I’ve just got back from a week in Corfu and thought I’d share my experience of Greece whilst it was at the height of the financial crisis.
In the run up to the holiday the media warned about unrest in the country and that while tourists should still visit, they should take precautions before going to Greece. Credit cards might not be accepted, we were told; take lots of cash. So we did, and as an added precaution I took one of those pre-loaded travel money cards.
We were staying in a small village, and it was pretty quiet. Chatting to the hotel staff, they said the hotel was fully booked and business was good. We decided to go on a boat trip, which was full. The skipper told us that they were busy – but the season was only four months long now, where it used to be longer.
Only one local seemed unsettled. He told us that things were quiet, that people were cancelling their holidays to Greece and it was all down to the economic crisis. “It’s alright for you,” he said, angrily. “You come here and think it’s lovely because you’re only here for a week or two. But we have to stay here all the time. It’s not lovely for us.”
Despite the troubles, we had no problems on holiday. We tended to use cash anyway, but all the local businesses – in our resort and further afield – were happy to take card payments. I saw lots of people using ATMs without any hassle, and only one queue.
Our resort in Corfu was quiet – perhaps that was because of the economic situation, maybe it was because we went just before the schools broke up for summer. It was probably a combination of both – but the main thing is, we had a great holiday. As tourists we didn’t experience any trouble and the locals were eager for our business – but aren’t they always? If you’re wondering whether to go to Greece or not, do. They could do with your cash injection, and you’ll have a well-priced holiday in the sunshine. You can’t argue with that.