Reserving your accommodation out of season is important, as in some locations many hotels close for months on end. In high season it’s equally essential as hotels can be fully booked well in advance.
- Hotels Classed from A through E, with A being five-star resort-style hotels and E having shared baths and unreliable hot water.
- Domatia The Greek equivalent of the British B&B, minus the breakfast. Nowadays, many are purpose-built with fully equipped kitchens.
- Campgrounds Found in the majority of regions and islands and often include hot showers, communal kitchen, 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. By law, a notice must be displayed in every room, stating the category of the room and the price charged in each season. 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).
- A 10% surcharge may be added for stays of fewer than three nights, but this is not mandatory.
- 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%.
- 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; particularly in the north, 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.
Domatia (literally 'rooms') are the Greek equivalent of the British B&B, minus the breakfast. Once upon a time, domatia 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.
Most youth hostels in Greece are run by the Greek Youth Hostel Organisation (www.athensyhostel.com/index.php/g-y-h-o). There are affiliated hostels in Athens, Olympia, Patra and Thessaloniki on the mainland, and on the island of Crete.
Hostel rates vary from around €10 to €20 for a bed in a dorm and you don’t have to be a member to stay in them. Few have curfews.
Hotels in Greece are divided into six categories: deluxe, A, B, C, D and E. 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.
- A and B class Full amenities, private bathrooms and constant hot water; prices range from €60 to €85 for a single and from €100 and up for double.
- C class A snack bar and rooms with private bathrooms, but not necessarily constant hot water; prices range from €40 to €70 for a single in high season and €50 to €90 for a double.
- D class Generally have shared bathrooms and they may have solar-heated water, meaning hot water is not guaranteed; prices range from €30 to €50 for a single and €40 to €70 for a double.
- E class Shared bathrooms and hot water may cost extra; prices are around €25 for a single and €35 for a double.
There are 55 mountain refuges 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.
Pensions are indistinguishable from hotels. They are categorised as A, B or C class. An A-class pension is equivalent in amenities and price to a B-class hotel, a B-class pension is equivalent to a C-class hotel, and a C-class pension is equivalent to a D- or E-class hotel.
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. A good site to spot prospective villas is www.greekislands.com. Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) also has lots of rental properties listed in Greece and can be great way to hunt down reasonable accommodation if you’re going to be staying in one location for more than a couple of nights.