I was so excited when I touched down in Greece! This is my first time ever in Europe, and I was so excited for food, sun, beaches, and history!
Because I switched my itinerary to not spend two weeks in Nepal, I got to Greece earlier than expected – in early August rather than early September. The only problem with that is that August is the absolute top of Greek high season, so everything was super crowded and expensive! Because of that and my love of history (and knowledge that I’ll likely come back for them), I skipped most of the islands you’d normally go to (no Santorini or Mykonos or Crete).
That helped cut down on the costs, and I got to spend 9 days discovering how amazing mainland Greece is! (With an island thrown in for good measure!)
In nine days, I spent $937.11.
How did that work out?
This was more than I’d planned to spend for the airfare from Egypt to Greece, but I’d also planned to fly from Cairo to Athens. I realized it was the same ultimate cost to fly out of Aswan, and it would save a ton of time. So this was a bit more expensive, but ultimately a wash.
Welcome to Europe! After spending lots of money on visas to Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Jordan and Egypt I was very happy to reach the Schengen Zone! It’s an easy and free visa on arrival in Europe.
I stayed in hostels and in dorms throughout Greece, which really kept the costs down.
This included my ferry to and from Agistri, train from the airport and to Kalambaka and then Thessaloniki, and assorted smaller fares in between.
This was simply admission tickets for the combined ticket in Athens; the Acropolis Museum ticket (not included in the combined ticket); and some monasteries in Meteora.
All the food. All the ice cream. I ate a LOT in Greece, but I fell in love with €1.50 Gyros. They are SO freaking good, I ate far too many of them. Then came the Saganaki. Holy cheese it’s amazing. The ice cream – multiple times most days – it was too hot without it! Greece was definitely food heaven, and a reasonably-priced food heaven at that!
I splurged on some really cute leather Greek sandals, mainly on the idea that I could wear them on the trip!
I have gotten so tired of so many of the clothes I bought, so I found a great sale at H&M and got two shirts and a pair of shorts for €6. And when I was packing, I thought it was way too superfluous to bring nail polish and nail polish remover. But alas, every time I looked down at my toes, I cringed. And I didn’t want a pedicure because I don’t want them to file down my feet! So I bought nail polish and am still enjoying how happy it makes me feel to have freshly-painted toe nails.
It shouldn’t make me this happy. But good to know the simple things in life still work!
One thing I didn’t include in this – my $12 North Face backpack from Cambodia was having a hard time standing up to the wear and tear of daily use. The front pocket lining started ripping into the back pocket, so it was a backpack with just one pocket. I went to the mall in Athens and replaced it was a real (for real this time) Thule backpack that I think I’ll also use when I go home. And for €99, I expect this bag to last through the trip! I decided not to put it in the Greece budget, though, because had I thought ahead better, I should have bought it before the trip.
Ultimately, it came out to an average of about $104.12 per day. I targeted my non-flight costs to be under $80/day, and came in at $65.38. (My flight comes out of a separate budget, so when I budget per country per day it’s without those included.)
I was surprised I was able to do Greece that economically. Granted, a lot of it had to do with skipping the main islands. Had I gone to those the number would have been far higher. But I’m so happy I decided to go to Meteora and Thessaloniki instead!
Greece was a dream come true, and it was a wonderful introduction to Europe – especially when you consider that so much of European civilization came out of the Greeks.
Update: Want to see how much I spent on the whole trip around the world?
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