Not many travelers consider Greece a budget destination in Europe. Greece is within the Euro zone, but compared to other European countries and especially to Western European countries, it’s a paradise you can enjoy on a low budget. Even if you compare the hotel prices with the ones in the near-by Bulgaria or Turkey, you’ll still realize that planning a vacation in Greece doesn’t involve saving for half a year before you can afford it.
How cheap a country is depends on how you travel. That’s why, we assume that the traveler will stay in private rooms in hostels or, if there aren’t hostels in the city / island , the traveler will choose a budget hotel (1 or 2 stars). Also, it’s assumed that only the public transport is used and the meals are eaten in tavernas.
The prices are for private rooms in hostels/hotels and are listed for two persons during two distinct periods: October 2011 and June 2012. The reason? Traveling during the low season (fall) is a sure way to save money. But if you want to visit some islands, early summer is also a good time to travel as the prices are still low and the ferries offer more connections.
Day 1-3 Thessaloniki
Start your vacation in Thessaloniki , one of the oldest cities in Europe. Spend your first day relaxing on the promenade. Sample some local food in a taverna or try the street food. The second day, visit the White Tower and the Byzantine Museum (€4 entrance fee) . You can also visit the War Museum (free entrance), as well as the Water Works Museum of Thessaloniki (also free).
On the third day, visit the Old Arch, The Palace of Galerius and the Roman Baths.
- Return flight from London to Thessaloniki : €82 in October 2011 (Ryanair); €149 in June 2012 (easyJet)
- Atlantis Hotel €29 / private double room / night in October 2011
- Hotel Pension Tzitzifies €30 / private double room / night in June 2012
- Food €7 (street food and cheap eats) / day
- Beer €5
Day 4- 6 The Island of Thassos via Kavala
Get on a bus from Thessaloniki to Kavala , as you need to get to the ferry terminal to get to the island of Thassos. There are about 15 connections per day. The first bus leaves at 9 a.m. The travel time is 2-3 hours, depending on the route. Tickets cost €15 per person, one way.
Since ferries from Kavala to Thassos depart 8 times per day, if you travel during the high season, you can spend half a day in Kavala and check out the Old City. Otherwise, catch the 2 p.m. ferry to the port of Prinos on Thassos. The travel is between 25 min and 1h 45 min, depending on the type of ferry you choose. Tickets cost from €4.60 one way, on the regular ferry.
Visit The Archeological site of Alyki , where you can see the remains of the temple and other ancient buildings. Ancient Limenas is another place to visit as you can still see the remains of the agora, the Acropolis , temples, gates and other ancient buildings.
Before you leave Thassos, spend some time at the street market. You can find a lot of things here and who knows what bargains might come your way.
- Ostria Hotel €40 per night / studio for two people [kitchen, AC, bathroom] in October 2011 and June 2012
- Food €7 (market) / day
- Beer €5
Day 7- 9 : Halkidiki via Kavala and Thessaloniki
Travel back to Thessaloniki via Kavala (ferry and bus) and then take the bus to Halkidiki. There are plenty of departures per day. The first bus leaves at 5:40 a.m. and the ticket costs €6 per person, one way.
Paralia, Katerini and Olympic Beach are definitely some of the cheapest places you can stay in Greece. There isn’t much to do, but some sights can be found in the villages near-by. Still, these resorts are a good choice if you want to spend some relaxing time and not worry much about the budget.
- Studios from €9 / night in October 2011 / prices not available for June 2012
- Food €10 (tavernas) / day
- Beer €5
>>read more about Getting to Halkidiki from Thessaloniki
Day 10: Thessaloniki and back home
Take the bus back to Thessaloniki and head to the airport for your flight back home.