Solo Travel in Greece
Greece is generally very safe for solo female travellers as locals are friendly and helpful. Men can be more forward than in other Western countries but if you politely indicate your lack of interest, they will apologise and leave you alone.
When you solo travel to Greece, especially Athens, be careful at night and keep a close eye on your belongings, just as you would in any other large city. Although the neighborhoods of Monastiraki, Omonia, Psyrri, and Mextaxourghio boast some of the city’s most colorful and alternative nightlight, don’t venture out late at night on your own, especially in poorly lit areas.
It’s been reported that sadly, Greece’s recent financial troubles have led to an increase in racism and xenophobia. While Greeks still welcome travellers from North America and other parts of Europe, additional caution is advised for visitors from other parts of the world as racially motivated violence is apparently on the rise.
Ancient temples, breathtaking islands, and a vibrant contemporary culture make Greece a must-visit stop on any itinerary. The country offers something for everyone – history buffs, beach bums, foodies, nightlife aficionados, and nature enthusiasts will all leave satisfied.
Most trips to Greece begin in Athens, one of the most popular cities to visit in Greece. The city is steeped in history, has numerous colourful neighbourhoods, and is the ideal base from which to explore the rest of the country. You’ll definitely want to visit the Acropolis, home to the world-famous Parthenon.
Your ticket to the Acropolis allows you free access to the nearby Ancient Agora (or marketplace), which was the focal point of civic life in ancient Athens. Today, the agora is a lovely and shady oasis in the middle of the city’s chaos and great place to curl up with a book on a hot afternoon. The agora’s museum, inside the restored Stoa of Attalos, provides a fascinating glimpse into everyday life in ancient Athens.
Wandering the neighbourhoods of the city centre in Athens could amuse you for days, and the (air-conditioned) National Archeological Museum is especially good on hot afternoons. Athens also has fantastic nightlife, but a grab a buddy from your hotel or hostel before venturing out alone into the wee hours of the night. The boundary between “safe” neighbourhoods and “unsafe” neighbourhoods can be difficult for non-locals to distinguish.
Take a day trip to visit the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio. The temple itself is even more beautiful than the Parthenon, and its dramatic setting on a cliff overlooking the sea is breathtaking with a clean, inviting, and uncrowded beach literally right next door.
Delphi, the reputed home of the famous ancient oracle, is another excellent day trip from Athens. About 2.5 hours away from the city, Delphi is in the mountains, and its ancient ruins and gorgeous natural setting provide a perfect escape from the city’s summer heat. Numerous tours head to Delphi daily, as does the country’s national bus company, KTEL.
If you’re driving, it’s worthwhile to spend an extra hour or so on the road to visit the hot springs at Thermopylae. Thermopylae was, of course, the sight of the famous ancient battle where the 300 Spartan soldiers made their heroic stand against the invading Persians. Nothing remains today to indicate that the battle ever took place but the hot springs are fantastic for sore muscles and their location is striking.
Athens is also a great base for getting your feet wet in terms of island explorations. The islands of Aegina and Hydra can both be visited in a day from Athens. Aegina, famous for its pistachios, is relatively flat, and renting a bicycle once you arrive on the island is the best the way to get around. Hydra attracts a more upscale crowd. Its picturesque port town offers great shopping and eating, and its hilly interior provides many options for hikers and explorers.
After you’ve thoroughly explored Athens and its environs, your next choice is whether you want to venture deeper into the mainland or head straight to the islands. If you choose to stay on the mainland, the Peloponnese is relatively close to Athens and will provide you with a good idea of daily life in Greece today.
The city of Nafplio is a breezy seaside resort not far from Athens with easy access for exploring the ancient ruins at Mycenae. If you’re lucky enough to be in Nafplio during the annual summer Epidaurus Festival, you can experience live theatre, music, and dance in the authentic and well-preserved ancient theatre at nearby Epidaurus.
Other highlights of the Peloponnese include Monemvasia – a city in such a stunning and unlikely location that you won’t believe it really exists. Monemvasia is a well-preserved medieval fortress climbing a 100-meter cliff on a tiny island just off the mainland. Today it is filled with tiny guesthouses, restaurants, and art boutiques.
Ancient Olympia, in the western Peloponnese, will give you the opportunity to pay homage to today’s Olympic Games. The ancient city is about 2 hours from Pilos, a laidback area packed with turquoise beaches, cool forests, and abundant hiking opportunities.
If you’d rather head straight to the islands, you have literally hundreds of options. One of the most popular Greek islands to visit is Santorini, with its villages perched atop sheer walls dropping down into the sea (the result of a massive volcanic eruption).
Santorini is romantic but can get crowded. Mykonos is a popular party island, but it can often be overrun with groups of vacationing lads.
If you want to mix your lazy beach days with more active pursuits, try these adventurous places to visit in Greece: the Dodecanese: Kalymnos – famous worldwide for its rock climbing, Kos – a wind and kite-surfing paradise, or Nisyros – which offers hikes into an otherworldly volcanic crater. If you’re new to these sports or simply lacking equipment, tour operators on all of these islands can outfit you in style.
Island hopping in Greece can take time so if you have time for only one island, visit Crete – Greece’s largest island which offers something for every girl. The Venetian city of Hania is arguably the country’s prettiest and has superb shopping and restaurants, while the ancient palace at Knossos will please those with an interest in history.
The island’s prettiest beaches are on its southern coast and include spectacular Elafonisi, accessible only by ferry or foot.
The island’s mountainous interior provides plenty of world-class hiking opportunities including Samaria Gorge, Europe’s longest (and most beautiful!) gorge. Buses leave from Hania beginning early in the morning for the top of the gorge.
The hike is entirely downhill (which you’ll appreciate on a hot summer day) and ends 16 kilometers later in the isolated beach town of Agia Roumeli where afternoon ferries pick up tired hikers and return them to their hotels and hostels.
How long do I need?
A week-and-a-half is the absolute minimum you’ll need for a visit to Greece. This will give you a couple of days to sightsee in Athens and the surrounding areas, and a week to explore the mainland and/or islands. To really experience all that the country has to offer, you’ll want to set aside three weeks to thoroughly explore the country.
Accommodation in Greece
There is a wide variety of accommodation in Greece to choose from whether you prefer a stunning Greek villa, apartment or hotel room. Stay in your own villa in Crete, or a room with a view of the Acropolis in Athens.
There are hostels on the mainland and various islands and you can even pitch a tent at one of the campsites if you prefer to stay in nature. Plus there’s Airbnb which connects you to unique travel experiences and isn’t just limited to staying in a local’s spare room. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
If you want to treat yourself, Oliver’s Travels offers a taste of luxury whether you picture yourself in an oasis-style mansion or sunning yourself on the terrace of your own self-catering villa.
Beach, massages, aerobics and volleyball – which solo lady wouldn’t love this stunning place. Plus it's just a stone throw away from the beach. There's even an amphitheatre here where they show daily entertainment. It's a great place to meet others and you can book excursions here too. Prices from £56 per night for a bungalow with a sea view.
If you are spending some time in Athens, this 4 star hotel has a sauna and hamman and rooftop views of the Parthenon and city. Plus you can even pick a room with your own zen garden! It is close to the Acropolis and Syntagma Square so it's in a perfect location, and you get a buffet breakfast included. Prices from £63 per night for a single room.
There’s a reason that this place is called Dream Island. In the heart of Fira this Cycladic-style hotel has amazing views of the sea. There is a bar to mingle with others or a satellite tv in your room to just relax in the evenings. They can organise your airport transfers too. Prices from £73 per night for a single room with a patio.
Tours in Greece
Solo travel in Greece is relatively easy but if you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.
Adventures range from sailing around the Greek islands for 8 days or experiencing the best of the mainland and the islands on a 2 week Greek holiday. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. Over 50% of people who book their trips are solo travellers. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear a bit more costly than G Adventures. Their tours range from 8 days Athens to Santorini, to 22 days including Croatia in their itinerary.
Cretan Adventures – Offers adventure activity holidays such as hiking, trekking and caving in Crete, Santorini, and other beautiful areas of Greece.
Viator – If you prefer day tours, Viator has a plethora to choose from. As a TripAdvisor company each tour is handpicked and pre-vetted to make such you get the best experience. From sailing around Santorini to tasting wine at vineyards you'll find something for any kind of solo.
Travelling Around Greece
For traveling around the mainland, the country’s bus system, KTEL, is your best bet. KTEL is reliable, comfortable, safe, and goes almost everywhere in Greece. Be careful, however – Athens has two long-distance bus stations, so be sure to confirm which station your bus leaves from before setting off.
Renting a car is also easy, but Greeks drive on the wild side, so watch out! The country’s train system is poorly out-of-date and does not serve many locations.
To reach the islands, ferries leave from Athen’s port at Pireaus, as well as from Rafina. If island-hopping is your plan, be sure to check in advance that ferry routes travel between all of your intended destinations.
Traveling between two smaller islands may involve an intermediary stop on a bigger island with a larger port. While traveling by ferry is definitely more romantic and fun, those on a tight schedule can also access the islands via internal flights.
Uber – When getting around the cities you may feel more comfortable with Uber instead of taking a taxi. Uber is a driver app where each driver is vetted beforehand, and you can see the driver’s picture and registration number before they arrive. Save up to $20 off your first ride with Uber using promo code RIDINGUBER20
To hire a car we recommend pre-booking car hire with Avis so you can collect your car when you arrive at the airport.
From the Airport
The easiest way to reach Athens from the city’s airport is via the city’s excellent metro system. Express buses also travel between the airport and various points in the city. Express buses are less expensive than a metro ticket from the airport, but expect a longer travel time especially during rush hour.
If you’re arriving into another airport, here are the best ways to get to and from each airport.
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
Travelling onwards (check for visas before you travel)
Greece to Albania – You can either catch a ferry from Corfu to Saranda in Albania for £23 or there is a bus that will take you from Athens for £35 for the 9 hour journey.
Greece to Macedonia – A twice daily bus service will take you into Skopje from Thessaloniki and takes 3.5 hours. There is a possibility of a train service from Thessaloniki to Belgrade in Serbia which stops off in Skopje, Macedonia.
Greece to Bulgaria – From Thessaloniki you can reach Sofia by train in 6 hours. There is also a daily bus service between the two which takes 5 hours.
Greece to Turkey – Ferries operate from Rhodes to Marmaris, Chios to Cesme, Samos to Kusadasi and Kos to Bodrum. Crazy Holidays Bus runs a daily service between Thessaloniki and Istanbul.
Greece to Italy – There are daily ferries ferry between Greece and Italy from Corfu and Patras into Trieste, Ancona, Bari and Venice (you may be able to take your car too).
* Ferries also operate from Rhodes and Piraeus to Cyprus, Egypt and Israel. You can also travel to Georgia and Serbia by bus.
Where can I go from here?
Turkey – 1.5 hours
Italy – 2 hours
Egypt – 2 hours
- Can I drink the water? Tap water is okay in Athens. Bottled water for elsewhere.
- Is tipping expected? A small tip at restaurants is generally expected. Simply round up your bill or leave an extra euro or two if you’ve had a more expensive meal. Taxi drivers do not expect tips.
- Fixed price or barter? In most cases prices are fixed and bartering would be considered rude. During the off-season or in out-of-the way places you can occasionally barter with hotel or guesthouse owners over the price of a room.
- Any ATMs? Greece has plenty of ATMS which is quite useful as many businesses – even in Athens, do not accept credit or debit cards.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The right-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? Greece is a mecca for both vegetarians and vegans. During the Lenten period preceding Easter, most Greeks become temporary vegetarians. This means that the country’s culinary tradition boasts a wealth of traditional veggie options. And don’t forget that almost everything in Greece is cooked with olive oil rather than with butter which makes things easier for vegans as well.
- Any seven wonders of the world? The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Peloponnesus. The Colossus of Rhodes.
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Capital – Athens
Population – 10/8 million
Language Spoken – Greek and English
Best Time to Go – May and June.
Did you know? Greece is famous for its olives and its olive oil. Olive trees can live to be literally thousands of years old, and scientists claim that a few of the country’s olive trees likely date back to the time of the ancient Greeks.
Issues in the Country
Whilst Greece is generally safe and welcoming for tourists, the country recently experienced an economic crisis that shook things up a bit. The country needs tourists now more than ever, and prices are the lowest that they have been in years. While tales of weeklong strikes stranding travellers on islands are a thing of the past, check the current situation before leaving home.
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