01 Dec Great opportunities for gap years in Greece
Despite its recent economic struggles, Greece remains a popular destination, blending a beautiful Mediterranean climate with idyllic islands, fantastic food and a friendly laid-back welcome. Because of its popularity amongst holidaymakers, the country is also affordable; good value accommodation, flights, boats and car hire are typically easy to come by in Greece, making it very easy to access, at least during the mid to high seasons. Flights are typically a little pricier during winter, but there are still some good deals to be had once you get there.
For longer term travellers and backpackers, the country also offers some excellent opportunities to earn a few Euros whilst soaking up the sunshine and appreciating the Greek lifestyle.
Most of the holiday hotspots in Greece are on the coast, if not on one of the country’s many islands, so boats are a popular way to explore the region. If you have sailing experience, try looking for a position on one of the many yachts and small cruise boats that sail between resorts, sometimes spending a few idyllic days at sea before returning to land.
Many Greek islands offer excellent diving and snorkelling, although make sure you find a reputable operator that respects the marine life it’s making a living from – there are nesting turtle populations around some islands, easily disturbed by thoughtless dive boats. If you have PADI qualifications, try looking for work as an instructor or dive supervisor.
If you’re more interested in turtles than tourists, try volunteering for a Greek turtle conservation programme – camping by the beach and helping to protect the loggerhead turtles that nest along the Greek coastline.
If you’re feeling a little underqualified and fantasising about a life spent teaching watersports in hot countries every summer, Greece is an excellent place to learn those new skills. Windsurfing conditions are excellent here, and there are also many top quality dive schools and sailing academies.
Yoga and pilates
A little secret; Greece is scattered with beautiful holistic retreats, where you can spend anything from a week to a full summer learning or improving your yoga, pilates, dancing and other pursuits like painting or sculpture. You will usually have to pay for these, but in some cases you can join communities as a volunteer. Either way, there is nothing quite like practising your Asanas surrounded by a sun-drenched Greek coastal vista.
Great with kids? If you have childcare experience and/or qualifications, and a valid CRB certificate, you may well find work at one of the countless Greek resorts and hotels. Greece is a very family-oriented country, and welcomes children, but holidaying parents still like to have the evening off sometimes! So there are plenty of opportunities for employment at creches and kids clubs throughout the country.
Ancient Greek history not only remains influential in culture today – its remains are very well preserved, with ruined temples, amphitheatres and even entire ancient cities scattered throughout the Greek landscape. If you can tell your Dorics from your Ionics, you might enjoy a couple of weeks exploring Greece’s impressive array of historic sites – you might even find work on a restoration project, or as a guide.