Have you been dreaming of Greece your whole life? Is your wildest wanderlust fantasy about to come true?! Stop watching the clock countdown to takeoff and feed your inspiration instead. Get excited for your trip with these 6 things to do before Greece!
Be sure to check out my post on the perfect Santorini Airbnb before you book as well. (Don’t get stuck staying in crowded Oia. This Airbnb is within walking distance to all the touristy spots but offers much more privacy and peace!)
Sample Greek Food
I love taking my preconceptions and expectations about a place and replacing them with reality. I enjoyed tasting the “American” version of Greek food and then having my mind completely blown in Greece.
Word of advice: keep an open mind. I never cared for Greek yogurt and had only ever tasted commercial brands. At the port in Santorini yogurt was included as a side at breakfast, no substitutions. I have NEVER tasted such a light and heavenly sweet Greek yogurt flavored cloud. I have yet to find a grocery store product that compares.
Watch a Cheesy Film
We all know that Hollywood isn’t the best place to go for accuracy or reality. BUT now is the time to let your imagination soar, and what better way to do that than with a movie?
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Lena is escorted to her grandparent’s Cycladic home in Oia via donkey– need I say more? Yes, I forced my husband to watch this movie with me before we went. Yes, when we were in Santorini we found the cove where Lena and Costas had their meet-cute <3
I had to include a Disney movie on this list. I enjoyed revisiting the image of Greek mythology I grew up with and then comparing it to factual history while in Athens. Spoiler alert- the Disney version is a little more kid-friendly and light-hearted than the actual tale of Hercules.
Okay, opposite of Disney movie. Way opposite of historical accuracy. But it was fun to compare pop-culture’s take on Sparta with seeing actual relics and actually being in Greece.
OXI: An Act of Resistance
Check out a Greek film. I have to admit that I am not very familiar with Greek cinema, but I chose one that I found subtitled! As a bonus “No” takes place in modern day Greece.
Learn Some Language Basics
Because Greece is largely a tourism economy, you are never far from someone who knows at least a little English. However, it is always a good idea to know a few key phrases before traveling anywhere new.
“Good day” = “Kalimera” (kah-lee-mare-uh)
“Excuse me” = “Signomi” (seeg-no-mee)
“Please” or “You’re welcome” = “Parakalo” (par-ah-kah-lo)
“Thank you” = “Pharisto” (feh-reh-stoh)*
*My travel dictionary failed me on this one. Most sources show the proper word “efkharisto” (eff-car-ee-stoh). On the ferry to Santorini, we were lucky enough to sit by a local who shared the more common, and less complicated term. Feh-reh-stoh is the way to go.
Do Some Bible Mapping
For me, getting biblical context was one of the most important things to do before Greece. The majority of the New Testament has ties to Greece thanks to the apostle Paul’s missionary journeys in the first century. If you are lucky enough to do more extensive traveling, I found that Bible History Online had super helpful maps and resources.
In my travels, Athens was the only relevant place with a Biblical connection. Most notably, Paul regularly delivered sermons at Areopagus, a rock outcropping with a beautiful view right next to the Acropolis.
We made it a point to climb up the rock (which was actually sort of treacherous because we missed the tiny metal staircase) and have a small quiet time. Acts 17:16-34 is actually known as the Areopagus sermon. It was great to spend time at a location mentioned by name in the Bible.
Pray for Greece
For full transparency, this is not something I did before going to Greece. However, it is definitely a habit I am trying to make before visiting another country. Check out my easy prayers for travel to spark some topics to pray with God about. Do some research on the political, social and economic climate of Greece. Pray for the country and the people you are about to visit.
Read a Classic
Sooo completing this before going to Greece may take a bit more time.
The ultimate classic literature that comes to mind is Homer’s The Odyssey. One of the oldest books in Western literature, this “epic” follows Oddyseus as he tries to make his way home (to Greece of course).
I remember being forced to read this in high school, but I actually enjoyed revisiting the unlucky adventure that includes a blind cyclops, countless shipwrecks, and infamous Sirens. Reading this reminded me just how rich (and ancient) Greece’s history is!
Make Your Own Greek Bucket List
Now that you have fresh inspiration, make your own list of must-dos. Check out my full bucket list that included riding a Santorini donkey (thank you Lena), finding the outlook where the disciple Paul preached in Athens and eating my weight in baklava.
Did this list get you excited to go to Greece? Do you have anything to add? Let me know your things to do before Greece in the comments!