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30 Things You Should Never Do in Greece

Updated: May 12, 2023

mistakes tourist greece make and how to avoid them

Greece is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture, but there are some things you should avoid doing as a tourist. So, if you're planning a trip to Greece, there are a few common mistakes you'll want to avoid to make the most of your experience.

Do you wish to have a memorable experience in Greece and avoid doing anything that could ruin it?

This is the reason why you should read this article till the end!

mykonos seaside walk, things never do in greece

This is the best collection of all the things you should never do in Greece, based on my personal experience and mistakes and some advice I got while traveling in Greece from locals.

I want to ensure you avoid making mistakes that could ruin your Greek vacation.

With these travel tips in mind, you will surely have a memorable trip to this beautiful country.

Your travel will go smoothly, like the delicious Ouzo you will drink during your holiday.

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*Disclosure: This article contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you I guarantee, if you make a purchase through my links. See it as a way to thank me for all the information I provide.

what are some strange laws in greece and how not to be rude in greece?

What are some strange laws in Greece?

In Greece, it is forbidden to wear heels in sites of archaeological importance.

They made this law to protect archaeological sites from abrasion. So please keep that in mind and make sure always to wear some flat shoes when visiting these places; after all, even a flat sandal can be sexy and also much more comfortable while sightseeing.

how much to tip in greece restaurants

Is tipping expected in Greece?

Tipping is not a common practice among locals in Greece, but it is expected from tourists. When dining at restaurants, leaving a small cash tip for the service is customary, with 10-15% being the standard amount.

Remember: most hospitality workers in Greece work only for the summer season. Most islands' hotels

and restaurants are closed during the other months. So by leaving a tip, you really help them.

Travel Tip: As soon as you book your next adventure, make sure to buy good travel insurance in case you need to “unfortunately” delay, extend or cancel your trip. I recommend Visitors Coverage up to 1 month trip lenght and SafetyWing for longer trips. Two great insurance company to cover everything about your travel.
what Not to Do in Greece and enjoy your summer vacation

European Travel Alert!

If you are from the US and want to travel to Europe, you'll need to fill out an ETIAS visa waiver form before your trip and pay the €7 ($7.25) fees. This easy-to-complete form should give you instant approval, but it's recommended that travelers plan and submit their forms a few weeks before their departure date.

Wondering who is behind Valentina's Travel Guide?

If so, check out my About Page to find out more...

Travel Tips: If you arrive in Athens too early for check-in or your departure time is too many hours after check-out, and you need a place to store your luggage, check out Radical Storage. It is a website that shows you all the safe places to keep your bags while still exploring.

Read 30 Things You Should Never Do in Greece


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places to avoid in greece

1. Don't avoid planning a holiday to Greece:

Greece is one of the most famous countries in the world for its incredible holiday destinations, mostly during summertime, so book your flight tickets and start to plan your travel. Trust me, you will love everything about it.

Want to know more about Greece?

Check out “The Ultimate Guide to Greece“ and read all my articles.

what should i avoid in greece? visit the greek islands in winter

2. Don't plan to visit the Greek islands during winter:

If you look at flights and accommodations prices, you will see that during winter, the prices drop a lot, and yes, you will save a lot of money and avoid the summer crowd, but you will also find most of the hotels and restaurants closed unless you visit a big island like Rhodes.

Greek islands are a summer destination, perfect from May to September when the weather is ideal for spending time at the beach, and the sea water is warm.

Keep in mind that most islands are empty from November to March. You will find only locals (that is a good thing), but the weather might be cloudy, windy, and cold. Check out the weather in Greece here.

do and don'ts in greece for your first time vacation to greece
Tip: Want to plan a Greek tour where everything is already planned for you? You should definitely check out the Greek tours available.

I think the best month to visit the Greek islands is in September when kids are back at school, it is less crowded, the temperature is still warm but not so hot as July, everything is still open, but it is not high season anymore, so prices are lower.

To visit the mainland instead, if you are not looking to spend all your vacation on the beach but prefer to travel around exploring, even winter can be a good season.

foods to avoid in greece are junk food at a fast food chain

3. Don't be afraid to learn some basic sentences in Greek:

I know the Greek language might be intimidating for some of us. Still, you have no idea how hospitable Greek people are. They will appreciate the effort, so learn some essential words, maybe with Duolingo. Use them at your accommodation or in a restaurant, like good morning, good evening, thank you, etc.

You might become friends with some locals just because you show them how much you like your country and culture just by saying a few Greek words.

Do you want to make your Greek vacation unforgettable?

You won't regret it!

not visit a greek museum is a big mistake in greece

4. Don't think that Greece is only a group of islands to explore:

Greece is also mainland and beautiful, full of stunning beaches along the coast, mountains to hike and explore, and villages and cities to visit. There are infinite numbers of Roman and Greek ruins, and the food differs in every region.

Psssst! If you are thinking of booking a Greek tour to explore the mainland, you should definitely check out the Greece tours available here.

Read "My Guide of Greece" to see all the Greek destinations I wrote about and get inspired for your next travel.

visit the greek islands by ferry

5. Don't save money on ferries:

When you look at ferry prices, you will notice that different ferries are doing the same route at very different prices. That is because you can pay 25 euros and spend 5 hours to reach your destination, or spend 40 euros and get there in only 2 hours.

Depending on how much time you have on your vacation, I think it could be worth spending 15 euros more and having three more hours at the beach (but this is only my opinion).

If you have a low budget, you should read my article about how to save money in Greece.

Use the Ferryhopper widget below to check ferry prices and availability for your next Greece vacation. I used it to book all my ferries to move around Greece.

More Greece travel resources:

Learn all the tips & info before visiting Greece by checking my Greece Travel Guide as well as these popular articles:

don't forget to book a seat in a greek ferry to avoid staying under the sun

6. Don't book a seat on a ferry without an assigned seat during the hottest months:

Traveling on the hot ferry deck in the middle of the day at 40 degrees or even more is not funny, and you will get to your destination feeling very tired.

So book a seat when purchasing your ferry tickets and ensure your seat is inside where the air conditioning is always on.

Tip: Remember that the best way to visit the Greek islands is by ferry, and the best ferry ticket website is Ferryhopper.
tourist traps to avoid in greece are buying cheap souvenirs and eat in tourist restaurants

7. Avoid tourists traps:

As you probably know, my dear traveler, every tourist place has plenty of tourist traps.

Research and check if I have been where you plan to go because I always write about where to eat and where to shop. Tourist traps can be restaurants, souvenir shops, and local markets for tourists.

Otherwise, ask locals where they eat; you won't regret it.

You will taste delicious local food and probably save some money. Also, be careful with Greek souvenirs because not all are made locally.

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greek waters; can you drink tap water in greece?

8. Don't drink water straight from the tap:

Unless you are on the mainland in Athens where you have been told that tap water is safe to drink, please don't do it on most islands, like Mykonos and Santorini.

In most accommodations, even cheaper ones, you will find a water bottle in your room upon arrival.

Always check with locals and buy some water at the supermarket (this is something I hate to do cause I prefer to don't buy plastic bottles and use my reusable bottle, but in this case, it will save you from getting a terrible stomachache).

are greek locals nice to tourist?

9. Don't be afraid to talk to locals:

Greek locals are very friendly, know the area, and can advise you, like where to eat and how to get from A to B in the cheapest and fastest way. They know the hidden gems and much more, so don't be afraid to talk to them and ask for advice.

Do you want to know more about Greece?

Check out “The Complete Greece Travel Guide“ and read all my articles about it.

where to eat local in greece

10. Don't forget to research where to eat local food:

We all have a budget when we travel (for budget tips in Greece, check this out), and the best way to experience the place we visit is through local food. In this way, you save money and eat local food made with local products that will increase the pleasure of visiting Greece.

That is why I always write an article about the local food for every destination, so you will know what dishes to look for.

I think it is probably the first thing I research as soon as I choose a destination, where and what to eat, for me that I would spend all day dining, is a vital part of my travel.


Get all the information you need to plan your perfect vacation in Greece

Check Out

Valentina's Travel Guide, 26 Things Not to Do in Greece

11. Don't be scared to share your meal with your travel mates:

And by saying this, I mean there are so many delicious Greek foods, including cakes and little sweets; you cannot just order a starter and a main course for yourself and try only two things a restaurant offers.

Share all the food with your travel mates unless you are traveling alone.
Order different dishes and share everything, try most of the options on the menu, and choose your favorites.

Tip: A very good way to experience the local food and meet other travelers is by booking a Food Tour in Greece, you should try it!
Valentina's Travel Guide, 26 Things Not to Do in Greece

12. Don't eat only Greek food you have heard about:

Greece is a vast country, and every region has some specialties you may not have heard about yet.

Do your research ahead, or when visiting, ask your waiter or at your accommodation what the local gastronomy offers. Check out "Food and Drinks to Try in Greece". You are going to get very well surprised.

Hey Traveler!

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Thank you, from your super-organized traveler, Valentina!

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greece parlament in athens, as a greek tourist, don't talk to local about their politics situation

13. Don't talk about politics or country issues:

As you might have heard, Greece has a financial issue, so please avoid the subject unless a local starts to talk about it with you.

Looking for more countries to visit?

Check out my Destination Page to see all the places I have written about.

More content is being posted regularly.

rude things to avoid to do in greece is not buying a gift if a local invite you to their home

14. Don't forget to bring a gift when a local invites you to their house:

Greeks are very hospitable people, so if some of them invite you to their home, please be a perfect guest and bring something to say thank you.

It might be just a bunch of flowers, a bottle of wine, or some sweets bought at a local bakery. You will see how they will appreciate your gesture.

Visiting Athens?

travel tips in greece: be careful when crossing the road

15. Don't forget to be extra careful when crossing the road:

Greeks are a little bit crazy while driving; not all of them, of course, but only because the traffic light is green in your favor doesn't mean you don't need to check the street before crossing.

Keep that in mind, and please be always careful and vigilant.

touring greece, not everything is on time in greece

16. Don't expect everything or everyone to be on time:

Trains and buses might not be right on time like in London (to give you an example), so you might have to wait a couple of minutes for your train to leave or wait a bit longer than usual to meet a local.

I always advise being at the station a lot in advance if you have to catch any transport.
Just in case it leaves on time or you find traffic on your way.

Traffic can be terrible in high season with locals going to work plus tourists not knowing the area.

Tip: To book buses and trains in Greece, check out Omio to get the best ticket prices.
Valentina's Travel Guide, 26 Things Not to Do in Greece

17. Don't show your hand palm:

It may mean nothing to you, but it is a well-known insulting gesture in Greece. They call it "Moutza."

It is like showing your middle finger, so please avoid it.

The gesture I am talking about is when you are talking to someone, and you lift your hand and show their face your palm in a very straightforward way.

how to get a good tan in greece, sunscreen greece

18. Don't forget to apply sunscreen:

The sun is ill, and we have heard about it many times, so please buy good sunscreen and apply it many times daily.

The sun in Greece is powerful, so if you come from a country where you sunbathe rarely, please do not forget to apply it!

Save your delicate skin and your holiday because sunburns can turn your holiday into a nightmare, and never forget to apply an aftersun lotion after your shower.

Need more about Greece?

Check out “The Ultimate Greece Travel Guide" and read all the articles I wrote about it.

a good travel tips in greece is don't stay only in one place
Me and my mom on Kefalonia island. I went there with my friend Pamela and both our parents. They reach the island with their car by ferry from Italy, so we could visit every corner of Kefalonia.

19. Don't spend all your holiday only in one place:

Of course, if you are planning to visit Greece just for a weekend, you won't have time to see much, but if you are lucky enough to have one or two weeks to spend in this beautiful country, my advice is to visit more than just one place or one island.

Tip: All locations on the mainland are well connected by bus and train. At the same time, the islands are connected by Greek ferries. So it is elementary to move around.
travel tips in greece to plan the perfect greece itinerary

I started my Greek holiday in Athens, where I spent three days (16 days in Greece in total).

I then went to Mykonos for four days, Paros for three days, then Ios for three days, and ended my holiday in Santorini, where I spent three days. I am not saying you must do the same as I did, but ferries can be so fast, and the islands are very small to visit.

I rented a car everywhere (just not in Athens, where I walk around and move by public transport during the day and by taxi at night). I saw everything I wanted and even more, having a lot of time to spend at the beach relaxing and swimming (and reading, that is my favorite thing to do at the beach).

international driving licence to drive in greece if you are not from europe

20. Don't forget you will need an international driver's license to rent a car in Greece:

Unfortunately, you might end up without the chance to rent a car without an international driver's license, so check how to do it in your own country (it is basically just a translation of your driver's license and is usually valid for one year).

If you are from Europe, you won't have any problems but plan ahead if you come from a country outside the EU.

Click the Dicovercars widget below to get Greece's best rental car deal as I did.

buy greek souvenirs in greece for you and your family

21. Don't forget to buy local products as souvenirs:

Greece has a lot to offer, from wine, olive oils, olives, honey, and herbs, so find out what to buy in Greece here. Buy and eat locally; your friends at home will love receiving your gifts.

22. Don't throw toilet paper or anything else inside the toilet:

You have to be careful when using a reek bathroom. If you see a little bin next to it, use it. The pipes are pretty much smaller than in any other country. If you start to throw a lot of toilet paper in it, it will clog.

You don't want to be in a situation where you and your travel mate cannot use the toilet in the morning, so keep this in mind.

do i need cash to pay in greece? yes, you always need to have cash with you when traveling in greece

23. Don't forget to withdraw money:

While in Greece, always have some cash with you. In many restaurants, bars, and shops are possible to pay by credit card, while in some other ones, like in small towns, card payments are not always accepted, so keep that in mind, and never leave without some cash in your pocket.

To be sure, always ask if they accept card payments before ordering something.

Need Travel Tips?

How do you pack for your next travel and budget for your next dream vacation?

Check out my Travel Tips section, where you will find all the help, tips, and tricks to plan your next adventure in the most organized way!

in greece is allowed to smoke in bars and restaurants

24. Don't waste your time looking for a smoke-free bar or restaurant:

In Greece, most people smoke and can do it in bars and restaurants.

So if you cannot eat where people are smoking at the table next to you (I honestly hate it), I highly recommend you choose a location with a garden or a terrace.

Visiting Greece?

Check out more articles about Greece and start planning your trip.

you need a travel adapter in greece for your tools

25. Don't forget to bring with you an adapter:

Greek plugs differ from the US, Uk, and other countries. Make sure to buy a universal adapter before your departure.

It is always cheaper to buy a universal adapter and a converter for hair tools at home than at the airport in a tourist spot.

Always buy all the necessary for your trip in advance.

eat local food in greece

26. Don't eat at fast-food chains:

Greece is famous for its healthy and delicious food, so please avoid wasting your money by buying junk food you can eat at home anytime.

If you are in Greece, enjoy their food because you won't be able to find the same fresh Greek ingredients in your hometown.

what not to wear in greece, always cover your shoulders when entering a church in greece

27. Don't forget to cover your legs and shoulders when entering a church:

You don't have to worry if you are wondering what not to wear in Greece. You can wear anything, but never forget you cannot enter a church showing too much skin.

This is a rule you should always follow around the world. Never enter a religious building showing too much. Always have a scarf to cover yourself (mostly shoulders and legs).

Respecting other religions and cultures while traveling is one of the things we should never forget about.

Need a good Photography course?

I have the right one for you. Check out One Education, the platform to find every possible course you have always wanted to take.

greece for tourist: important phone numbers in greece

28. Don't forget to save the emergency numbers:

I wish you all the luck in this world and that nothing terrible happens to you, but sometimes bad things happen at home or while traveling, so save up all the numbers you might need in an emergency.

In Greece, the number to dial for a police emergency is 100, and to call an ambulance is 166.

In every place I visited and wrote about, I added all the numbers you need in the article "how to plan a trip to (city/country), so check them out when planning your next dream adventure.

  • Fire department 199

  • Emergency 112

  • Coast guard 108

  • Tourist Police 171

  • Forest fire authority 191

don't eat or drink inside Athens metro

29. Don't eat or drink inside Athens Metro:

Athens Metro was renovated only a few years ago, and Athenians are very proud of it. They do their best to keep it clean, so they never eat or drink when traveling on their Metro trains.

They expect tourists to do the same. Water is the only thing allowed.

Before visiting Athens, check out if there are any strikes planned here; this could help you planning a better way to reach your accommodation from the airport or get to Piraeus Port to catch a ferry to the islands.
things to never do in greece

30. Never Touch artifacts in museums and at archaeological sites:

Respect Greek history, and never touch anything when visiting museums or archaeological sites. In museums, most of the smaller items are protected by glass, but the statues are not, so please, avoid touching anything and take pictures if not allowed.

My final thoughts:

When traveling to Greece, you better avoid making all these common mistakes; I'm sure you don't want to end up doing something that could ruin a holiday you have been waiting for so long. By being aware of these potential mistakes, you can have a more enjoyable and respectful experience in Greece. And when you get back home, please send me a message or leave a comment below and let me know if my article helped you!


Psssst! I use these websites to find the cheapest prices:

Activities in Greece:

Viator and Get Your Guide are my go-to search engine for city tours, museum tickets, and attractions at the best price.

To explore the city by yourself, We Go Trip offers audio guides to download on your phone, while Take Walks offers many guided tours.

Multiple day trips from Greece:

To book more than a 1-day trip, TourRadar is an excellent website where you can find private, group, and tailor-made multi-day organized adventures in 160+ countries worldwide.

How to move around Greece:

To move between cities, Trainline and Omio are websites to book bus and train tickets, while EconomyBookings is excellent for finding the cheapest car rental deals.

Need extra help?

Radical Storage is to find luggage storage while you explore the city.

See all my favorite travel websites here.

Your super-organized travel blogger

Xoxo Valentina

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