If you are a consumer of travel media in any form, you’ve likely drooled over stunning photos of the Greek Islands on the cover of magazines or dug deeper to read amazing accounts of archeological sites in Athens. The Instagram photos of the Greek Isles and the dreamy tales make visiting Greece sound easy, but it is actually a rather complicated country to visit.
How will you get from Athens to the various islands? What destinations will you visit, and for how long? Do you want to relax by the beach for most of your holiday in Greece, or actively explore the islands and cities? Will you travel in high season and deal with the crowds, or opt for low season and then navigate closures, cooler weather, and limited services?
All of these factors make calculating what a trip to Greece costs a challenge. And, despite its recent economic difficulties, a trip to Greece can still cost a pretty penny, especially if you are visiting in the summer. I’ve run the numbers to give some key reference points that will help guide your family as you set your own Greece vacation budget.
Greece Budget Assumptions
To get a general idea of what a trip to Greece costs, I’ve included the approximate price of flights (both international and in-country), the average cost of a hotel in Athens and in popular island destinations, general guidance around transportation and what it might cost your family to get around, what is considered peak season in Greece vs. shoulder season, and how much money to set aside for special experiences, like a day trip from Athens or sunset cruise around Santorini.
In order to determine what a trip to Greece costs for most families, this post will give approximate pricing for two adults and two children between the ages of 6-11, traveling from a major airport hub on the east coast of the United States in July and August, and staying for 12 nights.
It assumes that your family would visit Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete. These destinations were chosen due to their popularity as places to include in a Greek vacation package.
Keep in mind that if you are traveling on a budget, you can stick to the mainland and shorten your trip to lower your total trip cost. These costs have been organized by airfare, accommodation, transportation, food, and activities.
How much does a trip to Greece cost?
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. Prices are based on original date of publication in March 2019 and are subject to change.
Airfare to Greece
One of the reasons that airfare eats up a lot of money when budgeting for a trip to Greece is that there are a limited number of direct flights from the U.S. to Athens, and even fewer in the off season and shoulder seasons.
If you don’t live near one of three airports (Philadelphia, JFK, and Newark), you’ll have to connect elsewhere in the U.S. or Europe before arriving into Athens, and likely pay even more to do so.
For daily direct service to and from Athens in July and August (peak season), the main options at present are American Airlines from Philadelphia, Delta from JFK, and Emirates and United from Newark. Average price during this time of year is $1,500 per person.
If $1,500 per person for the international flight is beyond reach, be aware that the price typically drops to $900 in low and shoulder season (fall, winter, and early spring). However, some resorts on the islands won’t be open and some ferry services will not operate on a daily schedule, so it will take some finesse in planning to still see everything you’d like to see.
To save money, I would recommend that you book early, at least six to nine months out. When I am tracking flight options with AirfareWatchdog, I typically find that international flights in the summer tend to continue to go up in price from the previous Christmas forward.
Given the high cost of airfare, it would be a good time to save your credit card points (see my favorite credit cards for earning points) or airline miles for this trip or consider flying a budget airline that connects through somewhere in Europe.
Check flight fares to Greece
Most families traveling to Greece and venturing beyond Athens will end up on another flight at some point, especially if they wish to visit Crete. The quickest ferry from Crete to Athens is 7 hours, and the overnight service is a little arduous with children.
Cost for a one-way flight between Athens and Crete is less than $100 per person (usually $50-75) so this typically makes the most sense for that particular journey.
For this post, I assumed that families would spend $1,500 per person to get to and from Athens from the U.S., and then another $300 total on a one-way domestic flight back to Athens from Crete for all four family members.
Total airfare cost: $6,300
Accommodations Costs in Greece
In order to estimate accommodation costs, I allocated three nights in Athens at the start of the trip, two nights in Mykonos, two nights in Santorini, four nights in Crete, and then a final night back in Athens before your return journey back to the U.S.
If you don’t have two weeks to enjoy Greece, or you need to cut costs, there are many ways to adjust this itinerary. For example, if beach isn’t a big priority, you could skip Crete or opt for a few days on the island of Paros instead of Crete (it’s much closer to Athens).
Alternatively, if spending time on the beach is your top priority when planning your trip, then consider simplifying your itinerary by only visiting Athens plus one of the islands in Greece, instead of spending time island hopping around to four different locations.
More basic 4-star accommodation is around $300-500 per night for a family room. Airbnb/VRBO options or budget hotels often price out under $200 per night, but do choose neighborhoods carefully to ensure you are in a safe area convenient for sightseeing.
Mykonos is one of the most expensive destinations in Greece, especially when it comes to accommodation. Five-star properties are easily $1,000 or more per night in the summer.
More basic hotels are around $400-600 per night. Anything cheaper will likely be a huge sacrifice in quality and amenities (like a pool) or in location.
In Santorini, 5-star hotels such as the Vedema Resort are usually $900 or more per night in the summer for a family suite. The town of Oia is more expensive (but offers the stunning sunsets and blue-domed churches you’ve likely come here to see).
Even a very basic 3-star in Fira is $300+ per night during peak season. Again, Airbnb/VRBO can offer much cheaper options, but many require a three-night stay minimum, so it may require some itinerary adjustment.
Crete is the largest Greek island, and it offers a lovely balance of fantastic beaches plus historically and culturally interesting sites. It also has a well-developed tourism infrastructure and plenty of family-friendly resorts to choose from.
These are all reasons Crete works so well as a home base for a lengthier stay during a trip to Greece. Families can expect to pay $400-700 per night in summer for a 4-star resort or boutique hotel on or near the beach such as the Ammos Hotel or Porto Elounda Deluxe Resort.
One cost saving tip is to be aware of affiliations with U.S. chains like Marriott and Hilton. Many Greek hotels and resorts are affiliated these brands, so families can earn a lot of points or use existing points they may already have.
To calculate approximate accommodation costs, we assumed families were booking family rooms at 4-star properties in each location, so a $500 average nightly rate was used. You can obviously bring costs down considerably if you book an Airbnb for certain portions of the trip (or the entire trip), or redeem some hotel points for part of your stay. Costs increase dramatically if you opt for a 5-star experience, paying upwards of $1,000 per night in some locations.
Total Accommodation Cost: $6,000 for 12 nights
Car Rental/Transportation Costs in Greece
The most efficient route for getting to these four locations is to take the ferry from Athens to Mykonos, then a ferry from Mykonos to Santorini, and a final ferry from Santorini to Crete. (I assumed families would fly back to Athens from Crete for their return flight to the U.S., but an overnight ferry is an option for that particular journey. Cost of the ferry and the flight are similar.)
Each of the ferry journeys outlined above are between two-to-three hours and ferry tickets cost around $200 total for a family of four. You can save a little if you travel on slower ferries or not at peak times, but it’s usually not significant. Keep in mind when planning your trip that you will need to book ferries in advance as they do sell out!
For families that choose to travel to the typical destinations in Greece (Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete, for example, as outlined in this post), then renting a car really isn’t necessary. Hotels are typically happy to arrange transport from the ferry ports to their properties for a nominal fee (if not, taxis are usually fairly easy to grab.)
If you want to do some off-the-beaten-path exploration, the cost of a private driver in Greece is typically $200-400 per day. It’s easy to do a day trip out of Athens via an organized coach bus tour, which costs around $75-100 per person.
We assumed three ferry services at $200 per ride, plus one day of a private driver service or day trip at $200, and an additional $200 for public transport and taxi fares. For a two-week trip, this is actually quite affordable. Opting to stay in the center of walkable cities and full-service beach resorts are key to this cost savings.
Total Car Rental/Transportation Cost: $1,000
Food Costs in Greece
If you’re suffering from sticker shock after reading about the cost of flights and accommodations, you’ll be pleased to learn that Greece is one of the more affordable European countries as far as food and dining out.
First, breakfast is included at most hotels and resorts (but do confirm that before booking.) If not, expect to pay less than $5 per person for coffee and a pastry at a cafe each morning.
The key to saving money on Greek food is to eat at local establishments (and you probably came for the fresh, local food anyway). A large lunch at a taverna is usually $10-15 per person, but many families opt to just grab fast food sandwiches or a light bite and feta cheese from bakeries or cafes so they can picnic on the beach or between sightseeing adventures.
A hearty sandwich or gyro will be less than $5 from local shops or stands. For dinner, expect to only pay about $15-20 per person for a multi-course dinner at local restaurants (less for children who don’t yet have big appetites).
A few budget busters in Greece, however, are cocktails or imported wine. Best to stick to beer or the house wine if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on drinks.
And resort restaurant prices are often considerably more than the locally-owned places, so consider how accessible these restaurants would be when choosing a resort location if you want to save money on dining.
We assumed families would spend $40 per day on lunch and $80 per day on dinner, but again, you could easily spend less if you didn’t sit down for a full-service meal for both each day.
Total Food Cost: $1,440
Tours and Activities Costs in Greece
Another cost-saving perk of a trip to Greece is that much of what you came to see is free, like a day spent enjoying one of the spectacular beaches or wandering the beautiful side streets and alleys of Santorini. That said, you’ll definitely want to budget for a few memorable activities.
A private tour of Athens is a must, in my opinion. These can be customized to your interests or needs, like a general walking tour as a way of getting oriented on your first day, or to dig deep and learn more about a key archaeological sites like the Acropolis, or even just a food tour. Prices for a half-day private tour in Athens are around $300-500 for a family of four.
A sightseeing pass while in Athens might also make sense, as most of the landmark historical sites do charge admission. A pass usually results in cost savings for those who plan to see several of the included sites. The price is around $40 per adult.
A sunset cruise while in Santorini, Mykonos, or Crete is usually a highlight for visitors to Greece as well. Done as a small group, it’s usually around $200-400 for a family, which sometimes includes a meal or drinks.
Done privately, expect to pay around $500-1,000 or more. Also on Crete, many visitors enjoy a guided tour of the Palace of Knossos or perhaps olive oil tasting. Again, expect to pay $200-300 for a small group experience or $500 for a private excursion.
For this Greece trip budget, we estimated $1,000, based on two tours or excursions and a family sightseeing pass in Athens. If the resorts or hotels you book charge for every activity and amenity instead of being somewhat all-inclusive, you may want to increase your activity budget accordingly.
Total Activity Cost: $1,000
Total Greece Trip Budget
Given these parameters, a total Greece vacation budget for a family of four visiting Greece in the summer for a total of 12 nights would be $15,740. However, if you can find a way to use miles or points for airfare or hotels, a trip to Greece can actually be pretty inexpensive.
If spending nearly $16,000 on a two-week trip is beyond your reach, just know that there are more affordable ways to visit Greece. If your family has the flexibility to travel during April through June, for example, you may find flight prices and accommodation costs to be significantly less (and even better, fewer crowds!)
Also, choosing home rentals through online booking sites is often half the cost of a hotel stay, especially if your family is willing to forego amenities like a pool. Or, opt to visit less popular islands or locations, instead of pricey destinations like Mykonos and Santorini.
|Total Greece Trip Budget||$15,740|
Don’t forget to also budget for travel insurance for a trip to Greece! If Greece sounds too expensive, you can also check out our trip budgets for:
- Guide to Athens with kids
- DIY Percy Jackson Greece Trip
- One day in Santorini with kids
- Restaurants near the Acropolis
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This guest post was written by Nicole Wiltrout. Nicole is a freelance writer and travel expert based in Indiana. She has traveled throughout North America and Europe with her children for the past nine years, including three years spent living abroad in England. She has written for a variety of websites and publications and is the author of “Dispatches from England,” available on Amazon, which chronicles her family’s time as expats. You can follow Nicole’s travels on Arrows Sent Forth.