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10 Tips for visiting the Greek Islands on a budget

Dreaming of visiting the Greek Islands, but you don’t have all you need to enjoy an Instagram-perfect trip (i.e. money)? Don’t worry; you can still take your memorable shots and experience Greece to its maximum while being on a budget if you follow these 10 tips below. 1

1. Travel off-peak

Or at least avoid July and August! Prices in September and October tend to drop, both for flight tickets and hotels! The beach is great that time of the year, and you get to avoid the extreme heat of summer (it can easily be above 30oC at noon during summer). However, keep in mind that (early) September is also quite hot.

2. Avoid Mykonos and Santorini

Although there are many direct flights to these islands, which make them more easily accessible, accommodation is rather expensive. If you still want to visit them for those magnificent sunsets or their clear blue beaches, opt for a nearby island. The closest (inhabited) island to Mykonos is Tinos. Naxos and Siros are also nearby. For Santorini, look for accommodation in Ios or Folegandros. You can then day-trip to Mykonos or Santorini!

Mykonos, Greece
Enjoy a walk in cosmopolitan Mykonos, Source: Pexels

3. Check the type of the ferry

High-speed ferries are usually more expensive and may require an advance booking. Most ferries also accept cars, with an extra cost, unless you are going to a car-free island, like Hydra and Kastellorizo.

4. Choose an inside seat (if it is air-conditioned)

Save money on aftersun creams and sunburn therapies by choosing an inside seat. Most ferries have both an indoor (air-conditioned) and an outdoor sitting area. Personally, I would go for an indoor seat to avoid the summer heat, especially during noon (in general, it is advisable to avoid being outside between 11 am and 4 pm) and spontaneously go out to take pictures and fresh air. If you sit outside, bring a hat and lots of sun cream!

5. Bring your own snacks on board

Even though most ferries have bars with snacks and drinks, they are usually overpriced!

6. Avoid beaches with an entrance fee

Renting umbrellas and sunbeds can be quite expensive on its own. You can simply cut costs by going to a beach with free entry! Even better, bring your own umbrella and folding chair! Don’t forget to pack your own snacks too and remember to clean your space afterwards!

Santorini, Greece
Be on time for a sunset overlooking the Aegean Sea, Santorini, Source: Pexels

7. Rent a car, not a boat

If you want to visit one of those secluded beaches that you see online, then you will need a bit of planning. Most of them are not easily (and cheaply) reached. Some of them require a two-to-three-hour drive from the closest city (best case), or they are only accessible by boat. Renting a car is clearly not as expensive as renting a boat, so opt for a beach that is accessible via road, and make sure you know the way there!

8. Avoid overpriced restaurants

Main meals in restaurants usually should be around €10-15 each. Street food (souvlaki, gyros – meat in pita bread or wrap) costs even less.

9. Check the total price before ordering fresh fish

In many cases, the price of fresh fish is calculated by the weight and type of fish (you may also be able to choose which fish you want to eat). Before ordering, ask for the total price if not shown!

10. Enjoy the Greek hospitality

The last tip is not related to money, but rather to the basis of your trip. Wander around the picturesque streets, taste the Greek cuisine and the authentic ingredients that are used, talk to the locals, take a donkey ride (it may be touristy but where else can you ride a donkey by the sea?)!


P.S. If you visit 3 Greek islands and islets (both inhabited and not) every day you will need more than 5 years to visit them all. VisitGreece reports that the total number of Greek islands and islets is 6000.

1. This article was originally published in Felix, the student newspaper of Imperial College London, on the 8th of June 2018.

Elina Michaelidou

Elina is a computer science graduate and a traveller enthusiastic. Read everything about her travel experiences here.

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