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What You Need to Know About Traveling to Greece in 2021

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raga, Greece

Parga, Greece

Whether looking for sun-bleached ruins, beaches with turquoise waters, or dramatic cliffs with panoramic views, traveling to Greece in 2021 can bring logistical questions and innumerable rewards. Greece is a dynamic destination that can immediately immerse you in passionate music and enticing cuisine or take you sailing to one of 6,000 islands. Dreaming of your Greece vacation this summer is easy, and there are a few tips and hints that can help you make it happen.

The Best Time to Travel is Now

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

For easier access to iconic highlights and fewer crowds, anytime after June is the time to travel to Greece. Outdoor sites are already open, museums and other indoor sites will be opening in the coming weeks, and all dining areas will most likely open around May 3rd, 2021. Shops will be open, excursions and activities may have smaller groups, and you could even enjoy experiences like a cooking course outdoors or tasting delicious wine.

Outdoor options like sailing on a catamaran and discovering historic sites are always available, as well as lounging on one of the country’s famous beaches on the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and the Ionian seas that can give you different perspectives of the country’s scenic grandeur. “I believe all the archaeological sites in Greece will be a treat this year, with far fewer visitors than usual. In regards to accommodation, I would highly recommend selecting small boutique properties with outdoor sitting areas, rather than large resorts,” says Anthia, a Greece travel specialist.

Major US carriers are set to begin direct flights to Athens in June, and more frequent flights and ferries should be available domestically, which will increase the ease of traveling between the islands and across the mainland. Greece travel specialist Cynthia suggests traveling in “...June and July this summer and book as soon as possible as properties and island flights are in high demand for summer season travel.”

If You Cannot Travel Now, Plan Ahead

Windmills on Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos, Greece

Greece is a destination that you can enjoy at any time of the year, with unique wonders that could take you from remnants of Mycenae to glinting Byzantine artwork, hanging monasteries to the welcoming comforts of a coastal resort. “Greece is expecting travelers mainly in the third quarter [of 2021]. What we suggest to people who want to enjoy Greece while avoiding the big crowds is to hurry up and book their trips in the second quarter, when they will have the unique opportunity to enjoy real Greece away from tourist crowds,” says Anthia.

Greece is endlessly alluring, with visitors traveling from around the world eager to watch the sunset over Santorini’s caldera, absorb the Mediterranean light on Mykonos, or embrace the olive groves of Kalamata. With many travelers expected to visit Greece late into 2021 and into 2022, in addition to the possible return of cruise ships, crowds will increase slowly but surely as the year progresses. As visitors return in summer and beyond, it can limit your access to desired experiences, especially if museums and accommodations restrict their numbers and guides are booked long before you arrive.

By planning ahead, you can ensure the quality of your Greece trip. “Extend your travel days and slow down the trip,” recommends Greece travel specialist Seetha. “Spend more time at each destination. Enjoy a delicious meal at a traditional Greek tavern by the sea. Consider renting a private villa on one of the more secluded destinations. For the more popular destinations, the top hotels are serious about your safety and have been creative in the ways they can still offer you outstanding service and seamless access to hotel facilities.”

Where to Go on the Greek Mainland

Meteora rock mountain formations with monestaries in the Pindos mountains, Greece

Meteora, Greece

Every great trip depends on your preferences and making sure you focus on the specific experiences you enjoy. Greece is celebrated for many iconic destinations. You can find an excellent balance between visiting the marvels of the famous ruins and beaches and discovering the hidden treasures that span lesser-visited destinations. “For the ones that aim to avoid the crowds, my suggestion would be a tailored trip to the mainland,” Anthia suggests.

Mainland Greece can immerse you in an exceptional getaway that features ancient wonder, coastal beauty, and medieval charm often overlooked by travelers. The Peloponnese peninsula can lead you to the archaeological treasures of Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Olympia and the marbled beauty of Nafplio or the gorgeous beach at Elafonisos. In the north, the huddled medieval towns of Zagorohoria can reveal tradition amidst the beauty of the pristine mountains.

From east to west, you can find treasures that feel undiscovered with the hanging monasteries of Meteora to the small bridge connecting the mainland to the island of Lefkada. The landscape offers a stunning shoreline with crystal-clear waters and an interior decorated with waterfalls, historic architecture, and scenic coastal cliffs without the need for taking a ferry.  The mainland is ideal for taking you off the beaten path while revealing Greece’s priceless treasures.

Where to Go on the Islands

Oia village on Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

The islands of Greece create an ambiance unlike anywhere else in the world. You can indulge in opulent scenery, endless luxury, ancient wonders, and the golden feeling of exceptional Mediterranean sunlight. Whether basking in the comforts of a resort, sailing on a private yacht, or enjoying a boutique hotel, the scenery and the excellent service will take your breath away. With over 200 inhabited islands to choose from, your travel specialist can help you pick the best one for you.

The Greek islands offer exceptional diversity in scenery, culture, and atmosphere. "For an island experience, discover the quieter yet beautiful islands of Ios or Folegandros, Paxos or Symi, and rent a private villa. The more popular destinations like Santorini, Crete, and Mykonos are opening with caution and will be welcoming travelers with the highest safety standards. Islands like Naxos and Paros are still a couple of our favorites if you're looking for a more authentic experience that is less secluded," says Seetha.

Instead of traveling east along the Aegean, you could also travel west to islands closer to the mainland by exploring the cluster of Eptanisa islands in the Ionian. The islands generally have a tourist season when visitors explore the towns and shores, mainly in July and August. As the demand to visit the islands increases, especially popular destinations like Mykonos or Santorini, rates may be higher than usual for the peak summer season but can be visited and enjoyed safely.

Tips from our Zicasso Travel Specialists

Simos beach on Elafonisos island in Greece.

Elafonisos, Greece.

Safety and focus are essential to making your Greece trip a reality. By understanding ahead of time the type of activities you want to enjoy, the kinds of accommodations you want to have, and even the tours you wish to take, you can ensure that you travel safely and smoothly. “Using a local travel specialist is key here,” Seetha adds.

There are some regulations in place across Greece related to specific travel concerns, such as how many passengers a vehicle can carry or the number of guests a guide can accommodate. Cynthia suggests working with a travel advisor to secure private transfers, tours, and accommodations during your stay in Greece. Your travel specialist can also ensure that all of your travel arrangements comply with current safety regulations while ensuring an effortless and enjoyable experience.

Whether visiting Greece for your first time or your fifth time, your vacation in 2021 and beyond should be spectacular. By putting the details, logistics, challenges, and the understanding of your perfect trip into the hands of a destination expert, you can plan for any possibility and simply enjoy your vacation.

For more ideas as you consider your plans, find inspiration with our Greece Travel Guide. Thinking of planning a trip? You can speak with a Greece travel expert by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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