Do’s and Dont’s in Greece

Awareness of the local customs and etiquette

Traveling to Greece offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in a deep history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. To ensure a pleasant and respectful experience, it’s essential to be aware of local customs and etiquette (Do’s and Dont’s). By following these guidelines and approaching your visit with respect and openness, you’ll not only enjoy the breathtaking sights of Greece but also enrich your travel experience with meaningful cultural interactions.

Do’s in Greece

Respect Religious Traditions: Greece is predominantly Orthodox Christian, and religious traditions are deeply respected. Dress modestly when visiting churches and monasteries, with shoulders and knees covered.

Greet Warmly: Greeks are friendly and expressive. A simple “Kalimera” (Good morning) or “Kalispera” (Good evening) goes a long way. Handshakes are common for first meetings, but don’t be surprised by more warm gestures like hugs from those you’ve met before.

Savor the Food Slowly: Greek meals are a leisurely affair, meant to be enjoyed slowly while socializing. Embrace the local dining etiquette, savor each dish, and don’t rush through your meals.

Recycle and Keep Beaches Clean: Greece is known for its stunning beaches. Always clean up after yourself and use recycling bins where available to preserve the natural beauty.

Tip for Good Service: Tipping is appreciated for good service in Greece, though not always mandatory. A tip of 5-10% in restaurants and rounding up for taxis is customary.

Don’ts in Greece

Don’t Disrespect Historical Sites: Treat all historical and archaeological sites with respect. Don’t touch ancient artifacts, and always stay within marked paths to preserve these irreplaceable sites.

Avoid Sensitive Topics of Conversation: Political discussions, especially regarding Greek politics and history, can be sensitive. Unless you’re well-acquainted with your company, it’s wise to steer clear of these topics.

Don’t Refuse Hospitality: Greeks are known for their hospitality. Refusing an offer, whether it’s a gift or an invitation to someone’s home, can be seen as rude. If you must decline, do so politely.

Don’t Flush Toilet Paper: In many parts of Greece, plumbing systems can’t handle toilet paper, so it’s customary to use the bins provided.

Don’t Assume You Can Smoke Anywhere: Greece has smoking laws that prohibit smoking in public indoor areas, including restaurants and bars. Always check if smoking is allowed before lighting up.

Be Careful with Gestures: Some hand gestures that might be innocuous in your country could be offensive in Greece. For example, the “moutza” (palm forward with fingers spread) is considered very insulting.

Expanding Your Understanding

Understanding these do’s and don’ts is just the start. To truly embrace the Greek way of life during your visit:

Learn a few basic Greek phrases: Beyond basic greetings, learning phrases like “Efharisto” (Thank you) and “Parakalo” (Please) can enrich your interactions.

Embrace Greek Time: Life in Greece operates at a more relaxed pace. Shops may close in the afternoon, and dinner might start later than you’re used to. Go with the flow and enjoy the slower pace of life.

Explore Beyond the Tourist Spots: While Greece’s popular destinations are beautiful, exploring less-touristy areas can offer a deeper connection with the country’s culture and people.