Should you sip a drink by the Mykonos waters or take a stroll through the Roman streets this year? Here’s an Italy vs Greece guide to decide.
If you’ve swooned more over the Italian landscape than Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, or rooted for Elio and Oliver – discovering love in Lombardy, Italy – in Call Me By Your Name, you’d know Italy as a beautiful place.
A ferry ride apart is Greece, known for the exuberant blueness and architecture of Santorini, Mount Olympus, and the Acropolis Museum.
With both countries topping the lists for best tourist destinations, it becomes hard to choose between them.
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Where should you be sipping your margaritas this year: the Greek Islands or the Italian coastline? Let’s find out in this Italy vs Greece travel guide.
Table of Contents
- Italy vs Greece: Cultural Differences
- Italy Culture
- Greece Culture
- What are the Key Differences between Italy and Greece?
- Beaches of Greece Compared to Italy
- Italy vs Greece: Historical Sites
- Italy vs Greece: Weather
- Italy vs Greece: Luxury Traveling
- Food in Greece as compared to Italy
- As a Honeymoon Destination
- Italy or Greece for Family Trips
- Which Country is Cheaper Italy or Greece?
- Which Destinations Are More Expensive?
- Best Months to Travel to Italy or Greece
- Are Greece and Italy Similar?
- Final Words
Italy vs Greece: Cultural Differences
The culture of a country pretty much sets the ground rules for the kind of adventures and attractions you’ll find there. Although both countries have the same European social framework, the cultural values differ on several levels.
In 2017, the Italian population stood at over 62 million, making the country 23rd in terms of population size. Unlike America, which is a blend of different ethnicities, Italy is primarily home to Italians. 96% of the population is Italian.
Some other groups living in the country include North African Arabs, Austrians, Albanians, and Germans.
Being in the majority, Italians influence the country’s culture. However, the customs of bordering countries, such as Slovenia and France, have also entered Italy over time.
So, what is Italy like? As for the culture, the country is known for its architecture, cuisine, arts, and music.
A reminiscence of the Roman Empire, Italy, has always been an attraction for historians and architects. However, the artistic side of the country attracts artisans and art lovers from all over the world.
Quite unsurprisingly, the official language in Italy is Italian, spoken by 93% of the population. Other languages spoken in the country include Milanese – spoken in the hub of fashion, i.e., Milan – Catalan, Walser, Corsican, Bavarian, French, and Croatian.
Roman Catholicism is the major religion in Italy. Obviously, it would be quite awkward for any other religion to prevail in the Pope’s country. 20% of the population is made up of atheists, agnostics, and Muslims.
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While Italy is massively populated, Greece stands at 10.72 million as per the 2019 census. In recent years, Greece also went through an economic crisis.
Due to that, most immigrants left the country. Plus, the Greek government abolished the incentives that were previously given to people to have more kids. Both of these factors influenced a population decline.
What does this mean? You can expect Greece less crowded than Italy.
Since Greeks and Romans were two of the major groups in Mediterranian history, it’s easy to explain the commonalities between the two countries. Like Italy, Greece also has a rich culture of art, theatre, and literature.
While Italy has the Colosseum, Greece boasts the Theatre of Dionysus. The Greeks are also known for promoting culture through religion and vice versa. A major example is the Olympic Games, originating about 2700 years ago in a region southwest of Greece.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Rome
What are the Key Differences between Italy and Greece?
Should you visit Greece or Italy? That’s a tough question because both countries are highly worthy of a visit. Thus, you can decide between Italy or Greece by focusing on the things you like doing the most.
Here are a few ideas:
Beaches of Greece Compared to Italy
Greece, hands down, has better and more beaches than Italy. From enjoying the nightlife in Mykonos to being awe-struck by the Navagio shipwreck at Zakynthos, there’s a lot to do on the Greek shore.
If you want to see the volcanic features and feel the serenity of the ocean at the same time, Santorini is the spot for you. Plus, it’s a major attention-grabber for your Instagram feed.
In comparison, the Italian coastline is a bit scarce but nothing you can’t enjoy. The Sardinia coastline has Bronze Age ruins for you to brush up on your history.
If you enjoy quaint cafes and quiet life, you can head over to Positano in the Amalfi Coast Village, which lines a cliffside. When the stillness of the village gets too much, go over to the Amalfi port – don’t forget to visit the Sant’Andrea cathedral.
See Related: Things to do in Ravello
Italy vs Greece: Historical Sites
Comparing the historical sites of Italy and Greece is like comparing two bars of chocolate – just with different packaging. The historical gems in both these countries are way too many to count. You can visit museums, theatres, cathedrals, ruins, and so much more.
Even better, all these sites are preserved by both countries, making the sightseeing experience a delight.
Check out these amazing tours of Pompeii from Naples.
Italy vs Greece: Weather
The climate in both countries is quite similar. From May to October, the weather is warm, and the regions get a lot of Sun. The cold and wet months range from November to April.
However, Greece takes the win for the cool breezes that make the weather pleasant on the Greek Islands in the hotter months. Also, the beach season lasts longer in Greece than in Italy.
Italy vs Greece: Luxury Traveling
If you’re willing to spend all your life’s savings on traveling, you’re a welcome guest in both countries. Boasting some of the finest hotels and dining spots in the region, Italy and Greece are ideal for luxury travelers.
For lavish hotels and a polished lifestyle, go to Italy. But if you like staying close to the water and enjoying pampered indulgence, Santorini is the place for you.
See Related: Italy vs France: Which is Better to Visit?
Food in Greece as compared to Italy
Before we get into this, let’s just say that the moussaka in Greece won’t taste the same as the one you relish at the Greek restaurant in your hometown.
Similarly, don’t be disappointed to notice the differences between the pizza in Minnesota and the one you get in Italy.
The food scene in both countries is splendid, although some might argue that Italian food takes the lead. Italian cuisine is known for its simplicity, as most dishes only have three to four ingredients.
Italians depend on the ingredient quality and freshness more than they do on the preparation. That’s why the food ends up being finger-licking delicious every single time.
Greek food is reputed for being rich in olive oil, herbs, and vegetables. Don’t be fooled, though; the country loves to enjoy fish and lean meats too.
See Related: Best Wine Regions in Italy
The Greece nightlife is better than the Italian one, considering it’s catered towards tourists. While Italy is a working country, Greece is primarily a tourist region. That’s why it’s much easier to find bars and clubs in Greece as compared to Italy.
Once you’re done discovering the country during the day, you can dance your heart out by the spellbinding scenery of Paros, Kos, Mykonos, and other islands. Since there are plenty of party venues, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you want to enjoy the nightlife in Italy, make sure to add Milan and Florence to your itinerary. For a luxurious nightlife scene, Riviera Romagnola is your best bet.
Bonus tip: Versilia supposedly has the best beach parties at night.
As a Honeymoon Destination
Whether Italy or Greece is better for the honeymoon depends on the kind of couple you are. If you’re two adventurous souls who can’t leave their wanderlust behind even on their honeymoon, Italy is the right country for you. It has plenty of sightseeing and exploratory opportunities.
In contrast, if you’re more inclined towards fine dining, cuddling, and relaxing by the water, Greece has some idyllic islands.
See Related: Best Party Islands in Greece
Italy or Greece for Family Trips
Although mainly advertised as vacation spots for couples and solos, Italy and Greece are great for families too. Unlike the West, both countries focus on the concept of extended family.
It’s ingrained in their culture to come together, dine, and be a part of the family affairs. Thus, both countries are suitable for traveling with family and have plenty of tourist spots for kids too. Italy is more inclined towards historical tourism.
In Italy, you can take your kids for a walk in the rose garden by the Piazzale Michelangelo or get them in touch with marine life at the Aquarium of Genoa.
However, if your kid is into Greek mythology or is a huge Percy Jackson fan, Greece should be your next vacation spot.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Italy
Which Country is Cheaper Italy or Greece?
A budget comparison of Italy and Greece will show you that there’s not much difference between the expenditure in both countries. However, if you have to pick one, Greece is cheaper.
Spending a week in Greece will cost about €770 while in Italy, it costs €870. Of course, these are just estimates and may differ depending on where you live and how you eat. Firstly, Greece has cheaper accommodation options. As a solo traveler, you can live in a guesthouse or an Airbnb. Upscale tourists and families prefer nicer hotels.
Likewise, food is also cheaper in Greece. You can eat three times a day for just €28 to €30. In Italy, the cost goes up by a few euros. However, local transportation in Greece is more expensive than in Italy.
You can expect to spend up to €22 on the subway, buses, and taxis. Meanwhile, the same transport will cost about €19 a day in Italy. Alcohol prices are pretty much the same in both countries. Around €10 to €12 will take you through the day.
Which Destinations Are More Expensive?
Generally, popular tourist spots are more expensive in Italy. For instance, accommodation and food in Venice and Florence can be quite costly. Venice is notoriously expensive since it has a shortage of budget hotels.
In the coastal area, Italy is a bit costly, especially during the summers. Rome is a great place to find hostels, guest houses, and budget hotels.
The same principle applies to Greece too. The closer you stay to popular spots like Mykonos and Santorini, the higher your daily expenditure will be. On the other hand, Athens is less expensive.
See Related: Top Vacations That Require No Walking
Best Months to Travel to Italy or Greece
When it comes to the ideal traveling month, there’s no difference between Italy and Greece. Most people travel to the regions in late spring or early summer. However, the daily cost goes high during the peak season.
Another time to visit the countries is during the fall when the prices are lower, and the weather is bearable. In winter, Greece can be hard to explore as there are fewer ferries moving between islands.
Plus, some hotels close for the colder seasons. If you want to save money, go to Italy in the winter months. Most restaurants and hotels in larger cities offer discounts. However, coastal accommodations mostly shut down.
So, you can’t stay close to the water.
See Related: How to Plan a Month-Long Vacation
Are Greece and Italy Similar?
In many cases, Greece and Italy are very similar. Both countries have scenic landscapes, rich histories, and drool-inducing foods.
Italian history is characterized by the Roman Empire – a rule that lasted 400 years. During their time, the Romans built theatres, cathedrals, and everything that serves as a popular sightseeing spot today.
Meanwhile, the Greek era characterizes modern Greece. Both countries are also quite similar in terms of family systems and religion. The Greek Orthodox Church represents over 90% of the total population, while the Vatican City in Italy is the hub of Roman Catholicism.
Fun fact: Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. Even if you’re not religious, Pope’s city’s architecture is one of the reasons to travel to Italy.
See Related: Best Places to Stay in Cinque Terre
Now that you know: what is Greece like and how Italy appeals to tourists, you can pick between the two. Both countries are remarkable places to have fun – with your spouse, kids, or just alone.
Before you leave for vacation, make sure you make a practical itinerary. Since there’s a lot to do in both countries, it’s easy to get flustered. Don’t try to cramp twenty spots on a seven-day trip.
Instead, focus on the places you’d enjoy most. Spending longer in one place will also help you save money on transport. Hopefully, this Italy vs Greece guide would have helped clear your mind.
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