Greece, with its sun-soaked islands, ancient ruins, and vibrant cultural tapestry, draws millions of tourists each year. While it offers a wealth of experiences, understanding what to avoid when visiting Greece can greatly enhance your trip. From cultural nuances to navigational tips, knowing what to steer clear of can save you from common inconveniences and potential faux pas. This guide aims to equip you with practical advice on making the most of your Greek adventure, ensuring a memorable and respectful experience.

Cultural Insensitivities

When visiting a country rich in history and tradition like Greece, it’s crucial to respect local customs and practices. Here are some cultural sensitivities to keep in mind:

  • Respect religious traditions: Greece is predominantly Greek Orthodox, and religious customs are deeply revered. Dress modestly when visiting churches and monasteries; shoulders and knees should be covered, and hats removed. Be particularly respectful during religious services or when icons are present.
  • Mind your gestures: Some hand gestures that might be innocuous or even positive in other cultures could be offensive in Greece. For instance, the “moutza,” a gesture where the palm is extended outward and fingers spread, is considered highly insulting.
  • Language courtesy: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, learning a few basic phrases in Greek can go a long way in showing respect and may enhance your interactions with locals.
  • Photography etiquette: Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially in smaller, rural areas where locals may be more conservative about photography.

Tourist Traps and Scams

As in any popular tourist destination, Greece has its share of tourist traps and scams that travelers should be cautious of. Being aware of these can save you both money and hassle:

  • Overpriced restaurants and shops: Particularly in heavily touristy areas like Athens’ Plaka district or the islands of Santorini and Mykonos, some establishments might inflate prices. Always check prices before ordering or purchasing, and consider venturing off the beaten path for more authentic and reasonably priced options.
  • Taxi scams: Some taxi drivers may try to overcharge tourists, especially at airports and near ferry terminals. It’s advisable to use official taxi stands and insist on the meter being turned on. Alternatively, consider using a reputable ride-sharing app where prices are preset.
  • Ticket scams: Be wary of purchasing tour, ferry, or museum tickets from unofficial vendors. To ensure authenticity and avoid inflated prices, buy directly from official venues or authorized sellers.

Food and Drink

To fully enjoy Greek cuisine without health concerns, here are a few tips:

  • Drinking water: While tap water is generally safe to drink in Athens and many other cities, it can be questionable on some islands and rural areas. It’s best to buy bottled water in such locations.
  • Street food: Greek street food is delicious but choose vendors that have high turnover and where you can see food being cooked properly. This helps ensure freshness and reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses.
  • Allergies and sensitivities: If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, learn how to communicate these in Greek or have them written down to show at restaurants.

Navigational Challenges

Navigating Greece can be a challenge in certain aspects, especially for those unfamiliar with the terrain or Greek driving habits:

  • Driving in Greece: Driving can be daunting due to aggressive driving styles and sometimes poorly maintained roads, particularly on less traveled islands or rural areas. Consider using public transportation or ferries where possible.
  • Island navigation: While Greek islands are beautiful, getting around them can be tricky due to limited public transport options and hilly terrains. Renting a scooter or a quad bike is popular but ensure you have the proper license and are comfortable with the vehicle.
  • Historic sites: Many of Greece’s historic sites are located on uneven and steep terrains. Wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared for a lot of walking, often on slippery or uneven surfaces.

Environmental Awareness

Being environmentally conscious is crucial in preserving the natural and historical beauties of Greece:

  • Respect natural sites: Avoid picking plants or removing rocks from historic sites. Always stay on marked paths and follow local guidelines.
  • Trash disposal: Keep Greece beautiful by disposing of trash properly. Many islands and rural areas have limited waste management facilities; consider packing out your trash, especially in remote areas or on small islands.
  • Coral and marine life: When swimming or snorkeling, be careful not to touch or step on coral reefs and marine life. The Mediterranean is home to delicate ecosystems that are vital to marine biodiversity.


Exploring Greece is a delightful experience if you’re mindful of local customs, watch out for common pitfalls, and respect the environment. By being informed and cautious, you can ensure a safe, enjoyable, and enriching visit to one of the world’s most picturesque and historically rich destinations.

Author: admin