Books Set in Greece to Read Before Your Greek Vacation

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I’m sharing a book list of what to read before traveling to Greece today. These books set in Greece are ideal for armchair traveling to the land of whitewashed buildings, clear blue seas, and epic ancient history.

I spent most of August sailing through some little known Greek islands as part of a workaway exchange. I’ve written about my experience sailing with strangers and what it’s been like to travel long-term so far.

With my days filled with almost exclusively swimming, sailing and reading, I had a lot of time to explore Greece both in reality and in the pages of my books. So, I’m sharing some of the best books about Greece to read before you travel there below. 

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Best Books Set in Greece

This slow burn of a series is for you if you’ve ever dreamed of packing your bags and moving to a Greek island (raises hand). It’s the story of a lovably flawed family integrating into local Greek culture slowly and with many missteps. Durrell is a naturalist, so you also have to be tolerant of descriptive natural prose.

This book isn’t exactly what the name describes. It’s a collection of short stories set in Greece written by Greek writers. A great overall introduction to books set in Greece.

Because these are the classics, and a Greek classic is the most classic of them all. Reading The Iliad and The Odyssey will also give you a great introduction to Greek mythology. They also help to bring sights like the Acropolis in Athens to life.

Because I can’t stop recommending books about expats refurbishing homes in remote locations. No, seriously. I did it here and here. This expat-turned-local story is just as funny, but in its own uniquely Greek way.

Greek words. Greek Gods. Greek wine. That’s what this travel memoir from Mary Norris, the “comma queen," is all about as she travels solo through the land of olive trees and ouzo and into the depths of the Greek alphabet and literary history.

This is Greek mythology stylishly retold in a modern way. I read this as an audiobook as the author, Stephen Fry, is an exceptional narrator in his own right.

This is an entertaining historical fiction book that follows two young Athenians as they compete to play in the Olympic games, fight in the wars against Sparta, and study under Socrates. It’s underrated in the plethora of books set in Greece.

Fowles’ book is for the thriller/horror fans out there. The main character escapes his boring life for a life on an isolated Greek island. All does not go to plan. This book is full of plot twists and turns to entertain you as you bask in the Greek sun.

If you’re like most tourists heading to Greece, you’re probably going to Mykonos. This one is for all of the mystery lovers out there. It is part of a series but can be read standalone. 

This book follows legendary Helena of Sparta on her journey to become Helen of Troy. It is written for younger readers which means it’s an easier way to digest an ancient piece of history. 

This travel memoir about two journalists making a life in Greece is high on my list of books set in Greece to read next.

I personally read this series while traveling through Greece, because sometimes you just need a children’s chapter book to bring the Greek gods to life. 

Madeline Miller writes stories of Greek history and mythology in a very unique way. If you enjoyed The Song of Achilles, also read Circe about a little known Greek sorceress. It wasn’t my cup of tea but it might be yours. 

In a way, this is the book that started my journey to Greece. Way back in my middle school days, I picked up this ensemble YA book about four girls sharing a pair of pants for a summer. One of the characters went to Greece to spend time with her extended family, and a generation of girls dreaming of Greece was born.

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