Some time ago I posted a video with do’s and dont’s in Athens, Greece. But I realized that there are other things that I did not mention and that do not apply only in Athens. So today I will discuss some things to avoid when traveling or moving to Greece. Before we get started, make sure to subscribe and stay till the end because the last two things I will mention are literally lifesaving.
Things to Avoid in Greece:
- Splitting the Bill
- Not Tipping
- Dress Appropriately When Sightseeing
- Showering When the Water Heater is On
When Eating and Drinking in Greece, Avoid Splitting the Bill
You are eating out with friends in a restaurant in Greece and it is time to pay the bill. Although a lot of bars and restaurants nowadays offer the option of having each person pay individually, splitting the bill is considered bad etiquette and it is generally frowned upon. In Greece, restaurants are responsible for creating a bill for every single table and not for every single person who is eating there. Then, it is the responsibility of the people who sit on the table to find a way to pay for everything.
That is not only because it is way faster for the waiters and waitresses who need to attend other tables, but also because, in Greece, it is common to order food as a group and not as an individual. For example, Greeks usually order a bunch of different dishes that they agree upon and each person gets an empty plate to fill it up with anything they like. Just like a family would do at home.
It is important to remember that Greece is considered much less individualistic and much more collectivistic than countries such the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, without that meaning that people have less individual rights or anything like this. It is more about how well people integrate into groups and how easy it is to take decisions as a collective.
Tipping Might Be Optional in Greece But It Is Also Expected
Tipping in Greece is not mandatory, as it is in the US, and you definitely don’t have to do any calculations to make sure that you tipped an acceptable amount. However, unless the service was terrible, you are expected to leave a tip on the table that you deem appropriate for the service. That applies mostly in cafes, bars, and restaurants, rather than hair salons or other businesses that offer some type of service. Tipping taxi drivers or employees in self-service restaurants is less common. However, when ordering food, tipping the delivery man or woman is recommended.
There is no specified percentage of the bill that should be offered as a tip. Most people would agree that one euro for two cups of coffee and five euros for a 25-euro bill at a restaurant are acceptable. When the amount you have to pay is too small, it is preferred to round things down: giving 2 euros when the bill says 1,65. However, leaving 1-2 cents as a tip is worse than not leaving a tip at all.
Dress Appropriately When Sightseeing
Most museums and archaeological sites around the world have dress codes or at least a few rules regarding what is not allowed to wear. The same applies in Greece. As in most European countries, the dress code in Greek museums is very relaxed – you don’t have to dress up formally or cover your entire body, but you might be asked to cover up if you enter without a shirt or with a crop top.
What most visitors do not know is that there are stricter rules when visiting archaeological sites. For example, the Herodion Theater of Athens does not allow the entrance to anyone wearing hilled shoes, since they can ruin the marble auditorium. Furthermore, if you are visiting historical churches and monasteries, you might be asked to cover your legs, whether you are a man or a woman.
Avoid Showering When the Water Heater (Boiler) is On
Houses and apartment buildings in Greece have two different water heaters: one powered with solar energy and an electric one. The second is used only on the rare occasion that there is no sunlight for over 24 hours. Also, some old houses do not have a solar powered water heater installed.
If you have to turn on an electric water heater when travelling in Greece, note that you shouldn’t let it run for hours. It is extremely costly and the chances of starting a fire due to an electrical short circuit are high. But the most important part is to always turn it off when someone is showering. Many water heaters are not properly insulated and showering with the water heater on can lead to electrocution.
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Marialena Perpiraki is a journalist and writer from Athens, Greece. In 2020, she founded Helinika as a cross-media platform.
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