Greece was a country I had wanted to go to for years, and yet when I finally made my plans to visit, the advice that I was given wasn’t quite as positive as I hoped which, to be honest, surprised me as Greece is a popular travel destination and solo travel in Greece seems to be quite common.
I spent 3.5 weeks travelling through Greece, most of that time I spent solo. From the capital city of Athens to the romantic island of Santorini, I fell head over heels in love with Greece and, based on my experience, would absolutely recommend it to other solo travellers, especially women. That being said, there were a few things I noticed along the way (good and bad) that I think other solo travellers should be aware of.
So, if you are thinking about solo travel in Greece, then this article is for you.
The Men Weren’t As Bad As I Was Warned (at Least in the Islands)
At least a dozen women told me to be careful of the men who could be pushy and aggressive. Granted, pushy men aren’t something that I (or any woman for that matter) is a stranger too. However, for someone planning to travel solo in Greece, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. Used to it or not, nobody wants to be harassed.
At first, I brushed that note aside figuring I’d deal with it when and if it happened. However, after my miserable experience in Morocco, I actually did get a bit worried. I was sick of men chasing me, catcalling me, and saying inappropriate things to me in the streets. I was so on edge after Morocco that I worried if I faced more of the same in Greece, I’d have a meltdown. Those worries, however, were quickly washed away. In fact, the older Greek woman who sat beside me on my flight from Marrakech to Athens put me at ease when she told me what would happen; “The men, they are too lazy. Yes, you are beautiful and they will look, maybe smile and say hello, but they won’t chase you. They can’t be bothered to get off their ass in the islands.”
I laughed at her bluntness but, in the end, she was 100% right. I got some looks and smiles and a few men said hello but as long as I just smiled and kept walking, I was left alone. Nobody said anything rude like in Morocco, and nobody chased after me like they did in Italy. It was fantastic.
The most ‘forward’ thing I experienced was on a beach in Paros. I was sitting by the shore and there was a group of young men probably around 18-20 years old behind me and to my left. When they went to the beach they would noticeably cross over in front of me and look my way, rather than just go straight in. I caught on after a few did it and made a point of glancing at one when he looked at me. He turned away so fast I nearly laughed out loud.
After what I experienced in Morocco, the ability to walk around the Greek islands as a solo female without being chased and harassed felt like heaven. I never once felt nervous or scared.
The Islands Are Very Safe For Solo Travel in Greece
Athens may have a bit of a reputation but as far as safety goes in the Greek islands, I’d say it’s one of the places I’ve felt the safest travelling solo.
I was a bit apprehensive at first since Greeks eat so late. When I travel solo, I try to eat earlier so I don’t have to walk back to my accommodation alone in the dark. However, I also hate standing out as the obvious tourist eating alone in a restaurant, hours before the locals. My first couple of nights, I did eat early. But, as I grew more comfortable I’d push my dinner time until after sunset to keep with the local culture, and I was always fine going back alone. Granted, I never went anywhere that was further than a 10-minute walk from where I was staying, and in busy areas, but I had no problems walking back around 10-10:30pm.
I also always felt safe and secure in my accommodation (as always though, read reviews before you book) and wandering around in the day through the villages and to the beaches. For the most part, the locals were very friendly though in busier places (looking at you Santorini) I was basically ignored. Which, in my mind, is a good thing when travelling alone.
As with everywhere else, you do need to be aware and practice typical caution but, based on my experience, the islands were all very safe for solo travel in Greece.
Solo Travellers in Greece Will Stand Out
While I certainly wasn’t the only solo traveller in Greece, I definitely noticed that I did stand out in some spots. Specifically, a couple places in Santorini and in Naousa, Paros (my favourite place). There was nothing wrong with this, I didn’t feel uncomfortable, but it did get me a little bit of extra attention.
I think it’s probably because these places are known to be romantic and honeymoon destinations, so seeing a girl exploring and eating on her own is a bit odd for the locals. I have no doubt that a few of them wanted to ask what I was doing alone but nobody pushed, just a couple casual comments confirming that I was, indeed, solo.
Really though, it ended up benefitting me. Greek restaurants already have a reputation for giving shots to customers after their meals or sometimes a little dessert treat, but my experience as a solo traveller in Greece extended past that. In some places I got an extra glass of wine “on the house” and one spot I noticed my dessert was a fancy chocolate dish instead of the little squares of cake that the people around me were served. Maybe they were just being extra nice to the solo girl, maybe they had created stories in their head as to why I was alone (left at the altar? Dumped before vacation?) and felt bad for me, who knows. All I can say is it worked in my favour; I’m not one to turn down extra wine or chocolate.
Hostels in the Greek Islands are Limited
When I travel solo, I usually choose to stay in hostels so I can easily meet other travellers and have people to explore or grab a meal with. However, as I was planning my travels in Greece I noticed that hostels are really lacking on the islands. Most of the major islands have at least one, but even then they tend to be very expensive considering you are paying for a bed in a shared dorm. I actually only stayed in one hostel in the islands (Bedspot Hostel in Fira, Santorini, which I do recommend) and then I got a private room in an Airbnb or hotel for the other nights. It was definitely nice to have space to myself (especially when I splurged on the luxury hotel in Oia), but not having the hostel options also made it a bit trickier to meet fellow travellers on the islands since my other normal go-to for meeting people (free walking tours) weren’t an option either.
With that in mind, if you plan on doing some solo travel in Greece you’ll want to make sure you are comfortable really travelling on your own. Or, do some research ahead of time and choose places where there are actually hostels available so it’s easier to meet people.
Final Thoughts on Solo Travel in Greece
Greece has, without a doubt, become one of my favourite travel destinations and I can’t wait to go back and explore more. I loved how safe I felt exploring the islands- it took away a lot of stress as a solo female traveller and really allowed me to enjoy the destination. That being said, compared to other countries around the world, solo travel in Greece wasn’t quite as easy in that some of the places in the islands didn’t seem to be really set up for the backpacker types. However, don’t let that stop you. Just keep the above tips in mind when planning and go. I promise you won’t regret it.
Must Have Travel Accessories for Solo Travel
I love solo travel, but it does mean I need to take some extra precautions. For any other solo travellers out there, especially my ladies, I highly recommend you pack the following:
- A lockable backpack for when you are in crowded areas and have nobody to keep an eye on your back.
- A whistle in case of an emergency. It’s an easy and reliable way to get attention worldwide
- A lightweight power bank. There is nothing worse than your phone dying when you are using it as a map!
- Activated charcoal for tummy troubles– the best solution when there is nobody you can count on to go to the pharmacy for you.
- Door stopper. Most hostels/hotels are safe, but if you are worried this will help you sleep better.
A Note on Travel Insurance in Greece
Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine twice before (once for damaged luggage, once because I developed a lung infection while traveling). While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance. With prices starting at $37 for 4 weeks, they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.