Well Greece blew me away. I sort of knew what to expect on account of researching the fuck out of it but I don’t think I realised how varied it was and how much it actually had to offer. I was worried we’d get historied out too quickly, that if anyone suggested we go look at another ancient ruin I’d have to resist the urge to throw bricks at them. But the ruins were interspersed with beaches and mountains, relaxing by the seafront with a beer or a freddo, stunning little villages, and some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting in my eyeholes.
Jump to “Useful shit to know…”
BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing) for 56 days.
Buses, trains: £181.14
Vehicle rental: £282.60
Eating out: £335.06
Tea, coffee, drinks: £150.01
Entrance fees: £145.15
Bungy jump: £96.03
SIM card, phone credit: £29.40
Everything else: £125.73
GRAND TOTAL: £3264.48
Average per day: £58.29
Per day without flights: £56.28
Getting To Know Athens
There is so much history in Athens, so many ancient monuments to put in your eyeholes that we decided to spread everything out over the four full days we were here so we didn’t get historied out. It’s a real…
A Metric Crap Tonne Of Athens
The two historic sites we jammed firmly into our eyeholes today didn’t take us long at all. It’s not that they’re not cool, they’re very cool, they’re just tiny. We started with Hadrian’s Library. We’ve seen his fuck off big…
The Mighty Acropolis
This is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Well, we have anyway. We’d saved this until last, largely on account of the fact we didn’t want to visit at the weekend, but also you kind of want to…
Island Hopping – Andros
I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty sad to be leaving Athens but Greece is massive and we’d like to see a bit more of it. I can’t get over the random bits of history they just have lying about…
Island Hopping – Tinos Part 1
So Tinos turned out to be a bit of a highlight. I’m not sure what we were really expecting, we’d planned to rent a scooter (sorry, mum) and just sort of bum around a little bit, y’know? I’d found a…
Island Hopping – Tinos Part 2
Us: I don’t want to do any more hiking in Greece, it’s too fucking hot. Also us: Shall we climb that fuck off big mountain over yonder? I say fuck off big mountain, it’s about 640 metres and you drive…
Island Hopping – Paros
Well Paros didn’t get off to the best start did it? We weren’t originally going to come here but a last minute change of plan had us thinking fuck it, let’s have a look shall we? The ferry crossing wasn’t…
Island Hopping – Naxos Part 1
Oh Naxos, you absolute dream! It’s bigger than the other islands we’ve visited, more mountainous and dramatic with the kind of narrow, winding roads that trigger all manner of fear of heights as you climb higher and higher on your…
Island Hopping – Delos & Mykonos
We really, really wanted to visit Delos, a super important archealogical island close to Mykonos. What we really, really didn’t want to do was stay on Mykonos for two nights on account of it being obnoxiously expensive. The kind of…
Island Hopping – Naxos Part 2
We woke up on the Sunday and decided to nope out of any manner of immediate movement. Fuck it, it’s the Lord’s day and she’d want us to be happy and anyway, we’re on holiday. The campsite is slap bang…
Island Hopping – Santorini Part 1
It’s like you can’t have a really good experience on an island without it then being counteracted by the next. Santor-fucking-rini, honestly, what the actual fuck? We’d intended to stay at the campsite in Fira but the reviews were crap…
Island Hopping – Santorini Part 2
The done thing on Santorini is to put the caldera in your eyeholes from every available angle. It’s a volcanic island, there’s volcanic craters on an island in the middle of the vast bay, and the shape of the bay…
Back To The Mainland
I feel like ferry schedules in Greece are more of a, I don’t know, a serving suggestion perhaps? Sure, we can do this journey in 2 hours and 25 minutes. In fact that’s what we’ll advertise it as. But fucked…
Full On Corinth Tourist
There are a couple of things worth putting in your eyeholes if you’re in Corinth, one of which is Ancient Corinth, an excavation a few kilometres from the new city of Corinth. Y’know, assuming you’re not complete over really, really…
Broken Shit On A Budget
I can’t believe it’s actually still beach weather. Proper beach weather too, not that British excuse for beach weather when it’s already dropped to being chilly enough for a jumper but you’re determined to eke it out for as long…
Some Time In The Mountains
So we had all these convoluted plans to get buses to bigger towns then rent a car to do a little section of smaller towns in the surrounding area with shit bus links, slowly making our way across the Peloponnese…
The Very First Olympics
So there’s this rooster near where we stayed in Stemnitsa, which is actually fine because there’s always a fucking rooster it seems and we’re kind of used to it now. But every time the rooster crowed it triggered a dog…
So Cold It Burns
Somewhere between Ancient Olympia and Kalamata is a river, and this river has made several pools ideal for swimming assuming you have no nerve endings, and there are little waterfalls, and also a big waterfall, and maybe more shit but…
Show Caves & Murder Towers
We’d heard tell of some show caves and we’re quite the fans of show caves so that’s where we headed first this morning via a bakery in Areopoli for the caffeine necessary to jump start our basic motor functions. Possibly…
Mystras Vs Sparta
We’d fully intended to pack up our worldly belongings into the car then head to a campsite in Mystras near Sparta to explore the area, but Camping Gythion Bay was just too fucking lovely. Mystras was less than an hour’s…
Monemvasia, The Big Rock
In my twenty-odd years of driving I’ve never seen so many people casually driving down the middle of narrow roads, at speed, on a blind corner. It’s utterly fucking terrifying. Greek drivers are maniacs. I’ve been crawling around the hairpin…
Extended Stay In Delphi
We’d intended to arrive in Delphi on Wednesday, check out the really old shit on Thursday, take Friday as a spare day to catch up on life admin or stroll up and down a section of the E4 trail, then…
There used to be a bus all the way from Delphi to Kalambaka, the jump off for Meteroa which is basically a landscape of interesting rocks. Obviously Covid shat all over that and now you have to spend over five…
Seat Of The Gods
Climb up the highest mountain in Greece, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. By “they” I mean me, obviously, and now we’re both walking like we’ve shat ourselves. We didn’t go to the highest of the 52 peaks either…
Finishing Up In Greece
After we’d conquered the mighty Mount Olympus, or it conquered us depending on which of my muscle groups you asked, we’d planned to head to Thessaloniki. No big reason, it wasn’t the weather to go exploring any nearby beaches on…
Useful shit to know…
- It’s a fast, cheap and easy way to get around. There are three lines; Line 1 (Green), Line 2 (Red) and Line 3 (Blue). I find it easier to go by the colours.
- You need to buy a ticket before you travel. The ticket machines are available in several languages.
- A single “Athens Area” ticket is 90 minutes and you can use as many lines as you need to in that time. If you can get to your destination and back within the 90 minutes, that counts as one.
- A two trip ticket is two 90 minute journeys so again, as many changes as you want in that 90 minutes will count as one trip. It only saves you a few cents.
- There are other options but these are the ones I used. You can get all the way to Pireaus Port on the Green Line, and all the way to the airport on the Blue Line but you need a special ticket for the latter. You’ll see the option when you’re buying your ticket from the machine.
Island Hopping Around The Cyclades
- If you know the name of your boat you can track it on Vessel Finder.
- Piraeus Port is absolutely vast but there’s a free shuttle bus that runs from one end to the other.
- You can get to Piraeus with the Green Line (1). I believe they’re extending the Blue Line to reach Piraeus but I don’t know when that’s scheduled for completion.
- Rafina Port is much smaller, you can get there by bus. I’ve written a short guide HERE if you need help. You no longer go from the Mavromataion bus station.
- You can book tickets on a few websites. I always checked them all as sometimes there’d be a better ferry on one but not the others.
- Having said that I favoured Ferry Hopper as they were very user friendly and I liked their app.
- Other options are Ferry Scanner, Greek Ferries, and Ferries.gr.
- Check the confirmation email you’re sent carefully. Sometimes you need to check in on the ferry’s website to get a boarding pass. Sometimes the e-ticket you’ve been sent will suffice. Once we had to go to an office and have the tickets printed.
- It’s worth noting, I don’t think a single ferry we caught got us there at the scheduled time. Usually it was late to the port we were waiting at having already visited other islands. Your ferry will likely be late arriving, or leaving, or both.
- Whilst, with a lot of planning, it’s probably very doable to travel Greece with buses alone, they’re not frequent and would involve overnight stays in towns you weren’t intending to visit, and a few double backs. Some buses to more remote areas only run once a day. Some only once a week!
- KTEL / ΚΤΕΛ have different branches, and therefore websites with timetables, according to where you are in the country. Some websites have English language versions, or I found Google Chrome pretty adept at translating them.
- The main KTEL Bus page has information on each different branch.
- Long distance buses are big coaches with luggage space underneath.
- Obviously the longer you rent a vehicle the lower the daily rate will be. It might depend on the season too.
- On the islands we were paying up to €30 a day for a couple of days for a 150cc scooter. Quad bikes were €45 to €60. Buggies cost up to €100 a day depending on the size.
- You’ll need the appropriate licence to rent a scooter. They do check.
- In Tolo we paid €50 for one day car rental, but when we rented from the same place for eight days she dropped the price to the low season rate of €35 a day.
- Greece drives on the right. People have a tendency to drive down the middle of the road on blind corners at speed, and they don’t slow down, they just violently swerve out of your way. Just drive really fucking slowly around blind corners so you have time to react.
- You have to pay a toll to use motorways, you can pay cash or card. Make sure you use the correct lane when going through the toll booths as some of them are for the etags only. We found we could get pretty much anywhere avoiding tolls if you didn’t mind the increased journey time.
- Greece uses the Euro. (€)
- In Athens and on the islands you can tap your card for pretty much anything and no one even blinks. We found that once we were in the Peloponnese, and Central and Northern Greece, whilst card was mostly (not always) accepted cash was very strongly preferred.
- We never had problems finding an ATM. We were charged between €2.50 and €3.50 each time.
- Type C and F, the two round pins. Greece uses a 230V supply with a 50Hz frequency.
Other Important Shit
- Don’t throw anything in the toilet, not even your bog roll. No, not even the ones you wipe your arse with. It might seem gross and unhygienic to those hailing from countries whose sewer systems can take a bit of a beating, but it’s normal here. Don’t do it unless you want to drown in poo water.
What We Lived Off
- With apologies to the vegetarians amongst you, but the cheapest of eats is the humble gyros pita. That meat you shave off the elephant’s leg in the kebab shop, chips, onions, tomato and tzatziki, all wrapped up in a pita. Usually between €2.50 to €3.50 for one (though we paid an eye watering €5.40 in Oia on Santorini).
- It was sweltering hot when we got to Greece and remained so for the majority of our stay so we cooled down with freddos, which is basically iced coffee made with espresso. You can get freddo espresso or freddo cappuccino and it’s usually significantly cheaper if you get it to take away rather than sit in.
- Tarrant has a dairy intolerance. It won’t kill her, it just makes her uncomfortable and wary of farting but we found that waiting staff weren’t really trained in the fourteen allergens. She ordered eggs on toast once and checked there’d be no butter on the toast. It came with cheese on toast. Literally no mention of anything but eggs on the menu. On Naxos she asked if the lamb kleftiko had any dairy in it and she’s always careful to state, “milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt…” because English isn’t their first language. He looked at us as if we were crazy and said, “It’s lamb?!” She asked what it came with and he replied, “Potatoes?!” as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Anyway, the fucker came served on a bed of feta. So if you have any severe allergies you’ll probably want to triple check everything.
- If you have an EU SIM then you can use it here but since the UK went crashing unceremoniously out of the EU that’s not a long term option for us. We used what we could of our GiffGaff Goodybags (at the time of writing it was 5GB) then bought SIM Cards.
- There’s an electronics chain store called Germanos, you see them everywhere. The chap there set us up with the SIM cards and two packages; one for calls and texts and one for data. Fortunately Cosmote were running a summer special with unlimited data for a month. Make sure they set it to not reoccur.
- Once that expired we could have gone back into another Germanos for another package but we decided to download the app and do it ourselves.
- The app is entirely in Greek so it was a painstaking process of screenshotting everything and uploading it to the Google Trabslate app but we got ourselves registered.
- When we wanted to add another data package when our month was up we had to add €10 credit which also got us call time and 500MB of data for a month. Then we used thar credit to buy a GIGA pack.
- Giga Month is €8.50 and gives you 4GB for a month. Giga Week is €4 and gives you 6GB for a week. Giga Day Max is €1.50 and gives you 6GB for just one day. We opted for Giga Week and renewed it again after the week.
- You can’t get another Giga Week until the last one has expired but you’ll have that handy 500MB to use if you can’t get to WiFi to renew.