Anyone contemplating a trip to Greece is almost certainly aware of the news rocking airwaves and broadsheets around the world, chronicling Greece’s economic and political woes. Each round of austerity measures, each bailout by the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB), known as the ‘troika’ in Greece, creates a new wave of news. So, naturally, questions arise about the actual state of affairs on the ground for travelers. Below, we tackle some of the dominant questions.
Is Greece a good place to visit this summer?
The resounding answer is yes! People remain welcoming, the culture is rich and the landscapes are amazing.
What should I expect when I get there?
Even Athens and other large cities, which have been hardest hit by the crisis and the reactions to it, are relatively peaceful. Lively neighbourhood life continues. You’ll see closed shops, of course, and many people are deeply impacted by what is occurring (pensions cut, jobs lost, taxes raised), but locals largely pick themselves up and carry on. They are welcoming to foreign visitors – perhaps now more than ever, as tourism is about 16.5% of the economy and proprietors are pleased to have business. In the islands and hinterlands (Meteora, Delphi, Pelion, Peloponnese) life remains tranquil and retains the charm for which Greece is renowned: joie de vivre, gorgeous beaches and countryside, filoxenia (hospitality).
Competition for space on beaches, in tavernas and at hotels is lighter than usual, as some travellers have been deterred by news reports (statistics vary, but foreign bookings are down by as much as 25%; domestic tourism – about 25% of the industry – is also down). Nevertheless, popular destinations like Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu are slated to be as crowded as usual, with prices to match. Smaller islands offer a particularly peaceful getaway this summer, such as Paxos, Amorgos and Kastelorizo.
Source: Lonely Planet