Greece Is A Perfect Place For Female Solo Travel

By Candice Walsh,

I’ve done some solo travel in my time, but never for extended periods, and never quite so far from home. But Greece had been my dream travel destination for years, and I had enough of waiting for the time to be right. I booked myself a flight to Athens and started plotting my three-month journey.

 Athens

Athens can be a little intimidating at first especially for female solo travel–or maybe I’m just afraid of big cities. It’s rough on the surface, but the deeper you dig, the more gold you find. And by gold, I mean graffiti.

I stayed in Kolonaki, a trendy, upscale area in the center. It’s within walking distance to the busier market and entertainment areas, like Syntagma Square and Monastiraki Square. These neighborhoods are always busy and walking between them in the evenings is completely safe. If you’re going to take a taxi, negotiate a price beforehand. But if possible, avoid Omonoia after dark. I’ve seen some weird stuff go down there. Plus the name just kind of sounds ominous doesn’t it? Literally.

Read more about hot spots in Athens

It’s a quick walk to the Acropolis from any of these areas, as are many of Athens’ other highlights, like the Acropolis Museum. If you want a more personalized experience, I highly recommend hiring a local guide through Athens Insiders, or a free local guide with This is Athens! The difference is that you can hire an Athens Insider for a full day, but both are great options.

Acropolis GreecePhoto By: Candice Walsh

The Greek Islands

There’s a Greek island for everyone. It’s a different world from Athens out there. Everything about island life is exactly as you’d imagine: the pace is slower, people in general tend to be friendlier, and “the good life” consists of afternoons drinking raki in the sun. Sometimes their English can be a little hard to follow.

Regardless, as a solo traveler, the islands are as non-threatening as it gets. I have a handful of favorites for solo travel, including Santorini, Crete, and Ios.

Ios for solo travel Photo By: Candice Walsh

During my month-long stay in Santorini, nearly every single woman who came through the hostel was traveling alone. The sheer volume of them impressed me. And since I was also traveling alone, we all tended to bond super quick. One of my favorite memories is spending a rainy day cooking up a fresh pasta feast with three girls I had just met that very day. We spent the evening drinking plastic bottles of cheap wine and telling each other our life stories. We still stay in touch.

Santorini during peak season, however, is an island for lovers. Looking to meet people and have a few good nights out? Ios is your place. It’s my favorite Greek island by far, and I’d happily return there over and over again. There is only one main town, Ios Town, and then Mylopotas Beach is just a 20-minute walk or a quick bus ride away. Generally, though, it’s best to find accommodations in town, especially if you go out during the evenings. The small-town life here is what kept me rooted to the island: everyone knows everyone, nobody is unfriendly, and you’ll often run into the same people time and time again. When I was there, every evening I’d go visit George at The Fun Pub, or the gang at Francesco’s. I felt like I had family everywhere. Once I lost my wallet and the bus driver called my hostel asking if I stayed there. That’s the kind of community spirit I dig.

Crete is the best option for the outdoor-savvy thrill seeker. Crete is busy year-round thanks to its large student population and several impressive cities. Heraklion is the main city, but the real beauty lies in Chania, a port town with an old harbor that looks like magic when the sun goes down. For the adventurer, you can arrange an excursion to hike Samariá Gorge, a 13-kilometer valley in the mountains. It’s a challenging trek but rife with special vegetation, wildlife, and scenic backdrops. It’s easy to get there too: simply take a bus from Chania, hike through the gorge, take a ferry on the other side back to the bus, then return to Chania.

Samaria GorgePhoto By: Candice Walsh

The warm Greek hospitality and general friendliness of the Greek people will make you feel right at home if you’re traveling alone, or even if you’re not. And be sure to yell, “YAMAS!” and never an “OPA!” when you’re toasting with your new Greek friends.

Did Candice inspire you to head to Athens this summer?

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