PLANNING A TRIP TO EUROPE AND DECIDING BETWEEN GREECE VS ITALY?
The two European countries are widely known and frequently visited for their rich histories, traditional cuisines, and jaw-dropping landscapes.
However, deciding which country to visit can be challenging if your vacation is limited. Our travel friend Tamara from My Elated Oddysey has explored both and can shed some light on a full, honest comparison.
This post will examine their main differences to help you choose which country to visit that matches your tastes and what you’re looking for in your vacation.
Despite which country you choose to visit, you will have a fantastic time taking in captivating views, eating delicious foods, and relaxing on some of the best beaches in Europe.
Greece Vs. Italy: Which Country Should I Visit First?
Choosing which country to visit first in southern Europe – Greece vs. Italy – will ultimately depend on your preferences. However, some key differences will aid your initial decision.
If you are an avid fan of ancient history and mythology, then Greece is the better option. In Athens, you will see iconic landmarks, such as the Acropolis, home to the Parthenon, and other notable temples. Additionally, if you are looking for an island-hopping vacation, Greece’s beautiful islands and beaches will be perfect for exploring and relaxing.
On the other hand, if you are drawn to rich art history, fashion, and Roman architecture, Italy is a must! Some of the world’s most famous paintings were created and are subsequently housed in the country, including The Last Supper in Milan and The Birth of Venus in Florence.
Italy also has one of the world’s most popular cuisines for foodies and historical landmarks, including the Colosseum.
If you have the bandwidth to visit both countries, they are near each other, making air and even sea travel easy between them. Ultimately, whether you decide to go to Greece or Italy first on your vacation, they will both be unforgettable adventures.
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Greece vs. Italy: Key Differences
Despite their distance from one another and having some shared features, the two destinations have some distinctive characteristics.
Below, we’ll compare some significant differences between Greece and Italy to help you decide which location is better.
Costs & Prices
When examining the costs, Greece and Italy both provide affordable and expensive travel experiences. In general, Italy is the more expensive vacation destination. Greece sees average lower costs with dining, accommodation, and transportation.
You can expect to spend around 130€ during a vacation in Italy, while around 120€ in Greece. Regarding accommodation, a two-week trip will cost around 1900€ in Italy, while 1700€ in Greece.
However, this can be subjective depending on where you go in Greece and when you go. For example, the islands of Mykonos and Santorini during the peak season months are costly. On the other hand, islands such as Crete are known for being affordable.
Despite the differences, affordable options can be found in both countries to cater to various budgets. Whether on a tight budget or wanting to splurge on a luxury getaway, you will find plenty of options in both countries.
Mediterranean climates characterize both Greece and Italy. With that, they each have moderate winters and hot summers. However, some weather differences still exist between the two.
Greece is known for having higher temperatures throughout the year than Italy. On average, Greece experiences a temperature of 18°C, while Italy’s is 14°C. August is the hottest month in Greece and has an average high of 33°C!
Due to Italy’s geography, it has a more diverse climate. Therefore, the north has cooler temperatures on average and experiences more rainfall, with the mountain regions also experiencing more snowfall. On the other hand, the south is hotter and drier.
Overall, Greece has warmer and drier weather than Italy. However, Italy benefits from a more diverse climate which can affect your decision depending on when you visit.
The cuisines in Greece and Italy are renowned for their traditions and variety of offerings. Whether you’re a picky eater or an all-out foodie, there’s guaranteed to be something you crave in these countries.
Italy has one of the most recognizable culinary traditions on the planet. A concentration on pasta, cold-cut meats, and cheeses characterizes Italy’s cuisine.
A few notable Italian staples include prosciutto (thin, cured ham), Pasta all’Arrabbiata (spicy tomato sauce), Ragù alla Bolognese (bolognese sauce), and Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmesan cheese). Not to mention, the country is the birthplace of Balsamic vinegar and tasty desserts such as tiramisu. Oh, and the delicious Italian wines!
On the other hand, Greek cuisine is most widely known for its fresh ingredients that emphasize using herbs, vegetables, and seafood. Greek yogurts and vibrant salads are some well-known dishes.
Additionally, the country has tasty dishes that include moussaka (layered eggplant casserole), gemista (stuffed peppers and/or tomatoes), as well as souvlaki (small pieces of grilled meat often placed in a pita)
The historical cultures of both countries have shaped the world into what it is today. Greece and Italy are well-known for the distinctive cultures that set them apart.
One of the primary differences is, well, within the language! In Greece, Greek is the national language and has an individual alphabet. On the contrary, Italy’s national language is Italian, which stems from Latin.
When looking into the arts, both countries have a rich history in the subject. Greeks are widely known for their sculptures and architecture that represent Greek mythology.
Meanwhile, Italy’s distinct artistic culture, deeply rooted in paintings and sculptures, heavily influenced the Renaissance.
Overall, while similarities between the two countries exist, they also have distinct cultures molded by their traditions and histories.
Geography & Landscape
Due to the individual locations and subsequent climates, Greek and Italian geography differ in a few ways.
Greece is situated east of the Mediterranean, with stunning mountain ranges and over 200 islands! The landscape is breathtaking, with its rugged mountains and beautiful coastlines on the mainland. In addition, you will find some of Europe’s most unique beaches in Greece, such as Sarakinko in Milos.
Conversely, Italy is almost entirely bordered by the Mediterranean Sea in the south of Europe. Mountainous regions, stunning coasts, and lakes define the landscape. Moreover, the country has several active volcanos in the south, including the infamous Mount Vesuvius.
In sum, Italy has a far more diverse landscape, while Greece has the benefit of more islands and better beaches.
Greece Vs. Italy: Which is Better To Visit in 2023?
There is no definite answer to which country is better to visit: Greece vs. Italy.
Next, we’ll look into more specifics that will help your decision.
Which is better for family vacations: Greece or Italy?
The decision of which country is better for family vacations will depend on the type of vacation being looked for.
While Greece has iconic landmarks like the Acropolis, Italy is better for sightseeing as you can journey to the Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Trevi Fountain. In addition, Italy will be the perfect choice for those looking to shop till they drop and learn about art history.
In contrast, Greece will be the better destination for a family looking for a relaxing beach getaway and island hopping. Furthermore, if a family is interested in ancient Greek mythology, there is a clear winner.
Which is better for a honeymoon: Greece or Italy?
Similar to when it comes to deciding which country is better for a family vacation, a honeymoon will also depend on the couple’s preferences.
With its picturesque islands and one-of-a-kind beaches, Greece will be the perfect romantic vacation for a couple wanting an intimate and easy-going vacation. It will be a wonderful honeymoon between catamaran sunset cruises and captivating views.
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime activity, a famous flying dress photoshoot in Santorini is for you! It’s a special photoshoot you will forever cherish.
On the other hand, Italy may be more attractive for a couple looking to indulge in sightseeing, viewing iconic architecture, and exploring the beauty of romantic places like Lake Como. Additionally, a couple can’t go wrong with an intimate winery tour in the Tuscany region or explore the beauty of the Amalfi Coast.
Which Country Is Better on a Budget?
As previously mentioned, Italy is, on average, more expensive for a European vacation in terms of daily spending and accommodation. That being said, Greece is generally agreed to be the better option for budget travelers.
However, it’s important to remember that you can find various budget options in both countries. Located in Europe, plenty of hostels and low-budget hotel accommodations are available for the two destinations.
Still, if you’re looking to book a luxury vacation, you can also find that in both countries.
Which country is more beautiful, Greece or Italy?
There is no correct answer regarding which country is more beautiful when comparing Greece and Italy. They are both unique and offer captivating scenery for visitors.
Greece is most well-known for its charming islands. The caldera view in Santorini has to be seen at least once in your lifetime. Moreover, the cliff view of the shipwreck on Zakynthos and the rock formations of Meteora look unreal!
Italy is also a country full of gems. In Tuscany, you can’t help but fall in love with the rolling hills and Mediterranean cypress trees that decorate the region.
Moreover, Venice is known for being one of the most romantic areas in the country, with its scenic canals. For these reasons, choosing which country is more beautiful is nearly impossible!
Greece Vs. Italy Map
Greece: Best Things To Do
If Greece becomes your country of choice, don’t limit yourself to the mainland. The islands are a must-see and should be included on your itinerary.
✔️Tour the Acropolis
This UNESCO landmark is one of the first things that come to mind when considering Greece. This activity is necessary if you’ve ever enjoyed learning about ancient Greece and mythology!
The view from the acropolis is stunning, providing panoramic views of Athens. It is especially a wonderful sight during sunset.
Tickets for the Acropolis are 20€ from April through October.
A trip to Greece would be incomplete without a trip to the islands! With over 200 islands, the options are endless!
Travel Tip: The islands are split into different regions, and it’s advisable to stay within that same region during your vacation due to travel time.
Whether you want to see Santorini’s blue domes and jump to Mykonos’s party island, or journey through Corfu and the blue waters of Paxos, they will amaze you! Each island is unique and holds breathtaking scenery.
Island hopping allows you to see much of Greece’s unique beauty and is made easy through the efficient ferry system.
Aside from the picturesque islands, one of the best views I saw during my time in Greece was the monasteries of Meteora. Uniquely, this location has been the setting for Game of Thrones and James Bond!
The unique rock formations of Meteora should be included during your itinerary of mainland Greece. The serene views of the surrounding landscape are like none other in the world. Additionally, there are great activities like paragliding!
Italy: Best Things To Do
Italy offers a variety of experiences for travelers. Whether you’re a history fanatic, a foodie, or on a quest for the best views, there is something for everyone.
✔️Visit the Colosseum
The Colosseum is one of the most famous historical landmarks in the world, and not visiting it would be a loss! It is a true testament to ancient Roman architecture and is one of Italy’s most popular attractions.
As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, this structure should certainly be near the top of your travel bucket list. A site tour will grant you exciting information on its history that you would miss if you went alone.
✔️Explore the Amalfi Coast
Located along a 34-mile stretch of the southern Italian coast, it is no surprise why the Amalfi Coast attracts millions each year.
One of the most obvious reasons to visit lies in its stunning beauty. Everything from its scenic cliffs, charming towns, and many beaches will take one’s breath away.
The region is also renowned for its cuisine, including delicious wines and seafood. In sum, the Amalfi Coast makes for an unforgettable holiday.
✔️Ride the Gondolas in Venice
A gondola ride in Venice is one of those activities you do once in a lifetime. That being said, it should be on your Italy bucket list.
The gondola ride offers a unique and romantic perspective through the beautiful canals of Venice. You will be spoiled with gorgeous views as you listen to fascinating facts and converse with your driver.
While it’s not the least expensive activity, with a cost of 80€, it’s an experience you will always cherish and remember.
The Wrap-Up: Greece vs. Italy
So, who will win the vacation choice of Greece vs. Italy? The two countries’ rich histories and distinctive cultures set them apart, resulting in a hard decision!
While Italy has a more diverse landscape and unbeatable cuisine, Greece benefits from a lower vacation cost and famous Greek islands and beaches that you must see at least once in your lifetime. However, both are stunning and have some of the best views you can imagine.
When it comes down to deciding between the two destinations, it will depend on some specific preferences you have for your European vacation. No matter what, they are unique countries that have significantly shaped Western society and have so much to offer!