Greece opened its doors to international travelers in April 2021, starting with tourists from countries such as Israel, then gradually opening to most international travelers.
As part of the European Union, it applies the current European regulations but also follows specific national guidelines.
In July, up to 12 million international tourists had already visited Greece. So what would be our top 5 Travel tips for a Greece vacation this year?
Travel Tip 1: Plan your travel documents carefully
As of August 2021, fully vaccinated travelers can enter Greece without a PCR test, if they present their vaccination certificate. Travelers also need to present their vaccination certificate to board any ship or vessel to the Greek islands, for island hopping. English certificates are valid, as are certificates in French, Italian, German or Russian.
If you want to keep up to date with requirements while traveling in Greece, check the official Greek governmental website https://travel.gov.gr/ in English.
Travelers must also fill a “PLF” electronic form, prior to their departure. This provides full details of accommodation white in Greece, as well as the duration of stays in other countries previously.
Before you return home, should you need to have PCR test or rapid test done, these are available throughout Greece. For example, on Hydra Island, there are currently two laboratories providing these services, for an average cost of US$80.
From Santorini, one of the world’s most famous islands, to Ikaria, also regarded as the island of longevity, Greece offers many destinations to choose from. If you like a busy schedule, you can decide to sail and hop between a few places. If you are more of a beach potato, you may enjoy exploring Naxos, or Paros for a couple of days: in these Greek islands, you can also taste Greek foods and discover historical landmarks.
There are continuous ferry connections from Piraeus’ harbor, and some groups of islands, such as the Cyclades, are within easy reach of each other. For example, it would make sense convenient to plan a trip from Athens, to Paros, sail on to Naxos, and then Santorini.
Should you not want to explore the maritime side of Greece, you can choose to rent a car, and explore the mainland. Rich in monuments, museums, and traditional villages, a perfect Greek vacation in 2021 could include the Pelion peninsula or the Mani area.
Travel Tip 3: Plan the logistics before you go
Take the hassle off your trip, and consider your travel options before getting to Greece. By doing so, you will enjoy your vacation count down even more!
If you are island-hopping, check out the different ferry companies, as some groups of islands are more convenient to explore together: for example, you may be better off visiting Corfu, Cephalonia and Ithaki together, rather than planning on visiting Corfu, then Rhodes, then Mykonos.
Secondly, if you are prone to seasickness, you can choose a flight to some of the destinations, instead of sailing there. A flight to Naxos is only around 35 minutes, and the airport is right near town.
All tickets are available online, with each ferry company direct website, or through an aggregator, such as Greeka.
If you do not want to plan your own itinerary, an effective way to visit Greece in 2021 is to join a cruise: there are many small and bigger ships offering trips around the Greek Islands and mainland destinations, such as Corinth, Delphi, or Nafplion.
Also, you can decide on renting a car, with major car companies based at Athens Airport, it is easy to explore Cape Sounion, or the Meteors from the Greek capital.
Travel Tip 4: Explore Greek Foods
While traveling in Greece, you will discover so many sides of Greek gastronomy. Each region has a special dish, and special ingredients: in Naxos, try the potatoes and the cheese Graviera, in Santorini, taste the small tomato doughnuts, in Athens, the “souvlaki”.
The Greek Islands are famous for their seafood dishes, such as “Octopothaki” or octopus salad, grilled octopus, and “marinated anchovies”.
If you are vegetarian, even vegan, you will have plenty of choices in Greece. Locals may not agree with this choice, but they are used to it now, and most taverns offer vegetarian choices. Consider picking stuffed zucchini, fava beans purée, or okra greens.
With the development of AirBnB’s, supermarkets are also fully ready for all types of diet requirements: from gluten-free to organic juices, most items are easily available in the most touristic places. In smaller remote locations, you may stick to the local’s bakery and get your fish direct from the boat.
Travel Tip 5: Keep some time for the Greek capital Athens!
Many visitors tend to skip Athens in their Greece vacation. However, we strongly recommend you include it in your travel plans! The Greek capital city is great to explore both in summer and winter.
Off-season, there are many exhibitions and concerts to attend, while in spring or summer, you can go up to hotel or restaurant terraces and enjoy panoramic views of Athens. One of our favorite spots is “A for Athens”: Located at Number 4, Miaouli Street, opposite the metro stop Monastiraki.
The basement is a hotel, but once you pass through the reception, and take the elevator to the 6th floor, you will find its own rooftop bar-restaurant, splits on a few levels. The view is stunning, panoramic, from Monastiraki Square, to the Acropolis, at 365 degrees.
On Sunday mornings, the whole area tucked between Monastiraki station, Ermou Street and Thisseo becomes alive as the Athens’s Flea Market. You can find anything there, from a book you were looking for, to old 45 vinyl, crystal glasses, musical instruments, rugs.
On weekdays, there are still antique shops around, but less a feel of the flea market. You can always enter shops selling furniture, old ceramics, music CD or vinyl. It is easy to spend one hour strolling around this area, and you never know, you may find the unique souvenir you were looking for your loved ones.
Ermou Street and Psyrri are nearby, with trendy cafés and designers’ outlets. Barber shops, handmade leather items (bags or sandals), custom-made shoes, and bronzes: everything and anything can be found in Central Athens!
In the summertime, you can easily escape the heat while visiting the numerous museums located in Athens. From the Cycladic museum to the Acropolis Museum, all are within walking distance of subway stations. Their interactive material is in English and is great if you are traveling with kids too.
All in all, Greece is an inclusive holiday destination, from sea resorts to ski locations, with focus on travelers’ safety enjoyment.
Whether you are traveling single, in groups, in families or you are pensioners, soon, all you want will be Greece!