Greece: Now is perfect time to visit 'country in crisis'

RUNS on the banks, protests over pensions, delays to payments: every day brings with it another shocking headline about Greece as the country tries to negotiate further loans from Europe to repay money already borrowed.

But what if, behind the crisis headlines, now is actually the best time to visit Greece?

If Greece fails to pay back €1.6 billion to the IMF by the end of June, it could default on its debt. This would likely result  in the government using capital controls - or restrictions on what people can do with their cash - such as freezing money in bank accounts.

That's not the end of the world for holidaymakers - even if it happens during a stay. The Independent spoke to both the UK Treasury and the Foreign Office for this article - neither had any travel warnings related to Greece.

The Foreign Office last updated its advice to travellers in 2012, a spokesman said, to include a warning to take enough money when visiting to cover emergencies and unexpected delays.

There are fears that if Greece is allowed to go bankrupt, it will be forced to leave the eurozone and re-establish its own currency, the drachma. Until then, Greece still uses the euro, and the pound hasn't been this strong against the euro since 2007.

Even if Greece were to leave the euro, it would take around 18 months for the drachma to be reintroduced, during which time the euro would still be the legal currency.  Andrew Brown, spokesperson for Post Office Travel Money, said UK holidaymakers shouldn't panic if Greece leaves the eurozone.

"Looking back to the last time that things reached a head in Greece in 2013, the short term impact was a lack of availability of cash at ATMs and a reluctance by shops and restaurants to accept credit or debit cards," Brown said.

He urged travellers to take enough cash in euros to see them through their holiday and use deposit boxes to make sure it is safe.

Because Greece has been slashing prices, holiday money will go a lot further than it used to. The equivalent of £500 in euro - which is the average spend of a family - will get the equivalent of £65 more than 12 months ago.

That £65 is enough to cover a family evening meal together with drinks, snacks and suncream in Crete and Corfu.

Prices in Crete and Corfu are down over 13 per cent year-on-year.

"Tourist staples in Greece are going to cost a lot less this year thanks to the powerful pound and local price cuts," Brown said.

The cuts apply to city breaks in Athens too: Post Office Travel Money has rated Athens the cheapest capital in Western Europe.