A Solo Traveller's Guide to Greece
With beautiful weather and its rich history, Greece is a relaxing holiday destination for anyone, from nature lovers to foodies, history buffs, sun-worshippers, adventure seekers and, of course, solo travellers. Here are a few tips to take into account for your next solo adventure in Greece.
Learn the language
While there is no point in taking Greek lessons before your solo trip to Greece, depending on the length of your stay, learning the basics can really be helpful, especially when travelling alone, and allows you to form meaningful interactions with locals. And though you can virtually get by with English and hand gestures, if you venture into the less touristy regions, you might want to arm yourself with a phrasebook.
While Greece is a pretty safe country in the Eurozone, the economic crisis has contributed to the rise of theft and pickpocketing (especially in the metro). Of course, once you get away from the urban settings and head to the islands and rural areas, you will quickly realise that Greece is, indeed, peaceful. But even in the cities, as long as you remain vigilant of your belongings and surroundings, you should be fine. In Athens, avoid wandering solo after dark in the following neighbourhoods: Omonia, Psyrri, and Mextaxourghio. They offer colourful nightlife but avoid venturing on your own in poorly lit streets.
Greece has a wide variety of accommodation options available. There are youth hostels, which are perfect for finding like-minded travellers, but not everyone wants to sleep in a dorm room. Solo travellers will also find casual luxury hotels, boutique hotels and Airbnb options; therefore, there is something that fits everyone’s desires and budget.
The main transportation option is the national bus company, KTEL buses. Reliable, safe and comfortable, KTEL buses take you virtually anywhere in Greece. The train is another option, but the railway network is not as developed as it could be. To reach the islands, Athens’s three ports, Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio, take you anywhere in the country, with easy connections to the airport and the centre of Athens via buses. If you prefer to explore the mainland, renting a car is a must, though please use caution when driving as Greeks are known to be more relaxed when it comes to driving laws. If necessary, taxis are also available, and they are cheap and convenient.
Tours are an excellent way to discover the country and meet new people when you travel solo. Many travel agencies in Athens and Thessaloniki have a plethora of tours to Central Greece (Meteora, Delphi, etc.) or the Peloponnese. You will easily find them on the islands as well. In cities, why not opt for a thematic tour or a walking tour with a local guide, which will allow you to discover more than you would expect. Check Urban Adventure or Athens Walking Tours for some excellent options.
Sightseeing and things to do
Of course, Greece is brimming with age-old treasures and museums worth visiting. But if you plan on indulging in some extreme fun, be sure to respect the safety rules. Don’t go hiking on your own and try your best to find new companions among fellow travellers. Whether you are road tripping around Crete or visiting a yoga retreat on your own, you are sure to have plenty of time to visit and experience Greece like a local. Whatever you plan to do, just make sure to have fun.