In high season it’s essential to reserve as hotels can be fully booked well in advance. Many hotels on islands are closed during winter.
- Hotels Greece ranks all accommodation from one to five stars. This accommodation – whether luxury hotels or campgrounds – must provide 'minimum standards' (this includes allowances for guests in wheelchairs). As such, the stars may reflect the services offered, rather than quality.
- Domatia The Greek equivalent of the British B&B, minus the breakfast. Many have equipped kitchens.
- Campgrounds Found in the majority of regions and islands and often include hot showers, communal kitchens, restaurants and swimming pools.
Greece's plethora of accommodation means that, whatever your taste or budget, there is somewhere to suit your needs. All places to stay are subject to strict price controls set by the tourist police. It’s difficult to generalise accommodation prices in Greece as rates depend entirely on the season and location. Don’t expect to pay the same price for a double room on one of the islands as you would in central Greece or Athens.
When considering hotel prices, take note of the following points.
- Prices include community tax and VAT (value-added tax).
- An Overnight Stay Tax of between €0.50 and €4 depending on the star rating of your accommodation will also be added per night.
- A mandatory charge of 20% is levied for an additional bed (although this is often waived if the bed is for a child).
- During July and August accommodation owners will charge the maximum price, which can be as much as double the low-season price. In spring and autumn prices can drop by 20%.
- Also during high season there may be a two- or three-night minimum reservation policy, particularly at accommodation in the most popular islands and resorts.
- Rip-offs are rare; if you suspect that you have been exploited make a report to the tourist police or the regular police, and they will act swiftly.
Camping is a decent option, especially in summer. There are almost 350 campgrounds in Greece, found on the majority of islands (with the notable exception of the Saronic Gulf Islands). Standard facilities include hot showers, kitchens, restaurants and minimarkets – and often a swimming pool.
Most camping grounds are open only between May and October although always check ahead; in the north in particular, some don’t open until June. The Panhellenic Camping Association website lists all of its campgrounds and relevant details.
If you’re camping in the height of summer, bring a silver fly sheet to reflect the heat off your tent (dark tents become sweat lodges). Between May and mid-September the weather is warm enough to sleep out under the stars. Many campgrounds have covered areas where tourists who don’t have tents can sleep in summer; you can get by with a lightweight sleeping bag. It’s a good idea to have a foam pad to lie on, a waterproof cover for your sleeping bag and plenty of bug repellent.
- Camping fees are highest from mid-June through to the end of August.
- Campgrounds charge €6 to €12 per adult and €3 to €5 for children aged four to 12. There’s no charge for children under four.
- Tent sites cost from €5 per night.
- You can often rent tents for around €5.
- Caravan sites start at around €7; car costs are typically €4 to €5.
Once upon a time, Domatia (literally 'rooms') were little more than spare rooms in the family home; nowadays, many are purpose-built appendages with fully equipped kitchens. Standards of cleanliness are generally high.
Domatia remain a popular option for budget travellers. Expect to pay from €30 to €60 for a single, and €40 to €80 for a double, depending on whether bathrooms are shared or private, the season and how long you plan to stay. Domatia are found throughout the mainland (except in large cities) and on almost every island that has a permanent population. Many domatia are open only between April and October.
From June to September, domatia owners are out in force, touting for customers. They meet buses and boats, shouting 'room, room!' and often carry photographs of their rooms. In peak season it can prove a mistake not to take up an offer – but be wary of owners who are vague about the location of their accommodation.
The Greek Youth Hostel Organisation (https://higreece.gr) covers 18 properties across the country including guesthouses and hotels as well as traditional hostels; you don’t have to be a member to stay in them but HI membership will give you a 10% discount on rates.
There are many private hostels, too. Rates vary from around €10 to €20 for a bed in a dorm. Few have curfews.
Hotels & Pensions
Hotels in Greece are divided into five categories: one to five stars. Hotels are categorised according to the size of the rooms, whether or not they have a bar, and the ratio of bathrooms to beds, rather than standards of cleanliness, comfort of beds and friendliness of staff – all elements that may be of greater relevance to guests.
- 5 & 4 star: Full amenities, private bathrooms and constant hot water.
- 3 star A snack bar and rooms with private bathrooms, but not necessarily constant hot water.
- 2 star Generally have shared bathrooms and they may have solar-heated water, meaning hot water is not guaranteed.
- 1 star Shared bathrooms and hot water may cost extra.
Mountain refuges are dotted around the Greek mainland, Crete and Evia. They range from small huts with outdoor toilets and no cooking facilities to very comfortable modern lodges. They are run by the country's various mountaineering and skiing clubs. Prices start at around €10 per person, depending on the facilities.
The EOT (Greek National Tourist Organisation; www.visitgreece.gr) publication Greece: Mountain Refuges & Ski Centres has details about each refuge; copies are available at all EOT branches. Also see the online maps of the Balkan Mountaineering Union (www.mountain-huts.net).
A practical way to save money and maximise comfort is to rent a furnished apartment or villa. Many are purpose-built for tourists while others – villas in particular – may be owners' homes that they are not using. Some owners may insist on a minimum stay of a week.
Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) also has lots of rental properties listed in Greece and can be a great way to hunt down reasonable accommodation if you’re planning to stay in one location for more than a couple of nights. Also check out sites such as www.mygreek-villa.com and www.prettygreekvillas.com.