how to get the most out of your Greek Odyssey, we are here for you 24/7. Just send a message or text us at +306943264350 (WhatsApp, Viber, Signal, Telegram, iMessage), and we’ll be happy to assist and make sure we answer all your questions.

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