When it comes to idyllic surroundings, fantastic beaches and superb hospitality, in the summer months the Greek islands offer many of the top destinations in Europe. Of course, Greece itself has been in the news a lot for its economic problems, and like the country, many of us who visit there for our annual summer holidays are looking for ways to tighten our belts. Happily, because the Greek islands made their name as a top destination for holidaymakers from around Europe by offering affordable package holidays back when these were a new thing, there is a strong tradition of businesses here offering great value for tourists. This means that as well as being able to get very cheap flight and accommodation packages, you can also manage to have a really good time without spending a huge amount while you are there.
Stay at all-inclusive resorts
It is actually possible to have a great holiday in the Greek islands while spending virtually nothing, aside from anything you want to spend on things like souvenirs, by looking out for a holiday at an all-inclusive resort. If you are planning a relaxing break where you aren’t going to want to be out and about too much, and are happy to spend a lot of your week lounging by the pool, enjoying the bar and restaurant, and having fun at the beach, this can be the best value option by far. Because all of your food and drink are covered in the cost of the holiday, you won’t have these expenses as long as you are within your hotel or resort, meaning you won’t need much by way of cash and can indulge as much as you like.
If the all-inclusive option isn’t for you, because you prefer to try out different places to eat or are planning to visit different towns, resorts and places of interest so don’t want to be too tied to your hotel, then it is still quite possible to have a really satisfying holiday without spending more than thirty Euros a day (again, not counting things you might want to buy to take home, like souvenirs, clothes, or cigarettes and alcohol which are much cheaper in Greece than most other European countries). Here are some tips to help you get the most out of a holiday on one of the popular Greek islands (like Corfu, Crete or Rhodes) while sticking within a 30 Euro a day budget.
Avoid Tours and Trips and Explore By Yourself
Many people visiting the Greek islands find there is plenty to keep them happy within the town or resort they are staying at, because the popular resorts are very much geared towards providing everything the average holidaymaker needs – beaches, pools, shops, restaurants and bars, but what if this isn’t enough for you? If you are on a tight budget, it can often seem like staying within walking distance of your hotel is the way to go, because tours and excursions to places of interest or other towns are one of the few areas where tourists in the Greek islands can feel they are being gouged a little on price – coach trips to historical sites or local towns and boat trips to other islands can run to a lot, and are likely to put more than a slight dent in your daily budget, but this doesn’t mean you can’t explore.
The best way to get around without paying a premium for a “tourist” trip, is to use public transport. Most reasonably large towns attracting tourists will be on a bus route, and chances are it will be not only possible, but really easy, to get a bus to other major places of interest on the island. This is how the locals get around, so it is very cheap with no tourist price hike, but because these islands rely so heavily on tourists, the bus drivers and operators are very used to dealing with foreign customers so you shouldn’t encounter too many problems being understood or asking for what you want. One thing you can also do is talk to your hotel or your holiday rep about this – they should be able to equip you with local travel information like bus routes and timetables (though they may try and persuade you to opt for an expensive tour instead as generally the hotels and reps partner with the companies that offer these and earn a commission for sending people their way).
If you don’t have a specific place in mind you want to visit and just want to see more of the island, another good way to get out and about without paying much is to hire a bike and cycle. Most resorts will have a company offering bikes for hire (often located at the beach as they are usually the same people who offer things like surf boards and kayaks to rent for the day), and this usually costs very little and gives you plenty of freedom.
Nights out are a big part of most holidaymakers’ Greek holidays, and for a lot of people are the main focus of their time there, especially in the liveliest resorts like Faliraki and Malia. Naturally, the cost of all those cocktails can quickly mount up, and after a few you are much more likely to throw caution to the wind and go over budget.
One good way to economise without having to go without those fun nights out is to look out for promotions. There are always plenty of competing bars in these resorts, and many will offer all kinds of incentives for people to choose theirs. This means you may find promoters offering you a free drink in their bar, or a buy one get one free offer or similar. The trick to this is to take advantage of the offers, but then not to fall into the trap of just staying in the bar all night and paying their regular prices for all of your subsequent drinks. If you have your free drink or reduced price pitcher (or whatever they offer you) and then leave and move onto another bar, who also offers you a deal to get you through the door, you can save an absolute fortune!