Solo Travel Greece 2022: A Local’s Guide to Traveling to Greece Alone

Solo travel in Greece is a great experience. Take it from someone who has lived in Greece for the last four and a half years!

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

Is Greece safe for solo female travelers? Absolutely.

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

Solo Travel Greece
Traveling to Greece Alone

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 Greek 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. Yes, that includes those that go it alone. 

Is it Weird to Travel to Greek Islands Alone?

Cape Sounion, Southern Greece
Cape Sounion, Southern Greece

Athens and Thessaloniki are European city breaks that are rich in culture. However, 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. Watching a majestic sunset from atop a blue and white Cycladic house in Santorini is a major bucket list item.

The Greek Islands are Not Just for Couples

Solo travel Greece: Traveling alone in Paxos, Greece
Solo travel Greece: alone in Paxos, Greece

A lot of the Greek islands are associated with being “romantic” destinations and that deters a lot of solo travelers from considering them as a place to visit alone. This is a shame.

Rest assured, 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 NINE months.

These are all apparently ” romantic” destinations. However, I had a wonderful time in each place.

Best Greek Islands for Solo Travel in Greece

Alonissos, Sporades. Kudos to my photographer: my tripod!

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.

Solo Travel in Skiathos and the Sporades

Solo travel in Skiathos and the Sporades
Solo travel in Skiathos and the Sporades

The beautiful Sporades islands sit in the Northeast Aegean and are the greenest island group in Greece. 24 stunning islands make up the Sporades, however, only four of those are inhabited.

Namely, that is Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, and Skyros. Skiathos is the most popular of the group and although it has a reputation of being the “Mykonos of the Sporades” and something of a party island, that isn’t exactly fair.

Skiathos is a perfect island getaway for your first solo travel Greece experience. Not only does the island boast stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and excellent hiking trails, but it is very easy to meet fellow travellers here.

Skiathos is known as “the boomerang island” on account of how many people visit the island time and time again. If you are interested in visiting Skiathos solo, you can find several Facebook groups that cater to solo travellers of all ages.

That way, you already have contacts that you can potentially meet up with for a drink or a coffee before you even arrive in Greece! Take a look at the Facebook Groups Skiathos Young Boomerangers and Skiathos Old Boomerangers to find like-minded adventurers.

Solo Travel in Corfu and the Ionian

Solo travel Greece: Corfu

The beautiful island of Corfu is one of the most popular travel destinations in Greece and for good reason. The Venetian old town is UNESCO protected and dates all the way back to the 8th century.

Start your solo travel Greece adventure by spending a few days in the historic old town sampling mouthwatering Corfiot delicacies like beef sofrito, and then heading out to the charming beach towns. Paleokastritsa and the neighbouring village of Lakones offer some of the best beaches and views on the entire island.

Meanwhile, Kanoni is a nice place to visit on a day trip and is easily accessible by bus. Several gorgeous centuries-old monasteries can be found here and you have incredible views of planes coming in to land at Ioannis Kapodistrias airport from Kanoni beaches.

Corfiots are known for their warm hospitality and there are a lot of international expats living on the island. This gives you a lot of opportunities to meet people and mingle so even if you like to explore independently in the daytime, you will find it easy to find someone to grab food with during the evenings.

Corfu makes a great jump-off point for a wider exploration of the Ionian. The stunning, exclusive islands of Paxos and Antipaxos can be reached via ferry in just 55 minutes.

Paxos and Antipaxos are among the least commercial Greek islands and often remain quiet, even during the summer months. Regardless, this is a nice place for some well-deserved R&R as a solo traveller and these are destinations you may particularly enjoy if you consider yourself an introvert.

Solo Travel in the Saronic

Solo travel Greece

The Saronic Gulf is an archipelago of culturally rich islands located close to Athens. It often gets overlooked in favour of more popular areas like the Ionian, the Cyclades, and the Dodecanese which is a shame as the Saronic islands have plenty to offer.

These islands aren’t really known for their beaches which is perhaps why some people don’t consider them for their summer getaways. However, what the islands lack in coastlines, they more than make up for in charming villages.

Your starting point should be Hydra, a little island that takes you on a journey back in time. No cars or vehicles are permitted on the island and locals get around via horses and mules.

The port at Hydra is considered to be one of the most beautiful in all of Greece and the island played an important role in the Greek battle for independence during the 19th century. From the main town, well-marked trails lead you to the quaint fishing villages of Kamini and Vlychos.

Solo Travel in Crete

Crete is an island that ranks high on most people’s Greece bucket lists and for good reason. This is the largest island in Greece and a place that essentially has an entire culture and cuisine of its own.

The Minoans flourished on this island during the Bronze Age and they were one of the world’s most advanced cultures at that time. There are historical sites and ruins all over Crete.

Most notably, you should visit the palace at Knossos. The palace has links with Greek mythology and legend has it that it was here where the minotaur lived in his labyrinth.

The best thing about solo travel in Crete is that the island has a little something for everyone. Check out the cities of Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymno, sail across to the eerie former leper colony at Spinalonga and laze on gorgeous beaches. The island is so popular that it is easy to meet fellow solo travellers without having to make any real effort to do so.

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 for four or five years! 

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

Like, seriously. You would have to go some to find a place that did not have English-speaking staff and English menus.

All things considered, it does not hurt to learn a few useful words and phrases in Greek before you set out on your Greece itinerary. 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.

Is it Easy to Get Around Greece Solo?

 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. For instance. Athens to Thessaloniki, Athens to Meteora, etc.

A comprehensive network of ferries operates between the islands and the mainland. You can generally purchase your public transport tickets on the day of travel.

However, if you are going to be travelling in the height of summer, particularly to/from popular island destinations (i.e. Athens to Hydra, or Athens to Santorini), you should reserve them in advance. Greek bus, train, and ferry tickets can all be purchased online.

Exploring Greece by Bus

Living in Skopelos solo during the global pandemic
Living in Skopelos solo during the global pandemic

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. This is more complex than it needs to be really. Welcome to 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. For the most part, buses are the most convenient way to get around.

Opting to take the train while traveling solo in Greece is only really convenient if you are traveling between Greece’s two main cities. Rail journey times are far shorter than doing the 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 have been prohibited 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.

This, unfortunately, seems to be true of a lot of people in this profession 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 is the main company that sails between Athens and the Saronic.

Meanwhile, Kerkyra Seaways operate in the Ionian, and Anes Ferries run between Volos and the Sporades. Use ferry booking sites like Ferryscanner to check routes, schedules, and ticket prices.

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. This is especially true if you will be travelling during the Greek summer months of July and August.

Metro Networks in Greece

Athens is presently the only city in Greece that has a metro network. A subway system is under construction in Thessaloniki but that has been a work in progress for several years and it doesn’t look likely that it will be completed any time soon.

The Athens metro system is extensive. 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

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

Greek men often have a sort of stereotype as being overly forward or aggressive. So with that being said, is Greece the type of place where solo female travellers are likely to be on the receiving end of street harassment or uncomfortable advances?

Generally speaking, no. If you are exploring cities and major touristic sites such as Delphi, Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, etc, you will encounter nothing but warm, friendly locals.

That being said, harassment can be an issue on some Greek islands. It is also important to be aware of the fact that some people in Greece believe a stereotype of western women being promiscuous, particularly British women. This is explored in additional detail below.

Locals are Warm and Friendly

Is it safe to travel to Greece alone as a woman?
Is it safe to travel to Greece alone as a woman?

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.

This ties into the ages-old Greek concept of “philoxenia”. In English, this term refers to the importance of being a friend to strangers.

However, philoxenia goes far beyond being just a phrase or mantra. It has roots in Greek mythology and Ancient Greece.  

Millenia ago, the chief Greek deity, was seen as being God of philoxenia. He instilled the importance of being hospitable to strangers in the local people.

This meant sharing food with a hungry stranger, helping a lost traveller, etc. Today, philoxenia is still a very prominent part of Greek culture and locals will speak about it with pride.

It comes in the form of wanting to teach foreigners all about Greek culture and cuisine. It really is no surprise that the country is so globally renowned for its tourist hospitality.

Perceptions of Western Women

Solo travel Greece
Solo travel Greece

It is important 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 to Greece. However, it is worth being mindful of.

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, Zakynthos, etc. Unfortunately, Brits are often seen stumbling out of clubs, getting into altercations, and generally behaving poorly.

The Greek authorities often have to intervene. With that considered, you can understand somewhat where these assumptions come from. Although not all western travellers are the same and to be lumped with the same stereotype is unfair.

If you choose to date locals while in Greece, be mindful that some may not have intentions for anything more than casual fun. Some attitudes to women in rural parts of the country can be very outdated.

Is Greece Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Solo travel in Greece: Mystras, Peloponnese

I have lived in Greece since 2017. In that time I’ve explored this country extensively, visiting every single region of mainland Greece and dozens of islands.

It has been a beautiful experience and although I never considered myself a Grecophile whilst growing up, moving here has made me obsessed with everything Greek. If you are interested in the great outdoors, Greece is great for walking and hiking.

If this interests you too, know that there are many excellent well-marked trails in Greece that lead you through diverse surroundings. You can trek through quaint Cycladic villages, dramatic gorges, fragrant olive groves, and past forgotten archeological ruins.

I have never felt unsafe doing this in my four years of living in Greece. Violent crimes against women are rare, and I’ve never felt uncomfortable or noticed creepers loitering on trails.

That being said, there are a few safety measures for solo females in Greece to keep in mind. These are good practice wherever you go.

First of all, never tag your live location on social media. You don’t know who is watching your accounts and Instagram is often used as something of a dating app in Greece with men looking for women through the location tags. Yes, really.

If you are headed out on a hike, let your friends and family at home know your plans. Make sure that your devices are fully charged, download an offline map app, and carry a power bank.

How Safe is Greece 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 When Solo in Greece

As with traveling anywhere, you should use basic common sense while traveling to Greece alone. Always be aware of your surroundings, and keep an eye on your personal belongings while taking buses and trains.

Athens is generally a safe and wonderful city. However, 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.

This is especially the case on the metro. Keep your expensive iPhones, cameras, and electronics out of sight in these areas. You might want to consider purchasing Pacsafe backpacks and luggage to minimise your chances of being the victim of petty theft.

Are There Any Scams 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. However, in tourist areas, it is not unheard of to encounter people who are trying to make a quick buck from tourists. 

The touristic and central neighborhoods of Athens are especially bad for this. For instance, Plaka, Monastiraki, Syntagma, and Psiri. So too, 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. 

Should You Travel to Greece Alone or on a 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.

These have enabled me to reach places that would have been awkward getting to alone. For instance, Mount Athos in Halkidiki, or Lake Kerkini in Serres. 

Week-long or multi-day tours often charge extortionate premiums. It works out much better to do everything independently, and then book places on organised day trips here and there as you wish.

The same is true of island hopping tours. The prices of these can be exorbitant and far more than the actual costs.

Get Your Guide is one excellent, reputable company that offers day trips around Greece. Some of the day tours I have taken in Greece have worked out cheaper than it would have been for me to plan the whole thing independently.

Is it Easy to Meet Other Travelers in Greece? 

Mouse Island, Kerkyra
Mouse Island, Kerkyra

Meeting other travellers in Greece is easy. This is a popular destination and there are always plenty of interesting locals and foreigners around, whenever you happen to visit.

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 since 2017 and I have done plenty of solo travel Greece adventures during that time.

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.

7 thoughts on “Solo Travel Greece 2022: A Local’s Guide to Traveling to Greece Alone”

    • 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? 🙂

  1. 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…

  2. Melissa:

    My name is Diane Brito living in Los Angeles California from Hawaii. I am turning 60 this year and will celebrate in Greece. Although I may have had another plans of traveling with friends, this pandemic has given me an even greater respect and appreciation for life. Taking action and trusting the process.

    My brother in law travels yearly in August/ September, I have decided to keep my plans with or without anyone. This is the first step, any advice would be so greatly appreciated. Santorini, Athens for sure. Blessings Diane

  3. Hello!

    How is Thessaloniki to live in? I am considering moving there to teach from the US, with my 8 year old. Time for an adventure!

    I love to hike, but I’m not much of a city person…is there good public transportation?

    Thank you!
    Leah

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