Is a vacation to the Greek Islands on your bucket list? I always knew the Greek Islands were expensive but until I started researching our trip to Greece cost, I didn’t realize quite how pricey a vacation to Greece can be.
After spending 10 days in Greece for our special anniversary trip, we have a great handle on what you will need to save for your Greek Islands travel budget (hint: it depends on which island you visit!)
The Greek Islands have never been a budget destination, but these days if you want to go the luxury route for a special occasion trip (like our 20th-anniversary trip!), it is downright expensive. So before you pull the trigger and book a Greek vacation, make sure you figure out your own Greece trip cost.
How to Plan your Trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece can get complicated. Coming from the USA, it is easiest to fly directly into Athens, but then if you are visiting the Greek Islands, you need to figure out how to get to the various islands.
You can also fly into one island and out of another, but you will need to connect somewhere in Europe, and depending on the day you leave, there can also be long layovers. And, you still need to worry about getting ferry tickets or flights from place to place. Plus ferry tickets can book up early so you need to plan in advance.
Not sure how to plan your trip to Greece?
WHere in Greece do you Want to go?
Your first step in planning your Greek Islands vacation is to choose your destinations and figure out how long you want to spend in each location. Are you mostly interested in archeological sites and learning about the Ancient Greeks? Or do you want to relax by the beach for most of your holiday in Greece?
Which islands you choose makes a difference too. Santorini and Mykonos are notoriously expensive. Santorini is popular with couples and Mykonos is known as a party island.
Lesser visited islands like Naxos are much less expensive and family-friendly, but some may not have as much tourist infrastructure built out. Other islands like Crete are so large you need a week or more just for one island.
WHen do you Want to Travel?
Will you travel in the high season and deal with the crowds, or opt for the less crowded shoulder seasons? Or maybe you want to save money and visit the mainland during the low season and potentially navigate closures, cooler weather, and limited services on the islands?
All of these factors make calculating what a trip to Greece costs a challenge. But to make your budgeting job a little easier, I’ve put together a sample travel budget for your reference.
Greece Budget Assumptions
Our trip was a splurge vacation to celebrate a milestone birthday and anniversary, but I’ve based this budget on a more moderate trip. I’ve tried to provide some comparisons if you are looking to upgrade to luxury properties.
For simplicity, I’ve also used U.S. dollars and typically use xe.com to get up-to-date currency conversion rates. Luckily right now the U.S. dollar is strong against the Euro so, for Americans, your money goes further.
In order to determine what a trip to Greece costs, I’ve based this Greece travel budget on the following assumptions:
- Pricing for two adults
- Traveling from a major airport hub on the east coast of the United States (e.g. JFK)
- Travel during the summer
- A trip of 12 nights
- Stops in Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete — these popular destinations were chosen as they might typically be included in a Greek vacation package
To create your budget and a general idea of how much it costs to go to Greece, I’ve included the following:
- Approximate price of flights (both international and in-country)
- The average cost of a hotel in Athens and in popular island destinations
- Transportation costs to get around Greece
- How much money to set aside for special experiences, like a day trip from Athens or a sunset cruise around Santorini
Keep in mind that if you are traveling on a tight budget, a great way to reduce costs is to stick to the mainland and shorten your trip. You can also choose to visit some of the less expensive islands, like Naxos, Paros, and others. By making those adjustments, you can easily cut the cost of your accommodations practically in half.
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 subject to change.
The costs in this post have been organized by airfare, accommodation, transportation, food, and activities. As I mentioned, I included some of our actual costs as a comparison.
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 a handful of airports, you’ll have to connect elsewhere in the U.S. or Europe before arriving in 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 Boston, JFK, and Atlanta, and Emirates and United from Newark.
Average flight prices during this time of year are $1,000 per person. Prices go up the closer you get to summer so book early if you are visiting Greece in the summer!
If $1,000 per person for the international flight is beyond reach, be aware that the price typically drops to $500-900 in the low and shoulder seasons (fall, winter, and early spring). However, some resorts on the islands won’t be open from November – April, 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.
Given the high cost of airfare, it would be a good time to save your credit card points or airline miles for this trip or consider flying a budget airline that connects somewhere in Europe.
Most people 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.
If you are planning on primarily visiting the Greek Islands, pay attention to your flight times. I’ve found that it can be hard to get into Athens early enough to catch a ferry to Santorini or Mykonos on the same day if you are connecting in Europe. This will force you to spend a night in Athens despite your plans. If Athens isn’t a priority, you may want to fly directly to one of the island airports.
The same will be true on the return trip. Depending on how far the island is away from Athens, it may be a challenge to get back to Athens in time for your flight. Especially considering that Greek ferries don’t exactly have a reputation for running on time. That may not be a risk you want to take.
Therefore you may need to return to Athens the night before your flight unless you book a multi-city flight and return from a different island. I also found that some return flights from Athens have exceedingly long layovers on certain days of the week so this is another thing to keep an eye on when you are booking your flights.
The cost for a one-way short 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 visitors would spend $1,000 per person to get to and from Athens from the U.S., and then another $150 total on a one-way domestic flight back to Athens from Crete.
Total airfare cost: $2,150
Accommodations Costs in Greece
In order to estimate accommodation costs, I allocated two nights in Athens at the start of the trip, two nights in Mykonos, two nights in romantic Santorini, five nights in Crete, and then a final night back in Athens before your return journey back to the United States.
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 the beach isn’t a big priority, you could skip Crete or opt for a few days on the island of Naxos or Paros instead of Crete (they are much closer to Athens and much cheaper than Santorini or Mykonos).
Alternatively, if spending time on the beach and enjoying views of the Aegean Sea 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 different locations.
In Athens, expect to pay $500-700 or more per night for a room at a 5-star property in the summer such as the Hotel Grand Bretagne. Pro tip: we used Marriott Bonvoy points to book a night at the Hotel Grand Bretagne.
More basic 4-star accommodation is around $300-500 per night. 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.
Four-star hotels are around $400-600 per night. When we were planning to do one night in Mykonos, I found a bit of a “deal” at the Nissaki Mykonos for 520 euros per night. Anything below 400 euros will likely be a huge sacrifice in quality and amenities (like a pool) or in location. But that isn’t to say that there aren’t budget properties available.
In Santorini, 5-star hotels such as the Canaves Oia start around $1200 or more per night in the summer. And those gorgeous suites with personal plunge pools or jacuzzis? You could potentially spend $2,000 a night. The town of Oia is the most expensive (but offers the stunning sunsets and blue-domed churches you’ve likely come here to see).
We went with the slightly more affordable property of the Canaves chain, the Canaves Oia Epitome and the honeymoon suite with the plunge pool was a mere $1,200 a night. It feels insane to spend that much on a hotel room but as I said, this trip was a splurge celebration for us. You can find upscale boutique hotels for less, such as the Vedema Resort, where you may be able to find a room for under $500.
Fira is where the ferry port is located and is a bit cheaper, with easy access to Oia by bus or taxi. A 4-star hotel in Fira such as the Aria Suites will be around $500 in the summer.
Even a very basic 3-star hotel 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. If you are booking a vrbo in Santorini, be sure to look carefully at their cancellation policy and any additional cleaning or service fees they may tack on.
Crete is the largest Greek island, and it offers a lovely balance of beautiful 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 $200-500 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.
For a higher-end luxury option, 5-star properties such as the Daios Cove Resort run $500-700 in July and August.
One cost-saving tip is to be aware of affiliations with U.S. chains like Marriott and Hilton. Many Greek hotels and resorts have affiliated with these brands, so guests can earn a lot of points or use existing points they may already have.
As I mentioned before, you could also skip Crete and choose a closer island in the Cyclades and stay on Naxos or Paros. We didn’t have quite as much time so we opted for five nights on Naxos at the Virtu Suites. We got a deluxe sea view suite for just about $700 per night.
To calculate approximate accommodation costs, we assumed booking at 4-star properties in each location, so a $400 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: $4,800 for 12 nights
Transportation Costs within 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. Most people would then 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.
The cost of the ferry and the flight are similar. You can use FerryHopper to check rates and schedules for the various ferry lines and book tickets online.
Each of the ferry journeys outlined above is between two-to-three hours and ferry tickets cost around $20-90 each (depending on if you take a fast ferry or not.) You can save a little if you travel on slower ferries or not at peak times, but it’s usually not significant. You can also choose first-class tickets or VIP tickets with priority boarding and seating, but that will cost a bit more.
Keep in mind when planning your trip that you will need to book ferries at least a couple of months in advance as they do sell out and you don’t want to end up stuck without a way to get from island to island.
For those that choose to travel to the typical destinations in Greece (Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete, for example, as outlined in this post), then a car rental isn’t necessary. Hotels can arrange transfers or I used Welcome Pickups to schedule transfers to/from the port in many destinations and it worked perfectly every time and we were relieved to not have to wait in a long taxi line.
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. On some of the islands, you can also rent an ATV to explore, but locals strongly advise against ATVs as they see many fatal accidents each year. On our trip, we just took taxis, a hotel shuttle, or booked private tours that helped us explore more of the islands.
For budgeting purposes, let’s assume three ferry services at $90 per person 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 is key to this cost savings.
Total Car Rental/Transportation Cost: $940
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 seafood and local food anyway) or try some street food. A large lunch at a taverna is usually $10-15 per person, or you can just grab fast food sandwiches or a light bite and feta cheese from bakeries or cafes to enjoy a picnic on the beach or between sightseeing adventures.
A hearty sandwich or cheap gyros 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. Of course, this all goes out the window if you are dining at a luxury hotel or trying a degustation menu (in Santorini an experience like that with wine pairing can run you $500+ for two!)
A few budget busters in Greece, however, are cocktails or imported wine. Best to stick to beer or house wine if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on drinks.
We assumed couples would spend per day on $20 lunch and $40 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. I’ve also budget one fine dining dinner for an additional $100.
Total Food Cost: $820
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, especially for history buffs. 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 important archaeological sites like the Acropolis, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, or even just a food tour. Prices for a half-day private tour in Athens are around $300-500, although you could join a group tour for about $50 per person.
An Athens sightseeing pass while in Athens might also make sense if you want to visit attractions like the Acropolis Museum, 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 for a couple, 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. There are also some food tours or wine tours on Santorini and Naxos that can make for a fun afternoon. We did a half-day private wine-tasting tour in Santorini for around $350 and a full-day food, wine, and island tour on Naxos for closer to $800.
For this Greece trip budget, I estimated $1,000, based on two tours or excursions and a 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 when visiting Greece in the summer for a total of 12 nights for two adults would be $9,710. 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 $10,000 on a two-week trip is beyond your reach, just know that there are more affordable ways to visit Greece. If you have the flexibility to travel from 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 you are 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||$9,710|
Don’t forget to also budget for travel insurance for a trip to Greece! And don’t book anything that isn’t fully refundable.
Traveling to Greece?
- Be sure to check out our 10-day Greece itinerary
- See where we stayed in Santorini
- See where we stayed in Naxos
- Purchase a complete Greece Travel Guide