Dreaming of visiting the Greek Islands but 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 travelling on a budget if you follow the following tips.
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 year, and you get to avoid the extreme heat of summer (it can easily get above 30oC at noon). However, keep in mind that (early) September is also quite hot.
Avoid Mykonos & Santorini
Although there are many direct flights to these islands, which makes them more easily accessible, accommodation is rather expensive there. If you still wish 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!
Check the ferry type
High-speed ferries are usually more expensive and may require an advance booking. Most ferries also accept cars for extra cost, unless they are going to a car-free island, like Hydra and Kastellorizo. On a side note: choose a seat inside the ferry if it’s air-conditioned! Most ferries have both an indoor and an outdoor sitting area. Personally, I would go for an indoor seat to avoid the summer heat, especially at noon (in general, it is advisable to avoid being outside between 11am and 4pm), and spontaneously go out to take pictures and get some fresh air. If you sit outside, bring a hat and lots of sun cream!
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 easy (or cheap) to reach. 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 by road and make sure you know the way there.
Avoid paid beaches
Renting umbrellas and sunbeds can be quite expensive on their own. You can simply cut costs by going to a beach with free entry. Even better, bring your own umbrella and a folding chair. Don’t forget to pack your own snacks too and remember to clean your space afterwards.
Avoid overpriced meals
Main meals in restaurants usually should be around €10-15 each. Street food like souvlaki or gyros (meat in pita bread or wrap) costs even less. Also, be sure to check the total price before ordering fresh fish in restaurants – in many cases, the price is calculated by 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. Finally, when travelling by ferry, you can bring your own snacks on board – even though most ferries have bars with food and drinks, they are usually overpriced.
**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 used, talk to the locals, and take a donkey ride.
Fun fact: If you visited 3 different Greek islands and islets (both inhabited and not) every day, you would need more than 5 years to visit them all. visitgreece.gr reports that the total number of Greek islands and islets is 6,000!