Cost of basic meals in Greece

Oct 3rd, 2009, 01:04 PM
  #1  
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Cost of basic meals in Greece

College daughter is going to Greece for 3 weeks in January as part of a college course - some classroom time and much touring. Hotels, transportation, admissions are paid for as part of course fee. They get breakfast each day and a few dinners - but most meals are on their own. Since they are all US college students they will likely not be eating in high-end restaurants. Can you give me a general idea of what lunch and dinner would cost - I know it may vary by location, but they will be all over the country. Also, what cost of drinks, club admission - that sort of evening activity might cost. Thanks.
gail is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 01:28 PM
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I will put my bit in but it may not be representative of all of Greece and it also may not be a fair comparison to the prices you regard as the norm. However, ....

in May we sailed round the Ionian for 2 weeks and found the prices to be totally and utter silly compared with the UK and Spain/Italy. It was impossible to find a coffee for less than 3 euros and pizzas weighed in regularly at 15 euros plus.

Not all these prices were the usual rip off joints like marina restaurants. We found the prices in nearly all restaurants to be very high. We recognise that the pound is pretty weak but did not feel this as much when visiting Mallorca in February. Even take away food was way higher than the UK.

We also found the standard of food to be pretty poor compared with Italy - believe me when you have been out sailing all day a big mac tastes good!

Clearly, our experiences may not be typical but it did put us off a revisit - Sardinia next May even though the wind is far too much like hard work - the food is good and far cheaper.
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Oct 3rd, 2009, 03:47 PM
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Hi gail

Mykonos is known to be expensive but for a good few years now we have used a small taverna in town that serves terrific traditional food. This past September we paid about 22 euro each for a two course dinner that included a glass of wine and coffee. Of course, for the same meal on other islands or mainland it may be cheaper. If, like us, your daughter can find smaller restaurants used by locals, usually a little off the tourist drag then prices may be cheaper.

Lunch for us was much lighter and usually only coffee, a Greek salad with bread and some soda. That usually cost about 10 euro.

Jon
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Oct 3rd, 2009, 05:21 PM
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I suspect "markrosy's" experince is atypical ... he/she may have been steered toward overly expensive, mediocre, package-tour oriented tavernas.

Gail: you didn't mention your daughter's itinerary, so I'll offer some generalizations.

Keep in mind that mid-January is the non-touristy, low season ... the tavernas that are open, will be almost exclusively catering to native Greeks, and they wouldn't last long if the prices were exorbitant and the quality poor.
Also expect chilly temperatures (40-50s ºF daytime) and rain.

When I've travelled in Spring/Summer, I've had excellent meals, even in Athens' touristy Plaka, for 20-25 Euro per person, including a glass or two of house wine.

Fish is often priced by the kilo and can be very expensive -- verify before ordering!!

Mainland tavernas outside of Athena will be cheaper. Eg, I've had very good pizzas in Nafplion's main Syntagma Square for around 10-12 euro.

If you want to be safe & conservative, budget 15-20 Euro for lunch, 25-30E for dinner ... eating cheaper won't be too hard. As usual, eating the main meal at lunch will save.

Can't help you on costs of "evening activity" for 20 yr olds ; - )
tom_h is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 08:22 PM
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In Islands like Naxos, Parros, Sifnos, and in Mainland areas of the Peloponnese, eating in small family-run tavernas (check tablecloths & you go inside to look at what's on the warming table) Last summer, like most summers you could get a substantial plateful... stew or baked chicken and potatoes for about 7-8 euros, split a salad (they are HUGE) with a friend for 2E apiece, glass of wine for 2 euros... and you're full! for 11-12 Euros. Or you can get 3 starters each @ 3, 3.50, 4, and again, a filling meal for 11-12. "Take-away" is not as established in Greece, but there are usully places where you can get a tasty Gyro for 3-4€. For lunch, bakeries sell tyropita (cheese pies), spanakopita (spinache & feta pies)... Students and frugal travelers like me eat for about HALF tom's prices ... of course Athens is trickier. And don't forget, most rooms or hostels or accommodations have mini-fridges, so they can keep milk, cold cuts, cheeses etc for lunches and snacks.
travelerjan is online now  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 11:03 PM
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Thanks - this is helpful. They have 6 nights (3 at each end of trip) in Athens plus 1-2 nights in Crete, Heraklion, Nafplio, Olympia, Delphi, Kalambaka, Thessaloniki - these places mean nothing to me as I have never been to Greece and am copying off itinerary. As students they are looking for high end food, and are comfortable with little local places that older, more nervous travelers (like her parents) might be hesitant to try.

Thanks also for the weather remiinder - she has checked that out and it is similar to winter in North Carolina (where shcool is located) so she is prepared - even at that it is warmer than January in Boston where we live.

Unrelated - but how much difficulty will she have navigating around on days they turn them loose knowing English, being almost fluent in Spanish, and knowing basic French?
gail is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 12:54 AM
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Also expect chilly temperatures (40-50s ºF daytime) and rain.

It'll be warmer than that......
alihutch is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 01:29 AM
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tom_h - package tour we are not and atypical we are not. Most of the restaurants were full of Greeks - I think the worst aspect we found was the norm of serving pre-cooked food from some sort of hot counter. Its 25 since I visited Greece and we will not be rushing back.

I think that you also confirm my views of the price differentials - I can get a very good pizza in a upper middle market chain in the UK for £7 at a realistic exchange rate thats 7 euros and around 50% cheaper than Greece.

I also have never once in the UK made to feel pressurised into participating in the ridiculous tipping lark that seems to rear its head in the rest of the world. ie £7 on the menu in the UK means £7 not plus tax plus tips.
markrosy is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 01:37 AM
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>Unrelated - but how much difficulty will she have navigating around on days they turn them loose knowing English, being almost fluent in Spanish, and knowing basic French?<

As all of the areas your daughter will be travelling to are regularly visited by tourists I am sure there will be no difficulty. However, locals will appreciate it if perhaps she learns and uses a few basic Greek words and phrases. Languages/translation sections in the most basic travel guides have them.

Jon
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Oct 4th, 2009, 02:39 AM
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I can get by on around €10 for a basic meal (main course + beer or wine, no starter), and that's on the islands during high season. You can also pass up the main course completely, and instead order several starters to share around the table. This is perfectly acceptable - each diner is given a separate plate, and starters are divided up family-style.

Greeks earn substantially less than Americans, so inflated prices on tourist islands aren't representative of what most people pay.

Travelerjan has some very good suggestions on how to economize. Bakeries prepare inexpensive sandwiches with some of the most delicious bread you will ever taste. Avoid McD and the Greek equivalent Goody's, but look for stands serving souvlaki and gyro pita. Another tip: tomato and cucumber salad is 'Greek salad' without the feta cheese, and costs less. About the only thing I find expensive in Greece is the coffee, which is around €3 for filter or espresso, a little less for Nescafe and Greek coffee (same as Turkish coffee, but never call it that in Greece ;-) ).

Regarding the weather, alihutch wrote: "It'll be warmer than that......".

Not so! Warmer, perhaps, in the south and along the coast, but Greece is a mountainous country, and in January you can even encounter snow in some regions. The area around Thessaloniki is much colder than Crete, for example. Your daughter will even see cars with skis on the roof near Delphi, at the foot of Mt Parnassos (one of the best ski centers in Greece).
Heimdall is online now  
Oct 4th, 2009, 03:06 AM
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warmer in Athens certainly......
alihutch is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 03:25 AM
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You think so? Have a look at this:

http://tinyurl.com/yc5aoza
Heimdall is online now  
Oct 4th, 2009, 05:03 AM
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"As students they are looking for high end food" --- what is that all about? My experience of students is that they are always hungry and usually on a slim budget ... is this a Richie Rich Special Semester?? Are these kids who dine at Manhattan's 5-star restaurants?

Alas, in that case they will not find gourmet pinnacles in Greece ... the pleasures of Greek cuisine (and experienced mainly in the warmer months) are the freshness of the fruits and vegetables, and the flavors of herbs mingling in the cooking ... in the winter the veggies will be more of the root variety, or imported... however, Greek meat dishes that are best are those that are slow-cooked in the oven (ask for "fourno" dishes = furnace, get it?) .. lamb, chicken, veal, pork, with wonderful sauces, and potatoes with garlic and lemon. Solid food for cold weather, and certainly not experimental, if "high-end" is what they want.

PLease tell us that you mistakenly omitted the word "not".
travelerjan is online now  
Oct 4th, 2009, 05:50 AM
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>Since they are all US college students they will likely not be eating in high-end restaurants<

I'd go with what gail said in this, her first message.
joe4212 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 06:19 AM
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Sorry - typo - they are NOT looking for high end food. Can only speak for my own daughter, but she will and has eaten almost anything, throughout the world - an independent and, for a 19 year old, well-traveled adult. She will likely be the one steering her touring companions away from generic tourist places to local or unusual finds.

And as an International Relations and Spanish major, she will likely be comfortable picking up some useful phrases and trying them out. (While in Egypt, she quickly learned to say that she did not want to buy whatever the person was selling). They will be changing planes in Paris and she is looking forward to practicing the minimal French she learned in a semester course.

Thanks again to all - I rarely post on this board, spending my time on US and Lounge boards. Everyone is very nice and helpful here as well.
gail is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 07:00 AM
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In places like Delphi they will have to eat wherever is open. Delphi is tiny with only 4-5 streets so not much to choose from. There are a couple of little markets where they could probably get a sandwich made. I hope her friends are prepared to eat anything also. We went in the little market in Delphi and there were intestines hanging in the window for sale (used for soup I was told). By the counter where you paid, there was a skinned goat hanging with sawdust underneath to catch the blood drips. It was a day or two before Greek Orthodox Easter so people were buying these for Easter dinner.

I like to have a few phrases when I'm visiting somewhere, but I found Greek quite difficult.
kybourbon is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 07:22 AM
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Some good points already, but some of the higher prices quoted are only in the more exepensive tourist places & Athens! Markrosy's experience is way off the 'norm'. Heimdall's €10 per person on the islands in summer season should be your biggest clue!
I live in Greece & when we go out to eat we have only ever pay between €12-25 for both of us (including 1-1.5 litres of house wine), the only exceptions so far being some more upscale restaurants in Athens & the islands of Santorini & Mykonos.
The cheese or spinach pies, gyros, souvlaki or souvlaki pita suggestions are excellent, another option if there are 2 or more eating together is to share a poikilia (ποικιλία)which means 'assortment' or 'choice'. You get a plate of anything they have available in the kitchen, so you can go to the same place twice & won't necessarily get exactly the same meal! Most places have the option of small, medium or large, some just the choice of 2 of the sizes.
Absolutely look for the smaller more traditional ouzeries, kafenions, mezedopoleios for that are likely to serve these things & will be cheaper than restaurants (ΕΣΤΙΑΤΟΡΙΟ).
OUZERIE - ΟΥΖΕΡΙ
KAFENION - ΚΑΦΕΝΕΙΟ
MEZEDOPOLEIO - ΜΕΖΕΔΟΠΟΛΕΙΟ
Also seen, but not so much, OVELESTERIO - ΟΒΕΛΕΣΤΕΡΕΙΟ where you will find souvlaki & most things 'on the grill'.
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