The last couple of years have proved to be quite something. As we all know, a new virus has messed up our lives. Tourism has been particularly hit. Though we all love to travel, aren’t we all a bit scared? Granted, the best way to stay safe is to limit traveling as much as possible. However, we are lucky to live in Athens, close to some of the world’s nicest beaches and islands.
Greece is one of the safest places to be right now. Both the government and the Greeks reacted on time and efficiently the past two years. Therefore, the country suffered one of the lowest infection rates in Europe. Having tackled the virus successfully, we are happy to report that it’s safe to travel to Greece in 2022. Here are our 10 reasons why you should travel to Greece this year.
Is Greece Safe to Travel to?
You have every right to be worried about the whole virus mess. We worry too! First and foremost, an online analysis will tell you that Greece is amongst the countries that best dealt with the situation; fewer cases and deaths than other countries in Europe. Greek authorities placed restrictions ahead of time and saved a lot of lives.
For those of us that live in Greece, this didn’t surprise us. Greeks value health and good living above all things. That’s how they greet you: geia, which means health! So yes, it’s pretty safe to travel to Greece right now.
Things to Know before Traveling to Greece
To keep everyone safe, the Greek government introduced the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) in 2020. However, from 15 March 2022, travelers visiting Greece are no longer required to fill out this form. All you need is a passport and a visa if necessary. That said, we recommend having travel insurance.
Greece is part of the European Union and the Schengen Visa Agreement. Thus you can visit Greece with any valid Schengen visa, or without a visa if you come a visa free country. You can check here if you need visa to visit Greece for travel purposes. Note that EU and EFTA citizens can enter with a valid ID.
Protocols for Your Safe Visit to Greece
Tourism in Greece is essential, and 2022 is no exception. Shops, bars, restaurants, travel companies, and hotels are currently following protocols to safeguard their employees and guests. We are delighted to report that these protocols are easy to follow and work! Everything is spotless!
Wearing a mask is no longer obligatory on public transport. We advise you to carry your own pen everywhere you go, so you don’t have to touch someone else’s. Don’t forget to check this link for up to date Greece travel restrictions.
10 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2022
Greek Culture is Millenary
Who hasn’t dreamed about traveling to Greece? I am sure you’ve all heard about Greek philosophers like Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. Their beliefs and ideas still influence the world in so many ways. All of us history and literature fans love Greek mythology, ancient poems, and contemporary books. Greek art and architecture are amongst the best in the world.
What else could you possibly ask for? The best food in Europe and some of the best beaches in the world complete the feast. Greece is an attack on the senses. Here, you get to travel in time to ancient cultures, embrace the future, explore gorgeous nature, eat superb food, and enjoy splendid weather!
Greek Hotels are Different
When it comes to hotels, Greece excels again. Most hotels are small and medium-size, so you get a lot of space. We stayed in several hotels last summer and felt safe at all times. From our splendid Nymfes Hotel in Kamares beach in Sifnos, the superb Benois Hotel in Galissas Beach in Syros, the luxurious Amaronda Resort in Eretria, and the lovely Aethra Boutique Rooms in Nafplio, everything was spotless!
For breakfast, all we had to do is choose from a wide variety of delicious food, and it was brought to us safely. Once again, there was never overcrowding. The few guests that shared the hotels with us did respect the protocol and did keep the required social distance. Thanks everyone for taking such good care of us!
Greek Open Air Terraces are Splendid
One of the things that makes Greece safe is the number of open-air terraces. As you know, viruses spread easily in closed and unventilated areas. Thus, sipping your cocktail and tasting delicious moussaka on a lovely terrace is fantastic and healthy. Besides, you get to enjoy unforgettable views.
In 2022 travel to Greece and eat outside every day! The food is delicious all around the country, and no one does outdoor eating like the Greeks. Greek hospitality is in a league of its own. The service is elegant and warm, everybody speaks English, and the restaurants are beautiful!
Life in Athens is Back to Normal
We are not going to lie to you. Like everywhere else in Europe, the last two years were hard for Athens and Greece as a whole. We went through several pretty strict lockdowns, with most commercial activity on hold. Fortunately, we were able to walk outside and exercise every day. Since then, slowly but surely, measures were lifted. Today, almost everything is open and, following protocols, safe.
This summer is like every other summer. Bars and restaurants are open with more space between tables and constant cleaning. You can hear live Greek music in the streets of Plaka and Monastiraki. Some concerts are taking place too. What’s more, the wonderful Athens and Epidaurus Festival is back! You can enjoy great music in open-air historical settings! Winter in Athens is a bit more quiet, but places are open.
Modern Trains to Beautiful Places
These are not the best times for people like us who don’t like to drive. Cars are a hassle, pollute, smell, and make a lot of noise. That said, in current times, a private car is the safest way of moving around. So what do you do in Greece if you don’t drive? You can take any of its buses, trains, planes, and ferries. Trains are our favorite means of transportation, so we’ve taken the one that goes to the nearby city of Chalcis.
We’ve spent two weeks on lovely beaches in Chalkis. We even took our bikes on the train and biked from the train station to our hotels. You can also take the train to several beaches, Patras and the gorgeous city of Nafpaktos. Since June 2020, the train goes along the coastline and ends in Aigio, some 40 km east of Patras. You can hop there on a bus or a taxi and be in Patras in no time! Or even better: take a taxi, a ferry and another taxi to Nafpaktos.
Incredible Islands a Short Boat Ride Away
Traveling on a ferry to the wonderful islands of Greece is pretty safe. We are not so crazy about traveling by boat because Eitan gets dizzy. Therefore, we decided to go to the closest islands in the fastest boats. It took us a bit over 2 hours to reach Sifnos. We combined it with Serifos, only a half an hour away from Sifnos. We also went to Syros, Tinos and Paros, slightly further away.
All the boats were spotlessly clean and well organized. There was enough space, and everybody was wearing a mask. The boats didn’t even move that much! From Patras you can take a boat to Zakynthos, Cephalonia, Lefkada or Corfu. If you are in Central Greece you can take a train to Volos (don’t forget to visit the nearby Mount Pelion), and then a boat to gorgeous Skiathos or Skopelos Islands.
We use Ferryhopper to check prices and buy our ferry tickets across Greece.
Brilliant Places near Athens
Though the islands get most of the attention, there are outstanding sites close to Athens too. Comfortable buses connect Athens with three ancient sites. Delphi, the ancient sanctuary with fantastic views, is only a 2 hour bus ride from Athens. Another option is the marvelous theater in Epidaurus, 2 hours from Athens.
An even closer destination, one hour from Athens, is the old temple by the beach in Sounion. If you are into beautiful cities, you can take a bus, and in 2 hours you’ll be in Nafplio, the former Greek capital. Of course, you can also rent a car or hire a taxi.
We recommend these tours to Delphi, Sounion, and Epidaurus, Mycenae and Nafplio.
The Popular Islands are Amazing
This mess is also a fantastic opportunity. Everyone that wanted to visit Santorini but couldn’t take the crowds should go now. Since we are crowd adverse, we’ve been to Santorini in winter. Now it’s our chance to do so in summer, and explore its beaches. Santorini is open for tourism with both local and international flights.
Likewise, you can take any of the numerous boats from Athens and other islands. The same applies to other popular islands, such as Mykonos, Rhodes, and Crete. When will you ever have the chance to enjoy paradise in summer and with few people? That said, we do recommend avoiding July and August in the most popular islands. The crowds are coming back.
Discover Meteora without Crowds
Greece is much more than its heavenly islands. Meteora, in Thessaly, is another world-famous beauty. Meteora is a fantasy come true. Outstanding nature blends beautifully with fascinating architecture. Six medieval monasteries stand high on cliffs that rise tall out of nowhere.
Each ancient monastery is an attraction on its own. Besides, there are tones of wonderful treks into nature. We visited in winter and had the entire place to ourselves. Visit Greece in 2022 and experience Meteora in summer. Once again, you can rent a car and drive there or take a safe train from Athens or Thessaloniki.
Chalkidiki is More Beautiful than Ever
Northern Greece is perfect for those of you coming from the rest of Europe by car. Thessaloniki is close to Promachonas and Evzoni, two main border crossings. Note that you no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 test at the border.
The nearby Chalkidiki Peninsula and its outstanding beaches are more beautiful than ever (with less people). Thessaloniki is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a plethora of historical sites. When it comes to beaches, the ones in Chalkidiki have nothing to envy from the Greek islands.