Is Greece Expensive? Our Guide To Your Budget For Traveling

Is Greece expensive
Photo by Joseph Richard Francis
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Is Greece expensive? You asked, so we answered. Here’s the JTG guide to how much things cost in this sun-kissed land of feta and moussaka at the southern end of Europe. We’ll take a look at everything, from the average price of a midrange holiday in Greece to what you can expect to spend on food and drink while hopping the famously beautiful islands of the Aegean Sea.

Generally speaking, we’d say Greece is about halfway up the league table of Europe’s priciest destinations. It’s not as extortionate as Paris or London here, but then it’s not as cheap as some parts of Eastern Europe, like Poland or Ukraine. Things will also get WAY cheaper here if you choose to travel outside of the main season, which runs from June to the end of August, in line with Europe’s school breaks.

On top of that, the cost of a vacation to Greece depends a whole lot on where you want to go and how you want to travel. If you’re determined to see the legendary caldera of Santorini and only stay in uber-chic cave hotels with private infinity pools then you might need to have some more dollars in the bank than if you’re after a rustic jaunt to a cabin on the coast of the Peloponnese.

The average cost of a holiday to Greece

Greek beach
Photo by Joseph Richard Francis

We’d estimate that the average cost of a holiday to Greece in the summer season months is around $1,700-2,500 per person for two weeks. That will include everything from airfare to accommodation, right down to the smaller costs of eating out in tavernas and grabbing a cold water on the go for touring the Acropolis in Athens (hey, it all adds up!).

Of course, we’ve made quite a few assumptions and estimations in our calculation here. Let’s break it down so you can see the sort of holiday that $2k will get you in this land of gorgeous islands and mythic ruins…

  • Airfare – $200 per person is a good estimation of what you can expect to pay on a European low-cost carrier for a flight back and forth from London or Berlin. Remember that long-haul flights in from the US to Athens will be considerably more than that, up to a whopping $1,400+ per person, and even more if you want to fly direct.
  • Accommodation – Hotels in Greece vary a lot in price (more on that later) but we’ve estimated around $60 per night for a couple here.
  • Food and drink – Assuming you’ll get breakfast in your hotel in Greece, we’d guess at about $80 per person, per day for food and drink.
  • Transport – There are good deals on car rentals in Greece, but there’s also good public transport options around most islands and in Athens. Some folks also won’t even need transport, so about $10 a day is a good ballpark.
  • Sightseeing – Admission to some of the most famous sights in Greece (the Acropolis, Mycenae, Epidaurus) costs as much as 15 EUR ($17) per head, but lesser-known sights won’t be quite as much as that. Overall, you’re looking at about $100 total if you visit a couple of places.

Now let’s take a look at the costs you can expect in Greece in a little more detail…

Is Greece expensive for accommodation?

Greek hotels
Photo by Joseph Richard Francis

Greece is about average for accommodation when you compare it to other vacation hotspots in Europe. We think a good range to look at spending here is between $40-120 a night. That can usually secure you a very nice hotel that’s close to the beach (if it’s an island) and close to the sights (in Athens), usually with breakfast included. The most expensive hotels of all can hit over $400 a night – you’re talking uber-boutique cave hotels on the side of the Santorini caldera, though. Budget stays can be had for $10 a night, in easy-going backpacker hostels in the towns.

Here’s a look at a few hotel options from both ends of the spectrum:

  • Phos The Boutique ($$$) – A stunning hotel that’s crying out for the A-listers and the influencers, perched with its infinity pools above the southern side of Santorini.
  • The Authentic Village ($$) – This all-new hotel in Crete’s rugged southern region is a joy to be at, offering sleek rooms at midrange prices within reach of iconic Loutro Beach.
  • The Pink Palace Hostel ($) – A good option for budget-conscious backpackers on Corfu Island, the Pink Palace has dorm rooms, views of the sea, and in-house pub crawls.

One thing you will notice in Greece is that the cost of accommodation will plummet when the high season turns to the shoulder season. Yep, stick around for September, or fly early on in May, and you could find that you pay about 40% less for a room that costs way more in June, July, or August.

Is Greece expensive for food?

Getting around Greece
Photo by Joseph Richard Francis

The food in Greece is one of the highlights of a trip. Whether you’re munching down on a gyros from a hole-in-the-wall in Athens or settling in for some meticulously cooked seafood fusion on the shores of Little Venice in Mykonos, you won’t want lack of funds to get in your way of enjoying the local kitchen.

So, how much can you expect to spend on grub in these parts? Here’s a look at some average prices of dishes in Greek eateries.

  • A gyros from a fast-food stall in Athens – €2.50-€4 ($2.80-4.50)
  • Four or five small dishes (mezze) in a local taverna – €12 ($13.50)
  • Grilled beef steak in a local taverna – €14 ($16)
  • A Greek beer in a restaurant or bar – €3-6 ($3.40-6.75)

Food, unlike accommodation, won’t change in price just because of the season. That said, you might find that there are far fewer places open in the winter months as in the summer, especially on tourist-driven islands like Milos, Zante, and Ios.

Is Greece expensive for nightlife?

Athens sights
Photo by Joseph Richard Francis

That all depends on the sort of nightlife you’re after. We’ll go right ahead and assume you’re not some A-list Hollywood star wanting to glug the best champagne in the best bars and the top-shelf ouzo all night. In that case, Greece actually comes in as pretty affordable when weighed against other Euro party hotspots.

We’d say Mykonos, which is probably the chicest party island of them all, has places that are roughly in line with what you’d pay in Ibiza. However, it doesn’t have the same soaring prices for entry to the mega-clubs – think DJ show tickets in the region of €40-50 ($44-56), not €100+!

When it comes to drinking, there are some islands that are WAY pricier than others. Mykonos, again, stands out from the crowd, with cocktails that can be €8-15 ($9-17) and beers that cost €5 ($5.60) at popular party areas like Paradise Beach. On the flip side, you can find chilled bars that aren’t in Greek nightlife towns that offer beers for less than $3 each.

There are also some great deals on all-you-can-drink parties and shots on entry in 18-30s places like Malia and Kavos – just keep a lookout for the reps!

The cost of things to do in Greece

The Lion Gate in Mycenae
Photo by Joseph Richard Francis

Because a lot of the fun of Greece is in lazing on the beach, the things you do during your vacation here aren’t likely to cost anything near the same amount as, say, a ski holiday in Aspen or the Alps. The reason? Lazing on the beach is totally, 100% free. You won’t have to pay a penny for the privilege of enjoying the shoreline. Good, eh?

There are some exceptions to that rule. You will have to fork out for a car rental or a boat trip (costing between $50-60 for the whole day) to see the likes of Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos. And you might want to rent a sunbed to sit on – the price for those ranges from free (so long as you buy something in the associated restaurant/bar) to $20 for the day in the most expensive spots.

Access to the famous historical sights of Greece isn’t cheap. But that’s the cost of them coming well-maintained and protected. As an example, it’s €15 ($17) a head to get into the Acropolis compound in Athens, and the ancient ruins of Delphi and Epidaurus alike. Smaller sites do cost less, with the Minoan palace of Phaistos in south Crete costing just €6 ($6.75) per person. There are also great discounts for students, so bring that ID card!

The cost of traveling to Greece

Photo by Joseph Richard Francis

Last but not least, you have to factor in the cost of traveling to and from Greece. You gotta’ get on the ground to enjoy the fresh Aegean fish cuts and the sizzling saganaki cheeses, amiright? Thankfully, all that’s now easier (and cheaper) than it’s ever been because there are now countless airports serving individual islands across Greece, along with a newly enlarged main airport in Athens.

That means all sorts of low-cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair, and WizzAir especially) link various destinations in Greece with various destinations across Europe. As a roundabout figure, expect to pay $200 for a return with bags from London in the peak season months, perhaps a little more to in-demand isles like Santorini and Mykonos. Of course, long-haul flights will set you back considerably more than that.

To get to islands that aren’t served by their very own airport (and there are lots of those – Milos, Folegandros, Lefkas), you might have to catch a ferry. There’s a fantastically comprehensive network in Greece these days. Links go from Piraeus in Athens to many of the most popular isles, and from Paros to most of the Cyclades chain. Rhodes, meanwhile, is the main hub of the eastern Dodecanese.

You can pay anything from €10 ($11.50) for a short ride of 30 minutes to over €150 ($168) for an overnighter from the capital to Rhodes, for example. Just be sure to book in advance, as boat connections do sell out for the summer months.

Is Greece expensive? A conclusion

If you’re wondering is Greece expensive, then we’d say not really. This country can be expensive if you limit yourself to the five-star hotels on islands like Mykonos and Santorini. But it’s actually a little cheaper than much of northern Europe on the whole. You can also significantly cut the cost of what you pay for a vacation to Greece by traveling in the shoulder season months of spring and fall, not to mention winter, which is low season and great for seeing the major sights without the crowds.

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Joe has been a freelance travel writer for over nine years. His writing and roaming have taken him from the colonial towns of Mexico to the chowks of Mumbai to the Southern Alps of New Zealand. When he's not putting together the next epic blog on the best Greek islands or ski fields in France, you can usually find him surfing or hiking – his two top hobbies.