Mistakes People Make When Planning a Trip to Greece (and how to avoid them!)

A trip to Greece is a major bucket list item for so many–including me! I was so excited when my husband said he wanted to go to Greece for his big birthday trip, and I immediately started doing my research. One thing I found a lot of? Mistakes. Admitted mistakes from other bloggers hoping to help their readers avoid their mistakes and have a great trip.

This is so my thing! I love to be as prepared as possible, and I very much appreciate when others are kind enough to share their experiences to help me. So I’m passing along the same courtesy to you. I’ve included the top “mistakes to avoid” that I found from others, as well as some missteps we learned along the way, too. Here’s the ultimate list!

Assuming You Can Pop into Athens on your Layover

So, before I started planning our trip, I had no idea just how far the airport actually was from downtown Athens and all the historic sites. It’s actually outside the town of Spata, about 25 miles east of Athens. It’ll take you about 35-40 minutes by car, or 45-50 minutes by train. Add to that customs and border patrol when you land and time for security screening when you get back to the airport, and you’ll quickly run low on layover time!

Be sure to take a look at your timing before you plan to see the historic sites on your Athens layover!

Make sure your layover is at least 8 hours (24 is better!) if you want to see Athens while you’re there!
Read next: How to Handle a Layover

Thinking the Ferry is Always Cheaper than Flying to the Greek Isles

This depends on the island, of course, but you might be surprised at just how affordable flying to the Greek Islands can be! Not only will you be saving time (and your time is definitely worth something), you could also save quite a lot of your hard-earned money as well. Below is a screenshot of the travel options between Athens and Santorini, according to Rome2Rio.

You’re reading that right.
More here: The Worst Budget Busters (and how to avoid them)

Expecting Greek Food to Taste Like It Does in Your Home Country

Food is one of the best ways to experience any culture! And while you may think you know Greek food, and your favorite Greek place may be owned and operated by actual Greek people, it is different when it comes from the source. The ingredients they can get have been grown in different conditions, there’s a freshness factor, etc. Greek food just tastes different in Greece. You should be excited about this!

One other thing to note about authentic Greek food? It’s beautiful! The chef at every restaurant we visited–big or small, casual or fancy–took great pride in presenting a pretty plate, no matter what! I loved that.

Not only is the food amazing, it’s beautiful!
Keep reading: The Best Places to Eat in Oia, Santorini

Planning Every Minute of Your Trip

I’m a major planner, and my blog is largely about helping people plan trips! But one of the key elements of planning is flexibility. If you’ve planned your days down to the minute, you’ll miss out on some of the fun along the way. You’ll probably over-plan, too, meaning you’ve planned so many things, you won’t be able to get to them all!

For example, the sites will be farther apart than you thought, or traffic will trip you up, or you’ll get somewhere only to find that the hours have changed or it’s closed entirely! Give yourself some flexibility. Have a plan, but be willing to go with the flow as needed.

Don’t forget to be in the moment!
Read next: Exactly How to Plan a Trip

Not Arranging a Hotel Transfer on Santorini in Advance

This was the number 1 tip I found about Santorini in particular! You’ll want to coordinate your ride from the airport (or ferry terminal) to your accommodation before you arrive. Someone at your accommodation may even proactively reach out after you book to coordinate with you.

All the accommodations on the Caldera side of Santorini (overlooking the volcano from Oia, Fira, Imerovigli, etc.) are in pedestrian-only areas, and there are no street names! You will not only need someone to show you the way, you will be so glad a professional will be toting your luggage for you up and down all the slick stairs!

You will be so glad you booked your transfer in advance for a LOT of reasons!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Santorini

Assuming “Do Not Flush the Toilet Paper” is Optional

This is the number 1 tip I found about Greece in general: You’re not allowed to flush the toilet paper! No, it doesn’t matter what the toilet paper is cleaning up, it can’t go down the pipes because the pipes can’t handle it. This is especially true on the islands. You’ll need to put the paper in the small trash can that will be sitting beside the toilet. The ruins aren’t the only ancient things in Greece–the pipes are pretty old, too!

No, really. Please put the paper in the trash can!
Also helpful: What to Know Before You Visit Athens

Want more? You’ll find all my posts about Greece on my dedicated Greece Page!

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