The undeniable beauty of Greece makes it one of the top destinations around the world for people’s holidays. For that reason, it is being internationally advertised for being the perfect host to people who want to travel with their family, their group of friends, or their significant other. However, it is often overlooked that Greece is one of the best destinations for solo travelers as well.
Traveling all by yourself might sound intimidating, it is, however, a valid option in Greece even for the most inexperienced, due to the country’s much-traveled tourist routes, warm and courteous locals, stunning beaches, rich heritage, and vibrant nightlife.
Woman in Areopagus hill, Athens - credits: Milan Gonda/Shutterstock.com
It is no coincidence that solo traveling is becoming an increasingly popular trend. There are many advantages to traveling alone, and here are only a few:
The biggest plus of solo traveling is hands down the fact that you and only you have any say regarding every aspect of the trip. You choose the destination when you will visit it when you will rest, which museum you will visit. In other words, you have full control and you are independent and completely free to do whatever you want.
You don’t have to please anyone else but yourself. You do not have to think of anyone or make concessions and compromises. You can make changes to your schedule until the last minute, and you won’t have to apologize to anyone for ruining their day.
You are bound to meet new people and make friends with whom you share common interests. Socializing with either solo travelers like you or locals is much easier because you are more approachable.
You don’t have to wait for anyone to take days off in order to make your dream come true. If you're waiting for a group of friends to clear their schedule all at the same time, your chances of visiting Greece are as many as growing wings and flying to it yourself.
Of course, we don’t want to sugar-coat anything. Solo traveling also has its cons, which are, however, being far outnumbered by its advantages.
If it’s your first time traveling alone, you might want to prepare yourselves to sometimes get lonely or feel awkward doing activities you’re used to doing with other people. After all, it can get disheartening to have no one to share your excitement with. In our experience, these feelings don’t last -if you feel them at all- and the excitement of traveling independently and admiring the striking charm of Greece will override everything.
In a more practical matter, solo traveling can get pretty expensive, as there is no one to chare the travel costs with. Although more and more people travel alone, most hotels still charge more for a single than a double room. However, there is a solution to that we’ll talk about below. If there’s a will there’s a way!
Reading by the sea - credits: Rostislav_Sedlacek-shutterstock.com
When to visit Greece for Solo travel
Yes, Greece is known across the world for being one of the most gorgeous summer destinations people are dreaming about visiting. However, although Greece is indeed heaven on earth during summertime, it is also an excellent destination year-round. Athens and the countryside, in particular, are perfect hosts to travelers who want to get to know a side of Greece that doesn’t get the hype it deserves, overshadowed by the popular Greek islands.
Undeniably, summer in Greece is a sight to behold. Usually, we would advise you to avoid the months of June, July, and August, which are considered the high-season months, and get swamped by the crowds of tourists that are eager to lie on a Greek beach and enjoy the crystal-clear waters and the glorious sun. Instead, we’d highly suggest you visit Greece during late spring or early autumn when you can experience the country in its purest form. Then, you can hike, explore ancient ruins and archaeological sites, walk the picturesque alleys, and discover local shops, towns, and villages without the unbearable heat and the flood of tourists getting in your way.
In the context of solo traveling, however, you might want to reconsider avoiding the crowds. After all, they do give a sense of safety. Whichever the case may be for you, from the month of May until June, and the months of September and early October are without a doubt the best times to visit Greece due to the mild weather, and the decrease in the prices and in the volume of the crowds.
Agkistri - credits: Aerial motion/Shutterstock.com
Where to go
In this regard, the possibilities are truly endless. No matter where you choose to go to Greece you will have an excellent time guaranteed. As a general rule, however, if you're not traveling in a car or any other vehicle, you might want to opt for regions of Greece that either have good public transport or are small enough to explore on foot.
Here are our top suggestions:
The Greek capital is the obvious choice, and a destination you cannot miss even if you don’t plan on spending all of your days in Greece in it. If you book your accommodation in downtown Athens, you’ll be within walking distance to all the significant sights of the capital city and you’ll have the opportunity to thoroughly grasp the feel of it.
Even if you choose to reside a bit further from the center, however, Athens has the best public transport in the country and you’ll be able to reach your desired destination in little time with minimal effort.
It might carry the name of the most romantic Greek city, however, it is perfect for solo travelers due to its wide range of cultural stimuli, the ease of access, and its small size that make it manageable even for people who don’t have a vehicle.
To its long list of strong points, the admirable Venetian architecture, the fascinating archaeological sites, and the beauty of its cobblestone streets take the lead, making your time there a blessing.
Another seaside town that is perfect for solo travelers is Volos. Famous for its seaside taverns that serve the traditional spirit of ‘tsipouro’ alongside delicious meze at affordable prices, Volos is a vibrant town inside of which you’ll never get bored.
Take a bike ride along its cosmopolitan streets and enjoy the view out to the sea; mingle with the locals and watch the city come to life at nighttime; it is practically impossible to not fall in love with its raw beauty!
Agkistri is a small island just one hour from the port of Piraeus. It is the ultimate place for relaxation, swimming, and hiking, while its small size gives you the opportunity to explore its entirety on foot or with a bike. There, you’ll also have the opportunity to catch a magnificent sunset all by yourself and taste delicious food in one of its many coastal taverns.
If Agistri is not your cup of tea, all of the Saronic islands are just as beautiful and easy to access from Athens, and therefore, you should consider a visit. Whether you choose the aforementioned or Aegina, Spetses, and Hydra, you’ll spend quality time with yourself and explore a region of Greece you will make a promise to come back to again and again.
A slice of paradise on earth. In Koufonisia, you will enjoy the clear blue waters and the enchanting landscape, while taking in an unmatched vibe of calm and serenity you’re more than likely to never experience in any other part of the world. You can sit on the beach all day, sunbathing and reading a book, and you won’t need a car or any other means of transport to enjoy it thoroughly.
As you might have already gathered, Koufonisia is a personal favorite and for good reason; even the Greeks can’t help but be mesmerized by its sheer beauty!
If you enjoy hitchhiking, luscious greenery, and a hippy way of life, Samothrace is the place for you! The relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, and incredible natural treasures will make it hard to say goodbye to it, let alone forget it for the rest of your lives!
How to make the most out of your time
Use technology to make your life easier! New apps and tools are being created every day making solo travel easier. One of the best tools is Couchsurfing, which will help you save money on overnight stays with a local, I use it for forums. Also, sites like Gomio allow you to search for hostels and see who else will be there before you close. Other useful sites to plan your trip are Gogobot and Travelmuse.
If this is your first time to the selected destination, plan your itinerary in detail before you leave. Knowing where you will be staying before you leave removes a lot of stress from beginners. You will know that you will not be anxiously looking for accommodation in an unknown place and you will ensure that this way you will always have a shelter to run to if you start to feel nervous.
Do research on each city before you arrive. How much research is needed depends on your personal travel style. Even after several solo trips, it is always useful to search a bit on Google to see a map, to get an idea of what you can visit, do and see, and most importantly, to be informed about security issues. For example, most people think that the tourist area of a city is the safest, which is not always the case.
Getting insight into the local culture through a local’s eyes is probably the number one common objective to all travelers and the best way to do so is by joining local tours designed by experts that want to experience the country in the best way possible. Whether you choose Athens or any other place in Greece, our small-group tours are a quick, affordable, and effective way to make sure you've seen each region's highlights without having to sweat the details. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? That’s because it is!
Tips on staying safe
Your safety on every trip is one of your top priorities. Especially when you are your own. What do you need to do to feel safe?
- Inform relatives and friends about your destination. Give the name of the hotel where you will be staying, so that they can contact you at any time.
- Make copies of the most important certificates you may need. Keep them in separate bags, one copy in the suitcase, another in hand luggage, etc.
- Make a list of your closest people and contacts. Give this list to the hotel reception so in case of emergency they know who to notify.
- Find the nearest pharmacy, doctor's office, police station, etc. in relation to the hotel where you will be staying.
- Do not carry all the money on you. Have an amount with you and leave the rest at the hotel, or even better your bank account.
- If you can, do not accept a room on the ground floor. Also, do not allow the receptionist to say your room number out loud when they give you the key.
- When you are out of the room, turn on the TV and hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Potential thieves will think you are inside.
- When you walk the streets, show that you know where you are and where you’re heading to even if you don’t. Confidence -even if it’s fake- will get you far.
- Use landmarks as orientation "compasses". In case you get lost, go to a restaurant or cafe to explore your map. Do not do it on the road.
- It is better to frequent places that are "flooded" with people, especially in the evening. Ask your hotel to give you a list of the "forbidden" areas of the city, so that you can avoid them.
- Sometimes the little lies prove to be saviors. Do not reveal that you are traveling, and when asking for directions, leave hints that people are expecting you at the required destination.
- Yes, it is true, you will meet a lot of people and, -who do you know? - You can also make new friends. However, be cautious and do not entrust your personal belongings to anyone.
- Provide a prepaid number of the country where you are so that you can communicate with anyone at any time.
- For your transfers, prefer the means of public transport. Taxis will be more expensive for you and also not as safe.
- Trust your intuition. If a situation feels off, remove yourself from said situation without a second thought. If it doesn't work for you, don’t do it; it’s as simple as that!
Do not expect anyone to accompany you on the trip of your dreams. Sometimes the best companion is a backpack and a camera. So put the insecurities aside. Find confidence and choose a destination. You’ll be thanking yourself for living life to the fullest!