Traveling to Greece Alone: Your Insider’s Guide Written by a Local

Traveling to Greece alone: Hydra island, Saronic Gulf
Traveling to Greece alone: Hydra island, Saronic Gulf

If you are considering traveling to Greece alone, there may be aspects of planning your trip that concern you – whether that is safety matters, the ease of getting around, or the question of whether Greece is a suitable solo travel destination.

I have lived in Greece for the last three years, and have traveled the country extensively (and independently) throughout that time. I wanted to create this solo travel in Greece guide to address common concerns and queries about traveling to Greece alone. 

Traveling to Greece Alone:
Your Questions Answered 

Traveling to Greece alone: rural Serres

Greece is a beautiful country in the heart of the Mediterranean. There is a reason that more than 33 million people travel here every single year. From cities that burst at the seams with history and culture, to idyllic islands that boast miles upon miles of undisturbed coastline bordered by cerulean waters. Greece has a little something for every type of traveler – including those that go it alone. 

I have comprised this solo travel in Greece guide in a Q&A format. The most common concerns and queries about traveling to Greece alone are addressed below! 

Is it Weird to Travel to Greek Islands Alone?

Cape Sounion, Southern Greece
Cape Sounion, Southern Greece

While Athens and Thessaloniki are European city breaks that are rich in culture, it’s the Greek islands that draw most people to this country. People across the world dream of wandering through the narrow cobbled streets of Mykonos, or of watching a majestic sunset from atop a blue and white Cycladic house in Santorini. 

The Greek Islands are Not Just for Couples

Traveling alone in Paxos, Greece
Traveling alone in Paxos, Greece

A lot of the Greek islands are associated with being “romantic” destinations and I think that that deters a lot of solo travelers from considering them as a place to visit alone which is a shame. Let me assure you: There’s nothing wrong or “weird” about treating yourself to a solo break in beautiful Santorini. Plenty of people do it.

The hoteliers, restaurant owners, the locals, and the travelers have all seen solo travelers before and nobody is going to bat an eyelid or ask you where your husband has gone. I have traveled all over Greece by myself.

I went to the little Saronic island of Hydra by myself, sailed around the Ionian alone, and even moved to Skopelos alone for two months. These are all apparently ” romantic” destinations. However, I had a wonderful time in each place.

The Best Greek Islands for Solo Travel

Arguably all Greek islands are solo travel friendly. Even the most notorious party destinations have areas of quiet. With hundreds of islands scattered across the Cyclades, the Ionian, the Sporades, and the Saronic, you are not short of options.

That said, if you are looking for the best places to experience traditional culture and pristine nature, you may wish to consider the below island destinations.

  • Paxos and Antipaxos

  • Kerkyra (Corfu)

  • Skopelos, Skiathos, and Alonissos

  • Hydra, Spetses, Poros, Aegina, and Agistri (The Saronic)

  • Crete

  • Thassos

Do People Speak English in Greece? 

Traveling to Greece alone: Solo hiking in Skopelos
Traveling to Greece alone: Solo hiking in Skopelos

English is very widely spoken in Greece, and most Greeks have a really good grasp of the English language. This is so much so, that I know many expats here in Greece that cannot speak a single word of the language even after being here four or five years! 

Even if you find yourself alone in what are seemingly the most random towns and villages, you will always find someone that speaks English, and in the vast majority of bars, tavernas, and restaurants across the country, you will be presented with an English menu. 

It does not hurt to learn a few useful words and phrases in Greek before you go. It’s a difficult language, yes. However, knowing how to greet and thank people is much appreciated and goes a long way. Failing that, download the offline version of Google translate for venturing to more “off-the-beaten-path” places.

How Easy is it to Get Around Greece as a Solo Traveller? 

 Traveling to Greece alone: Nikiti, Halkidiki
Traveling to Greece alone: Nikiti, Halkidiki

Public transport in Greece is excellent. I’d go as far as to say that the inter-city links are some of the best in Europe!

Both buses and trains run frequent services between the country’s towns and cities. Services are clean, modern, and reasonably priced. 

Domestic flights are available for covering greater distances (i.e. Athens to Thessaloniki, Athens to Ioannina, etc), and ferries operate between the islands and the mainland. You can generally purchase your public transport tickets on the day of travel, with the exception of traveling in the height of summer and to/from popular island destinations (i.e. Athens to Hydra, or Athens to Santorini). 

Exploring Greece by Bus

Public buses are an excellent way to get around in Greece. The network is extensive, and you can take intercity buses to reach even most the far-reaching villages and towns.

All intercity buses in Greece are managed by KTEL. Tickets are cheap, and services are reliable.

Confusingly, there is not just one centralised website that you can use to purchase KTEL tickets or check departure times. You need to use a “local” website depending on the specific area of Greece you are traveling in. For example, you should use KTEL Chalkidikis when in the Halkidiki region of Greece, and KTEL Attikis for Athens and Southern Greece.

Exploring Greece by Train

Greece’s rail network is far from extensive. Services run between Athens and Thessaloniki via Lamia, Larissa, and Kalambaka. However, many parts of the country, including Ioannina are not accessible by rail.

All things considered, opting to take the train while traveling solo in Greece can be convenient if you are traveling from Thessaloniki to Athens (and vice versa). Rail journey times are far shorter than doing he same route by bus.

You can check train schedules via the Trainose Greece website. Tickets can be purchased online or from the ticket office at the train stations.

Taking Cabs in Greece

It is advisable to download the BEAT taxi app when traveling solo in Greece. This app helps you to locate licensed cabs in your area. It displays the price before you get in the car, therefore minimising your chances of getting ripped off.

BEAT does not work on some of the smaller Greek islands. Uber, and the use of unlicensed cars as cabs has been prhibited in Greece since 2019.

You will find yellow cabs available in plentiful supply in Greek towns and cities. However, be mindful that cabbies are a law unto themselves – just like all over the world. Try to have an idea of the price before you get in, and always request that the meter is used.

Ferry Services in Greece

A number of ferry companies manage the routes between the Greek mainland and the various island archipelagos. For instance, Hellenic Seaways are the main company that sail between Athens and the Saronic. Meanwhile, Kerkyra Seaways operate in the Ionian, and Anes Ferries run between Volos and the Sporades.

You can use a Greek ferry website to check routes, schedules and ticket prices. It is advisable to purchase your ticket directly from the ferry company as some sites charge a comission or booking fee.

Ferry schedules vary from season to season, with more services running during the summer months. You should try and purchase your tickets a day or two before your intended departure – particularly if you are travelling in July and August.

Metro Networks in Greece

Athens is presently the only city in Greece that has a metro network. The Athens metro system is extensive, and the lines run from the city centre, all the way out to Eleftherios Venizelos international airport and the surrounding areas of Piraeus and Kifissia.

Athens metro tickets cost just €1.40 each way. Daily, weekly, and monthly passes are also available. An Athens airport and city ticket costs €10.

Solo Female Travel in Greece:
Is it Safe? 

Traveling to Greece alone
Traveling to Greece alone

Greece is a very safe country for solo female travel. You can generally explore the country in peace without being disturbed.

I’d also like to dispel any concerns about the men in Greece being overly forward or aggressive. You will seldom be disturbed, harassed, or approached by local men in Greece as you go about your day sightseeing.

Locals are Warm and Friendly

Greeks have a reputation for being very friendly and hospitable. If you have any worries or problems during your trip, people will do their best to assist you as much as they can. Crimes against women or reports of an assault in Greece are very, very rare. 

Perceptions of Western Women

It is important, however, to note that the culture in Greece is far more patriarchal than what you may be used to in the UK, the US, etc. This generally should not affect you during a short trip in Greece. However, it is worth being mindful of this. 

Some Greek men – definitely not all, have a perception of western women that they are more “promiscuous” than their Greek counterparts. It is no excuse. However this seems to be a result of said men seeing how some British and western European tourists behave in “party” destinations like Malia, Zaknythos, etc. 

If you choose to date locals while in Greece, be mindful that some may not have intentions for anything more than sex. Greek men can be far more forward than their western counterparts.

Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind

There are a few safety measures worth keeping in mind in Greece. These are good practice wherever you go.

  • Never tag your live location on social media – you don’t know who is watching your accounts

  • Let family and friends at home know where you are, inform hotel staff if you plan on hiking somewhere remote

  • Consider purchasing Pacsafe backpacks and luggage to minimise your chances of being the victim of petty theft

  • Dial 100 for the police in the event of an emergency

How Safe is Greece as a Travel Destination in General? 

 Traveling to Greece alone: Kerkyra
Traveling to Greece alone: Kerkyra

Greece is generally a very safe travel destination. Owing to the country’s warm Mediterranean culture, you will see people of all ages out and about at all hours of the day and night.

Even if you walk through Athens neighbourhoods like Koukaki, Pagkrati, or old Plaka in the early hours of the morning, you will see people eating in tavernas, or old couples taking twilight walks. There is never a “creepy” feeling anywhere in Greece. 

Use Basic Common Sense

As with traveling anywhere, you should use basic common sense while traveling to Greece alone. By that, I mean basics such as always being aware of your surroundings, and keeping an eye on your personal belongings while taking buses and trains. In three years of living here though, nothing negative has ever happened to me. 

While I will tell you that Athens is generally a safe and wonderful city, there are some areas where you need to be careful. This is something that is not unique to Athens, but which needs to be taken into consideration in a lot of capital cities.

Be cautious if you are in Omonia, Monastiraki, or Syntagma late at night. These areas are rife with petty crimes such as pickpocketing – especially on the metro. 

Are There Any Scams to be Aware of in Greece? 

Cape Amarandos, Skopelos
Cape Amarandos, Skopelos

Tourism is a major source of income in Greece. In fact, it’s one of the main industries that the economy depends on.

Without sounding too negative, you should remember that Greece is a country that is still recovering from the economic crisis. Greeks are generally very friendly people, but in touristic areas, it is not unheard of to encounter people who are trying to make a quick buck from tourists. 

I would say that the touristy areas of Athens are especially bad for this (Plaka, Monastiraki, Syntagma, Psiri, etc). As are some of the popular island destinations like Hydra and Zakynthos.

Keep your eyes peeled for things such as menus without prices (the owner will likely just invent one on the spot!), and bills that come to different prices than what was initially listed. 

Traveling to Greece Alone:
Go it Alone or Guided Tour? 

Panormos, Skopelos
Panormos, Skopelos

I mostly draft out my own itineraries and organise my own travels in Greece, as I did when I went sailing around the Saronic Gulf. However, sometimes I have taken day tours in Greece as they have enabled me to reach places that would have been awkward getting to alone (like Mount Athos in Halkidiki, or Lake Kerkini in Serres). 

Taking Guided Tours in Greece

Some of the guided tours I have taken in Greece have worked out cheaper than it would have been for me to plan the whole thing independently. I would generally advise you to travel alone to Greece and then organise day tours locally once you arrive.

Week-long or multi-day tours often charge extortionate premiums. Get Your Guide is one excellent, reputable company that I often use for excursions around Greece.

Is it Easy to Meet Other Travelers in Greece? 

Mouse Island, Kerkyra
Mouse Island, Kerkyra

The great thing about traveling to Greece alone is that if you want to spend time alone relaxing on paradisiacal beaches and living out your own Mamma Mia story, you can absolutely do that. Conversely, if you want to meet and socialise with other travelers, you will have ample opportunities to do that too. 

I met a lot of travelers (including fellow solo females) by chance while doing day tours from Thessaloniki and other Greek cities. Another great way to meet people is by attending or organising meetings through Couchsurfing and Meetup. 

Don’t be Afraid to Organise Your Own Events

I spent a month in Thessaloniki and didn’t know anyone in town. When I noticed that there was no ex-pat social community and no meetup events, I created one!

I set up events on Couchsurfing inviting travelers and locals to go for dinner and drinks and was impressed by the turnout. I still keep in touch with these people and see one of the girls regularly. Traveling to Greece alone does not have to mean being constantly alone! 

Parting Words

The "Mamma Mia" Church of Agios Ioannis Kastri
The “Mamma Mia” Church of Agios Ioannis Kastri

Have any further questions about traveling to Greece alone or planning a trip to Greece in general? As mentioned, I have been living here for the last three years.

I’d be happy to assist with any queries and concerns that you may have. Feel free to drop me a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Safe travels! Geia sou! Melissa xo 


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

5 thoughts on “Traveling to Greece Alone: Your Insider’s Guide Written by a Local”

  1. Hi Melissa, I was so impressed by your article to travel to Greece alone. look forward to sharing more of your experiences traveling alone in Greece. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hey Emily,
      Thanks for your message. I live in Greece (Athens). I would say that it depends a lot on where you are planning to go and how long you are planning to travel for. Greece in general is much more affordable than the UK, however, some popular tourist places are on the higher end of things (like Santorini, Mykonos, and some parts of Zante for example). Where do you plan on going? 🙂

      Reply
  2. My wife and I went a few years ago, and will go immediately again when she decides. But as to safety and scams, we walked in refugee areas, in streets with no lights… and were always safe. Compare that to where a taxi driver fleeced us in Rome, and the govt there does not care, or when a female tried to fleece us in Paris. Hellas, was safe and fun and alive and cheap to stay/ travel/ eat/ buy…

    Reply

Leave a Comment