The nation of Greece is one of the most vibrant, ancient, and culturally rich countries in the entire world. This exotic and historic environment draws visitors from all over each year, all wishing to experience the Greek culture first hand. Greece is famous for its delicious foods, welcoming personalities, and breathtaking nature. However, exploring all of this as a visitor can get a bit cumbersome. Simply put, Greece has a lot of tourists. Visiting a popular tourist destination can often feel like you are only seeing the surface of a country, rather than the real roots. That is why, when you find yourself in Greece, you need to know how to travel like a local. Here are a few tips and tricks.
Avoid The ‘Tourist’ Islands
Almost everyone who visits Greece goes to the same handful of destinations. Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, etc,. While these islands do have local cultures, they are almost entirely catered to tourism-it’s how their local economy survives. If you want to experience the real Greece, you need to visit islands with little to no tourist activity. Islands such as Samos, Ithaca, Skiathos, etc,. Even mainland Greece has absolutely breathtaking destinations such as the Pelion Peninsula and Patras. When you pick the right destination, you will feel far less like a tourist and much more like a local.
Avoid Tourist Attractions
Tourist attractions can be fun once in a while–they are there for a reason. However, there are far more wondrous places in Greece than just the Parthenon and the Temple of Delphi. The nation of Greece is filled with ancient monuments and old-world attractions to see and experience.
For example, the island of Samos is the ancient home of mathematician Pythagoras and is filled with leftover ruins from his time. Visiting the ‘famous’ places will leave your photos and experience packed with thousands of other tourists. Try to experience the hidden gems away from the beaten path.
Much like any country, there are going to be people who want to take advantage of travelers who are none the wiser. There are some general rules when traveling to Greece that you should know:
- Never take anything offered to you for ‘free’ by people on the street, it’s a scam.
- Never go to currency exchange places unless you have no other choice.
- Always go to banks.
- Always negotiate the price of a taxi before getting inside it. Greece is a very safe country for visitors, but there are always those who want to take advantage of lost tourists.
- Always try to use your better judgment with your valuables, and money.
The general rule of thumb when visiting any tourist’s favorite’ destination is to always go against the herd. These countries have fine-tuned their tourist experiences to be almost seamless to the point that you don’t know you’re being ‘sold something’. Always try to branch out from the central areas, explore the back alley cafes, avoid the tourist islands, and experience Greece like a real Greek!