This guide has been written based on our own experiences in Greece and is published to provide you with some basic information on Greece to better equip you for your visit. For more information and pictures of the places we visited, see the links to our individual blog posts at the bottom of this post.

Visited By Us:
September - November 2011

Country Facts
Country Code (GR), Currency Euro (€), Capital Athens, Full EU Member. While it is a Schengen Country it is landlocked by non-Schengen country so there are manned border crossings, but no visa requirements for EU citizens.


Road Vignette Required?
No. 

Toll Roads
YES. There are many toll motorways in Greece and they can be expensive, however there is usually always a non-toll alternative which is more scenic but perhaps not as direct. In 3 months in Greece we didn’t find it necessary to go on any toll roads, often finding the non-toll roads ran directly alongside.

Road Condition ★★
Generally Good. Having driven in Eastern Europe and entering Greece from Romania/Bulgaria we found the roads are of a generally good standard however given the economic crisis it stands to reason that road condition could deteriorate somewhat from its present state. If travelling on a mountain road it is common to see rocks in the road and for the outer edge to be crumbling away so extra care is needed here.


Driving Standard ★★★
Below Average. The apparent roadworthiness of some of the vehicles are some of the worse we have seen in Europe and broken light clusters are so common it’s the norm. Add to that a liberal mix of non-locals in hire vehicles during season and you’ll want to stay alert behind the wheel. Vehicles often stop or turn without warning (or brake lights!) sometimes for a chat with a local and Stop signs are frequently ignored. The Greeks counteract the need for a rear view mirror with liberal use of the horn, two short beeps mean “I am here and about to overtake you” and is often met by a friendly beep and a wave in return. It would be wise to adopt this local custom and also to allow faster vehicles to pass so that they don’t become frustrated and attempt to do so on a blind bend.

Diesel, LPG & Autogas
We only found one fuel station willing to accept a card payment despite signs advertising that cards were accepted so it is worth carrying plenty of cash with you. Fuel prices varied dramatically from €1.39 and €1.60 for Diesel in August 2011 with some of the cheapest stations being ‘cash only’ and usually a RevOil, we practiced filling up whenever we found a station at our ‘target’ price. There are now nearly 100 LPG stations in Greece.

Useful LinksLPG in Greece

Winter Tyres Required
No.

Official Aires / Motorhome Service Points
None.

Campsites 
Good. The quality of campsites varies greatly and it is worth doing some research first into the facilities as many primarily capitalise on their location. In three months in Greece we only used one campsite for Athens so we will contact our friends and update this section shortly.

One of many excellent free camping opportunities in Greece.
Free / Wild Camping 
Excellent. We only visited Greece out of season and found it to be a Wild Campers paradise with endless opportunities and many of the main beaches and towns relatively deserted. However you could see from the seating and parking capacity that these areas can get incredibly busy during peak season and would make Free Camping more difficult and less appealing during these times. Out of season you have the pick of the bunch, with the obvious exception of Athens which was the only time we opted for a campsite. We felt totally safe at all times and had many friendly interactions with locals and other campers.

Useful Links: Our Wild Camping GPS page has over 30 locations for Greece

Availability of Fresh Water 
Excellent. There are communal taps available in most towns, marinas and rest areas and not once did we struggle for water. It might be worth carrying a funnel and short length of hose / water container as on a handful of occasions we made use of the beach showers to obtain water when no tap was obvious.

Grey / Black Waste Disposal ★★★
Below Average. There are many toilets at popular beach and marina locations suitable for emptying your black waste but these are not commonplace.

Price Index ★★
Generally Good.We found Greece relatively expensive in 2011 and the prices of most things are roughly comparable to the UK. This is however offset to some degree by the sheer number of free camping opportunities and the fact that Greece does offer a great deal in terms of natural beauty and historic sites. We had no difficulties withdrawing cash from our Credit Card in ATM's but be weary of Greek National Bank ATM's (and possibly others) which will ask if you would like to withdraw in Sterling rather than Euro's. The result is a poorly weighted exchange rate much less that what your provider would give had you have chosen to withdraw in Euro's and have it converted at source.

Food / Supermarkets ★★
Generally Good. Greek’s are dependent on traditional butchers and fishmongers so it should come as no surprise that some supermarkets carry a limited selection of meat and fish. Lidl is commonplace however the stock was sometimes limited and appeared to be used as a ‘Cash and Carry’ with many apparent Greek business owners stocking up in bulk on water, feta, olive oil and such like. There is a large chain of Carrefour which we found to be horrendously expensive and instead opted for City AB which appeared much more middle of the road. Watch out for pickup trucks with loudspeakers and vans selling fresh produce especially in some of the smaller villages as well as fish being sold from boats these are a great way to mix with the locals.

Eating & Drinking Out 
Good. Greek hospitality is generally excellent and out of season you will have the pick of the restaurants with the staple being grilled meats and fish served alongside a Greek Salad. Expect to be invited into the kitchen to see the specials on offer that day and perhaps taste the sauce to see if it is to your liking. If you want fresh fish then many restaurants have chilled display cabinets outside with the fresh catch of the day displayed so you know you aren’t getting a frozen offering. Average meal for two with a decanter of wine is in the region of €25-30. If you like a coffee it is worth looking for a coffee shop with plenty of older greek men present – here the coffee is usually better value and more authentic. A traditional Greek (or Turkish) coffee is a strong drink and served in espresso style cups along with a tall glass of water with sugar added at the time of brewing, you can only drink about two thirds since the grounds settle in the bottom of the cup. If you’ve paid in the region of €1 each then you know you’ve gone to the right place anymore and you must be in a tourist trap!

Availability of Open Wifi 
Excellent. Many towns have communal wifi on offer with unlimited access and availability from cafes and bars is excellent, we had no problems obtaining fast and open wifi during our time in Greece.

Useful Links: Our Guide to obtaining Wifi in Europe

Our Summary and Posts on Greece:

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  1. We spent a month in Greece in 2009 and all you say rings true. We used camp sites and found them to be ok in the main. (find the Dutch vans and you will find the best facilities sanitation) It is interesting to note your comments about accepting cards for fuel. That seems to be a new problem and is perhaps a sign of the times, it may be getting harder to use plastic. We did find that not all cash machines would accept uk cards. Local markets, butchers and fresh fish gave best value. If you are visiting historic sites the prices were very reasonable but check they are not closed for holidays.

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  2. Another excellent guide. These fill a gap in the usual range of 'Visiting ***' providing first hand experience of the things we want to know like free camping, water and sanitation. Great!

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  3. Greece has always been favourite tourist destination,Travellers are always attracted towards its culture and heritages which greece nurtures.

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  4. Currently in Greece and finding all garages are accepting debit cards now, no problems with UK cards in any of the banks either.
    We are seeing that some areas may not be as keen on the wild campers. Where people have parked on beaches near businesses there are now signs offering Free Motorhome Parking in the carparks. Motorhomes are still very welcome here but there needs to be some common sense on where people overnight.
    We are finding that asking if we can stop somewhere is met with a yes.
    Its a fabulous and very motorhome friendly country, thanks for your tips we checked them out before we left and found them really helpful.

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