Greece is a fantastic solo travel destinations, and a popular holiday choice with the Brits. Given the cheap flights, amazing food and friendly people, who wouldn’t consider Greece as a top country to travel to alone?
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And we’ve all seen Shirley Valentine, right?!
No, seriously, I have been to Greece three times now – once as a family holiday to Halkidiki, once to Athens with my husband for our 5th wedding anniversary and once as a solo trip to Crete. I realised after my first trip to Greece as a University student that it would be perfect for solo female travel. Greece is so well-geared up for tourism and pretty much everyone speaks English in Greek holiday destinations, and so you will rarely find yourself struggling with a language barrier.
As for things to do in Greece alone, there are plenty of ancient monuments and Greek Orthodox monasteries to explore. And, if you are more of a party animal than a culture vulture, you will have a great time meeting people to hang out with, because it’s a country with such a friendly and sociable atmosphere. You won’t struggle for fun hostels and bars! I’d even recommend it as a great place for first time solo travel.
Today I’m here to share with you my top tips on planning a solo trip to Greece. But let me be clear….Greece should not be over planned….this is a great destination for going with the flow, especially if you opt for Greek Island hopping.
What is the best time of year to plan a Solo trip to Greece?
In summer, Greece is hot, hot, HOT! So hot, in fact, that it is almost unbearable to be in Athens and on some of the islands in July and August. Remember that Greek holiday destinations will also get very busy in the British school holidays (end of July to start of September). Spring (April-June) and autumn (September-October) are the best times to visit.
Avoid going to the islands in the winter – most Greek bars, restaurants and tour operators close for the winter to give the owners a holiday of their own during low season. You don’t want to rock up when everything is closed.
Getting there and away
There are some great flight routes from the UK to Greece. Easyjet fly to over 15 Greek cities from both Manchester and London. I took a recent flight from Manchester to Athens. You can also fly to 6 Greek cities from Birmingham (including Thessaloniki, Santorini Athens). If you want to fly from Liverpool you can fly with Jet2 direct to Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes and Zante. Flights from UK to Greece are approximately 4 hours.
Travelling from the USA? You can also take a direct flight from New York to Athens (approximately 9 hours for this trans-Atlantic flight).
Is Greece safe to travel alone?
Greece is definitely a safe country to travel to alone. In all honestly, I actually feel safer in Greek towns and cities than I do in Manchester or Liverpool! However, as always, there are things to be aware of. Crime against the person is very low in Greece statistically.
Pickpockets in Athens
The Greek capital city of Athens is generally safer than other big European cities such as Prague or Madrid. I actually saw someone get pick-pocketed in Prague and it was very fast and very subtle – far too quick for anyone to even intervene. There are not many pickpockets in the centre of Athens, but they have been reported to operate on the Athens Metro, so wear your backpack on your front and keep phones and wallets secure.
Unfortunately, there have been reports of harassment and rape of young girls on Greek Islands. This has often involved men taking advantage of women who are intoxicated, so don’t get too comfortable go overboard with alcohol intake – you always need an awareness of your surroundings. As a general rule, this is not typical of Greek men (in fact many of those imprisoned for rape have been tourists). In Greece, you will find men are much more forward than in other countries, but they will accept a polite ‘no thank you’.
I have met a few people on my travels who have been ill in Greece with sickness and diarrhoea. Nope, it’s not fun chucking up in a foreign country, and no one wants to lose travel days either.
the most common reason for sickness in Greece is going all-inclusive. It seems that food hygiene is generally good in Greece, but in all-inclusive hotels the food on buffets may be left out longer than usual. Combine this with the intense heat and it could mean that bacteria is fast multiplying before you know it, especially on meat and fish. Avoid all-inclusive resorts and also drink bottled water rather than tap water. Although tap water in Greece (particularly in Athens) is fine to drink, it may not be what you are used to, and bottled water is cheap and readily available.
Sun-stroke is also a problem that you should be aware of. Out of the shade, for example when you are visiting the Acropolis (the highest point in Athens where you find the ancient temples), it gets intensely hot even in April. Make sure that you bring a sun hat, sun cream and a water bottle for solo travel in Greece.
Top tips for travelling alone in Greece
Here are my top tips for travelling alone in Greece…
- Take Euros and your debit or credit card – British and American credit cards (including VISA and AMEX) have worked in Greece. Drink alcohol in moderation – do not get intoxicated and lose control, you will potentially put yourself in danger.
- Stay in a healthy mix of hotels and hostels – this will give you chance to meet people but also chance to catch up on your sleep!
- Drink plenty of bottled water – it’s cheap and readily available. Taking a refillable water bottle is also a good option as there are places where you can fill up at drinking fountains around Athens and other cities.
- Cover your head and wear plenty of sun cream – the sun in Greece is very intense and heat exhaustion or sun-stroke are a very real risk.
- The metro in Athens is easy to use and there is an English option on the ticket machines – wear your backpack on your front and keep valuables tucked away in deep secure pockets.
- Use Uber and Gett for your taxis in Greece, because Greek taxi drivers can rip off tourists. With these apps you will know exactly what to expect to pay and what route they will use. You can also share your Uber route with a close friend or family member so that they can keep tabs on your safety.
- Download the Duolingo App – Duolingo is great for learning some basic Greek and the Greek Alphabet.
- Focus on one or two destinations – I recommend an 8-10 day trip (at least) with Athens for four or five days plus an island destination (taking an internal flight such as Athens to Chania with Aegean airlines).
- Don’t flush your toilet paper down the loo – the Greek sanitation systems cannot handle it, so put your used loo roll in the bathroom bin (worry not, it will get emptied daily in hotels and hostels).
Best Greek islands for solo female travel
So, what is the best Greek island for solo female travel? Mykonos and Santorini are top favourites – Mykonos is one of the best party islands in Greece and Santorini (the one with the blue and white buildings) is very chilled out and relaxing. However, Santorini is quite overrun with loved up honeymooners. If I was single, I would NOT want to be grossed out by that every time I went to dinner! Naxos or Paros are great Santorini alternatives.
Personally, I like Crete (legendary birthplace of Zeus!) and Corfu – they are the right mix of religious and historical sights, partying and beaches for me (I am 43 now so past the hardcore parting phase I’m afraid!). Other popular islands include Kos, Rhodes and Skiathos.
Consider whether you are flying into Athens and then island hopping from there, or whether you will fly direct to your island destination. The geography may influence your route.
Focus on a certain Region or just one or two destinations
I would say that you should be conscious not to pack too much in during your solo trip to Greece. Of course, you will be eager to see as much as possible, but don’t overdo it! Travel fatigue is absolutely a thing and you don’t want to exhaust yourself. I would recommend a 10 day trip with 5 days in Athens for the ancient sites and then an internal flight to an island destination such as Chania (with Aegean airlines) to have a more relaxed second half of your holiday. In my opinion, the island hoppers who go to a different island each day or even every two days are just bonkers! Leave time to enjoy it.
English is widely spoken in Greece
English is widely spoken in Greece, and so you definitely don’t have to worry about the language barrier on your solo trip to Greece. I have never been into a bar or restaurant in Greece where English is not spoken and understood.
However, it’s always good to make an effort and learn some of the local language. I logged on to Duolingo for the Greek course during my time there. On reflection, I wish that I had done this a few weeks (or even a month) before travelling.
Although the Greek alphabet is very different and initially looks like a massive challenge, many signs are also in the Latin (English) alphabet. Also, it’s actually easier to pick up than you might originally think and you might go home knowing the sounds of quite a few letters in the Greek alphabet.
Here are some nice basic Greek phrases that you might like to use:
- Hello: Γειά σου (YAH-soo)
- How are you?: Tι κανείς (tee-KAH-nis)?
- Thank you: Ευχαριστώ (eff-kha-ri-STOE)
- Good morning: Καλημέρα (kah-lee-MER-ah)
- Good afternoon/evening: Καλησπέρα (kah-lee-SPER-ah)
- Goodnight: Καληνύχτα (kah-lee-NEEKH-tah)
Reasons to travel alone to Greece
- Food – The food in Greece is reasonably priced and not too spicy. Don’t miss the Moussaka or Greek Souvlaki and follow it up with a glass of Ouzo (Greek aniseed apertif).
- People – The Greek people are super friendly and their hospitality is out of this world. Most of the time they cannot do enough for you. Don’t be surprised if you make some local friends and get invited back for a meal!
- Ancient Temples – The temples of Athens (particularly on the Acropolis and slopes) are stunning. It’s nice to be able to explore them at your own pace.
- Good Value – food, drink and accommodation is good value in Greece (more on this further down the blog!)
- Island Hopping – This is a great way to meet fellow travellers and enjoy the variation between the Greek islands.
Meeting other Solo Travellers
Greece is a popular destination for solo travellers. There is a healthy mix of young island hopping party goers, culture cultures, digital nomads and retired travellers. I would recommend that you mix up hotel and hostel stays so that you get the best of both worlds.
In Greece, it’s easy to meet other people in bars – they are very open and friendly, not insular and cliquey. The hostels offer bar crawls ands nights out where you will meet other travellers – and don’t rule yourself out of hostels just because you are older (I still stay in hostels at 43!) There are also some great digital nomad friendly cafes and bars in Athens including cafe Plaka, Dope Roasting Co. and the Rabbit Punch.
I’ve also met some lovely people (couples and singles) on walking tours in Greece – quite often people get chatting through the tours of Athens and the main cities on the islands, resulting in a follow up Souvlaki (Greek Kebab!)
Hostel ideas for Greece
Greece has some really great hostels. They have high standards of cleanliness and excellent hospitality. Most Greek hostels have WIFI, laundry facilities and a bar. Most hostels in Greece have a mixed sex dorm as well as single sex. Here are some of the best hostels in Greece for solo travel:
- Mosaikon Glostel – A glam hostel! Mosaikon hostel features a rooftop terrace enjoying views of the Acropolis Hill. Single, double and dorm rooms available with all private rooms having en suite.
- Athens Backpackers – If you can’t get in at the Acropolis view, then Athens Backpackers is the next best choice for the Greek capital. Free breakfast and a rooftop bar – you can’t go wrong!
- Fira Backpackers place – In Fira, the heart of Santorini, this hostel is one of the top choices for solo backpackers. It offers a swimming pool and travel desk to help you to book in those tours.
- Far out Beach Club – This buzzing hostel in Los is the perfect party hostel for those looking to let their hair down and have some crazy nights.
- Stay Hostel – Stay Hostel in Rhodes is a great place for digital nomads, with reliable WIFI and plenty of places to work. The bar has nightly events and happy hour drinks.
- Rethymno Youth Hostel – The best option in Crete, with generous dorm rooms, a travel desk and a relaxing courtyard.
You can also read more here on where to stay in Athens.
Greece is Reasonably priced and good value
One of the advantages of solo travel in Greece is the great value, with cheap dorm rooms, food and drink. In Athens you can expect to pay around €12 for a main meal (such as a Mousakka or Souvlaki with rice and salad) and around €3 for a soft drink or beer. When you head to some more remote parts and quieter parts of the islands it gets even cheaper – you can grab a meal for €10 and drinks for €2. Cocktails can be as cheap as €5-8.
The price of hostels in Athens and in the popular destinations such as Fira a dorm room is around €25-40 per night. You can find dorm rooms as cheap as €12 a night if you are willing to start further out of the city centre in Athens. However, when you get out to the countryside and the quieter islands, it is possible to find rooms and beds that are substantially cheaper than the capital.
If you are looking for a ball park figure to aim at saving then go for around €100 a day for a budget trip with hostels and one meal out a day plus travel/sightseeing. If you like to stay in plush places and eat and drink out all the time then at least double this budget!
Guided Walking tours and good tour Guides
Most cities in Greece including Athens, Thessoloniki and Chania (Crete) offer guided walking tours. They are mostly ‘free tours’ where you rock up and then pay what you think it’s worth or what you can afford. Some are a set price and you can book experiences on Air BnB or Get Your Guide. These tours are a great way to meet local guides and also a great way to meet other travellers.
Solo Travel in Greece – What not to Miss
- The Acropolis and the ancient temples of Athens
- Meteora Monasteries – Monasteries impressively built high on the cliff
- The sunset on Santorini
- Old Town Chania – Crete
Always get travel insurance
Travellers to Greece are not legally required to purchase travel insurance for travel to Greece. However, you should always get travel insurance to cover you for the unexpected. Medical bills can add up quickly, and you would want to be able to claim in case of flight delays or lost luggage.
Solo Travel Greece – Overall Verdict
So, is solo travel in Greece worth it? Absolutely. I really can’t think of a better place to enjoy beaches, ancient ruins and socialising. The friendly atmosphere means that Greece should be at the top of your list as a solo traveller.
Finally, if you are looking for a good travel guide to read then I would recommend the following….
Solo Travel Greece – Further Reading
- Is Greece worth visiting?
- Is Athens worth visiting?
- Visiting the Acropolis
- Things to do in Nea Makri
- How to spend one day in Athens