I grew up reading books and watching films about the Greek mythology. So naturally, travelling to Greece was something I promptly chose to do when I had the chance! 😁
Despite a very unpleasant encounter with a pickpocket on the first day I was here, I really enjoyed the whole trip. The people were friendly and most of them spoke English, the prices in general were reasonable (except in certain touristic areas – just like in any other parts of the world)… And most importantly, I unexpectedly developed some love for Greek food! I now consider Greek food as one of my favorite foods, in addition to (obviously) Indonesian food.
- Suburban and long-distance trains – TrainOSE is the only railway company in the country that operates routes to cities all around Greece and also the neighbouring countries. Check the routes, schedules and e-tickets here. You can also download the App to buy a ticket and activate it online.
- Metro / Trams / Buses / Trolleybuses – Metro and trams only run in certain areas, i.e. Athens and its surrounding towns, including along the coastline southwest off Athens. Check the routes here.
Use ATH.ENA Ticket & ATH.ENA Card, a new electronic ticket introduced in 2017. The ATH.ENA Ticket is a reloadable paper ticket that can be topped up with one short-term fare product at a time (90-minutes single, 5-day or tourist pass, etc.) and with a limited lifespan. The ATH.ENA Card – personalized or anonymous – can be reloaded with two fare products and money (e-wallet), each with its own T&Cs. Check the fares and rules on their official website.
- Taxi – I never used it when I was there but for sure it would be more pricey than public transport!
- Ferries – the most popular way to go to the islands scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. The are many ferry companies available and I suggest to check with the hotel or the local people. The other option is to fly to some of the main islands by Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air (I have never used these airlines, so I have nothing to say about them!)
- The official language is Greek, but most people I met (in Athens) spoke good English. And a lot of things in major tourist destinations are bilingual. So don’t think twice about travelling to Greece even though you don’t speak the language. And….
- There’s always Google Translator! 😜
- Buy a SIM Card if possible. I bought a WIND in Athens downtown, but I read there are better options.
Cash or Cards?
- ATMs are available everywhere in Athens. Pay attention to the logo on the ATM, though, and confirm with your bank. I made several withdrawals with the same amount at different ATMs and got different withdrawal fees (one of them was quite high!)
- Visa and Mastercard are accepted in most shops and restaurants. But always keep some cash for small amount purchases (souvenirs or street food).
For an Indonesian like me, a Schengen Visa is required.