Greece is famous for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters and ancient history. More than 12 million tourists visit each year. Tourism generates much revenue for the country's struggling economy. Travelers, especially those from the European Union (EU) countries, flock to Greece each year to enjoy the sun-drenched coasts and islands as well as historical sites.
Although Greece consists of thousands of islands, only 169 are inhabited. Athens, the mainland capital and one of the oldest cities in the world, Rhodes, a medieval fortress town, and the bustling city of Corfu are famous vacation hot spots for both their history and hospitality. The Dodecanese, the cluster of islands known for crystal waters and southeastern sun, and the Cyclades, a group of sandy-beached islands in the Aegean, are two of the most popular destinations in Greece for those wishing to soak up the sun.
When to Go
If cost is a factor, travel in the earlier or later months of the season. Book your accommodations in advance. There are many options, such as hotels, hostels, self-service apartments and villa or room rentals. You will get better rates in the off-season of May through mid-June and September and October, along with the bonus of pleasantly warm weather. In addition, beaches and ancient sites are not as crowded at that time. The high season, mid-June to August, is also the hottest period, with temperatures soaring into the triple digits. From November to February, skies are cloudy with wet, winter weather and many hotels and restaurants, especially on the islands, are closed until April.
Depending on their countries of origin, travelers may need a visa and should consult their nearest Greek consulate or travel agency. Passports are required for identification and for many transactions, such as car rentals, currency exchange or air travel. Small appliances from the U.S. require a transformer while those from the U.K. need an adapter to convert the electrical current to 230V or 50 Hz. Credit cards used abroad should be reported to banks before departure to avoid any unnecessary holds on transactions.
In Greece, the public transport system is widespread. The bus system, KTEL (Koino Tamio Eispraxeon Leoforion), connects urban areas with networks reaching out into rural areas. Cars and motorcycles are available for hire at local agencies or major rental companies. The ferry system is comprehensive and services all inhabited islands. Greek Railways Organization, known as the OSE, operates only two main lines, therefore travel is limited. If time is a factor, a guided tour is always a good option to see as much as possible.
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