When looking for a picture-perfect European getaway, two places at the top of everyone’s bucket list are Greece and Italy. With stunning cities, gorgeous views, beautiful beaches, and outstanding cuisine, these destinations both have plenty to offer.
Tourists visit both of these countries for the same reason. Be it to sample delicious foods, shop in traditional markets, discover outstanding architecture, or simply see some of the most famous historical and cultural sites, both Italy and Greece are exceptional tourist destinations.
So, if you’re torn between the two whilst planning your next trip to Europe, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect place for you.
Greece vs. Italy: Our Quick Take
When it comes to choosing the perfect destination for a honeymoon or dream vacation, we personally prefer Italy. We’re simply obsessed with the culture, beautiful cities, and unbeatable food. We do recommend Greece for people looking for a laidback and easygoing vacation where you can simply relax on the beach. Since these countries are quite nearby, it’s even possible to fit in a visit to both on a single trip!
Did You Know?
- More tourists visit Greece every year than the total number of the Greek population.
- Italian cuisine is ancient, with Italians eating Pasta as far back as around 4BC.
- Greece is actually made up of around 6000 islands and islets.
Greece is an incredibly popular tourist destination in Europe and is famous for its beautiful islands, with gorgeous beaches and stunning sea views. Visitors typically visit Greece and the Greek Islands for romantic and cultural getaways.
Not only do visitors want to enjoy a relaxing vacation here, but Greece is also famous for a great range of historic sites, great architecture, and culturally rich days out.
Greece is easily accessible from the US, with direct flights from many major cities to mainland Greece to the International Airport of Athens. These flights will set you back around $950, depending on where you’re flying from, flights from the East Coast of the US are generally cheaper.
If you’re planning on visiting a Greek island such as Santorini or Mykonos, you’ll need to take either a ferry or another flight after arriving on the mainland, as there are no direct flights from the US to these smaller Greek islands.
As one of the most major tourist destinations in all of Europe, Italy is a culturally rich country that boasts amazing and unique cities, and gorgeous destinations.
There are stunning coastlines, great historical attractions, and beautiful cities. With amazing restaurants, bars, and shops no matter where you choose to visit, Italy offers a great range of vacation types. From beach holidays, gorgeous city breaks, and quiet retreats at vineyards, there’s the perfect vacation for anyone in this stunning country.
Direct flights are available from all over the US, with prices averaging out at around $550, again, depending on the time of year you’re traveling and where you’re flying from.
Flights take around 9 hours from the US to Italy on average, though if you’re looking to visit somewhere a little more remote, be aware that direct flights are not offered to all areas of Italy.
Greece vs Italy: Best Time to Visit
When it comes to visiting Greece the best time to visit is just outside of peak tourist season at the height of summer. By visiting during the springtime months (April to June), or early autumn (September and October), you can still enjoy lovely warm temperatures without the huge amount of tourists that flock here during the summer.
It’s still possible to visit between November and February as major cities still have their attractions open and the areas are still very pleasant. That said, the weather is a lot colder, so keep this in mind if you’re looking for a getaway with lots of sunshine.
Italy is also best to visit during the springtime months (March to May), and the autumn months (September to November), for comfortable temperatures and less crowds of tourists.
During early April, there are gorgeous wildflowers to be seen all over the country, and from October onwards, it’s time for the grape harvest, so no matter what time of year you choose to visit, there’s plenty to see and do.
If you’re planning on visiting the southern areas of Italy, temperatures are still mild during the Winter months, so if you’re looking for a more affordable Italian vacation, this is something you’ll want to keep in mind. That said, winter months in the north of Italy are usually cold and wet.
If you’re planning on including both destinations in one trip, the best times of year to visit are between April and May, and during the autumn months, between September and October.
Greece vs Italy: Weather
Both Greece and Italy, being in the Mediterranean region, both have a Mediterranean climate. This brings the majority of both areas moderate winters and cold summers, but there are still some key differences between the weather you may want to keep in mind.
Greece typically has higher temperatures throughout the year than Italy. The average temperature in Greece is around 18°C, while the average temperature in Italy is 14°C. If you’re a fan of hot weather, August boasts the highest temperatures of the year in Greece, with an average high of 33°C!
In contrast, Italy has a more diverse climate due to its geography. Being a more elongated country, Italy experiences a great range of temperatures, from cooler temperatures and more rainfall in the north, snowfall in the mountains, and hot and dry temperatures in the south.
Overall, Greece has warmer and drier weather than Italy. However, Italy boasts a more diverse climate, which can affect your decision depending on when and why you’re choosing the visit.
Greece vs Italy: Accommodation
When it comes to accommodation in Greece and Italy, both countries have a lot of gorgeous stays to offer.
Depending on why you’re staying in Greece, you can find some of the most beautiful stays in the world. From outstanding architecture, including some of the famous coastline resorts in Santorini, to gorgeous hotels in the heart of Athens. Obviously depending on where you choose to stay depends on how much the accommodation will cost you. Thankfully, accommodation in some areas can be fairly cheap, meaning that if you’re not staying in a major hotspot, like one of the five-star resorts in Santorini, a trip can be quite affordable.
Italy on the other hand doesn’t offer a huge amount of resorts. If a resort-type vacation is the kind of trip you’re looking for, we would definitely recommend a visit to Greece.
That said, the hotels and cute B&Bs in Italy can be unmatched! Whether it’s a gorgeous retreat at a Tuscan vineyard, a beautiful B&B along the Amalfi coast, or a stunning hotel in the heart of one of the country’s best cities, there’s something for everyone in Italy.
With this huge range of destinations and accommodation types comes a huge range of prices. Italy is overall a little more expensive than Greece, so it’s good to keep this in mind if your budget is quite tight.
Greece vs Italy: Things to do
If you’re looking for a culturally rich experience, with plenty on offer to see and do, both Greece and Italy are excellent choices.
Best Things to Do in Greece
When it comes to experiences that can be made in Greece, it’s best to try not to limit yourself to just the mainland. Of course, there is a huge amount to see and do there, but the various islands belonging to Greece are arguably some of the most famous areas to visit!
One of the best ways to truly discover all the best that Greece has to offer on it’s various islands is to go island hopping! With over 200 islands to explore (or over 6000 if you include islets!) there’s a great range of options when it comes to planning the perfect island hopping experience. There’s a great ferry system in Greece to help you get around too!
To make it a little easier, the islands are split into regions. If you do decide to go island hopping, it’s usually a good idea to just stick to one region to help cut travel time. So if you’re looking to explore the stunning architecture in Santorini before heading off to the party towns of Mykonos, or discover the natural beauty of Corfu and the stunning blue waters of Paxos, each island has its own unique charm that’s sure to keep you wanting to explore even more!
The monasteries of Meteora are a great attraction, and something not to be missed. If you’re a film and TV buff, you may recognize Meteora as being the film location for numerous productions, such as James Bond and Game of Thrones. As one of the most picturesque Greek Islands, Meteora provides a landscape to discover that’s different from anywhere else in the world.
If you’re interested in culture and history, taking a tour of the Acropolis is one of the best things you can get up to. As a UNESCO landmark, it’s one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about Greece. It provides guests with stunning views over Athens and is simply a great place to visit at sunset.
Best Things to Do in Italy
Italy is a stunning country that offers an abundance of things to see and do for visitors. No matter what kind of vacation you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone here. Be it eating pasta and pizza, visiting a winery, or shopping till you drop in one of the Country’s larger cities, there’s so much to experience in Italy.
If you’re traveling to Venice, then be sure to take a gondola ride along the canals. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is one that’s a must-do when visiting Italy, especially if you’re traveling there on a romantic honeymoon or getaway.
Looking for somewhere with stunning sea views? A trip to the Amalfi coast should be on your to-do list! This 34-mile stretch of coastline sits along southern Italy and is a major attraction for those looking for a relaxed summertime escape. Boasting scenic cliffs, charming traditional towns, and gorgeous beaches, it’s the perfect escape if you’re looking for somewhere with delicious wines and delectable seafood.
If you’re a fan of history, one unmissable Italian attraction is a trip to the Colosseum. Being one of the world’s most famous historical landmarks, it’s an amazing insight into ancient Rome and something that you should definitely be at the top of your bucket list!
Greece vs Italy: Food
Both Greece and Italy are famous for their delicious cuisine. No matter what kind of food you’re looking for, you’re sure to find something delicious every day of the week in both of these destinations.
Greek cuisine is known for its use of fresh ingredients, delicious Mediterranean vegetables, great inclusion of herbs, and of course, meats and seafood. Be sure to indulge in amazing Greek yogurts, salads, and dips whilst you’re visiting. There’s an abundance of great dishes to try, including moussaka (a vegetable-based casserole), soutzoukakia (long meatballs), and gyros (one of the most famous types of wrap in the world).
When it comes to Italy though, it’s likely you’ll already have an idea of what to order once you arrive. Arguably the better destination for picky eaters, Italy has some of the most famous cuisines on the planet.
Whether you’re looking to indulge in cold-cut meats and cheeses, pasta and pizza, or even some delicious seafood, Italy has it all. Whilst there be sure to try fresh pasta (a far better choice than the dried alternative we often eat in our home country), eggs in purgatory (a dish similar to shakshuka but a little more spicy), or a classic Spaghetti Carbonara.
Greece vs Italy: Cost
When it comes to the cost difference between these two amazing countries, there’s little difference on average. Whether you’re visiting Greece or Italy, you can enjoy a budget-friendly trip, or splash out on an expensive once-in-a-lifetime getaway, the choice is yours! In general, Italy is slightly more expensive than Greece, but again this can depend on a huge number of factors.
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, it’s worth noting that some of the more popular destinations such as Santorini and Mykonos are more costly during the peak season, but there are some more cost-effective alternatives if you’re looking to visit other areas such as Crete or Zakynthos.
Again, if you’re looking to stay in one of the more popular, large cities of Italy, such as Rome or Milan, you may be looking to spend a little more.
There’s a great range of affordable options in both countries though, so the cost totally depends on when you’re traveling, and the type of vacation you’re looking to enjoy.
Greece vs Italy: For Families
Choosing which destination is best for a family vacation depends on the type of vacation you’re looking for. Both destinations have a great range of landmarks and attractions, with Italy being a slightly better choice if you’re looking for a cultural getaway. Whilst the Acropolis is one of Greece’s iconic landmarks, there’s a lot more to be discovered in Italy, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Colosseum.
If you’re a family looking for a relaxing beach vacation, going island hopping, or simply enjoying one another’s company at a beautiful resort, then Greece is definitely the choice for you.
Greece vs Italy: For Honeymoons
When it comes to booking the perfect honeymoon, you’ll want to pick the perfect destination. When choosing between Greece and Italy, it’s important to take note of what you’re both looking for in your dream honeymoon getaway.
Personally, we think both destinations are equal on this one.
Greece is a tempting destination, due to its picturesque, unique islands, stunning beaches, and gorgeous views. It provides couples with a stunningly romantic backdrop for an intimate and relaxed vacation.
That said, Italy is also a great option. Perfect for couples who enjoy sightseeing, there’s a great array of art galleries, museums, iconic landmarks, and gorgeous natural attractions. So if you’re looking to indulge in an intimate wine tasting in Tuscany or a delicious dinner along the Amalfi coast, Italy could be the best destination for you.
Greece vs Italy: The Verdict
Greece and Italy are two of the top romantic, and cultural destinations in all of Europe.
Greece is a popular tourist hotspot and boasts a great range of gorgeous islands with stunning beaches and great architecture. If you’re looking for a more relaxed getaway with a couple of days visiting historical landmarks, then Greece is likely the best destination for you.
Italy, on the other hand, is a gorgeous destination for those who love to immerse themselves completely in culture. With a great range of things to see and do, it’s difficult to want to spend your days here relaxing on the beach or soaking up the sunshine by the pool.
He is an expert travel advisor and enthusiast. He has traveled extensively in the USA, Central American, South America and Europe. He has visited every Sandals Resort and is one of a select few Diamond Elite members of the Sandals Chairman’s Royal Club.
Dan graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Later he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a focus on people and culture.