I’m doing a work placement in Greece, where can I travel abroad in my free time? That’s one of the questions you might ask yourself once you’re in Greece, and we understand! Whether it’s within mainland Greece, which is already rich in heritage and points of interest, you can also spend a weekend on the islands such as the Cyclades archipelago, or treat yourself by visiting another country. There are several countries within easy reach of Greece: Italy, particularly in the south such as Bari, Albania, Turkey, Northern Macedonia and, of course, Bulgaria. Most students in Greece often choose to go to Thessaloniki with International Horizons for their work placement abroad: the city is on a human scale, the old centre is very dynamic and the nearby beaches are magnificent.
Greece, first and foremost!
Yes, even if you’re doing a work placement in Greece, you should still take the opportunity to discover the country: there’s so much to do! Thessaloniki and Athens, the two largest cities, are absolutely essential visits. Athens, the capital: do we need to introduce you to it? Greek mythology, incredible temples, the Acropolis, Hephaestus, the Odeon, Olympion… the history of Europe and the modern world. The city is bustling, always full of activity; beyond the cultural aspect, Athens is very dynamic and there’s always plenty to do, it’s exciting and there’s plenty to enjoy! Thessaloniki has a less important cultural aspect than the capital, but it is absolutely superb. The old centre, whether during the day or in the evening, is very lively: there are plenty of restaurants, bars and things to do. It’s safe, so it’s great to be there.
Beyond mainland Greece, there are also the islands to do! The archipelagos of Santorini and the Cyclades for the magnificent scenery, the atmosphere and the sunshine; but also Mykonos for partying and the incredible nightclubs, Crete – you can read Hugo’s feedback from his trip there – but also Rhônes, Corfu and Naxxos. The Greek islands are absolutely incredible: you’re going to have to go there several times to do them all!
Southern Italy, and the incredible Puglia region
A few hours by ferry from Patras, and you’re in Italy, in the incredible Puglia region, which will satisfy all your desires. Puglia is absolutely sumptuous: Monopoli, Polignano A Mare, Bari, Brindisi … ! If you go to Polignano A Mare, you absolutely must take your towel to enjoy the beach: it’s surrounded by two large cliffs, with the town overlooking it, and the water is clear, but very clear; you don’t even need to go to the Caribbean for that. On the other hand, don’t forget your sun cream, because the summer temperatures are incredibly hot, and you could end up in hospital. For Monopoli, take your sunglasses, the white walls of the houses make it hard to see clearly in the sun. There are plenty of things to do: the beaches are beautiful, the towns are all as nice as each other, hiking, but also the food and wine. Italy is crazy for food, but the south of Italy is royal. You can also read about our experiences in Puglia – we’ve been there too! If you’re going to spend several days in this region, we advise you to stay overnight in the same town, and then get around by train: it’s not expensive at all, and the train networks are pretty efficient.
Albania, to discover without moderation
Albania is a small country in the Balkan region of Europe, and a beautiful one at that! The first advantage of Albania, of course, is that it’s very inexpensive. You have to visit Tirana, the capital, if only to learn about its fascinating history and do some sigh-seeing. If you want to learn more about the country’s history, I strongly advise you to visit the BUNKART 1 & 2 museums: the tours are fairly quick, but they’re very well explained. But if you want to enjoy the countryside and the beach, head for Vlora and Durrës! I’d be tempted to spoil it for you, but just Google the names and you’ll be convinced: it’s superb. What’s more, Albania is really cheap to get to from Greece, and it’s quick: in less than 7 hours by bus, you can be at the beach and enjoying a great weekend!
Turkey: heading for Istanbul
We had the opportunity to go to Turkey. From Greece, it’s very easy to get to Turkey, and Istanbul in particular. And, lucky you, it’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited, and it’s easily in my top 3. Turkey is an incredible country, and the cities, depending on their geographical location, are very different from one another! Istanbul is very colourful, and you have to visit the Basilica of Saint Sophia: it’s one of the craziest places I’ve ever been to. The city is very euphoric, and despite the fact that the country is predominantly Muslim, unlike other countries, it’s quite easy to find bars! The atmosphere is great, and it’s a big change from Western cities; what’s more, it’s very inexpensive for a big tourist city, so you might as well make the most of it!
Northern Macedonia: my favourite destination
For once, it’s one of the International Horizons destinations, and I loved it, as you can see from this feedback! So much so that we’re hesitating to open it up as a group destination for our dear high school students. In short, it’s a great place to spend a weekend. Skopje, first of all: the capital is very inexpensive – kebab for €1! – and it’s beautiful. It’s easy to meet people, and they’re pretty open-minded. Skopje is divided into two parts: the Macedonian quarter on one side, and the Turkish quarter on the other, with its large semi-covered market, where you can find lots of fresh produce at rock-bottom prices, as well as the old town and a few sights! However, as in all the Balkan countries except Greece, there is a lot of child begging. After that, after Skopje, I can only recommend Ohrid: it’s one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever been to! It’s completely listed and magnificent: it’s on the edge of a lake – in which you can swim! -from which you can see the surrounding hills. If you do a bit of teleworking, there’s even an excellent bar with a large semi-shaded terrace and wifi so you can work, but in a chilled-out way: tried and tested! It’s really beautiful! And like all Balkan destinations, it’s really cheap.
Bulgaria, the cheapest
Bulgaria is just over the border from Greece, and it’s just a 5-hour drive to the capital, Sofia. Sofia is a lovely place to take a stroll, and the architecture is very different from what we have in the West. While you’re in Bulgaria, you can also choose to spend a weekend in Varna, the country’s biggest seaside resort, or Plovdiv. Plovdiv is an absolutely stunning city, and was also the European Capital of Culture. I’ve been lucky enough to visit this country, and it really is one of the European cities you should visit once in your life. And, more generally, Bulgaria is really cheap: you can treat yourself on a very small budget! Even to go there, in 2018, I paid €10 return to go from Thessaloniki to Sofia; not even the price of a packet of cigarettes in France in 2023.
In short, from Greece, you’ve got a huge amount to do: it’s impossible to get bored. If you’re doing an internship in Greece, you might as well make the most of it by getting out and about and having a good time: if you’re just going to sit around watching Netflix, it’s a shame to go so far away on an internship abroad! I’m in Greece, where can I travel during my work placement abroad? Now you’ve got your answer, and you’ll find that we’ve got plenty of advice for those on a tight budget: use buses as much as possible, negotiate with your host company to get 3 days in a row, and go and enjoy your best road-trip ever to one of the many destinations we’re offering you to discover here! And if you want to do an internship in Greece, just get in touch with us: we’ll be delighted to help!
For more general questions, visit the International Horizons Internships Abroad FAQ.