Last Updated: 8/9/2021 | August 9th, 2021
Home to beautiful islands, a history that stretches back thousands of years, a varied and rich culinary tradition, stunning hikes, ancient monasteries, and a rambunctious party scene, Greece is one of the most popular destinations in the world.
However, most people don’t think of it as a cheap one. Mention Greece and most picture the white and blue homes on the cliffs in Santorini, boutique hotels, fancy dinners, a go-go nightlife, and island-hopping cruises.
All things that scream, “This won’t be a cheap trip!”
However, Greece is actually a really, really affordable destination. I think it’s one of the cheapest Eurozone countries there is.
This was true when I first went ten years ago and it is still true today.
Of course, not everyone agreed with me back then. Here’s what one commenter said:
Greece is definitely not cheap, especially not Athens. Clubs charge around 20 EUR entrance fees. The Akropolis is like 25 EUR entrance to walk around. Sure, tavernas are pretty cheap, but once you go up from backpacker hostels and low-end tavernas, Greece is hella expensive. I’m waiting until they get kicked out of the euro and go back to drachmas. There is a reason people go to Turkey instead of Greece. Telling people that it’s on par with Thailand and Bali is just plain misinformation…
And he’s right.
Traveling that way would make Greece expensive.
But traveling that way could make any place expensive.
For example, Bali is a very cheap destination but, if you stayed in the $1,000 USD resorts, it would be, like he said, “hella expensive” too.
But there’s a middle ground here in Greece.
In this post, I am going to break down how much I spent on my recent trip and what I spent it on. I’ll also share some budget travel tips too to help you save money on your trip.
Table of Contents
How Much I Spent During Five Weeks in Greece
Over the course of 35 days in Greece, I spent 4843.34 EUR, or 138 EUR per day. It breaks down like this (prices are in EUR; currently 1 EUR = $1.18 USD):
Accommodation: 1531.14, or 43.74 per day
Transportation: 894.68, or 25.56 per day
Activities: 447.50, or 12.78 per day
Food: 1339.89, or 38.28 per day
Drinks/Nightlife: 484.80, or 13.85 per day
Miscellaneous (sunscreen, toiletries, etc): 145.33, or 4.15 per day
I was actually surprised I spent so much. I went a little over budget. But, to be fair, that is because I also spend like a travel writer. Since I work on the road, it’s very important to me to have a room with a desk and a workspace and those rooms tend to be more expensive.
Second, I tend to take way more tours than the average tourist, since I try everything to write about it. And I often hire private guides on my trips. I doubt many of you are going to drop hundreds of euros on multiple private tours.
Between private tours, some upscale accommodations, a lot of island-hopping, dropping a few hundred euros on drinks for a group of backpackers (I always pay it forward, since, when I began my travels, people did so for me), I probably spent about 600-700 EUR more than your average traveler. That would have dropped my daily expenses closer to 100 EUR which I think is more realistic for your “average tourist” budget.
So, with that said, let’s talk average prices, suggested budgets, and how much YOU really need!
Average Prices in Greece
Before I get into suggested budgets, I want to talk about average prices so you can get a sense of costs on your visit. Here’s what to expect, on average, when you get to Greece (prices are in EUR):
Hostel dorm: 10-15/night
Hostel private room: 30-60/night (though, on Santorini or Mykonos, expect as a high as 75)
Budget hotel: 40-60/night (though, you can sometimes find guesthouses for as low as 25)
Gyro (and other cheap to-go food): 2-3
Glass of wine at a restaurant: 2.5–4
Bottled water at the grocery store: 0.30
Bottled water (in a restaurant): 1
Greek salad: 5.50–8
Greek main dish: 8-12
Seafood dinner: 15-20
Lunch specials: 10-12
Land tours: 15-50
Boat tours: 10-35
Public intracity buses/subways: 1-2/ride
Wine/food tours: 100-125 (40 for a half-day)
Major museums/historic sites: 10-20
Greece on a Budget: How Much Do You Really Need?
To help you with your budgeting, I’ve created a few different budgets below to give you an idea as to how much Greece costs, depending on your travel style. (Note: These are daily averages. Some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in EUR.)
Budget #1 – The Super Shoestring Traveler
On this budget, you’re Couchsurfing or staying in a hostel dorm room. You’re making your food or eating cheap fast food like gyros, moving slowly, using cheaper, avoiding expensive islands like Santorini, slower overnight ferries and buses, not paying for activities, and keeping your drinking to near zero. It’s totally possible to travel on this budget but it’s going to be tough.
Budget #2 – The Backpacker
On this budget, you’re staying in dorms, mostly cheap fast food like gyros with the occasional restaurant meal, using slower ferries and buses, paying for just a few activities, and limiting your nights out (because, let’s face it, as a backpacker, you’re going to want some nights out!). The big variable in this budget is, of course, how much you’re going to party and how many islands you’ll do (because the mainland is much cheaper).
Budget #3 – The Middle-of-the-Road Traveler
For this mid-range budget, you’ll get a private hostel room/budget hotel; all the tours you want, the occasional taxi; a mix of cheap, casual, and nice meals and whatever ferries (and the occasional flight) you need. This will put you more in line with what I spent during my trip but, if you don’t drink as much wine or take as many activities as I do, you can easily do this closer to 100 EUR per day.
Budget #4 – The “I Only Have Two Weeks, So I Don’t Care” Traveler
On this budget, you can do anything. If you want to blow it out of the water, this is really the floor of what you’ll spend. As I said in the introduction, Greece can be as expensive as you want it to be! But I doubt you’re reading this blog for luxury travel tips!
Notes on the numbers:
1. I’m not including souvenirs in these numbers. That’s highly discretionary and variable. Obviously, the more you buy, the higher your daily average will be.
2. While alcohol is included, if you like to drink or go clubbing a lot, you’re going to spend a lot more. Summertime on the Greek islands is a bit hedonistic, so if that’s your thing, bring extra money.
3. These are daily averages. Some days you’ll spend way more, most much less.
13 Budget Tips for Greece
Greece is actually pretty cheap. Greek food, glasses of wine, hostel dorms, and public buses aren’t super expensive and you can find some really nice accommodation for between 30-40 EUR a night. There’s a lot of ways to save money in Greece without sacrificing comfort. Here’s how:
- Use the Greek Salad/Bread Rule – This is my number one rule! Is a restaurant cheap or expensive? Here’s a good rule of thumb: If the bread cover is .50 EUR or a Greek salad is less than 7 EUR, the restaurant is cheap. If the cover is around 1 EUR and a salad is 7-8.50 EUR, the prices are average. Anything more than that and the place is expensive.
- Eat super cheap – Gyros (and other street snacks) usually only cost a few euros. They are quick and easy and can keep you full for less than 10 EUR per day!
- Rent a moped – If you’re going to be somewhere (like on one of the islands) for a while, rent a moped. It’s cheaper than a car and more convenient than the bus. It’s a fun way to see the various towns and cities and the best way to get off the beaten path.
- Get off the beaten path – Greece is the cheapest when you get out of the popular destinations. Head to less well-traveled areas and you’ll see prices drop by 30% or more!
- Book overnight ferries – Greece’s ferries can get quite expensive if you are visiting a lot of islands. Taking the overnight ferries can save you up to half off the normal price (plus it will save you a night of accommodation).
- Have an ISIC Card – To save on the cost of admission to museums and other tourist attractions, be sure to present a valid student card. The ISIC is typically accepted in places where a foreign student ID is not.
- Couchsurf – Couchsurfing is an awesome way to meet locals while also getting a free place to stay.
- Buy wine at the store – You can buy a great bottle of wine from the stores for as little as 4 EUR. It’s a lot cheaper than drinking at the bar, so drink before you go out to save money.
- Get a ferry pass – Eurail/Interrail has a ferry pass that has 4- and 6-trip options. The only caveat is that you can only take Blue Star and Hellenic Seaways ferries. Those tend to be the larger, slower ferries and, depending on the islands, might require you to connect somewhere. You’ll need to research routes in advance to see if the pass is worth it. I would search routes on FerryHopper to see if it works for you. You can purchase your pass on Eurail (non-EU residents) or Interrail (EU residents).
- Take public transportation – Buses, while sometimes running on inconvenient schedules, are the best way to get around Greece. Taxis are very expensive there, so minimize their use whenever you can.
- Get combined tickets – Historical attractions in Greece, for the most part, are priced so that it’s always a better deal to get a combined ticket. If the sites you are going to offer that, buy it. It will save you money.
- Use points if you can – If you’re a travel hacker and have points that can be used for cash, using them to book accommodation will be better if you’re staying at cheaper properties (anything less than $100 USD). For only a few thousand points per night, you can save a ton of money.
- Rent a car – Car rentals can be incredibly cheap in Greece. Prices start at just 15 EUR per day when booked in advance. Drivers need to be at least 21 and have had their license for one year. An International Driving Permit is also required.
Book Your Trip to Greece: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines, because they search websites and airlines around the globe, so you always know no stone is being left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though, because it has the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld, as it has the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com, as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancelations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I’m on the road. They will save you money too.
Want More Information on Greece?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Greece for even more planning tips!