The top 10 children-friendly activities in Greece

Greece is a great destination for families, offering a wide range of activities that are suitable for children, as well as fun for their parents. From visiting ancient ruins and museums to spending time at the beach and having fun at water parks, there’s something for every child in this beautiful country. Here are the 10 top children-friendly activities in Greece:

Visit the Acropolis Museum. 

The Acropolis Museum in Athens is a great way for children to learn about ancient Greek history and culture. The museum has interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that make learning about ancient Greece fun and engaging for children.

Visit the Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum.

The Science Center and Technology Museum in Thessaloniki is a great way for children to learn about science and technology in a fun and interactive way. The museum has many exhibits and hands-on activities that will keep children entertained for hours.

Visit the National Archaeological Museum.

The National Archaeological Museum in Athens is one of the largest and most important museums in Greece. It houses a vast and impressive collection of artifacts from the ancient Greeks, teaching children about history and culture.

Visit the Cretaquarium.

The Cretaquarium is a place for children to learn about marine life. The aquarium has a wide range of sea creatures and interactive exhibits that will keep children entertained for hours.

Take a bike tour.

A bike tour is a great way for children to explore a new place and get some exercise at the same time. There are plenty of bike tour options in Greece. From easy, family-friendly routes, to more challenging ones.

Bikes are a great way to explore the beautiful Greek islands. However, keep in mind that this activity is better during the spring and fall. During the summer months, temperatures can get so high that cycling through the sun can be dangerous. For those months, there are the following activities.

Visit the Water City water park.

Water City is a water park located in Crete and is a great place for children to cool off and have fun. The park has a wide range of water slides, swimming pools, and other attractions that will keep children entertained for hours. 

If you’re not around Crete, you can check online if there is a waterpark close by. Although the Water City water park is the most popular, there are opportunities for a similar experience throughout Greece. Some examples are Aquaworld and Limnoupolis.

Go to the beach.

Greece is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and a day at the beach is on of the easiest children-friendly activities in Greece. Many of the more popular beaches in Greece provide an in-sea playground for children. With waterslides, trampolines, and obstacle courses. These beaches are the perfect place to amuse both young and older children. Examples are Elafonissi Beach, Falassarna Beach, and Vai Beach.

If you have younger children, you might feel a beach or the sea can be dangerous. But don’t worry, as many beaches in Greece have a very shallow and calm sea, often accompanied by a lifeguard for extra safety.

Take a boat trip

Greece is famous for its beautiful islands, and a boat trip is a great way for children to see them. Families can take a ferry to visit the islands and have a change to spot dolphins on the way! A more adventurous option is to rent a boat and explore the coast. Often a life jacket is included for the kids. If a boat sounds slightly too adventurous, try a peddle boat with a water slide!

Visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos

The Minoan Palace of Knossos is located on the island of Crete and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the center of the Minoan civilization and is a great way for children to learn about ancient Greek history and culture.

Visit the Children’s Museum of Athens

What better place for children-friendly activities in Greece than a children’s museum? The Children’s Museum of Athens is a fun and interactive museum designed for children. The museum has a wide range of exhibits and hands-on activities that will keep children entertained for hours.

What are the top tourist attractions in Greece?

Greece is a top vacation destination for travelers from all over the world, and it’s no wonder why. With its rich history, stunning beaches, and beautiful landscapes, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful country. If you’re planning a trip to Greece, make sure to check out some of the top tourist attractions and experiences the country has to offer.

The five most popular Greek tourist attractions

The Acropolis of Athens

This ancient citadel, located in the heart of the city, is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in Greece, including the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike.

The Greek islands

With over 6,000 islands to choose from, you’ll have no shortage of paradise-like beaches and stunning landscapes to explore. Some of the most popular islands for tourists include Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete. But even the less famous ones, like Paxoi, or Lemnos are worth a visit.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus

This ancient temple is located in the center of Athens. It was once one of the largest temples in the ancient world. It’s a must-see for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.

The Meteora Monasteries

These monasteries, built on top of towering rock formations, are a must-see for anyone visiting Greece. The views from the top are breathtaking. And the monasteries themselves are architectural marvels.

The Minoan Palace of Knossos

Located on the island of Crete, this ancient palace was the center of the Minoan civilization. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction. You can explore the ruins or learn about the history of this fascinating civilization that lived from 3500 – 1100 B.C.!

Greece has something for everyone

There are so many amazing sights and experiences to be had in Greece, and these are just a few of the top tourist attractions you won’t want to miss. Whether you’re interested in Greek history, the culture, or just soaking up the sun on beautiful beaches, Greece has something for everyone. Don’t forget to add these top tourist attractions to your Greece travel itinerary!

Curious about more Greek travel destinations? Check out our favorite destinations here.

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

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Visit the snow in Greece!

Greece is known as the perfect destination for a summer holiday. However, this unique and diverse country has much more to offer than just the perfect beach. Greece has gorgeous mountains for hiking, and many cultural festivals all around the country, but also a holiday in the snow is part of the possibilities. Although ski resorts in Greece can not compete with the more popular European countries because of their smaller size. For those who like to combine white slopes with more than just apres-ski, a winter holiday in Greece is a great option!

When is there snow in Greece?

Like any holiday in the snow, you have to visit Greece during the right time of the year for a winter break. On average, Greek ski resorts are open from December to March. On a good year, November and April can be white as well, but do not have any certainty. January and February are best when you book in advance.

Unfortunately, due to climate change, even winter sports in France nowadays can end up in a non-white disappointment. The weather becomes more and more unpredictable all over the world. In Greece, winter sports used to be a big thing years ago. Nowadays, the number of open pistes is limited, and we should all try to keep them open for the years to come. 

Slopes in Greece

Greek has 200 kilometers of slopes with 117 lifts. Although this is only 1/5 of the number in France, it is enough to count as a winter holiday destination. Most of the ski resorts in Greece are located in the North of the mainland. Examples of these are Kaimaktsalan, Falakro, Vasilitsa, and Metsovo. 

The exception, and at the same time the biggest ski resort in Greece, is Mount Parnassos. This mountain is only 3 hours away from Athens, towards the Nort-East. 

Why visit the snow in Greece?

In Europe, France, Austria, and Switzerland are the countries to visit for snow in the winter. In fact, not many Europeans know that there are more countries to choose from when booking a winter sports holiday. But there are, and Greece is one of them. 

Prices

In Greece, a day in the snow can be as cheap as €15,-. This price includes unlimited access to ski lifts and equipment rental. Although Mount Parnassos is slightly more expensive, Greece is much cheaper than other European countries. In France for example, a budget-friendly resort will cost at least 50 euros per day. Of course, there is a difference in quality related to the difference in price. French resorts are much bigger, with a larger variety of routes and difficulties. However, this is not needed for everyone. 

As a beginner, or year-long amateur, you will spend a lot of money in France, only to stay on the practice slope and fall on your butt continuously. I am an amateur in snowboarding myself and would choose Greece over a more famous country each year. I don’t need more than a couple descends on an easy slope. I enjoy those but know that I will physically never be able to do more. Why pay a premium price if I will never use the premium functions? 

For me, Greece is the perfect country to keep my clumsy snowboard skills intact while being able to enjoy the things I like even more. Greece is also the perfect place to discover if winter sports are something for you without immediately spending a lot of money to try.

Mountain villages, nature, and interesting sites

In Greece, many ski resorts are close to other interesting sites you often miss during your summer holidays because they are too far inland. When you’re tired of going down the slopes, there are many things you can do in the area around. Traditional villages, religious buildings, and archeological sites are a few examples of things you can combine with your winter holiday. Here is an overview of the most interesting sites you can reach within 1 hour from the piste.

Kaimaktsalan
  • From Kaimaktsalan, you can reach Agios Athanasios in 40 minutes. This is a traditional Greek mountain village in which every building is built from the same stone. Cars are not allowed inside, making this the perfect quiet and relaxing getaway.
Falakro
  • Falakro is close to the archeological site of Phillipi. At the site, there is a well-preserved theatre, built in the 4th century B.C., as well as various ruins that date back to Roman times. Phillipi is a great place to explore the history of Greece.
Metsovo
  • The Metsovo ski resort is in the Zachori region. Zagori is a mountainous region in the North West of Greece with many traditional villages and stone bridges, all surrounded by breathtaking views. If you’re looking for a more active but off-piste experience, a hike to Dragon Lake might be something for you.
  • Metsovo is also very close to the city of Ioannina. Ioannina is a beautiful city, located around a lake and surrounded by mountains. The city has a rich history and amazing places to eat. The city is just one hour away from Metsovo.
  • Driving one hour from Mesovo, you can also reach the incredible site of Meteora. Meteora offers a combination of a unique natural phenomenon with spectacular religious buildings. A must-visit!
Mount Parnassos
  • Within 40 minutes from Parnassos lies Arachova. This mountain village is the holiday destination for the rich and famous Greeks. It is a traditional village that offers tasty food and a luxurious stay.
  • The archeological site of Delphi is also close to mount Parnassos. This site has been on the UNESCO world heritage list since 1987. Delphi was considered to be the center of the world in ancient times, and the Oracle of Delphi was the most important shrine throughout Greece. 
Good weather

Although the Greek winters have enough snow for winter sports, they are still Greek and full of sun. What usually happens is that at night or early in the morning, it will snow on top of the mountain. However, during the day, the sun will come through. You can ski or snowboard without being cold, underneath a clear blue sky, and with a magnificent view of the surrounding landscape. 

Even better is the big difference in temperature between the high mountains and the coastline, villages, or cities below. It is very well possible to have a day in Greece on which you can ski in the morning, and have fresh fish by the sea in a shirt in the afternoon. This is a unique and incredible experience. 

Falakro is the biggest ski resort that can offer this experience. At Pelion, close to Volos, you can ski overlooking the blue Aegean sea.

Hotsprings

At Kaimaktsalan an even more unique experience of hot and cold awaits. In Pozar, a small village close by, there are hot springs you can visit after a day in the snow. Next to a freezing waterfall, warm water surfaces from deep underneath the earth. This water is believed to have healing power and be extremely good for your skin and hair. But even if you do not take the potential health benefits into account, the 37-degree (99 F) warm water is a blessing in the cold winter months. 

Close to mount Parnassos you can find a similar experience. At Kamena Vourla and Thermopylae, there are thermal baths as well. Thermopylae is known from the movie 300, as it was the battleground in the Greco-Persian Wars the movie is based on. 

Tips:

  • When the real Greeks go on a winter break in their own country, they will never stick to one mountain for an entire week. Instead, they will choose different resorts that are close together. An example. Instead of just visiting Kaimaktsalan, you can combine this piste with Seli and 3-5 (TriaPente) Pigadia.
  • Many of the Greek ski resorts require quite a ride up the mountain. Unlike the more famous winter destinations, there is often no Gondola that can take you to the resort. Before starting your way up the mountain, it is good to ask the hotel or the ski resort how you will be able to get to the resort that day. Sometimes snow can block the passage, and they will open just one particular road.
  • To stay warm the Greeks combine their winter break with a lot of traditional, heavy, but tasty food. Fried cheese or meat stew are on the local and seasonal menus. Try them!

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

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Sustainable holidays in Greece

Now, more than ever, we must be aware of how we use our planet. Wildfires, droughts, storms, and floods worldwide show how real climate change is these days. Electric cars, paper straws, and recycling have become a part of our everyday lives. But why only care about the environment at home? More and more holiday destinations in Greece claim to be sustainable. But what does a real eco-accommodation look like?

Sustainability is a trend

Sustainability has become a trend nowadays. More and more of us want to protect our planet and its resources for the next generations. We tend to feel better spending our money on something labeled as eco-friendly than things that are not good for our environment. As a result, eco-labels have become well-selling advertisements. But sometimes, they are just that, a way to attract customers. 

Unfortunately, claims of being sustainable are not under governmental supervision. It is up to us, the customers, to decide if a claim meets our own expectations on sustainability. Unfortunately, this is what many companies use to their advantage. This deception is called greenwashing.

Greenwashed holidays

In the Netherlands, it has become a trend to offer eco-friendly holidays to big resorts in Africa and Asia. Travel agencies use supporting the local economy and water-saving shower heads as advertisements. Great! But what about one kilo ( 2.2 pounds ) of meat the resort will prepare for each guest daily? Or the hours you will spend on the plane to get to your destination?

A holiday far away will never be truly sustainable. The average US household produces 7.5 tonnes of CO2 per year. Flying from Amsterdam to Bangkok, Thailand, produces 2.1 tonnes per person! How can this be eco-friendly? The water you save with those shower heads will not make up for your flight. Greenwashing companies point out the things they do sustainably and forget to mention the rest. 

Curious to find out how much CO2 you produce flying to your dream holiday destination? Check out this article from the Guardian. It does not only show you the amount of CO2 a flight produces. It also gives the number meaning by showing the countries in which the average household produces less than your flight, in a year.

Did Greece become eco-friendly in 2022?

This summer, I noticed greenwashing reached the Greek hotels and apartments. Freshly printed and laminated papers, pointing out that I had found myself an eco-friendly stay, appeared everywhere. Great! But what did Greece change this year and suddenly became sustainable?

It turns out many of the Greeks did not change anything. Most hotels and apartments claim to be good for the future of our planet because they use a Solar Water Heater, or SWH. And although this is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of a holiday stay. In Greece, it is the ultimate way to greenwash an accommodation.

Solar Water Heating in Greece

The use of SWH in Greece is not something of the previous years, nor is it the result of improving sustainability. Instead, it is the result of the oil crisis in 1973. High prices forced Greece (together with other sun-rich countries) to rethink hot water production. Solar Water Heating was the solution, and Greece became one of the pioneers. Not for ecological reasons. Instead, the economy was their motive.

In Greece, installing an SWH will result in free hot water within 5 to 10 years. Because of this, 30 to 40 percent of Greek homes use this system. This number might sound low. But 2/3 of Greek people live in urban areas. Here, the architecture of apartment buildings makes the use of SWH nearly impossible. Meaning SWH is the norm in remote areas and has been for decades.

Can something usual be sustainable?

When I am looking for an eco-friendly stay in Greece and find out sustainability is only through an SWH, I feel slightly betrayed. Solar Water Heating is good for the environment. This is true. However, it is also very profitable for the owner, especially when he has had this installation for years. And shouldn’t an eco-label show some more active steps toward sustainability?

What if this accommodation offers plastic straws and a fridge full of small water bottles? Uses chemicals to kill insects and clean the pool? Has a rain shower and needs to be airconditioned? This accommodation might have a Solar Water Heater but does not take any other active steps to protect our planet. Is this sustainable? No, it’s greenwashing. The Greek accommodations found out that tourists like sustainable holidays. The installation they already had on their roof turned out to be eco-friendly, so they now claim to be so too.

Sustainability is a new topic

Greece does two things very well when it comes to sustainability. The use of renewable energy, with the SWHs, solar farms, and windmills. And the big percentage of untouched nature in the country. Of which many areas are protected by NATURA 2000. 

However, Greece is below the average of the European Union regarding sustainability. This has to do with the crisis that started in 2010. Since then, the country has been preoccupied with economic and social issues. The Greeks had to find a way to survive, making sustainability an unaffordable luxury.

Recently change started. With the worst part of the crisis being in the past, there is finally room to think about improvement. New goals include digitalization and sustainable tourism, but Greece also started working on its first plans for becoming a more eco-friendly country.

What is sustainable in Greece?

Transportation

Sustainable means of transportation are hard to find in Greece. Train and metro networks are scarce and limited to Athens. Outside the capital, fossil fuel buses are often the only option, and even these are often no trustful way to get around.

There are car rental companies that offer electric vehicles to explore the country. However, charging stations are rare. Many large areas of the mainland and islands are inaccessible for electric cars due to a lack of chargers. The good thing is that Greece is on the way to changing this. The Greeks are offered tax reductions and subsidies when they choose to go electric, and municipalities will install new charging stations.

Until this time, check this map to find out if an electric vehicle is an option for your holiday. If not, the next best thing is a rental company that at least offers an airport transfer in an electric van.

Food

When in Greece, choose local and traditional delicacies to make your stay not only more sustainable, but tastier as well. Greek cooks learn that delicious food is seasonal and adaptable to the available products. Traditional Greek food is not imported from far away nor produced in greenhouses that fake seasons. It is straight from the land and grown by the sun. Here is an overview of what fruits and vegetables Greece has to offer during the different seasons:

  • Spring. Asparagus, beans, berries, carrots, parsnips, green onions, rutabaga, and zucchini.
  • Summer. Cucumber, eggplant, garlic, parsley, spinach, tomatoes, and peas.
  • Autumn. Apples, figs, grapes, olives, root onions, and romaine.
  • Winter. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, herbs, nuts, and citrus fruits.
Accommodation

What does an eco-accommodation in Greece look like? Here are a couple of points you can consider when booking your holiday!

SHW and solar panels

Although I said before that Solar Water Heating is not enough to make a Greek accommodation sustainable, you should find accommodation that has one. I believe it has to be the minimum requirement for an eco-friendly stay in Greece. 

Many apartments have solar panels for electricity on the roof or in a closeby field. Although, in Greece, solar power is not for individual use but is sold to the electricity grid, it does help the environment. 

Drinkable tap water

In many places in Greece, water from the tap is not drinkable. As a result, the use of plastic water bottles is extreme in Greece. Especially in summer, when temperatures are high. However, some accommodations invest in drinkable tap water, and those are the ones you should look for. Don’t forget to take a reusable bottle with you!

Water-saving showerheads and toilets

Did you ever wonder why many Greek accommodations do not have a way to hang the shower head? Greece is a dry country in summer, and the Real Greeks know you should not spill any water during summer. Showers in Greece should be quick. However, more and more accommodations want to offer a luxury with rain showers, for example. This goes completely against the country’s climate! Water in Greece in summer is, in many areas, produced in coal-fired power plants. So if you want to be sustainable, use as less water as possible, and pick a place to stay that keeps water-saving in mind.

Well-insulated and designed rooms

Air conditioning is your best friend in a Greek summer. However, when a house or room is well-designed, you do not need one! In our beach house, we do not have an AC since the temperature inside stays pleasant in summer. As a result, we save a lot of energy. Things to look for are:

  • Openable windows on multiple sides.
  • Big balconies shadowing the south facade.
  • Proper insulation.
  • A half-underground apartment
A beach bag and chargers

When I go on a holiday, I always forget at least something that I then have to buy and never use again when I get home. Chargers are a great example of this. But also air-mattresses, beach rackets, balls, and umbrellas are among the things we buy, just to use for a week or two.

An eco-friendly accommodation in Greece provides the things tourists often forget. This way, they are used by many people and don’t become waste immediately after a holiday. It might sound like a small step toward sustainability, but with over 30 million tourists in Greece each year, the amount of wasted plastic is extremely high.

No daily linen change or small shampoo bottles

You might want the best service in your hotel, but did you ever wonder about the plastic and water a hotel wastes with a daily linen change or shampoo bottles? You can reuse your towels for multiple days and either bring your shampoo or use a bottle shared with the previous guests. 

No swimming pool

Greece has crystal clear seas and perfect beaches all around the country. There is simply no reason to have a swimming pool in this country in summer. So pick an accommodation without one! Swimming pools need chemicals and energy to be maintained, while the sea is provided by nature. Curious about more benefits of the sea? Continue reading!

How important is sustainability for you when you’re on vacation? And what are the things you would like to see in your holiday accommodation regarding sustainability? Leave a comment below!

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

Fall in love with Greece in Autumn

We said goodbye to our sunglasses and shorts. Now we wear jackets and don’t leave the house without an umbrella. Days have become shorter and grey. Summer is over, and we look forward to Christmas or spring next year. However, the fall doesn’t have to be rainy and cold, not when you treat yourself to a getaway in Greece!

Fall is perfect in Greece

Although Greece is the place to be in summer, the country is a perfect destination through all seasons. Autumn in particular. While temperatures are still more than pleasant, tourists are rare, and prices are much more budget-friendly. Besides, the mountainous landscape of Greece turns into a beautiful painting when trees change the color of their leaves.

Temperature

Autumn’s temperatures are perfect for those who don’t like the heat of Greece’s summers. In September, temperatures reach between 25-30 degrees(77 – 86 F). October averages 20-25 degrees ( 68 – 77 F), with mostly sunny days. In November, the chance of rain increases, and temperatures drop to 15 – 20 (59 – 68 F). But still, most days are more than pleasant. Just pack a jacket for the nights and early mornings.

Benefits of visiting Greece in the fall

Lower temperatures

The lower temperatures in autumn in Greece, especially in September and October are a huge benefit compared to the summer. Summers are great for the perfect beach holiday, but often prevent you from many other activities Greece has to offer. During the fall however, you can fully explore this beautiful country.

The view

High temperatures and dust tend to obstruct the views of the Greek landscape during summer. It is continuously hazy in July and August. Close-by islands and mountains look vague, making landscape photography or even a good view difficult. However, as soon as the temperature drops and the chance of rain increases, the sky clears. You can see further away while the landscape adapts to its beautiful autumn colors. The result? Magnificent views, perfect for both landscape photographers and nature lovers.

Lower prices

Prices are always a result of the combination of supply and demand. Since many tourists want to visit Greece in the hot summer months, prices increase, and a holiday can become extremely expensive. During the fall, demand drops, and with it, the prices decrease. This results in cheaper accommodation, food, drinks, car rental, and plane tickets. 

Less crowded

Greece is full in summer. There are about three times more tourists than there are locals and a cue for every popular tourist attraction. Fall, however, is the time you can enjoy Greece without these crowds. Perfect beaches can be private, lines at archeological sites disappear, and you can explore the idyllic traditional villages at your own pace.

Culture

Fall in Greece is magical, giving the most precious fruits: olives (olive oil), grapes, chestnuts and more. And people express their love for those product in famous agricultural festivals, small or big, all around Greece. From a family harvesting and pressing the grapes to a whole village celebrating their precious product. Attending one of these festivals is the most authentic experience you can have.

What to do in Greece in Autumn?

September is the time the real Greeks go on holiday in their country. The Greek islands and sea still have a pleasant temperature this month, while accommodations are much more affordable.

From October, a beach holiday might not be the best option anymore. The sea-water temperatures are still ok, but many beach bars are closed, and an entire day in beach-wear can get chilly. However, this is the perfect time to discover everything else Greece has to offer. The mountains, the cities, and the culture.

Archeological sites

Greece is famous for its rich amount of archeological sites all over the country. However, visiting these sites on a summer day is far from pleasant in my experience. Days are too hot, and the sites often lack a shadow or a cooling breeze. Autumn, however, provides a great climate to discover Greece’s history. Plan a visit to Delphi. Or combine Epidaurus, Mykines, and Mystras with the colorful landscape of Peloponnese. 

Agricultural festivals

During September you can join the harvesting and pressing of grapes in many areas around Greece, especially around Thessaly. You can also join the famous festival of pistachios in Aegina.

October is the month of the distillation of tsikoudia in Crete or tsipouro in the mainland. Be prepared to be invited to a family’s celebration, which includes a lot of food, alcohol, music, and dancing. Chestnuts also have their special moment during October. You can find those festivals all over Greece, especially in mountainous areas.

Finally, end of October and November the most famous Greek product, our beloved olives, are getting picked. Peloponnese, Crete & Lesbos are the biggest producers. There you can see locals picking the olives and in many agro-tourism guesthouses, you can see and even join the process of olive oil production.

City trips

Athens and Thessaloniki are the two largest cities in Greece. Both have a lot to provide, from historical sites to amazing food. And with the beautiful urban atmosphere at night, there is something for everyone. During the Autumn months, the temperature in Athens is still pleasant. So don’t be surprised if you enjoy your Greek coffee under the rock of the Acropolis wearing only your t-shirt.

On the other hand, the weather in Thessaloniki can be unpredictable, but still, the temperature is pleasant. The gastronomical experience the city has to offer deserves your visit. And don’t forget to visit the many historical sites that are hidden throughout the whole city.

Another Greek city that is not well known but perfect for an Autumn getaway is Ioannina. Ioannina is surrounded by mountains and is located around a huge lake. Visit the old castle, enjoy local food, or go hiking in the mountains around.

Hiking

Greece is over 80% mountainous and perfect for hiking and climbing. Since the summers are often too hot for these activities, the Greek mountains are the perfect destination during the fall. Wonderful locations for an active autumn getaway are:

  • Zagorohoria and Tzoumerka in the Epirus region.
  • Crete, where you can hike along multiple beautiful gorges
  • The Corfu trail, the whole length of the island from North to South. 
  • Conquer Mount Olympus, the highest mountain of the gods.

Tips:

  • What to do on a rainy day?
    Although most days in the fall have plenty of sunshine, you might get unlucky and encounter a rainy day in Greece. But don’t worry, there is still plenty to do in Greece. Visit one of the many indoor museums, go shopping in the giant indoor shopping malls around the big cities, or go to one of the many religious sites. Besides, a rainy day is perfect to get in touch with your inner real Greek. Go for a coffee in one of the many kafeneio’s to wait till it gets dry. I am sure you will meet many locals who join you to do the same.
  • Check what is open. 
    Although Autumn is perfect for a trip to Greece, many touristic places are only open during the summer months. When you plan on visiting one of the smaller islands, it is a good idea to check what is still open during the fall. Beach bars, boat rentals, or even taverns might have adjusted opening hours, or might close completely.
  • Pack a jacket
    Although temperatures in Autumn in Greece can be more than pleasant during the days, the night can get chilly. When you’re traveling outside the months of July and August, it is always a good idea to bring a jacket for the nights!

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

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What an after-vacation dip can tell you

Many of us don’t like it when our vacations are about to be over. During a holiday, you can enjoy a free life without stress. You can forget about time and surround yourself with the environment that suits you best. But when this time comes to an end, and you start having nightmares about having to go back home, you might be up for more than just an after-vacation dip .

An after-vacation dip is normal

About 60% of people who return from their holidays have trouble getting back to everyday life. Especially on Sunday evening, before work starts again, many of us feel a bit down. And this is not unusual. During our vacations, we are in charge of our own time. We can sleep longer, take an afternoon nap, eat whenever we want to, and most importantly, we are free of stress.

Besides, during a vacation, we relax, meet new people, discover unique places, and often move more than we do during our days behind a desk. All these things increase our endorphins. Endorphin is a hormone that makes us feel happy. However, our level of these endorphins drops when we return to our usual environment and work. As a result, we feel down. The post-holiday blues. It can take up to seven or ten days before we are adjusted again to the lower levels of endorphins!

Try to enjoy your home and friends

Although your hormones naturally make you feel a bit down after returning from vacation, most of us can enjoy when being home. Sleeping in your own bed or binge-watching your favorite series might be things you missed during your holiday. Meeting your friends and sharing your travel experience with them will also help you to get through your post-holiday blues.

However, when you feel unable to enjoy these things, and your dip seems to continue for weeks, you might have to change something in your life. Although feeling a bit low is normal, it should never take too long or influence your everyday life and emotions.

Reflect after your vacation

When you struggle with a severe after-vacation dip, it might be time to reflect on your life. Struggling to get back to normal might show that your normal simply doesn’t suit you anymore.

Maybe you can’t sleep enough following your busy schedule? Or do you miss physical exercise or the connection with nature? Think about what made you feel happy during your vacation and what you miss the most now that you’re back. Slowly try to include parts of these elements in your life.

My return

When I returned from my most recent trip to Greece, I knew I was ready for a change in my life. Until now, I have always been someone with a high value for my own home. My own bed, my living room, my plants, and my bunny. These have always been reasons for me to get back home.

This time, however, when I opened my front door, I only felt strange. My house was too big, the stuff I own meaningless, and the location too crowded and concrete. All I need is the sea and the things that fit in my suitcase, not a whole apartment in the middle of a city!

I feel strange seeing the traffic around, and even stranger being a part of it when I have to rush to work. I feel unable to just hop back into my busy life, which feels so empty today. And with the people here, it seems impossible to connect again.

Mostly, I feel like a stranger. A stranger in my own country and in my own life. Knowing that I once did fit in here, shows me that I have changed, and it is now time for my life to change with me. The only thing that gets me through my days, is writing this blog and planning my next holiday. But this is not enough to keep me happy.

Don’t live to escape

Planning the next holiday is something many people say is helpful to get over the after-holiday blues. And although this might help with the average dip, I don’t believe this always solves the issue. If it feels like you’re living your life, counting down the days till your next escape, you should change something about your life instead. You shouldn’t have to wait to live until you’re out of your real life!

I recently met a 50-year-old woman with a love for Greece as big as mine. Thirty years ago, after a long holiday in Ouranoupolis, she returned feeling like her life in the Netherlands didn’t fit her anymore. She decided she wanted to move to Greece. 

But first, her husband didn’t want to come, then the kids came, and her mother needed care. When she divorced the man that kept her here, she couldn’t take her girls with her, so she stayed. And later, new boyfriends didn’t want to come either.

This woman planned regular holidays in Greece for thirty years and lived only during these short periods. Every time she returned, she felt depressed for months. Today, she still says she will soon move and finally be happy. But what she regrets the most is not moving thirty years ago.

Change is difficult

Talking with this woman showed me two things. One is how important it is to listen to our after-vacation dip. But secondly, she shows me how difficult it is to listen to ourselves, even after years of regret. Humans are creatures of habit and routine. We’re afraid of change, even when we know a transformation is best for us.

This is why girls abused by their fathers tend to choose an abusive partner. Or why people with low self-esteem seek situations in which they can feel less than others. But, it is also the thing that makes us believe we have to work hard, have busy schedules, or stay in a relationship that prevents us from following our dreams. Change is difficult simply because it is unknown to us.

From sleeping more to a career change to moving out of the city or an emigration. They are all difficult changes. However, if you stick to the old out of fear, it is time to be brave and move to the new. Step by step.

Start small

When you feel unhappy with your life, it is easy to say, “I have to change my whole life, but I don’t know where to start.” No one can change their whole life at once, and neither should we try to. Like the Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tze said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” 

Do you want to exercise more?
Start with doing five squats before you sit down on the toilet.
Live closer to nature?
Buy plants, or leave the city once a month.
Do you want to explore a new culture?
Start reading or cook recipes from the country you love.
A career change?
Invest an hour a week in learning a new skill.

Start small! 

Keep walking

The smaller the step, the easier it is to actually make it. When you feel the positive result of a small change, it will be easier to take the next step and the one after that until you slowly come closer to your bigger goal.

I have been taking small steps for over two years. I work less, sleep more, spend more time with friends, visit the beach more often, and go on holidays more regularly. With each step, I come closer to a life that suits me. But more importantly, I learned to reflect and act according to that continuously. This lesson is more valuable than the actual change or big life goal I set for myself.

Today I say I want to live and work in Greece to be happy. However, this goal is not the one I started with two years ago and might not be the one that results in happiness two years from now. I change through my experiences and with these experiences my goal in life changes. True happiness is not about reaching anything in life. It is about listening to what is inside you and being true to whatever you hear. And an after-vacation dip is the perfect moment to start listening!

Happiness on vacation. Don’t expect perfection

While planning a holiday, we often obsess over finding the perfect destination. The highest mountain, the bluest sea, or the most beautiful sunset is what we all aim for. However, having high hopes and great expectations for the perfect holiday might end in disappointment. Why don’t we find happiness on our vacation? Maybe we should stop planning our holidays as strictly as we are used to.

Unexpected experience

During my recent travels through Peleponnese, I experienced the benefit of traveling without a plan. I did have a list of famous places I wanted to visit and a route that would take me there. In between, however, I wanted to see as much as possible of everything I came across on on the road. The things I did not know existed before I was there. And it was at these places that I felt most grateful.

I planned to visit Epidavros. Epidavros was a small city in ancient Greece and had the most well-preserved theatre. The site is on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites and is a famous tourist attraction. A must-see. And after visiting, I can say it is a truly impressive ancient site in Greece.

Afterward, I found an old sign pointing me in the direction of “The sunken city of Epidavros.” A not-well-known and not at all popular site. However, following the signs, I ended up at a deserted beach, and just off-shore, I found the ruins of an ancient villa, inhabited by fish and sea-urchins. Now, that’s an experience!

Stop planning and chasing

We all live a busy life with full agendas. Work, exercise, kids, and social gatherings. We live according to a schedule, always busy with too many things, rushing from one place to the next. Holidays are scarce, and often we want to get the most out of them.

I believe many people are afraid of not fully utilizing their precious time off or expensive airplane tickets. What if I fly from the USA to Greece and only visit one island? This is why many of us make the mistake of taking a schedule with us on our holidays.

I met someone who had just ten days of vacation in Greece but wanted to see everything during these days. He flew to Athens, visited Peleponnese, and got a plane to Rhodes. Trying to visit many famous sites, he forgot to plan time for his holiday and returned feeling both tired and disappointed. He did not experience Greece, nor did he find happiness. He did not allow himself to do so.

By allowing yourself time to relax and explore whatever you find on your way, a holiday can get way more exciting and rewarding. You don’t need the plan to visit the fanciest places or chase the most Instagram-able pictures. Let go. That’s what a holiday should be. 

Lower your expectations

Going somewhere for a holiday believing this place will be amazing, will probably result in at least a bit of disappointment. Most of the information we find online is edited or based on perfect circumstances. However, chances are small that you will experience this ideal image. Human happiness is often a result of us exceeding our expectations. But when your goal is a flawless holiday, it will be extremely difficult to surpass your predictions. 

Besides the location, I believe we also expect too much of our holiday. Divorce rates, for example, increase significantly after summer vacations. A big part of the year we are ok with the problems we encounter in our everyday life, telling ourselves that things will get better during our holiday. This way, we put so much pressure on our vacation that you can be almost certain of disappointment, and in the worst case, a divorce when returning home.

But when you allow yourself to lower your expectations, true happiness can be found on even the simplest vacation. I see this not only in myself but also in the people around me. Today, I am in the North of Greece, in Xanthi, a location that does not really allow for high expectations, nor does it have great weather at the moment. However, the tourists I see right now in front of me, are dancing on the beach. Celebrating their time together and being free. 

I rarely see tourists as happy in more famous locations in Greece. And I believe that when they made the choice to visit a less-known and less perfect place, they opened themselves up for happiness during their vacation.

Change your purpose

I won’t say that everyone should stop visiting the more popular islands and sites in Greece to have a happy holiday. You can go island hopping or visit the turquoise waters in Elafonisi. You can go to Santorini to watch the perfect sunset. But don’t let these small things be the main purpose of your holiday.

Leave your home and country behind simply to get away from them. I believe the best vacation goal is to get away from your scheduled life and instead just live in the moment. One, you will succeed at this goal almost always. But more importantly, with this goal, you will have countless unexpected experiences and little moments of happiness throughout your vacation.

Tips:

Book a hotel you know nothing about

Don’t check the location or the amenities before going. Instead, set a budget and book whatever pops up first. I did this with 8 out of 10 of the previous hotels I have stayed in, and all of them surprised me in some way. 

When you search for a hotel on a budget, you can try to find the best one, but there will always be something wrong. You read about it and expect it to be good. But if you don’t want to pay more than 25-30 euros a night, I can promise you it will never be good, no matter how much you research.

By just booking the first available hotel, you skip the mental step in which you create expectations. You can say it was cheap and will probably look cheap. If you arrive and find the perfect mattress, great shower, or sea view, the room is exceeding your expectations. Which means happiness.

Be curious

Greece has many famous sites, but even more road signs pointing you towards the least visited touristic locations. Try following one of them and see where it leads you! Often when the attraction itself is not very interesting, you might come across a hidden tavern, idyllic church, or undiscovered beach. 

Food is also a perfect topic for curiosity in Greece. Everyone knows feta, gyros, and mousaka, but there is so much more. Every region in Greece has its own local cheese, for example. And the recipe of mousaka changes throughout Greece. Ask taverns what their seasonal specialty is instead of just ordering from the menu. Try new food and local products.

Enjoy the road

In Greece, it is a shame to just travel from one point to another without enjoying what is in between. Going off the highway and instead choosing the national roads, you will pass by traditional villages, old churches, mountains, and small beaches. You will see real Greece, the things that make this country special. So don’t move around awaiting your next destination. Enjoy the journey, and be open to new experiences and opportunities along the road.

Talk

No one knows better how to enjoy an area than people who have lived there for years. Be open to tips from locals, and not just the hotel owners. Especially in non-touristic places, the Greeks are open to having conversations. Often they have interesting things to say about the region they live in and know the hidden gems around. Follow their advice and experience happiness during your vacation!

Greek taverns

In most countries, you go out for dinner at a restaurant, or an estiatorio in Greek. However, many Greeks don’t go to an estiotorio when eating out. Instead, the Greeks eat at taverns. But what are these?

What is a tavern?

Translating the Greek tavern, or taverna, gives a few results. One says that it is a small Greek restaurant. However, I have been at taverns that can seat up to a hundred people. So being small is not the correct requirement for a distinguishment between a restaurant and a taverna. Also wrong is the definition that implies that a tavern is a Greek cafe with music and dancing. Although this might happen in some of them, it is not a standard and does not happen in every tavern in Greece. It is also not the case that a Greek restaurant is a taverna. As mentioned before, Greece has estiatorios. Actual restaurants that are not tavernas. So what is the proper translation of tavern in English?

There is no single word that explains the meaning of the Greek tavern. It isn’t a bar, lunchroom, diner, saloon, or any other type of food establishment. The closest translation is maybe a dining room. A tavern is a place for a not-at-home-hosted dinner party. A place to feel comfortable with friends or family, without dishes at the end of the evening. A place for sharing food and conversations while not worrying about a giant bill. 

The requirements of a Greek tavern

Dishes & Prices

Greek taverns don’t have a menu, and if they do, they don’t use it. Ordering at a Greek taverna happens through the waiter, who will tell you which dishes are available that day. Taverns serve local dishes and specialties, often depending on the season of your visit. In many fish taverns, the waiter invites you to follow him into the kitchen. He will show you the fish they caught that day, and from these, you can pick out the ones you want for your table. 

Local seasonal products make the prices at a tavern pretty cheap. In non-touristic tavernas, mezes and salads are around 4 or 5 euros. Main dishes start from 7 or 8 for meat. Fish can be slightly more expensive, as well as taverns in touristic islands and cities.

Service

Since prices at a Greek tavern are low, service might slightly differ from what you expect when eating out. First of all, cutlery is not placed on the tables as it is in a restaurant. It often comes in a basket or holder, and you should spread it around yourself. Besides, there is always a giant paper towel as a tablecloth. This might look strange on your first visit. However, the paper cover is much needed for Greek family dinners. I can not remember one evening without this thing getting entirely covered in food and drinks. 

Lastly, the chairs. The most uncomfortable but traditional wooden seats. I believe these chairs are the most recognizable feature of Greek taverns. During the summer, they can be even more uncomfortable, wearing shorts or a skirt. So cover your upper legs when you go. Unfortunately, they will always remain a part of the tavern experience. 

Share

A Greek tavern is a not-at-home alternative for a Greek dinner party. The table has to be full of food, and everyone should share. Don’t order your own dish at a tavern, especially not the salads and the mezes, the starters. Depending on your company, you might choose the main dish yourself. However, more often than not, this one is shared as well, especially in fish taverns. All the food goes to the middle of the table, and everyone serves him- or herself from there. And if a dish is about to finish, you just order it again.

Good to know is that although the mezes and salads are categorized as starters, this does not mean they will be served before the main course. This is the case in many other countries, but in Greece, everything is served whenever the cook finished preparing it. Usually the starters will come before the main course. But then the main course comes right after, before you finish what is already on the table. This might seem strange to you but is a wonderful part of the Greek culture. There can never be too much food on the table.

Sharing in a Greek tavern is not limited to just the table. In small villages and rural areas, the tavern owners, as well as their guests, take care of the stray animals that live around. You don’t have to feed a dirty dog during your meal, but it is very common for the Greeks to (after they finish eating) give some to them. When you’re dining outside, of course. Eating inside, you might see Greeks putting leftovers in a napkin, which they take out to feed the animals in the neighborhood. It is nice to do the same!

Don’t rush

Although Greek taverns might be a place to eat, spending quality time with friends and family is more important than actually eating food. Drink and have conversations. Enjoy and don’t rush through your meal. That is what makes a tavern better than a restaurant.

In a tavern, I can have a lunch that lasts for 4 hours or a dinner that takes 6. And this is what makes the traditional Greek taverna part of Greek culture, Siga, Siga. No one will send you away or say they need your table if you’re not ordering any more. You have all the time and can stay as long as you want.

Free dessert

There is always a free dessert, usually fruit, at the end of the Greek tavern experience. Good to know as a tourist is that the free dessert usually is served when asking for the bill. It is quite rude to refuse it and instead quickly pay and leave. Reserve some extra time, talk with the owner or the waiter, laugh together, and leave when all the free extras are finished.

Tips for visiting a Greek tavern

How to find a tavern?

As a foreigner, it might still be hard to understand the difference between a restaurant and a tavern while picking out a place to eat. The first tip is that a tavern is much easier to find than a restaurant, especially outside the bigger cities. Secondly, look at the menu. When dishes are cheap, prices are handwritten and adjusted, the menu is local, Greek, or hard to find you found a tavern. Lastly, when the chairs look uncomfortable and old, you have found one! 

Do you have lunch or dinner at a tavern?

You can have both! Most of the traditional Greek taverns are at least open from 12 till 12, but in touristic areas even longer. You can eat anything at any time. There is no distinguishment between a lunch and a dinner menu.

Good to know is that although Greek taverns are open all day, they often do have an hour or so, around 18.00, in which they close the kitchen to prepare for the night. During this time, only simple dishes and drinks can be served.

Make sure to bring cash!

Throughout Greece, it is tricky to rely on a card for payment, but don’t do so when you eat at a tavern. Some tavernas do not accept card payments and only allow cash. Make sure you have enough money with you before you sit down.

For the vegans amongst us

Are you a vegan? Most Greek taverns either serve meat or fish. However, being a vegetarian or vegan should not hold you back from this Greek experience. Every taverna does have at least some plant-based options. Check out the 10 vegan dishes you can order in every Greek tavern, or try one of the many Greek cheeses.

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

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Does Greece feel safe when traveling alone?

Deciding which country to travel to on your own, might be a bit tricky, especially as a woman or girl. Men see us as the more vulnerable sex, and traveling alone to a less safe country might result in unpleasant situations. In Greece, however, I have never been close to any danger. Greece is safe for women as well as men.

I have always loved traveling alone. Not having to mind anyone else while getting lost in an unfamiliar place is my way of finding relaxation. Alone I have been to Marocco, France, Germany, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Greece. If I had to choose the safest country of all of these, I would say that Greece is the most safe, by far.

My experience of traveling alone

Let me start by explaining situations I have encountered in other countries that gave me a feeling of unsafety. What scares me might be completely normal to you. So for you to understand what triggers my feelings of vulnerability, here are three cases that made me feel uncomfortable.

Let’s start with Croatia. In this country, I felt safe until I started hiking. In remote areas, every house has a guard dog. Unlike the pets I know, these dogs live outside, and their only purpose is to guard the property. After hiking for just 15 minutes, I had an unpleasant encounter with four of these dogs. Since they are not used to people passing by on foot, they saw me as a threat. They jumped over their garden fences to come towards me, barking and showing their teeth. I was lucky that their owners quickly responded and took control. However, I did not continue my hike and went back home, afraid to pass by a dog without an alert owner.

When I arrived in the Czech Republic at 6 a.m., I needed some caffeine to gain the energy to explore Prague. Entering the only open place, I walked into 20 men, drinking half liters of beer. They all stared at me as I walked in, making me wonder if I was even supposed to be there. I did not feel comfortable, and this first encounter wasn’t the only one. Whenever I was outside in the city, I felt good and safe. However, going for a drink, at any time of the day, I came across only men. After a while, I did not feel free to stay in a bar and stopped going after the second day. Maybe I just went into the wrong places, but it did make me feel vulnerable in Prague.

Marocco was my worst experience. I dressed to fit in, wearing long skirts and sleeves. But everywhere I went, I felt people staring at me, both male and female. I felt awkward and alert, afraid that something shady could happen any minute. But this was not the worst part.

Walking through the narrow and busy shopping streets in the old part of Fez, I was continuously surrounded by men wanting something from me. Buying things at their shop, following them to a secret place to drink wine, or paying them to guide me through the city. It was overwhelming.

After just one day I was afraid to go out on the streets. I asked help from the hostess of the accommodation I rented to take me out of the city in the morning and get me food at night. I honestly did not feel safe exploring the city on my own.

Why Greece feels safe

My main fear while traveling alone is being recognized as a single woman in a foreign country. The more I can blend in, the less vulnerable I feel, and the more I enjoy my trip. And in Greece, I felt integrated immediately. There are dark Greeks and light Greeks, blond- and black-haired, and there are blue eyes and brown ones. Everyone can go to Greece and blend in amongst the locals, especially in Athens.

Besides, there are few places in Greece where shop and restaurant owners will surround you to get you inside their business. You can stroll around the cities and villages and decide for yourself where you want to go.

The Greek men are also not very openly flirty towards women. They will definitely look at you, but they will not try to interact with you if you’re passing by or sitting next to them in a tavern. They leave you be, treat you with respect, and you will feel safe to be around them.

The last reason for me to feel safe in Greece is the warmth of the Greek culture. When something happens to you on the street. For example, if you fall or your car breaks down, there will always be at least one Greek to stop and help you. Referring to you as their paidi, their child, they will do anything they can until you are good to go. And they will never expect something from you in return. Greeks are just genuinely friendly and helpful people.

The risks while traveling through Greece

Stray dogs can be dangerous

The scariest things in Greece for a solo traveler are stray dogs and children begging for money. Each city, town, or village in Greece, unfortunately, has stray animals as the result of the crisis, when people could not afford to feed their pets anymore. The exception here is smaller islands, where there are only street cats.

Some of the dogs can be very territorial and hungry and might make your stay in Greece not safe. Encountering them at the wrong place and at the wrong time can result in an attack. The good thing for us women is that street dogs in Greece tend to be much more aggressive against men. But don’t push your luck.

At night, don’t go alone to a remote area or even a deserted part of a big city. There might be a pack of dogs there, and entering their territory can end badly. Villages and smaller towns are mostly safe since the locals take good care of the dogs. When I go out at night, knowing that I might encounter some strays, I always take a big stick with me in case I get attacked. Luckily I did not have to use it yet, but I feel slightly safer knowing I have something to fight back with.

Today the problems of the dogs living on the Greek streets are well known by the municipalities. Greece started doing something about the problem, and more and more people take stray dogs home to have them as a pet. Hopefully, soon we will not have this problem anymore.

The three stray dogs that guided me through the mountains

I also want to show you the other side of stray dogs in Greece. Look at the three guys (or girls) in the image above. These dogs accompanied me on a hike in the mountains last summer. Like actual guides, one showed me the way, the second was behind to tell the others to stop when I was struggling, and the third scouted the area around. They walked with me for four hours and did not leave my side until I was safely back at the starting point. These street dogs made my day, I felt safe with them alone in the mountains. I still visit to check on them whenever I am in the area.

Children begging for money

The second thing that might make you feel uncomfortable and not safe during your stay in Greece is the children begging for money. You will mostly see them at night, going around restaurants or shopping streets. Some will try to sell you flowers, hats, or cards. Others only have a sad story and ask you for money to help them. Always they are way too young to go around and beg.

Good to know is that the parents or other family members of these children are always around the corner. Even when they tell you a story about sick parents or disabled siblings, it is their family who sent them to get your money.

A kid with a sad story in the right location can easily make hundreds of euros a night! And although the families of these children usually don’t have a lot of money to spend, the begging child is just a side hustle. Sadly, these children are forced to beg and are exposed to danger on the streets at night. However, by giving them cash you are supporting the parents to continue. So do not fall for the story, don’t be bothered too much, and don’t give them money.

My boyfriend once told one of these children that he could not give her any money. He said he had lost his wallet and could not get home or eat that night. The kid left and returned a couple of minutes later, giving him 20 euros. She said, take this so you can get home safely tonight. Showing that the child was making extra money and not in a bad situation herself.

Greeks profiting of tourists

Like in any country, the Greeks will always try to profit from tourists as much as they can. Traveling to famous touristic places you might have to pay too much for a meal or souvenir, but I believe this will happen in any country, all over the world. Also in Athens, you should be aware of the possibility of pickpocketing, homeless people on the streets, and overpriced taxis. However, it is not more than in other big cities in Europe. Take care of your belongings, ask for prices before you enter a cab, and prepare to overpay a little if you want the real tourist experience in Greece.

Explore the Greek culture alone

The last tip I want to give you if you consider traveling alone through Greece is to not limit yourself. Don’t just visit the well-known and popular touristic places because you might believe they are safer. The best thing about traveling alone in Greece is being able to blend into the Greek culture. In smaller villages on the mainland and on lesser-known islands, you are much more likely to become a part of true Greek life. People here will be super friendly and helpful, they will cook you food or invite you over for dinner and most importantly, they will make you relax and feel safe during your stay in Greece.

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

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Don’t flush your toilet paper

All over Greece, you can find signs, saying that you are not supposed to throw any toilet paper in the water closet and flush.

Did you ever wonder why?

The reason you can not flush your toilet paper in Greece is simple. The Greek draining system is not designed for it. The waste pipes are simply not wide enough. With only 5 centimeters (a little less than 2 inches), it is less than half of the pipes in other countries. Flushing toilet paper in Greece can easily cause constipation in the sewer system from which a whole town will suffer. So don’t do it!

It is normal for the Greeks

As an architect, however, I could not agree with the Greeks understanding this reason and not doing anything about it. Why don’t you use the paper that disappears when it is in contact with water? For what reason don’t you start building houses that do have a wide enough pipe to flush paper? Why doesn’t the government do something about it?

Turns out, that the Greeks don’t share this problem with me. They are so used to not flushing their toilet paper that it is just the most normal thing for them to do. So whenever my Greek family is visiting the Netherlands, I am cleaning their dirty paper.

Tips for when you’re uncomfortable

It might feel weird that someone else will literally have to clean your shit in Greece. Especially when the cleaning person is your new mother-in-law! I wasn’t able to go number two for a while when I stayed in Greece the first time. It just seemed too weird and confronting for me. However, my boyfriend gave me three tips.

  • The Greeks don’t know any better
    It is normal for mothers, maids and basically everyone else that toilet paper ends up in a bin that needs to be emptied on a daily basis. For them, it is not strange or dirty. It is just the way it is.
  • No one actually touches your dirty paper
    All the Greek toilet bins, close at the top and have a plastic bag inside them. When they are emptied, no one actually has to touch the paper. They just get the plastic bag, lift it out of the bin and close it.
  • Just wrap it in unused paper
    As a girl I learned that when I get rid of a used tampon, I wrap it in toilet paper before I put it in a bin. With toilet paper in Greece, you have to do the same thing. Don’t use it and throw it immediately, wrap it in clean paper instead. This way, the bin will seem just filled with paper waste. Less confronting for you, and the people who clean it.

Bring your own toilet paper

Although the Greeks accept collecting their dirty paper in a bin, they also understand that they are the only ones. They know that the many tourists that visit Greece each year, will either refuse or forget that they are not supposed to flush their paper.

As a result, even the most luxurious hotels will provide you with the shittiest quality of toilet paper. So when you accidentally flush it, not much harm is done. Understandable from them, imagine a stay in Santorini with sewer liquids and smells everywhere. However, it is not very pleasant when you stay in Greece. My tip: take your own well-layered toilet paper with you, and don’t flush it.

The doors don’t lock

In many taverns, bars, shops, and other semi-public places, something strange is happening in Greece. The toilet door can not be locked. The first time I encountered one of these toilets I had the luck to be with some Greek friends who could explain to me how to encounter these types of toilets.

Apparently, it is very normal in Greece that toilet doors only close but can not be secured to assure your privacy. The main thing to remember here is to open the toilet door fully when you’re done. This way, everyone can see upon entering which toilet is occupied and which is free. Reducing the chance of someone entering during your private moment.

However, when someone does accidentally open an occupied door, the Greeks say “Ólous“. Ólous means everyone, but in this case something more like someone else. Remember this word on the Greek toilets to save yourself, as well as the Greeks, from an embarrassing situation.

The squat toilets

Imagine you’re having dinner at a restaurant in a building that used to be an old train station. After about a liter of beer, you have to visit the powder room. The Greeks around you tell you to follow the train tracks for a couple of meters and you will find it on your left. Easy right?

I was in this situation during my first week in Greece. I followed the tracks, in the dark, surrounded by the sound of hungry stray dogs. After walking for five minutes there was a little building on my left so I entered. What I found was a hole in the ground and a green garden hose connected to a sink. Strange. I walked back, thinking I had missed the real toilet completely.

Later I heard that the place I had found was a real Greek toilet. Public toilets in Greece can be no more than a hole in the ground, a pit toilet. And the garden hose was just there to replace the bidet. According to the Greeks, this is actually the cleanest way to pee in public. Even though the toilets are not cleaned often, look terrible and feel like they came straight from the middle ages, you don’t need to touch anything. Making you immune to all the bacteria that live in there.

Have you ever been to a toilet in Greece? We're curious to learn about how you experienced this! Or do you have any questions related to toilets in Greece? Leave a comment below!

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