Travelling around Greece on a budget is absolutely possible. In this article, I’ve included a breakdown of our island-hopping vacation in May – June 2021.
Tips for travelling in Greece on a budget
Hi! I’m Vanessa from Athens in Greece. After 40+ years of travelling around my country, I have a few tips to share with budget-conscious travellers. To begin with, you can check out this article on island hopping in Greece on a budget.
In May – June 2021, my partner Dave and I took a few weeks to explore some of the Cyclades islands where we hadn’t been before as a couple. Our total budget came out to 40 euro per person per day, including all of our expenses.
If you think this sounds too little, and that a trip to Greece costs a fortune, you are probably not alone! Read on for some more information, including prices for accommodation, travel, food, drinks and activities.
Our Greek island-hopping itinerary for a month
We chose to travel at the beginning of the season, as the islands are always less busy then, and accommodation prices tend to be lower. In addition, we comfortably skipped the meltemi summer winds.
When we left the port of Piraeus in Athens, we knew more or less which islands we wanted to visit. We planned all the logistics, such as accommodation and ferry tickets, as we went along.
In the end, we spent a total of 29 nights on five islands: Amorgos, Donousa, Koufonissi, Paros and Antiparos. Here is our Greek island-hopping itinerary:
Thursday 27 May: Piraeus (Athens) – Amorgos
Saturday 5 June: Amorgos – Donousa
Wednesday 9 June: Donousa – Koufonissi
Saturday 12 June: Koufonissi – Paros
Monday 21 June: Paros – Antiparos
Friday 25 June: Antiparos – Paros – Piraeus (Athens)
Cost for our Greece trip for a month
Here’s a quick look into the costs for our month-long trip in the Cyclades:
- Accommodation: 950 euro
- Ferry: 380 euro
- Transport: 100 euro (fuel)
- Food and drink: 800 euro
- Various activities: 75 euro
- Other: 35 euro
Total: 2,340 euro
And now, let’s break these costs down.
Accommodation cost on the Greek islands
Usually, our biggest expense when travelling around Greece is accommodation. To choose our rooms, we use Booking.com.
We always try to stay in rooms that have a rate of over 9.0, which is totally feasible during the shoulder season. Most times, I call the properties up and sometimes book over the phone instead.
As we started travelling early in the season, we had plenty of choice for last minute bookings. In addition, we were actually given upgrades in most of the rooms we stayed!
Here are the rooms where we stayed on the five islands:
Studios Akrogiali in Aegiali. We had an apartment big enough for a family of four, with a lovely sunset view from the balcony (price: 35 euro per night)
Makares in the main town. We stayed in a spacious street-level room with an extra comfortable bed (price: 40 euro per night)
Archipelagos a few minutes from the main town. We were offered an open-space room with a spacious, cosy balcony (price: 45 euro per night)
Yiannis Studios, in Logaras. This was a fantastic, spotless room with two balconies, great facilities and a super-friendly owner, Katrine, who offered us 5 star hotel service (budget price: 20 euro per night!!)
Asteras, a three minute walk from the main road in Antiparos town. This is a small family-run hotel with huge balconies, located on a quiet street (price: 40 euro per night)
All in all, we thought all of our rooms of choice were great, and I warmly recommend them. If you ever stay there, say hi from Vanessa!
Our total accommodation cost came to 950 euro. Considering that some of the most expensive suites in Mykonos or Santorini can cost twice that for a single night, I think we’ve done ok 😊 However, this wouldn’t have been possible during the summer months.
Note – these were not the cheapest rooms on the islands we visited. I’d say most of our rooms were low to mid range, but other people might describe them as budget rooms.
We were specifically looking for accommodation with a kitchenette. While we both love sitting at a taverna with lovely Greek food, sometimes all we want to eat is a salad, which we can easily make ourselves. If you don’t care about a kitchenette, you can find much cheaper rooms.
Ferry cost for our Greek island vacation
As we travel to several islands, we always bring our own car. It is more convenient, and more cost-effective in the long run.
For this trip, we used a mix of ferries, run by four different companies:
Blue Star Naxos
This large ferry is run by a popular company called Blue Star Ferries. They are my preferred company to travel with! We have used Blue Star Naxos many times before and it’s great.
The price for a passenger ticket from Piraeus to Amorgos was 34 euro, which I believe qualifies for budget travel.
The only drawback is that it took us 10 hours to reach Amorgos. This is what happens when you choose to visit the most remote islands on the cheap ferries. Oh well!
Tip: if you prefer to sit indoors, it’s best to go for the airplane seats, as seating space inside the ferry is rather limited. Bring some warm clothes, as the A/C is ridiculous!
Here are more options on how to get to Amorgos island in Greece.
This small local ferry connects Amorgos, Naxos and the Small Cyclades. Getting the car in that tiny boat was definitely an experience! A passenger ticket costs around 4 – 7 euro, depending on your exact itinerary.
Tip: This boat is best avoided when it’s windy – trust me on that! If you must take it with strong winds, keep in mind that it’s much better to sit outside. I also recommend taking a dramamine, or a ginger tablet.
Local ferry between Paros and Antiparos
This local car / passenger ferry leaves from Pounta port in Paros. It only takes 7-minutes to cross the bay, and it’s the cheapest option from Paros to Antiparos. Passenger tickets only cost 1.20 euro!
These ferries run every half-hour, and you get your ticket right on board. It’s possible to pay with a debit / credit card, otherwise try to have exact money if you can.
If you don’t have a car, you can take the passenger boat straight from Parikia port. This boat only runs during the summer months. Tickets cost 5 euro.
This is a large highspeed ferry, run by Minoan Lines. All seats are indoors, and there is very limited outdoors space.
Unlike some other ferries run by Minoan, we didn’t fall in love with this one, but travel times suited us and would consider using this ferry again. Our Paros – Piraeus passenger tickets cost 29 euro.
Final tips about ferries in Greece
We booked most of our tickets online, on Ferryscanner. If you book them through this link, the price is the same for you, and I will get a small commission that helps me run the website!
The total cost of all our ferry tickets was 380 euro. This breaks down to 200 euro for all our passenger tickets, and 180 for the car.
Note: Ferries can often be delayed. Always, I mean ALWAYS, allow for some extra time when you are travelling by ferry in Greece.
Transportation costs on the Greek islands
Since we had our own car, we didn’t have to rent a vehicle. We have used a car rental before in Greece, on short vacations.
People thinking to rent a car or quad on the islands should expect to pay around 25-30 euro per day during shoulder season. Prices go up in July and August, and you could consider pre-booking, especially if you want a specific type of vehicle.
Generally speaking, the price of a car rental will vary depending on the car model, the island you are on, and how many days you want it for.
You will also need to budget for fuel. Gas prices on the islands are ridiculous when compared to Athens, but what to do 😊 I am sure that any Americans on a trip to Greece will be shocked with gas prices anywhere in the country!
In our case, we drove a total of 860 kilometres, and spent just over 100 euro on gas.
To help you decide if a car rental is for you, here is an article about driving in Greece.
Oh, and btw – we also walked and hiked around 200 kms. Not too much really… sitting on a beach is more appealing sometimes!
Public transport and taxis in the Cyclades
If you aren’t keen on driving, you can always use public transport, i.e. the local buses, or taxis.
Buses are quite cheap. The fare price typically ranges around 1.5 – 2.5 euro for the Cyclades islands. However, they only take you to a few areas and can often be crowded.
Depending on where you are from, you will probably find that taxis in Greece are quite affordable. It’s best to ask the average cost of your trip in advance to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
(Note: The usual taxi apps don’t exist on the islands. I use an app called Taxiplon here in Athens).
Greek food costs
And now for everyone’s favourite subject – Greek food!!! So, how much does it cost to eat and drink on the Greek islands per day?
The answer is “it depends”. Meal prices vary a lot between tavernas, and obviously the more dishes you order, the more you will pay (duh).
It’s possible to eat for under 10 euro per person, especially if you go for the least expensive options such as fast food / street food like souvlaki. On the other hand, fresh seafood and some meat dishes will be a lot more expensive.
In our case, our meal prices ranged from 15 to 45 euro. Most of them cost us between 25 and 30 euro on average. This typically included a soft drink and some house wine or a beer, plus any tips.
Similarly, drinks prices on these islands varied widely. The cost of a coffee was between 2 and 4 euro – the Greek coffee culture calls for sipping your coffee for an hour or two.
Alcoholic drinks started from about 3 euro for a beer and went up to 9 – 10 euro for a cocktail. I’m sure there are a few more expensive nightclubs in Paros, however when we were travelling they were still closed.
If you are planning to shop at supermarkets, you should expect the cost of food to be higher when compared to Athens. A lot of the groceries that you buy on the islands has to be transported from other islands, or from the mainland.
Our total costs for food, drinks and supermarket shopping came to about 800 euro. Neither of us are big drinkers though – well, not anymore!! 😊
Cost of activities on the Greek islands
If you’ve followed my FB page for a while, you will probably know that we both like hiking! I also love swimming and snorkelling on wild beaches. Apart from being very enjoyable, these activities are totally free, and a great way to experience each island.
We are also super keen on driving along dirt roads and finding remote beaches. While none of these five islands have as many dirt roads as Milos, we really enjoyed exploring by car.
As it was the beginning of the season, some of the boat trips around the islands had not started yet. Which means that the only way to get to the remote beaches was by driving and hiking!
Some of the museums and other sights were not officially open yet, so we ended up visiting them for free. Not that we wouldn’t have visited otherwise.
Here are some of the places we visited during this trip, along with the usual costs:
Activities and sightseeing in Amorgos
- Visit Chozoviotissa Monastery (free)
- Hike to Ancient Arkesini (free)
- Hike to the lighthouse (free)
- Check out the Olympia shipwreck (free)
- Visit the Archaeological Museum (normally 2 euro, but as we were the first guests of the season we visited for free 🙂 )
Activities and sightseeing in Paros
- Hike around Paros Park (free)
- Butterfly valley (3 euro)
- Archaeological Museum (3 euro)
- Benetos museum (5 euro)
- Byzantine museum inside Ekatontapyliani church (2 euro)
Activities and sightseeing in Antiparos
- The amazing Antiparos Cave (5 euro)
- Cruise to Despotiko island and remote beaches (25 euro)
With that said, there are many more activities to choose from, especially in Paros. You can find plenty of watersports like kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing and scuba diving. There is also horse riding and organized hiking.
I warmly recommend kayaking, which is suitable for everyone, including families – check out my experience kayaking in Mykonos.
Total budget for a month on the Greek islands
Along with a few other costs, our total budget for a month on the Greek islands was 2,340 euro. This wouldn’t be possible for people travelling during the high season of July and August – which is one of the reasons why we prefer to travel in low season.
Another reason is that we can take photos for our blogs, without the crowds 😊 While I love taking photos of people, I prefer not to post them, out of respect.
As a side note – when we got to Amorgos in late May, I found the sea too cold to swim for a long time. In fact, temperatures dropped to under 20 C at night.
By contrast, when we left Paros it was really warm, as the first heatwave of summer 2021 had arrived. Temperatures climbed to over 30 C and the sea was pleasantly refreshing!
Note that we didn’t spend any money on hiring loungers and umbrellas, as we have our own. We also didn’t take any catamaran tours during this trip, apart from the boat tour to Despotiko island.
Also, we didn’t do much souvenir shopping – though this doesn’t need to be expensive either, as certain Greek souvenirs only cost a few euro. Here’s some information about the best souvenirs from Greece.
Frequently asked questions – Is Greece expensive?
And here are a few answers to some questions I’ve been asked in the past!
How much does it cost to travel the Greek islands?
This can vary widely, and it depends on where you stay, where you eat, and how you choose to get around. You can easily travel with 35 – 40 euro a day per person during shoulder season. This will be difficult during high season, as prices go up.
With that said, not all islands are equal. As an example, you will find that Mykonos is not budget-friendly at all, especially when it comes to accommodation. You could easily spend well over 200 euro per day.
There are 119 inhabited islands in Greece. If you are on a budget, you can select the least visited ones, and you will find that they are very affordable.
How much does the average trip to Greece cost?
I don’t think there is such a thing as an average trip to Greece, as everyone’s itinerary is different. Athens, Santorini and Mykonos are among the most visited (and most expensive) destinations. In addition, some popular activities, such as sailing trips or winery tours, can be quite pricey.
With that said, if you can only visit Greece once, you should make the most of it, and enjoy all the activities you can! Here are some ideas on how to visit Santorini on a budget.
How do you get around the Greek islands?
The easiest way to get around the islands is by ferry. There are various search engines such as Ferryscanner, where you can compare routes and book your tickets to the Greek islands.
How much does it cost to go to Greece for a week?
This would depend on the time of the year you go, and the destinations you visit. If you make smart choices, it is possible to spend a week in Greece for under 400-500 euro per person. But if you are interested in luxury hotels or upmarket restaurants, the average cost can easily jump to over 1,500 or 2,000 euro. It’s all a matter of choice!
Is food in Greece expensive?
All in all, food in Greece is rather inexpensive, compared to many other European countries. It depends where you choose to eat. There is a range of restaurants in Greece, ranging from very cheap to expensive.
How much does a meal cost in Greece?
Meal prices in Greece vary a lot. It is possible to eat for under 10 euro per person, especially if you are a large group and can share all dishes. Allow for about 20 euro per person for a decent meal for two with house wine or beer. It goes without saying that there are more expensive restaurants, especially on the popular islands like Mykonos and Santorini.
Is Greece cheap or expensive?
I wouldn’t say that Greece is the cheapest country in Europe. Still, it is definitely cheaper than many other countries, especially when it comes to accommodation. If you choose less popular destinations, you may be pleasantly surprised with the costs!
How many days do you need for Greece?
Now this is an interesting question that I am asked quite often. I’ll put it like this – out of our 100+ inhabited islands, I’ve only been to about 40. So, I believe the right answer to this question is… a lifetime!
Budget for travel to the Greek islands
And this completes my article on our budget for a month travelling around a few of the Cyclades. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below, and please share with anyone planning a trip here!
Before you go – here’s our guide for money in Greece. Includes everything you need to know about ATMs, bank cards, and what to expect when spending money here in Greece.
And here’s my guide on buying a Greek SIM card. If you are traveling to Greece in summer, it will only cost you about 10 euro to have unlimited data for a month!
Also, since we are discussing costs, here’s an article about the cost of living in Athens. Who knows, you might want to move here one day!
Finally – have a look at this list of the hottest Greek islands in October.
10 thoughts on “Is Greece Expensive? No It’s Not, And Here’s Why!”
Vanessa, thank you for this very helpful and detailed account. It brings everything down to reality. So glad you could enjoy yourselves on vacation!
You are very welcome! I hope you can enjoy this summer as well!!!
a really eye opening article!!! thanks for sharing
Thanks George! Feel free to share with anyone travelling here! Have a great summer!
Hi I am an archaeologist heading to Greece in May. Looking for some tips, etc for exploring.
You can start with Athens… there are 7 ancient sites that are all worth visiting! Some of the best areas to visit are Crete and the Peloponnese, but wherever you go in Greece there are ancient monuments!
Have you been to Ios? And if yes is it easy to get around the Island?
Yes we spent about a week in Ios with our own car, and most of the roads were absolutely fine – you can consider an ATV or motorbike as well for more remote beaches like Kalamos. There are also buses – as timetables often change by season, you can check them out here. Check this article with things to do in Ios for more information!
I really enjoyed reading this! Hopefully we’ll have a similar experience as we’re planning on travelling to Greece in mid october!
Thank you for all the useful tips!
I hope so too! You will probably find that restaurant prices have gone up slightly, due to the increase in the ingredients – still, it depends a lot on where you are going and what type of places you choose. Enjoy your time!!