A collection of Greece backpacking information. Whether you need entry visa information, work ideas for backpackers, or Greece hostels, it's all here.

Backping Greece

Looking for important travel information while backpacking around Greece? Here you will find information on working in Greece, entry visas, Greece hostels, and much more.

Table of Contents

Greece travel and backpacking information including entry visa requirements, work for backpackers, Greece hostels, and Greek phrasebook. A great starting point for your backpacking trip to Greece.

Facts About Greece

This country has left a legacy on worldwide history that far belies its modern importance. From Greece sprang the fundamentals of modern philosophy, maths and science as well as significant contributions to art and engineering. The ancient Greeks are responsible for large chunks of what is now international culture such as the spread of democracy and western values.

This of course means that visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to seeing ancient Greek ruins and artefacts however there is plenty more to do whilst in Greece. Most visitors these days are attracted by the gorgeous beaches, the Aegean Sea and all night parties. With Greece becoming an increasingly popular destination you can expect the comfort and conveniences of modern Europe yet stood side by side with both relics of a glorious and ancient empire and the simple life of many Greek citizens.

  • Currency: Euro (€) 1 euro = 100 cents
  • Time Zone: GMT + 2
  • Language: Greek
  • Telephone Services: Country code +30, International access code 00
  • Emergency Numbers: 112 for all services

Climate

Situated in the Mediterranean Greece has the climate you would come to expect. Be prepared for dry hot days with the occasional cool breeze in summer. Athens is especially hot due to the smog during the summer. Evenings can get quite cool in the summer so be prepared for this! In the winter the northern part of the country can be quite cold, the south however is much milder. Throughout Greece the rainy season occurs between November and March when you can expect high levels of precipitation.

Greece climate map including average rainfall and temperature by month. Find the best time to backpack Greece based on your climate preferences

Things to see and do

The capital Athens was according to Greek mythology won by Athena (goddess of wisdom) from Poseidon. The story tells of how Athena’s victory was honoured by the construction of a temple on the Acropolis. The Acropolis is a large stony hill at the centre of Athens, it was the site of the original settlement and is now home to the pantheon which is a temple depicting ancient Greece’s many gods and goddesses. The traffic and smog can be quite bad in Athens but it is worth enduring for some of the most varied and bustling restaurants and nightlife in the country. The best thing to do in Athens is spend a few days checking out the sights during the day and living it up at night, then head out for some fresher air in other parts of Greece.

Elsewhere in Greece there are plenty of other attractions to see, one of the most popular is Delphi. This ancient city supposedly marked the centre of the Greek world and is located high on Mount Parnassos. Famously the site of the Oracle of Apollo the ruins are now a major tourist attraction and for just over 10 euros you can get entrance to the actual ruins themselves and the associated museum.

A short ferry hop from Athens can take you across to the Island of Crete. By far the most interesting place on this sunny little Island is the city of Knossos. This city was built by the ancient Minoans and was reputedly home to King Minos, the labyrinth and the mythical half-bull half-man known as the minotaur. Large parts of Knossos have been restored and there is visitor access to the Palace of Knossos, the royal villa, the house of frescoes and the Temple Tomb.

Finally most travellers like to take in the birthplace of the Olympics, Olympia. This remarkable site is situated in the Peloponnesus Valley, about 200km west of Athens. There are numerous famous buildings to see here including the famed hippodrome and the magnificent temple of Zeus. While here why not try to make time to see some of the lesser known sites as well like the Palaestra (wrestling school) and the Heraeum.

Travel

The Greek rail network is quite poor by European standards. You will find no service at all on the Greek Islands, a reasonable system on the Peloponnese peninsula. There are a few international rail connections from Greece but you will find connection to Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey from Athens or Thessaloniki.

If you are travelling by rail always try to book your seat a few days in advance and ask for a free seat reservation. The trains can be quite busy and in the heat of a typical Greek summers day you will definitely not want to be standing up for a couple of hours on a train. Whatever you do don’t purchase your ticket on the train as you will be charged 50% extra on the price served at stations.

The European train passes are all valid in Greece although if you are travelling only in the Balkans (Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey) then a Balkans rail pass may offer better value for money. This pass is a flexi-pass style ticket and allows between 5 and 15 days travel within a 1 month period. A youth discount is available for under 25’s and prices start as low as 65 euros. These passes are available online from railkey.com.

Due to the somewhat lacking train service most travellers find bus a much more convenient way to get around in Greece. KTEL runs most domestic Greek routes while OSE serves international routes. Almost all cities of any size have a central bus depot with left-luggage facilities. Larger cities such as Athens may have more than one such station (Athens in fact has 3).

Prices are generally cheaper than taking the train and you won’t normally have to book in advance unless it is exceptionally busy. There have been a few cases of luggage theft from buses so take normal security precautions such as if you intend sleeping ensure your baggage is stowed securely in the luggage compartment or out of sight of potential thieves.

Accommodation

Hotels in Greece range from the luxurious and high class common on the larger Greek Islands and the southern mainland to small seasonal chalets available almost everywhere. In the summer tourist season you will definitely have to book in advance or prepare to be disappointed. Self catering chalets and houses are a common form of accommodation on the Greek Islands and can usually be booked on the spot.

Paradosiakoi oikismoi or traditional settlements can be found throughout the country. These are traditional Greek hostels and most offer single, double or triple rooms or a four bedroom house depending on numbers. These are a little more expensive than youth hostels but the quality is generally quite a bit higher and you won’t find any dorms in these type of lodgings.

Greece has only one hostel which is recognized by the International Youth Hostel Federation, this is located on Victor Hugo street in Athens, you can find more information at its hostel website.

The Greek Youth Hostel Association does maintain a list of their own with a lot more hostels on it but unfortunately they don’t have a website at the moment. The best method of contact at the moment is postal or by phone and you can find the Greek Youth Hostels Association’s address in our useful addresses section at the bottom of this page.

Health

The Greek National Health system provides medical service to Greek NI contributors and operates a reciprocal agreement with the British NHS. This means with an EH 111 form you should receive medical attention should you need it. Be aware that many services which would be done on the NHS in the UK may require a private doctor in Greece so it is wise to have comprehensive travel insurance.

The standard of healthcare whilst generally good does lag behind western Europe in some ways. In particular the ambulance service is stretched and is very basic so if you really need urgent attention and can move freely a taxi to the nearest hospital might be quicker than waiting for an ambulance (if there is any danger that movement might make the patient worse then always wait for an ambulance).

Greece, being part of the EU means that EU nationals or USA nationals will need only their passport or national ID card. No visa is required for a stay of up to 3 months. If you intend to stay longer or intend to work in Greece you should contact the Greek embassy.

Entry Visas for Greece

Addresses

The Greek Youth hostels association maintains a list of Greek recognised youth hostels :

  • Greek Youth Hostel Organization
  • 75 Damareos Street
  • Athens
  • Tel: (210) 75.19.530

The Greek Embassy should be contacted for visa and immigration related enquiries:

  • Embassy of the Hellenic Republic
  • 1A Holland Park
  • London
  • W11 3TP
  • Tel: (020) 7 229 3850
  • 7221 6467 (visa section)
  • Fax: (020) 7 229 7221

While in Greece you can find UK representation at :

  • British Embassy
  • Odos Ploutarchou 1
  • 106 75 Athens
  • Greece
  • Tel: + [30] (1) 72 72 600
  • Fax: + [30] (1) 727 2711

Foreigner Work Permits in Greece

EU nationals wishing to stay in Greece for longer than three months must apply for a residence permit within their three months of arrival. This can be obtained from a local police station, and you will need to show your passport and proof of having found employment. You must also register with the National Health Insurance Scheme (IKA). Greece has a great tourist industry, not only on the mainland but on its islands too. Greeks usually work a 5 day, 40 hour week.

Seasonal Work

Casual work in bars, clubs, and restaurants are best found by enquiring in person and most vacancies are likely in the busier tourist areas. Wages will depend on where you can find work, and what type of work it is, but remember that a lot of casual work in tourist areas can be busy and demanding. As unfair as it seems, women are generally more likely to find work in clubs and bars for the customers they attract.

Mark Warner is a recruitment organisation with links to resorts in Greece. Each year applicants are sent to various resorts in both summer and winter as sports coaches, pool attendants, aerobics instructors etc. See below for website details, where you can see jobs available and make an application.

Touting

As well as providing work in their kitchens, bars, and as cleaners, many Greek hostels and hotels employ people to publicise their establishment to passing tourists. Touting is a general term for handing out leaflets, putting up posters, and talking to passers-by. Given its high tourist occupation, Athens is a good starting place for this type of work. Working hours will usually be late since most jobs will be found at night entertainment spots, and wages will vary but do not expect pay to be flourishing.

Agricultural Work

Harvests throughout the year yield oranges, bananas, potatoes, olives, and grapes, in a number of places including Tol, Argos, and Crete. Most agricultural work can be found by enquiring in person to various farmers. The majority of jobs on farms will not pay particularly well and can be hard-work requiring long hours to earn anything decent. If you are predominantly interested in the type of work available on farms and have at least two years’ experience in the industry, the Young Farmer’s Clubs runs international schemes, including in Greece, that last between three and twelve months. Work is paid and although you are expected to pay your fares, the amount you earn will usually compensate for this.

Au Pairing

Athens is one of the surest places to find vacancies for au pair work in Greece. Agencies such as the Lady and Overseas Jobs Express and the Athenian Nanny Agency can arrange placements for 12 to 18 month placements with a Greek family. As an au pair you will be expected to look after the children, and perform general domestic duties such as cleaning. In some cases the family may pay your health insurance but it is important to check this and if they do not, arrange your own. Payment for Greek au pairs very much depends on how much responsibility you are given and on the family that you are placed with. Au pair jobs are also best found by word of mouth, and in the Athens News newspaper.

Volunteering

EIL is an organisation that places volunteers in projects, including environmental management and conservation, and working with people with disabilities. They offer a range of opportunities for volunteer work in other countries, including Greece. Projects usually last for six or twelve months and volunteers are provided with pocket money, language training, accommodation, food, flights, and insurance. For shorter-term projects, Concordia arranges international volunteer work including social and childcare. As with EIL, volunteers are provided with food and accommodation, but are expected to pay their own travel fees and insurance. Concordia also asks for a 75 euro registration fee.

Useful Addresses

  • National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs
  • The International Farm Experience Programme
  • YFC Centre
  • National Agricultural Centre
  • Stoneleigh Park
  • Kenilworth
  • Warwickshire CV8 2LG

 

  • Athenian Nanny Agency
  • PO Box 51181
  • Dodonis 1
  • Kifissia 145.10
  • Athens, Greece

Useful Links

Mark Warner is a good seasonal employer

EIL is a voluntary organisation working in Greece

Concordia is one of the voluntary organisations in Europe.

How to Say Common Greek Phrases

A collection of common Greek phrases. Get the english to Greek translation so you can communicate while backpacking Greece.

Meeting People

English
Greek (phonetic)
yes
nai’
no
o’hi
thank you
efharisto’
you are welcome
parakalo’
please
parakalo’
excuse me
signo’mi
hello
gia’sou
goodbye
andi’o sas
Good morning
Kalime’ra
Good night
Kalini’hta
I do not understand
Den katalave’no
Do you speak…?
Mila’te…?
English
Agglika’
Greek
Ellinika’
What is your name?
Pos se le’ne?
Nice to meet you
He’ro poli’
How are you?
Ti ka’nete?
good
kala’
bad
a’shima

Directions

English
Greek (phonetic)
map
xa’rtis
left
aristera’
right
deksia’
straight on
efthi’a
far
makria’
near
konda’

Methods of Transport

English
Greek (phonetic)
Where is…?
Pou i’ne
How much is the fare?
Po’so ka’ni to isiti’rio
ticket
esiti’rio
A ticket to…, please
E’na isiti’rio gia, parakalo’
Where are you going?
Pou’ pa’te
Where do you live?
Pou’ me’nis
train
tre’no
bus
leofori’o
underground
metro’
airport
aerodro’mio
train station
o stathmo’s tou tre’nou
bus station
o stathmo’s tou leofori’ou
underground station
o stathmo’s tou metro’
departure
anaho’rsis
arrival
a’fixis
parking
pa’rking

Time

English
Greek (phonetic)
What time is it?
Ti o’ra i’ne
today
si’mera
yesterday
hte’s
tomorrow
a’brio

Accommodation

English
Greek (phonetic)
hotel
ksenodohi’o
room
doma’tio
reservation
kra’tisi
Are there any vacancies?
E’hete e’na doma’tio gia’ apo’pse
No vacancies
den ipa’rhoun doma’tia
passport
diabatirio

Places

English
Greek (phonetic)
post office
taxidromi’o
bank
tra’peza
police station
astinomiko’tmi’ma
hospital
nosokomi’o
chemist
farmaki’o
shop
magazi’
restaurant
estiato’rio
museum
mousi’o
church
eklisi’a
squre
plati’a
street
dro’mos

Shopping

English
Greek (phonetic)
How much does this cost?
Po’so ka’ni afto’
I will buy it
Tha to agora’so
I would like to buy…
Tha i’thela na agora’so
Do you have…?
‘Ehete
open
anikta’
closed
klista’
postcard
ka’rt posta’l
stamps
gramato’sema
little
li’go
lot
poli’
all
o’la

Meals

English
Greek (phonetic)
breakfast
proino’
lunch
mesimeriano’
dinner
bradino’
vegetarian
gia hortofa’gous
cheers!
gia’sou
The bill please
Logariasmo’ parakalo

Drinks

English
Greek (phonetic)
drink
anapsiktiko’
coffee
kafe
tea
ts’ai
juice
himo’
water
nero’
beer
mbi’ra
wine
krasi’

Food

English
Greek (phonetic)
meat
kre’as
fish
psa’ri
vegetable
lahanika’
fruit
frou’ta
potato
pata’ta
salad
sala’ta
dessert
glika’

Buy phrasebooks online at Amazon.co.uk

Greece Hostels

Hostels are a cheap form of accomodation, and so they are essential to backpackers and other budget travellers. We have compiled a list of hostels in Greece to help you plan your journey. If you are looking for a hostel in Greece, you’ve come to the right place.

Athens Hostels
Crete Hostels
Cyclades Hostels
Dodecanese Islands
Ionian Islands Hostels
Nafplion Hostels
Peloponnese Hostels
Santorini Hostels 
Thessaloniki Hostels

There you have it, the ultimate Greece backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Greece.

Useful Links

The Greek National Tourism Organisation offers travel advice and tips in Greek, English or Spanish.

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