Meeting Locals and Making Friends on Greek Isles

For an island-hopping trip that’s both affordable and immersive, try Celestyal Cruises. Their simple ships, gourmet cuisine and knowledgeable staff make for an easy-going holiday with a purpose.

Time takes on an entirely different meaning on Ikaria, where young alternative Greeks pick up the fraying threads of Greece’s hippie trail and weave a new technicolor patchwork quilt of escapism. Their fervor is evident night after night at village festivals celebrating patron saints.

1. Talk to the Driver

Greeks are generally very open to talking about their views and opinions. This is especially true of younger people. This is a great way to meet other people, and can help you understand their culture better. If you are able to converse with locals in their native language, they will appreciate it and may feel that you are more interested in them as a person rather than just a tourist.

Many of the best places to meet singles in Greece are on organised excursions. For example, tours run by Get Your Guide and Viator often include a mix of solo travellers and groups of friends. This gives you the opportunity to make new friends while also visiting some of the country’s best archeological sites or enjoying a range of Greek foods.

When introducing yourself, always shake hands and maintain eye contact. In Greece, making a fist is considered rude or obscene, so it’s best not to do this. Women who know each other socially kiss on the cheeks, and children hug and kiss as well. It is also important to remember that gestures which are acceptable in some countries, such as raising your eyebrows, can be interpreted differently in Greece.

If you are looking to really immerse yourself in the culture of a place, consider reading some books about Greece before your trip. There is no shortage of quality fiction about the country, from classics like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey to fabulous contemporary page-turners based on ancient mythology, such as Madeline Miller’s Circe and Mary Renault’s The King Must Die.

2. Meet the Crew

The crew of a ferry is a fantastic place to meet locals. They are likely to speak a bit of English and love meeting travelers from afar. They are also often very interesting and have a wide variety of experience. They will probably want to practice their English with you and also tell you all about the island they are cruising to.

The ferry captain and crew are an excellent source of information about the islands as they are all very familiar with them. They will be able to recommend restaurants, sights and activities that you might not have heard of or even considered before. They can also help you plan out your island hopping itinerary.

While Greece is a popular honeymoon and wedding destination many people travel to the islands as singles. This is a great time to meet locals as the Greeks are famous for their hospitality and kind heart. They will be more than happy to introduce you to their friends and family.

The ferries are not the only way to get around the Greek islands, there is also a train and a coach. These are a little more expensive, but can be convenient for families with kids or those who don’t mind long journeys. It’s also possible to book an organized tour that combines the train or coach with a ferry package for a complete island-hopping experience.

3. Ask Questions

Whether you are on the ferry for an hour or a week, be sure to ask questions and get to know your fellow passengers. They will be able to share with you the best places to visit, how to avoid tourist traps and where is the most authentic taverna. You might even make some lifelong friends in the process.

It’s also important to remember that a big part of Greek culture is hospitality. During your trip, you will probably be invited to many family dinners and other festivities. This means that it is important to dress appropriately and bring gifts for everyone, especially women.

In general, Greece is a very safe country for solo travellers. While some locals may have a stereotype of being overly forward, most will not be rude or bother you. However, if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any situation, don’t hesitate to seek out assistance from a member of staff or security.

You can also meet people by joining a local group or activity while you’re living abroad. For example, there are a lot of language exchange parties and other events catered towards expats that can help you make new friends. There are also groups for people interested in writing creatively, hiking, and coworking. You can find these groups by searching online or asking your locals for recommendations.

4. Make Friends

Whether you are traveling alone or with others, there is something about being in close quarters for a long time that brings people together. It’s a great way to connect with strangers and get to know the culture of the place you are visiting. Apps like Withlocals can help you meet locals, or you can use social media platforms such as Meetup to find events such as weekend hikes, pub crawls, and language exchanges.

If you are staying in Greece for an extended period of time, you may want to consider becoming involved with a local organization or volunteering. This is a good way to meet other expats and make new friends. There are many different kinds of volunteer activities available, and you can even choose a project that involves working with children.

The key to making friends with locals is to be open and approachable. Despite their reputation as being a tough-skinned and stubborn nation, Greeks are usually very friendly to foreigners. They are also very family-oriented, and if you treat them with respect, they will be more than happy to welcome you into their homes and lives. If you are not comfortable approaching strangers, try using old fashioned ice breakers, such as asking for directions or recommending a restaurant. These are often the best ways to make a connection that will last.