Greece is one of Europe’s most beautiful destinations, home to picturesque islands, delicious food, thousands of years of history, and wonderful people.
It’s also super affordable.
You can travel around Greece for a fraction of what you’d spend in Western Europe, which is just one of the many reasons why I absolutely love visiting Greece.
I’ve been to Greece four times and have spent months exploring this country. I cannot say enough good things about it.
Visiting Greece is always the highlight of my summer European travels. There’s just something magical about this country. There’s an energy in the air and you can’t help but think, “Maybe I should never leave?” It sucks you in.
And, while the islands get the most attention, the interior of the country — with its small towns, historic ruins, and mountain hikes — is too often overlooked and underappreciated.
So, while you may have a strong desire to stick to the islands, try to get to some of the places in the interior if you can. You won’t regret it.
This Greece travel guide combines all my knowledge and experience to help you plan an epic, affordable trip!
Table of Contents
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Top 5 Things to See and Do in Greece
1. Visit the Acropolis
2. Discover historic Crete
3. Hike up Mount Olympus
4. See Meteora’s monasteries
5. Explore the islands
Other Things to See and Do in Greece
1. Learn some history
Greece is where western civilization began and everywhere you turn, you’ll find ruins that are thousands of years old. Start in Athens with the museums, the Acropolis and surrounding ruins in the Agora, and then set off to explore the ruins of Delphi, Sparta, Corinth, and Crete. This country is a history lover’s dream!
2. Explore Sparta
Sparta was the ancient rival of Athens and known for its fierce warriors (the entertaining but historically-inaccurate film “300” was based on the Spartans). The city has a long history and plenty of ruins to explore. There is no shortage of things to do, museums to visit, excursions to take, and places to eat when you visit the city. It’s an often-overlooked city even though it’s only a 2.5-hour drive southwest of Athens. It’s a great place to learn some history without the crowds.
3. Attend the Athens Epidaurus Festival
Every summer, the Athens Epidaurus Festival hosts concerts and performance theater, including reenactments of famous Greek plays. It’s one of the country’s top cultural events and runs for the whole summer. If it coincides with your visit, you’ll see just how proud the Greeks are of their past. Tickets for each performance cost as little as 10 EUR.
4. Take in the sun in Corfu
The Cyclades Islands may get all the press but sunny Corfu on Greece’s west coast is also a good place to enjoy the beach too. It’s a popular destination for young backpackers, but once you get out of the main town, you can avoid them and their partying ways and get the island to yourself! There are plenty of quiet beaches and beautiful villages to explore and you’re just a stone throw away from Albania too.
5. Explore the Delphi Ruins
Delphi was a place of spiritual significance to the ancient Greeks. Located around 2.5 hours northwest of Athens, this is where the omniscient Oracle would contact the god Apollo and give his advice to those seeking good fortune. Although the eternal flame no longer burns inside the temple, a visit to the Temple of Apollo is obligatory if you’re nearby. Admission is 12 EUR and includes entry to the museum as well as the archaeological site itself (which includes far more than just the Temple of Apollo).
6. Explore Melissani Cave
This otherworldly cave grotto can be accessed by a post-card-worthy boat tour. Located on the island of Kefalonia on the western side of Greece, here you can admire the seemingly magical ultramarine waters and the monumental walls that envelope you as you make your way through this hidden underground landscape. Admission is 7 EUR and includes the boat ride.
7. Hike the Samaria Gorge
For outdoor enthusiasts, this is considered one of the best hikes in Greece. While it isn’t the shortest or easiest trek (it’s 15km), the Samaria Gorge in Crete does promise beautiful landscapes, fantastic photo opportunities, and a great workout. Make sure you bring water, sunscreen, and a hat as the heat can be overwhelming. The views are worth it though!
8. Experience the Patras Carnival
Every year in mid-January, the city of Patras (located 2.5 hours west of Athens) is host to what is basically a month-and-a-half-long party. There’s a slew of events, both major and minor; increasingly crazy weekends; and various costume parades, which even feature floats. It’s a lively time and brings in tons of revelers so it’s usually a good idea to make hotel reservations well in advance as things fill up.
9. Tour the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
The number one attraction on Crete, this museum also happens to be Greece’s second-largest archaeological museum (the museum in Athens is the largest). There is a stunning collection here that highlights the Cretan civilization (dating back from Neolithic times through to the Roman empire). You could easily spend hours here — especially if you love history like me. Admission is 12 EUR.
10. Party on Ios
Ios has the wildest nightlife out of all the Greek islands. It is the summer party island where days are spent hungover on the beach and the nights are spent eating cheap food and drinking. If you don’t want to do that but still want to see Ios, it’s best to go to the eastern part of the island where it’s quieter. Don’t let Ios’ party reputation deter you from visiting though, it’s a beautiful, rugged island (and home to the grave of Homer, who wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey). It’s only busy from June-August so you can visit in the shoulder season to escape the party crowd.
11. Visit Thessaloniki
With more than 1 million inhabitants, Thessaloniki is Greece’s second-largest city after Athens. Although it dates back to 315 BCE, a lot of the city was destroyed by fire in 1917 and then by bombing during World War II. The result is a combination of more modern European city urban planning alongside Early Christian, Roman, and Byzantine monuments. In fact, Thessaloniki has more UNESCO World Heritage sites (15!) than any other city in Europe. Be sure to visit the White Tower, the Rotunda, the Arch of Galerius, and Galerius Palace as well as the many churches (such as the Hagia Sofia and Hagios Demetrios). There are also several great museums here, including the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Jewish Museum, and the Olympic Museum.
12. Go to Zakynthos
Just south of Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea is Zakynthos, one of Greece’s most popular islands. With its soft, sandy beaches and charming villages, it’s easy to see why this island is a fan favorite. It can be busy, particularly in the summer, so head away from the main tourist area (go north, west or inland) or visit in the off-season to escape the crowds. Zakynthos is also a breeding area for loggerhead turtles and you can see them on Lagana Beach or on Turtle Island but take care to do so responsibly. Other activities include seeing the Blue Caves, Marathonisi Islet, and Shipwreck Beach (you’ll need to take a boat tour to get there). There are also tons of churches, monasteries, and ruins to check out too.
13. Visit Monemvasia
Monemvasia is a medieval castle town in Laconia, around 90km southeast of Sparta. It’s a spectacular island to visit as it is built into the side of a huge rock! Monemvasia’s a quiet town perfect for relaxing on the beach before dining under the stars at seaside taverns or on cobbled streets in the town. If you’re into hiking, there are some trails that will take you past chapels and settlements up to hilltops to admire the view or down to secluded beaches.
14. Explore Ioannina
Next to Lake Pamvotida in northwestern Greece, Ioannina is a castle town that is bursting with museums. Don’t miss the Byzantine Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Archaeological Museum, and the Silversmithing Museum (the area is well-known for its beautiful jewelry). Head to the castle at sunset for a peaceful end to your day. You can use the town as a base for exploring the nearby Pindus National Park, the Tzoumerka mountain chain, the Cave of Perama, and the byzantine town of Arta as well. You won’t need more than a couple of days here but it is well worth stopping if you are passing through.
For more information on specific destinations in Greece, check out these guides:
Greece Travel Costs
Accommodation – Depending on the area of Greece you are traveling to, hostels start at 10-15 EUR for dorms and anything from 30-60 EUR for private rooms per night (less in Athens, more on expensive islands like Mykonos or Santorini).
A room in a budget hotel that sleeps two can be found for 40-60 EUR (expect much higher prices — up to 50% higher — during the busy season). Amenities at these hotels typically include free Wi-Fi, a private bathroom, air-conditioning, a television, and sometimes breakfast is included as well.
On Airbnb, you can find private rooms for as low as 20-30 EUR in many cities and entire homes (including studio apartments) start at around 70 EUR per night.
Food – Greece is known for its food. Think seasonal vegetables (like olives), seafood, grilled meats, bread, feta cheese, yogurt — all the staples of a fresh Mediterranean diet.
To eat cheap, stick with eating gyros, souvlaki, and kebabs. These cost 2-5 EUR and easily fill you up. If you’re on a budget, you can live off these for as little as 10 EUR per day.
At a casual restaurant that serves traditional cuisine, expect to pay around 10 EUR for a main dish like moussaka and about 2-4 EUR for a glass of wine. A Greek salad costs between 6-8 EUR. Fish will be more expensive, costing around 15-20 EUR for the catch-of-the-day.
Most restaurants charge for bread. The price is between .50-1.50 EUR. A bottle of water is about 2 EUR. All in all, if you’re going out for dinner at a traditional taverna, expect to spend between 12-20 EUR depending on how much food you get. After that, the prices go up depending on how fancy the restaurant is!
Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 7 EUR for a combo meal. A large pizza costs 8-10 EUR while Indian/Middle Eastern/Chinese food can be found for around 6 EUR for a main dish.
Beer is 5 EUR while a latte/cappuccino is 3 EUR. Bottled water from the supermarket is 0.50 EUR.
If you cook your meals, expect to pay 30-50 EUR per week for groceries including pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic staples. It’s easy to eat on the cheap in Greece.
Activities – Visiting historical sites around the country generally costs 10-20 EUR for a ticket (to lower the price, look for combo tickets that include multiple ruins). Island activities like kayaking, parasailing, and banana boats cost between 25-45 EUR. You can rent bikes for 15 EUR a day or ATVs for around 30 EUR. Diving trips begin at around 90 EUR per person for a two-tank dive.
Backpacking Greece Suggested Budgets
If you’re backpacking Greece, my suggested budget is 40-60 EUR per day. This assumes you’re staying in a hostel, eating cheap food, cooking some of your meals, doing only free activities like hiking and relaxing on the beach, limiting your drinking, and using local transportation to get around. If you’re visiting the Greek islands or traveling during peak season, expect to spend on the higher amount of that. If you plan on drinking, add 5-15 EUR per day to your budget.
On a mid-range budget of 90-130 EUR per day, you can visit some museums and ruins, stay at a private hostel room or Airbnb, eat our more, enjoy some drinks, take the occasional taxi, and rent a bike or scooter to get around.
If you keep your drinking and costly activities down, you can easily do this closer to 100 EUR per day. On the other hand, if you’re staying on one of the more expensive islands like Mykonos or Santorini and drinking a lot, expect to spend closer to 150-180 EUR.
On a “luxury” budget of 245 EUR or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out anywhere you want, drink as much as you want, do paid tours and more expensive activities (like diving), rent a car to get around, and generally enjoy the finer things in life! This is just the ground floor for luxury though. Expect to pay upwards of 50 EUR more per day on the islands.
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.
Greece Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Greece is cheap. Sure, islands like Santorini and Mykonos are expensive but, for the most part, if you are “keeping it local” you aren’t going to spend a lot of money here. Here are my favorite ways to save money when you travel Greece:
- Use the Greek salad/bread rule – 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. use this rule to figure out how to eat at cheap restaurants.
- Eat super cheap – Gyros and other street snacks only cost a few euros and can keep you full for less than 10 EUR per day if you’re on a tight budget.
- Rent a moped – It’s cheaper than a car and a fun way to see the various towns and cities — especially on the islands. You can usually rent a moped for around 14 EUR per day. Just drive carefully as Greek drivers tend to be aggressive.
- Get off the beaten path – Greece is a cheap country and even cheaper when you get away from the touristy islands or popular destinations. Head off the beaten path and you usually see prices drop by 30% or more.
- Book overnight ferries – Greece’s inter-island ferries can get 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 saves you a night of accommodation. Moreover, if you book the ferries around two months in advance, you can save up to 25% off the cost of your ticket.
- Get a ferry pass – Eurail 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 so minimize their use whenever you can and stick with the buses.
- Visit in the off-season – July and August are the most expensive months, so skip the middle of summer if you’re on a budget. Prices will be significantly cheaper.
- Stay with a local – Couchsurfing is a great way to get a free place to stay and meet locals. There are a ton of hosts throughout the country (I stayed with one in Athens) and it’s my favorite way to get to know the “real” Greece.
- Buy wine at the store – You can buy a great bottle of wine for around 4 EUR at the store. It’s a lot cheaper than drinking at the bar.
- 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.
- Go to museums on their free admission days – Most museums have some days when admission is free. Check the Odysseus Culture website for details as they vary from museum to museum.
- Get combined tickets – Historical attractions in Greece are often priced so that it’s always a better deal to buy a combined ticket. If the sites you are going to offer one, 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 EUR). 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.
- Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is generally safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
Where to Stay in Greece
Greece has something for everything and you can often find small family-run operations on the islands. It’s not hard to even find budget accommodations with nice extra like pools either! Here are my suggested places to stay in Greece:
- Selina (Athens)
- Athens Hawks Hostel (Athens)
- BedBox (Athens)
- Athens Hub (Athens)
- Paraga Beach Hostel (Mykonos)
- Eleanna’s (Mykonos)
- Caveland (Santorini)
- Fira’s Backpacker Place (Santorini)
- Bedspot Hostel (Santorini)
- Asterolithos Hotel (Santorini)
- Youth Hostel Plakias (Crete)
- Rethymno Youth Hostel (Crete)
- Cocoon City (Crete)
- Intra Muros (Crete)
- The Pink Palace (Corfu)
- Angelica’s Backpacker’s Hostel (Corfu)
- Francesco’s (Ios)
- FarOut Beach Club (Ios)
- FarOut Camping (Ios)
- Castle View Camping and Bungalows (Sparta)
- Lakonia Hotel (Sparta)
How to Get Around Greece
Public Transportation – In the larger cities, public transportation is widely available. For example, Athens has a fantastic subway system starting at 1.20 EUR per ride. There’s also an extensive tram and bus system in Athens as well. In smaller cities, buses are the primary mode of transportation and prices vary by distance, usually starting at 1.20 EUR.
Buses – KTEL is the main bus operator in Greece. You can look up schedules and prices online, but their website is pretty outdated and you’re better booking tickets at the actual bus station. Getting from Athens to Sparta takes around 3.5 hours and costs around 20 EUR, while Athens to Thessaloniki takes around 5.5 hours and costs around 35 EUR. Thessaloniki to Ioannina takes 3.5hours and is just 13 EUR.
Trains – Train travel in Greece isn’t great. Trains are unreliable and slow and there are only a few routes in the country between Athens and other major cities, like Thessaloniki and Patras. You’re better off driving or taking the bus. However, if you do get the train, a trip from Athens to Thessaloniki takes about 4.5 hours and costs at least 20 EUR.
Ferries – Because Greece has a lot of islands, you have to deal with taking ferries to get around. Expect to spend an average of 35 EUR per trip, though you could spend as little as 12 EUR if the islands are really close together. From Athens, most ferries to the Cyclades cost around 70 EUR.
Taking the overnight ferries can save you up to half off the normal price plus save you a night of accommodation so if you’re not in a rush, book those!
There are many different ferry companies, and most are created equal. High speed ferries or catamarans cost a lot more (book in advance). You can research routes and ticket prices using FerryHopper and gtp.gr.
If you’re ok traveling on the slower ferries and your routes match the available routes, the Eurail/Interrail ferry pass is worth considering (search routes on FerryHopper to see if it works for you).
Flights – Flying is a quick and affordable way to get around Greece and between islands (though not all islands have airports). A one-way flight from Athens to Santorini or Mykonos takes less than one hour and costs around 120 EUR in peak season and just 40 EUR in the off-season. Flights can dip to as little as 10 EUR when booked in advance during the off-season.
Scooter/Quad rentals – Renting a scooter or ATV is a really popular way to discover many parts of Greece, particularly the islands. It lets you explore at your own pace and is quite affordable. Scooter rentals cost between 15-25 EUR per day depending on the location and if it is peak season or off-season while ATVs cost around 30-454 EUR per day.
Car rental – Car rentals here are super affordable, starting at just 15 EUR per day for a multi-day rental. Expect manual transmissions. Drivers need an International Driving Permit before renting as well and need to be at least 21 years old.
Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking is safe and common in many parts of Greece, especially the islands. That said, it may be hard to find rides in the off-season when traffic is less busy. Check Hitchwiki for more information.
When to Go to Greece
Peak season in Greece is from June-August. Temperatures hover around 33°C (92°F) and popular destinations like Santorini and Mykonos experience a huge influx of visitors. Prices increase during this time as well. But the overall atmosphere and weather is great during this time, so it’s still worth visiting during peak season.
Personally, I think the best time to visit Greece is shoulder season (March-May and September-October). It’s still warm during these times but there aren’t as many crowds and prices are cheaper. It’s also easier to meet locals! This is a particularly great time to hang out on the Mediterranean.
Winter is from November to February. It gets cold and tourist crowds thin out considerably. Temperatures vary quite a bit from north to south, with it sometimes dropping to 11°C (52°F) in some places (Athens sometimes gets snow). Many of the islands — particularly Santorini and Mykonos — almost shut down entirely during the off-season. In short, I’d skip a winter visit unless you’re only planning to visit museums.
How to Stay Safe in Greece
Greece is very safe for backpacking and solo travel. Violent attacks are uncommon. Petty crime is about the worst that will happen to you, specifically pickpocketing in Athens, where it is the worst. Fortunately, Greek police have really cracked down on perpetrators. But still be aware of your surroundings when you’re in markets, on busy streets, or when using the metro. Keep your valuables out of sight and you’ll likely be fine.
Be careful when driving as Greek drivers tend to be on the more aggressive side and some of the roads aren’t very well maintained.
If you go out at night, use common sense and never walk home alone intoxicated. Also, always keep an eye on your drink at the bar just to be safe.
If you go out hiking, always check the weather first. Bring sunscreen, water, and a hat. It can get incredibly hot here!
You won’t find a lot of travel scams in the country but read this article on 14 major travel scams to avoid right here while you’re in Greece.
Always trust your gut instinct. If a taxi driver seems shady, stop the cab and get out. If your hotel is seedier than you thought, get out of there. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary along to loved ones so they know where you are.
Remember if you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it in Greece!
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. 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. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:
Greece Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel to Greece. They are included here because they consistently find deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the ones I use the most and are always the starting points in my search for travel deals.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
- Momondo – This is my other favorite flight search engine because they search such a wide variety of sites and airlines. I never book a flight without checking here too.
- Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments.
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there, with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Couchsurfing – This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or in their spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can tell you the ins and outs of their city. The site also lists events you can attend to meet people (even if you’re not staying with someone).
- Booking.com – The best all-around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have a no money down policy, great interface, and the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- Intrepid Travel – If you want to do a group tour around Europe, go with Intrepid Travel. They offer good small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. And, as a reader of this site, you get a discount when you click the link!
- The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
- Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It gives you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
- FerryHopper – This is the best website for finding and booking ferries in Greece. They list routes, times, and prices so you can book directly with them. It’s super easy and there are no hidden fees.
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
Greece Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading on the road and need some gear suggestions, here are my tips for the best travel backpack and for what to pack!
The Best Backpack for Travelers
Straps: Thick and cushy with compression technology that pulls the pack’s load up and inwards so it doesn’t feel as heavy.
Features: Removable top lid, large pocket at the front, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Your Trip
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
- 5 T-shirts (Unbound Merino is my preferred company. If you’re a member of NM+, you can get 15% off your purchase)
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel
Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)
- A key or combination lock (safety first)
- Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for laundry)
- Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
- LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)
Female Travel Packing List
I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what a woman wears, but Kristin Addis, our solo female travel guru, wrote this list as an addition to the basics above:
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sarong
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 long-sleeve tops
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease-free in between washes)
- 1 hairbrush
- Makeup you use
- Hair bands & hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)
For more on packing, check out these posts:
Greece Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
The Iliad, by Homer
A story of men and gods, Homer’s epic poem conveys the horror and heroism of the Trojan War before moving into its heart-wrenching, tragic conclusion. The translated version by classicist Robert Fagles is a beautiful rendition of this story. Just take a second to appreciate the fact that this poem has been around since the 9th century BCE. It’s a wonderful glimpse into life at that time. (Follow it up with The Odyssey!)
Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis
This book was first published in 1946 and is considered a Greek classic. It’s the story of a Greek working man named Zorba, a great lover of life, and the unnamed narrator who accompanies him to Crete where they work together in a mine. The book is about the “struggle of men to find their souls and purpose in life.” Zorba is a lively, memorable character, and the writing is absolutely poetic. This is a must-read.
Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens, by Sofka Zinovieff
Sofka Zinovieff became enamored with Greece when she studied there as a student. Years later she moved back with her Greek husband and two young daughters. This book is about her first year in Athens and all the trials and (hilarious) tribulations that come with learning how to be Athenian. There are a lot of great insights into everyday Athenian life here, including how to catch a taxi, the importance of cigarettes, and how to get a pig cooked at the bakers. It will definitely spark your desire to hang out in Athens for a while!
It’s All Greek to Me, by John Mole
This is the self-deprecating, humorous true story of John Mole, a man whose dreams of a Greek paradise lead him to buy a broken-down home in the countryside. The house has no water, no electricity, no doors, and no windows. Mole drags his family along for the journey. Together, they spend time cleaning out 20 years of goat poop and getting to know the friendly neighbors (like Elpida, who cures back pain with raw eggs). This is a seriously funny, charming book!
The Summer of My Greek Taverna: A Memoir, by Tom Stone
One summer, Tom Stone went to Greece to write a novel. He ended up staying 22 years. On the island of Patmos, he fell in love with a French painter named Danielle, and seven years later they moved to Crete. This book is about life as an American struggling to make his dreams a reality in a foreign place and all the joys and sorrows that accompany that.
Greece Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Greece travel and continue planning your trip: