The home of sizzling saganaki cheese and cinnamon-infused moussaka is no secret any more – a whopping 31.1 million people dropped by the country back in 2019! We can see why. There are glimmering beaches washed by turquoise seas. There are charming whitewashed Cycladic villages. There’s ancient history that whisks you back five millennia or more. But is Greece expensive to visit?
That’s what this guide is all about. It will focus in on what you can expect to spend when you book your jaunt to the home of the towering Parthenon and the golden-sand bays of Rhodes, with info on everything from the average price of hotels to the cost of flights over in the first place.
Overall, we’d say that Greece is a moderately priced destination. You’re likely to find it’s cheaper than Western Europe and Scandinavia but also pricier than Eastern Europe and the Balkan states. Of course, you can splash the cash with seafront resort hotels on big-spender isles like Mykonos. But you can also do Greece cheaply, hitting lesser-known parts of the Aegean and staying in local B&Bs or campsites.
Is Greece expensive to visit? A general overview
The folk over at Budget Your Trip estimate that most travelers will need in the region of €155/day ($169/day) to explore Greece. That includes hotels, spends on food and drink, plus transportation and activities.
After 10+ trips to the country in the last 10 years, we’ll say this: You can most certainly get by on a whole load less than that. We’ve managed to travel parts of Greece for around just €55/day ($60/day). To achieve it, you’ll have to be okay with staying in self-catering accommodation and shop in supermarkets, and you’ll need to steer clear of the most popular islands (Mykonos and Santorini, especially).
Of course, you can also travel Greece like a jet setter. Some A-listers spend millions of dollars on private yacht charters to skim them through the Aegean Sea. Then there are the honeymooners who don’t mind splashing $500/night on a luxurious hotel with a spa and infinity pool and whatnot.
Anyway, for most average travelers, you’re probably looking at a spend of in the region of between €70-160/day in these sun-kissed parts. That adds up to around €630 (or $690) for a full week’s vacation.
Let’s take a closer look at how we came to that price…
The cost of flights to Greece
The one thing we’ve not included in our estimation of average spends in Greece is the cost of travel over to the land of gorgeous isles and totemic ancient history sites in the first place. However, as I’m sure you’ll agree, getting to Greece to begin with is kinda’ an important part of any holiday.
The good news is that Greece is now way more accessible than ever before. The sheer number of flights that now link the country to the rest of Europe has shot up in the last couple of decades, especially as more niche destinations and islands have looked to open their own airports (there are now arrival points on Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Kos, Corfu – the list goes on and on).
If we take the very popular route from London to Mykonos as an example, the stats (courtesy of Momondo) show that there are peaks and troughs in the cost of airfare down south throughout the year. Perhaps a little surprisingly, the most expensive time of all to fly is the winter. That’s because many budget airlines only offer seasonal connections that run between May and August. The upshot? You’ll have to fork out for premium carriers or pricy connecting flights to get to the Cycladic island in the middle of December.
That’s okay. Who wants to swim in the Aegean in December, anyhow? When it comes to high-season travel, the cheapest times of the year are April and May in spring, and then September and October in November. Flights at that time dip to around just $69-137 return, as low-costers like easyJet and Ryanair start up their summer services but the rush hasn’t yet begun.
You’ll inevitably pay more for midsummer trips, when the thermometers in Greece are reading 35+ and the school holidays are in full flow. Between June and August, expect to fork out in the region of $230 return.
The cost of accommodation in Greece
Brace yourselves – the cost of accommodation is likely to be your biggest overall spend in Greece. Yep, it’s to a budget what moussaka is to a mezze: The main dish.
It’s hard to give a ballpark figure here since the price of hotels varies immensely across the country. You’ll no doubt pay more for a caldera-side cave hotel in Santorini than you would for a local guesthouse on the Corinthian Gulf. And that’s not even getting into the different sorts of hotels, which run the gamut from five-star thalassotherapy resorts to wild camping sites on the beach.
Still, we think a nightly rate of between $40-90 is generally what you’ll drop for a midrange (2-, 3-, sometimes 4-star) hotel in Greece. That adds up to a spend of about $350 across a whole week, which accounts for just shy of 50% of our total budget.
We should say that there are some places that will blow this estimation WAY out of the shimmering Aegean water. Take Santorini as an example. It’s virtually impossible to get a hotel there for under $200 a night in the peak of the summer, especially if you want a view or a location near the romantic villages of Fira or Oia.
The cost of food and drink in Greece
Food is a BIG part of holidaying here. Olive oil-doused saganaki cheese, crispy chips, feta salads, cheese pies, gyros – it’s all on the menu. As we dribble over those words, let’s take a look at what you can expect to spend on grub in Greece…
The good news is that Greece is a relatively affordable place to eat out. Taverna going is part and parcel to life between the islands and the mainland, so it’s not seen as a novelty like it is in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. That means food in restaurants in generally good value and rarely astronomically priced (again, spots like Mykonos Town and Chora on Ios are exceptions here).
We regularly sit down for a mezze order of between 4-6 dishes and spend just shy of €40 with wine or beer. That’s €20 per head for a big lunch. Expect that to go up 50% or more if you want to order meat dishes or seafood, which has gotten a lot pricier in the last decade.
When it comes to the supermarkets, Greece is about 10% cheaper than Italy. That means a kilo of tomatoes (the best tomatoes you’ve ever tasted at that) will set you back around €2 ($2.19), while a loaf of bread will be about €1 ($1.10). The only anomaly is wine. Greek wine tends to be on the dearer side, starting at around €10 for a good bottle.
The cost of activities in Greece
So, to the fun part! How much will that base jump off the cliffs of Shipwreck Beach set you back? How much is a cruise through the Ionian Sea? A scuba outing on Mykonos?
Well, the bottom line, literally, is all about how much you want to pack into your Greek vacation. You can come here, laze on the sands glugging Mythos beer, watch sunsets, and hike the gorges, spending a total of about $100 throughout your entire trip. That’s because some of the biggest draws in Greece come for free – the beaches, especially.
However, there are also plenty of bucket-list activities on the menu, from tours of the Parthenon in Athens to encounters will sea turtles in Zante.
Here’s a look at some example prices for some of the most popular pursuits of all:
- Entry to the Acropolis Hill in Athens – €20, but there are concessions available.
- A multi-dive scuba trip on one of the islands – €392.
- A week-long yacht charter – €1,500+, more if you require a skipper.
- A 2-hour cooking course – €160 per person.
How to save money traveling in Greece – five top tips
If all these numbers are getting you worried that you don’t quite have the travel budget for a jaunt to this land of half-ruined temples and azure seas, worry no more. Our five top tips to traveling Greece on the cheap should have you covered, by revealing a handful of ways you can save the pennies and cents as you go…
- Go in the shoulder seasons – This is the single best piece of advice we can offer anyone looking to travel Greece on a budget. The spring (particularly May) and the autumn (especially September) are fantastic times for saving money on everything from flights to hotels. We’ve done holidays for about a third of what they’d cost in August at those times.
- Book early – Stats show that flights on key routes to Greece, like London to Santorini, or Manchester to Athens, are usually at their cheapest at least 90 days before departure.
- Do the free things – The beaches are free in Greece. Just think on that a moment – the beaches, the glorious, glorious beaches, won’t cost you a penny!
- Travel to lesser-known places – While a Greek bucket list might be all about Santorini’s caldera hotels and parties in Ios, there’s loads here that’s off the beaten track and all the cheaper for it. Consider swapping out the Cylcades islands for the Saronic islands. Go mainland instead of Aegean. That sort of thing.
- Get self-catering accommodation – Cooking for yourself can be a joy in Greece. The supermarkets and local food markets are a chef’s dream. Plus, skipping the tavernas can save you up to €30 a day!
Is Greece expensive to visit? Our conclusion
Is Greece expensive to visit? Generally speaking we’d say that Greece sits in the midrange of European holiday destinations on the price front. It’s less expensive than places like France and Italy but more expensive than Poland and Slovakia. An average budget here is around €70-160/day, including hotels, food, and activities, but not flights.
That said, it’s possible to spend stacks more if you want to see the bucket-list draws of the country and want to travel in style. Vacations that include spots like Santorini and chic Kefalonia will be more, while cranking up the hotel star count to five can mean forking out over $500 a night in some places. At the other end of the spectrum, you can do Greece on about $40-60 per day, so long as you travel outside of peak seasons and don’t mind more basic accommodation.