Six tips for sustainable travel in Greece

Greece’s diverse landscapes, authentic traditional art, rich food and drink heritage and laid-back Mediterranean way of life make it one of the best destinations to be a sustainably-minded tourist. By traveling, eating and purchasing like a local, you will get to enjoy the best hidden gems of this popular island nation, giving you a unique and unforgettable experience.

Here are six simple ways that you can embrace a sustainable mindset while traveling in Greece. 

1.Eat and drink local

Choosing sustainable food options in Greece is easy thanks to the variety of its national cuisine. Greece has a world-renowned food culture with something for everyone from meat lovers to vegans alike. Traditional Greek cuisine includes Mediterranean staples like dolma, olives, roasted vegetables, flatbreads, seafood and of course, gyros. Besides its food, Greece is also known for its traditional digestif, Ouzo, a delicious and locally-made anise-flavored liquor. So when you eat and drink local products, you lower your environmental footprint and support local business. 

2.Walk or cycle

What’s a better way to discover traditional Greek villages or neighborhoods than on foot? Greece is famous for its narrow winding cobblestone streets full of wonder. Around every corner and at the precipice of every hilltop, tourists can discover Greece’s urban and natural beauty. Walking or alternatively, cycling, are zero-carbon transport options, meaning that compared with transportation by car, these transport options are inherently more eco-friendly. 

3.Slow travel

To really have a locally-immersed experience that contributes back to society, opting to spend more time at the destination either in one location or by island-hopping, you’ll be able to get a bird’s eye view into a traditional Greek lifestyle. The remote work trend has made slow tourism more popular than ever, with Greece offering the perfect location to mix work and pleasure. 

4.Support small art galleries and museums

When you think of Greek art, the first things that come to mind are probably marble statues and antiquity art, found in famous museums around the world. If you want to explore beyond traditional Greek art, you’ll find no shortage of locally-run galleries and small-scale exhibitions featuring Greek artists. Visiting lesser-known museums and expositions is a great way to directly support local artisans and discover new interpretations of Greek traditions.

5.Buy local or handmade souvenirs 

Another way to champion local artisans is to purchase authentic hand-made souvenirs. The most common Greek souvenir is the “Evil eye”, traditionally worn to ward off negative energy. Instead of purchasing a mass-produced necklace or bracelet, choose one that is hand-painted or re-imagined into something unique or one-of-a-kind. 

6.Join a locally-led experience or tour 

Greek hospitality is well-known for making its guests feel at home. By joining a locally-led tour or eco-friendly experience, you can rest assured that you will be treated like an honored guest. One of the best ways to interact with locals is to take part in a traditional cooking or art class, where you’ll come away with more than just a new skill, but a connection to Greek culture and its people. 

Remember that as a tourist, you can lead by example by acting sustainably and choosing activities that give back to Greece, its economy and environment. Learning a few Greek words and tipping your guides won’t hurt either!