What to Know Before Booking Tours and Cruises in Greece

Cape Sounion near Athens, Greece
Cape Sounion, Greece (c) Linda Garrison

Travelers to Greece face a bewildering array of tour and cruise options. On closer examination, these Greece tours start to sound strikingly similar. Why? Because they are.

Most Greece tour packages are built from the same components. Know your options—the independent traveler can often customize a similar tour of Greece for less money or you can relax and just leave all the planning to a professional organizer.

Full Tour Packages of Greece

This type of travel arrangement includes hotels, some meals, some sightseeing, and perhaps a cruise or airfare to and from Greece. Airport transfer to and from your hotel is also usually included. Once you've arrived, most transportation is usually by motor coach. These are great for vacationers who don't want to do their own planning or for impulse travelers who want a pleasant, worry-free (but usually not very deep) introduction to Greece.

Greek Island Cruises

Cruises of the Greek islands may be one of the most memorable ways to experience this beautiful country. Most Greece-based cruise ship tours are relatively inexpensive and provide a pleasant way of seeing a number of locations in a short period. Yacht tours are also surprisingly affordable. Many cruises may include airfare or a night or two in a hotel in Athens. The cost for a four-day cruise can start around $650 a person.

Greek Island-Hopping Tours

Like coach bus tours, these Greek island-hopping tours can be booked independently, through a concierge desk, or through a travel agent, either before your trip or on impulse. Usually, these Greece tours include a hotel room plus transportation by ferry, hydrofoil, or plane.

Sometimes a meal or sightseeing tour will be included, but this is not invariably the case. They are mainly used to get you to and from the island and to guarantee that you have a place to stay once you're there.

Shore and Port Excursions

Shore and port tours are purchased through your cruise ship company. Limited port time at some destinations makes many of these tours your only opportunity to sightsee, especially if the actual destination is a distance away from shore.

Tours of Athens and Mainland Greece

Fun, touristy, and almost irresistible, many people end up on one of these tours of Athens. When taken at the beginning of your stay, a basic Athens tour can be a great way to get an overview of the city and get oriented. Other variants include an afternoon trip to Cape Sounion to see the Temple of Poseidon or an evening of entertainment in the historic Plaka neighborhood. These types of tours are usually a good value.

Plan Your Own Trip to Greece

Those who prefer to travel independently and want to build a more custom Greece tour should pre-book their own flights, hotels, and rental cars. If you'll be doing a lot of in-country travel in Greece, use this airport code list of Greek airports to make booking flights easier.