Category: Budget travel

How to travel to Greece on a student’s budget

 Oia village on Santorini

Hotel buildings and infinity swimming pools cling to the sides of the imposing caldera cliffs in Oia village on Santorini island

  

Guest post by Lisa Griffin

Greece is a Eurozone country, and this fact often keeps travelers with a student budget at bay from taking a trip there. Many people think they will require loads of money to travel to Greek resorts. It is a common prejudice which is closely connected to myths that only tycoons and other financial demi-gods  can afford the resorts .

The truth is different. Times of Aristotle Onassis have passed, and now any student can afford cheap holidays to Greece, either taking a trip to a sunny island like Santorini or feeling the antique air of Athens without paying much.

 

 

Students’ leisure shouldn`t be expensive!

Cheap Greece vacations are not a dream anymore. Greece is a highly underestimated budget travel destination. Just follow the simple rule – if you are not a millionaire, don`t pretend to be one. Don`t book expensive hotels; eat out in small traditional restaurants, and use low-cost airfare and transport.  Otherwise, you can turn the pleasure of your vacation into endless money wasting.

A statement like this applies to every country in the world – you can say that any city is expensive unless you’re willing to change your habits and try to look for ways to economize. 

In Greece,  don’t always go for the most popular places. Local people are usually trying to earn money on tourists not caring if they will be satisfied with their expensive services  – tomorrow the flux of tourists will be all the same.  Check Greek island vacation packages for bargains. Often these packages include delightful spots that aren’t as popular as the mainstream destinations, so you can enjoy low-cost services while having all you need for a good rest and entertainment.

Yet even the more expensive Islands like Santorini are accessible to everyone, since you can usually find hostel accommodation for as little as 15 per night. it might be a bed in a tent, but do you need more? People travel to Greek Isles not to sit in a hotel, but to see as much as possible and spend time somewhere on a distant beach. The main thing is to have a shower, a kitchen to cook fresh products bought in local markets, wifi, a place to put your stuff, and a bed to sleep.

Fira the capital of Santorini

Fira, the main commercial center on Santorini. Although it’s one of the most expensive places to visit in Greece, Santorini still offers hostel and other cheap accommodations that suit a student budget.

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading page 2 of Lisa Griffin’s article.

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Tips for budget travel from Turkey to mainland Greece

Orestiada Bus Station

The bus station at Orestiada, a town in eastern Greece near the Turkish border, is seen in a photo by EcoTripSos.com. The website’s “Travel Tips for Greece” guide provides detailed information about local bus travel. 

 

Survival Guide: Readers occasionally email me for advice on ways to travel overland from Turkey to mainland Greece, and onward to some of the Greek islands. They are typically younger travellers who intend to backpack throughout Europe, as well as individuals who simply want to combine trips to Turkey with a budget-friendly foray into parts of Greece. 

Since I haven’t been to Turkey yet and have never travelled east of Athens to the Greece-Turkey border, I haven’t been able to answer their questions. But an information-packed article published by EcoTripSos should be a valuable research rescource  for anyone seeking economical ways to travel to Greece from Turkey.

Founded by Turkish travel enthusiasts Özge Çetinkayar and Kutay Uzun, EcoTripSos is an online guide offering advice on budget and eco-friendly travel, particularly for inexperienced or beginner travellers.

On November 15, they published Travel Tips for Greece, a photo-illustrated “Greece Survival Guide for Travelers.” It recounts a 10-day journey to seven Greek villages and cities, including Kastanies, Orestiada, Alexandroupolis, and Thessaloniki on the eastern Greece mainland, plus Heraklion, Rethymno and Chania on the island of Crete. The guide describes how the travellers crossed the border at Pazarkule (9 km from the city of Edirne in Turkey) to reach the Greek town of Kastanies, used local bus transportation to travel onward to Alexandroupolis and Thessaloniki, and from the latter city flew to Crete and back. 

Besides providing practical information about how to use Greece’s intercity and local city bus systems (including how and where to buy bus tickets), the article describes air travel between Thessaloniki and Crete,  and offers myriad useful tips about hotels and “Daily Life in Greece from Travelers’ Eyes,” including such topics as food, beer, water and wi-fi service. 

Click here to read the EcoTripSos Guide to Greece.

Kastanies railway station

The tiny train station at Kastanies, near Greece’s border with Turkey

 

New Athens X80 express bus links Piraeus cruise ship port to Acropolis and Syntagma Square

The Acropolis

A new express bus service links the cruise ship terminal at Pireaus with the Acropolis (above) as well as Syntagma Square in Central Athens

 

Editor’s Update:  The X80 route was re-launched on May 10 2016. Click here to read a press release that provides full details about the service, including fares, schedules and stops.

 

New route: Buses began running today on a new express service route that links the Piraeus cruise ship port to the Acropolis and Syntagma Square in Central Athens.

The X80 express bus will run seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 21:30 (9:30 p.m.), with departures every 30 minutes. The trip along the 25 km route from the cruise ship terminal to Syntagma Square is estimated to take between 30 and 45 minutes.

OASA, the Athens Urban Transport Organisation, introduced the new route to help make it easier for tourists arriving at Athens by cruise ship to reach Syntagma and the Acropolis — two of the city’s most popular attractions.

The bus will stop at the OLP terminal gates, the Piraeus town center, the Sygrou-Fix metro station, the Acropolis and Syntagma Square.

Two types of tickets can be used to take rides on the X80 — the €4 ticket that is valid for use on the metro, buses and trams in the city center for 24 hours, or the €20 tourist ticket that is valid for 3 days of travel.

Below are two maps that show the X80 route and stops at Piraeus as well as the route and stops in Central Athens. Click here to view an OASA PDF document showing the complete X80 route between Piraeus and Syntagma Square.

 

X80 express bus map from the Athens Urban Transport Organisation website

This map, from the Athens Urban Transport Organisation website, shows the X80 bus route stops at Piraeus. Click the image to view a larger-size picture.

 

 

Map of bus stops in Central Athens for the new X80 express route

This map shows the X80 bus stop locations in Central Athens

 

 

Santorini & other islands ranked cheaper to visit than Athens for backpackers & budget travellers

 Ferry passengers look up at Fira village as their ship passes the caldera en route to the Santorini port

Passengers on a Blue Star ferry get a good look at Fira village as the ship passes below Santorini’s stunning caldera cliffs

 

 

Cost comparisons: Backpackers and people travelling on tight budgets will find their money goes farther on Santorini and other Greek islands than in the city of Athens.

According to the European Backpacker Index for 2014, Santorini and other islands rank 18th on a listing of the 51 cheapest cities to visit in Europe this year, while Athens is slightly more expensive in 22nd place.  Bucharest, Romania holds the #1 spot as cheapest destination.

The Index is compiled by Price of Travel, a website that maintains a database of travel costs in major world destinations. The database was established in 2010.

 

Index based on costs for 5 standard expenditures

The Index is based on price estimates that have been extensively researched for each of the destinations on the chart. For each city, the Index considers the price of :

(1) One night in the cheapest bunk at the least expensive hostel that has a good location and good reviews;

(2) Two rides per day on public transportation;

(3) Entrance fee to one famous attraction each day;

(4) Three “budget” meals daily; and

(5) An “entertainment fund” of three cheap local beers or glasses of wine per day. (Price of Travel explains that since “non-drinkers might have dessert and coffee or attend a local music performance instead,” this item “is a general benchmark that should be proportional for each city.”

 

 

All Greek Islands ‘quite affordable’

The Index describes Santorini as Greece’s “most popular holiday island,” but says it was named in the listing as a “placeholder” for the other Greek islands, which “all tend to be quite affordable.”

The Index calculated costs for Santorini of €40.60 per day (U.S. $55.62) based on €11/night accommodations at Anny Studios at Perissa beach, €3.20 for transportation, €14.40 for meals, €9 for drinks or entertainment, and €3 for entrance fees to famous attractions.

 

European Backpacker Index 2014 listing for Santorini

This is a screenshot of the European Backpacker Index listing for Santorini

 

 

Anny Studios at Perissa beach Santorini

This photo, from the Anny Studios website, shows part of the hotel building and its swimming pool area. Anny Studios is the accommodations property that was considered for the Santorini listing on the travel index.

 

 

Perissa beach on Santorini

Perissa beach on Santorini, where Anny Studios is located. The spectacular caldera scenery is on the opposite side of the island, a return bus trip away.

 

 

Please click on the link below to see more photos and information about budget travel to Athens, Mykonos and Santorin on page 2 of this report.

 

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