Greece is a dream for solo travel. Like its flag, the country is a vision of white and blue: villages of whitewashed houses set against deep blue skies, tumbling down to a cerulean Aegean Sea. Of course, the colours aren’t just symbolic. The white reflects the sunshine that Greece basks in for 300 days a year, keeping homes cool on hot summer days.
It’s this perfect Mediterranean climate that makes the country so appealing – along with fantastic beaches, warm sheltered seas and a laid-back culture. In total, the country’s home to some 6,000 islands. But only 227 are inhabited, ranging from undeveloped Naxos and photogenic Iraklia to signature Santorini, with its coast-straddling crater, and family-friendly Crete with palm-lined beaches aplenty. Whichever you choose, it’s plain to see that Greece is geared up for solo travelers looking for adventure.
Exploring the mainland is equally rewarding, its rugged mountains dotted with olive groves, lonely frescoed monasteries and an altogether unhurried way of life. No trip would be complete without visiting Europe’s oldest capital, Athens – not just for its hilltop Acropolis, but for its vibrant modern side, seen in the city’s lively markets and cool cafes.
You needn’t experience a solo trip to Greece entirely alone. Flash Pack’s Athens and the Islands adventure lets you explore the country with a group of like-minded solo travelers – all in their 30s and 40s – ticking off must-see sights and can’t-do-by-yourself experiences together. The ancient gods were right: Greece is the place to be…
Greece travel facts
Greece is made up of 6,000 islands and islets scattered across the Aegean Sea. The most popular island groups for visitors include: the Cyclades (encompassing Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos, Paros and more); the Dodecanese (hello, Rhodes and Kos); the Sporades (yes you, Skiathos) and the Ionians (kalimera, Corfu and Zakynthos). Then, of course, there’s southerly Crete – Greece’s largest island – which doesn’t like any others cramping its style.
The mainland is surprisingly rugged – with 80% of its landmass covered in mountains – and has a vast coastline stretching 8,500 miles, snaking around the Peloponnese peninsula.
Due to its early philosophers, scientists and architects, Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilisation and birthplace of democracy. And, with a history spanning four millennia, ancient temples, Byzantine monasteries and Neoclassical mansions are never far away. Many of these are Unesco World Heritage Sites, including Olympia (site of the original Olympic Games) and the Acropolis in Athens.
Is Greece good for solo travel?
With an extensive travel network and well developed tourism infrastructure, Greece is an excellent choice for solo travelers. It’s easy to get around and you’ll always find someone who can speak English, even in remote areas. Bars, tavernas and restaurants almost always have English menus, although learning a few words of Greek will always be well received.
It’s easy to meet other travelers on a solo trip to Greece, but getting off the beaten track requires some initiative. Flash Pack’s group solo adventure – Athens and the Islands – is full of hand-picked activities that will immerse you in the local culture, from kayaking and catamaran cruises to cooking classes and dinner with a local chef.
Best places to visit in Greece
What should you do on a solo trip to Greece? While many travelers head straight to the islands, we’d definitely recommend spending a couple of days getting to know Athens and its underrated riviera – lined with beach clubs, bars and boats. As well as visiting the capital’s historic Acropolis and ancient Agora, don’t miss the atmospheric neighbourhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki with their markets, cafes and tavernas.
From Athens, it’s an easy excursion to spectacular Cape Sounion where the Temple of Poseidon is set high on a clifftop overlooking the Aegean. With so many islands to visit, it can be hard to know which to choose. Flash Pack takes care of all of that with an itinerary that contrasts the city sights with the islands of Naxos and Santorini.
Where to stay as a solo traveler in Greece
What are hotels like in Greece? In a country so heavily dependent on tourism, you can expect the full spectrum of high-end resorts, self-catering villas and family-run guesthouses. Accommodation is good value for solo travelers, compared to other European countries, but you’ll still pay a premium for the most exclusive hotels.
In Athens, you’ll find stylish urban hotels, many of which have a terrace or balcony, perfect for sundowners overlooking the city. On the islands, you can stay in cave-carved hotels overlooking Santorini’s caldera and beach retreats on the edge of the wild sandy shores of Naxos. On a solo trip to Greece with a Flash Pack group, you can opt to share a room, avoiding hefty single supplements that normally sting solo traveler, meaning that gorgeous beachfront hotel suddenly becomes affordable. Still want your own room? That’s fine, too.
How to get to Greece
The fastest and easiest way to kick off your Greece solo travel experience is by plane. The main airport is Athens, with flights from all over the world. From the capital, there are almost daily flights to local airports across the country, including to the main islands, such as Santorini, Mykonos and Crete. Car ferries operate between Italy and Greece all year round, taking around seven to eight hours.
Arriving in a new country can be daunting, especially after a long journey. When you book through Flash Pack, airport transfers are included in the price of your trip and you’ll be met at the airport and taken directly to your hotel.
How to get around Greece
Greece has a good network of public transport, with frequent buses to even the most remote villages. There is a limited rail network, but domestic flights are available for covering greater distances. Most solo travelers find the best way to get around Athens is by walking, taking the metro or a taxi.
For island-hopping beyond Athens, there are ferries, catamarans and hydrofoils all across the Aegean – most depart from the main port of Piraeus, the natural next step on your solo trip to Greece. You can usually just turn up and buy your ticket on the day of travel. However, during high season, it’s best to book in advance. If you’d rather not have to worry about timetables and tickets, Flash Pack takes care of all your in-country travel, delivering you seamlessly from door-to-door.
Best time to visit Greece
The main holiday season runs from April to October, with temperatures and tourists peaking in the months of July and August. Popular islands such as Corfu, Crete, Mykonos and Rhodes can get crowded in summer, while the more secluded ones remain tranquil all year round. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are ideal times to visit, when the weather is still balmy but it’s easier to find accommodation and cheaper tickets for flights and ferries.
However, Greece is becoming an increasingly popular winter destination for city breaks to Athens and even skiing in the northern mountains. Traveling off season, you’ll experience a quieter side to the country, although some island resorts and businesses will be closed.
Greece travel itineraries
Flash Pack’s solo group trip to Athens and the Islands will introduce you to the real Greece, with plenty of indulgent beach time included. Starting in Athens, you’ll explore the ancient sites with a local expert, detouring down backstreets to sample authentic street food (souvlaki and baklava, anyone?). And you’ll be invited to the house of a local chef for a delicious meal with Acropolis views.
During the second phase of your solo trip to Greece, you’ll learn to cook a farm-to-table feast with Ms Voula on the lesser-developed island of Naxos. You won’t only visit the spectacular Temple of Poseidon, you’ll also explore the coast by kayak to discover secret swimming spots in sheltered coves. And, after catching the colours of Oia’s world-famous sunsets, you’ll set sail on a catamaran cruise around Santorini’s sunken caldera.
What to pack for solo travel in Greece
Dress codes in Greece are very relaxed, except in churches and monasteries where you should wear modest clothes. Swimwear is fine at the beach, but away from the sand you may feel more comfortable in a T-shirt and shorts or a sarong. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for walking around the city and exploring archaeological sites, where the ground can be uneven. Loose lightweight linen clothing will keep you cool in the heat and a sunhat is vital to protect you from the strong sun. It’s a good idea to bring a warmer layer or light raincoat as well, especially if you’re traveling outside of the high season.
Solo travel advice for Greece
Solo travel to Greece should be high up on your wishlist if you’re looking for picture-perfect beaches, vibrant nightlife, a rich culture and friendly people. Tourism plays an important part of the local economy and homespun hospitality is ingrained in the warm and welcoming Greek people. Most locals speak good English so don’t be afraid to ask for directions or even stop for a chat.
All over the country, you’ll find traditional tavernas serving up hearty, delicious meals for good-value prices. For a totally seamless snapshot of the country, with unique experiences and the support of a like-minded group, check out Flash Pack’s guide to Athens and the Islands.
Is it safe to travel solo in Greece?
Thousands of visitors experience solo travel to Greece every year and most trips are trouble-free. However, do check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), the Department of State Travel Advisories (US) or your country’s local government guidelines for the latest advice before traveling. Once there, follow local advice and be aware of your surroundings at all times
Greece remains among the safest countries in the world and crime rates are low. In Athens, as with any big city, you’ll need to keep your valuables safe in busy areas, such as queues for buses and ferries. Flash Pack tours are by local specialists, who will showcase the country in a fun and accessible way.
Ready for your next adventure? Try group solo travel in Greece with Flash Pack – designed exclusively for people in their 30s and 40s, seeking the independence of solo travel within the safety of a group.
A cool 98% of Flashpackers arrive solo to join our group adventures. So, you’ll be in good company – whether a first time solo traveler or a seasoned pro looking for like-minded new friends.
Images: Flash Pack, Unsplash