Please sign in to post.

Greece smoking situation

Thanks for your replies in my other two threads. I am thinking of visiting Greece in 2018, probably in October. I know that is a long time from now. Can anybody who has been to Greece recently say something about how much cigarette (or marijuana) smoke smells you encountered at various sites you visited? Do people smoke all over the place or just in some places? What about in the food stores or markets? What about in restaurants? Not that I was planning to eat much restaurant food. I read that 40% of Greek people smoke.

I went to Italy earlier this year; I did not smell smoke in the hostels I stayed at, at just one hostel, there was an outdoor patio where one or more people were smoking, but the door to the patio stayed closed most of the time. Waiting in line at the Uffizi museum, one guy right next to me in line was smoking his brains out, with no consideration for the others in line, but people didn’t say anything about me pacing away from the line. When I am outside and I see somebody smoking, if at all possible, I try to casually move a certain number of feet away while focusing on something other than the smoker. Perhaps I hate the idea of inhailing smoke and fumes more than the average person, although I will be traveling alone; if I was traveling with a group, I suppose other people in my group would be bothered my aversion to smoke if I was the only person who doesn’t like smoke and fumes; it would suck if there was smoking inside the hostels or any indoor places I visit.

I rode a small airplane at an airshow once; I wouldn’t have a problem riding in a small airplane again; I read that people smoke on ferries (commercial pasenger boats) in Greece.

Posted by
9030 posts

Do not recall anyone smoking indoors, e.g., hotels restaurants and definitely not in museums.

Seemed there was a greater percentage of smokers in the general population than in the US, ( just walking around on the sidewalks) but was never 'trapped' in a confined area with a smoker.

No recollection of smokers on either ferry I took.

Posted by
3022 posts

I was in Greece in 2015 and maybe things have changed since then but to the best of my recollection, I never saw anyone smoking on any of the 5 ferries that I took. And same for the two intra-Greece flights I took. There was a smoking area at the Athens airport but I don’t recall seeing one in the Heraklion airport. I can’t say for markets but the restaurants that we went to were fine. We saw people smoking while walking around and there were proportionately more smokers than where I live (Silicon Valley) but we have very low smoking rates. We had a private all-day tour and our tour guide smoked a lot including at the Acropolis but she took smoking breaks and was not near us when she lit up. I am not super sensitive to smoke and don’t really care if I smell it so I may not have noticed but I don’t recall being bothered by smoke in Greece. And to put that in perspective, I went to New Orleans and stayed in the French Quarter 3 years ago and we felt like smoke was everywhere there, so much so that it kind of brought down the trip for us.

Posted by
11450 posts

i was in Greece last year in May and just this past September.

People don't smoke inside restaurants.. but on the outdoor patios etc they do . I am not bothered by smoke so really didn't find it noticable but you may since you are more sensitive.

People do not smoke inside the ferries.. but can on the open deck.. which since its pretty breezy its easy to avoid smoke.

I have never smelt pot in Greece period.. its not legal there .. nor is it decriminalized.. so its not as open as it is where I live where its fairly common to smell it .

Posted by
714 posts

Was in Athens 3 weeks ago. Yes smokers on patios but I asked to be seated away from them and it was not a problem. Only smoking I saw I n a Museum was at the roof terrace in the Acropolis Museum. No smoking in the sites, it was very dry and fire danger was high.

Posted by
5367 posts

In general I think there's more smoking in Europe than in the US, but I don't know any numbers, and of course "Europe" covers a lot of populations and cultures. I don't recall any indoor smoking when we were in Greece a couple of years ago, and I think it's illegal in restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies etc. And there are plenty of non-smoking hotel rooms.

Back in the day, the story about French restaurants was that if you asked for the non-smoking section they'd bring you to any table and replace the ashtray with a "no smoking" sign. Those days are long gone.

Posted by
15243 posts

I'm really sensitive to cigarette smoke. For the most part I wasn't bothered by it indoors - the no smoking rules are generally enforced. I think there were a couple of times I went into a small shop and noticed it - so I just walked out. The outdoor sights are big, so even in late April it wasn't crowded and if someone was smoking, it was easy enough to avoid.

Posted by
2933 posts

I, too, am very sensitive to smoke. There was only one patio on which men were smoking. They were on the opposite end of the patio, so it was not too bad.

Posted by
1045 posts

We just returned from a month long trip to Greece. Crete, Santorini, Naxos and Athens.
We ate out every night at tavernas with outdoor patios. As I recall there was one time when another diner was smoking and because of the wind direction the smoke came toward us. He was nearly finished his dinner and was gone after 2 smokes. There were two or three other times where someone was smoking at dinner but eh smoke just went up into the air and dissipated.

I would say its pretty easy to avoid smokers to the point its almost a non issue.

Posted by
1865 posts

You definitly will meet more smokers than you do in the US. While Greek law inhibits smoking in hospitals, museums, schools and buses / planes, larger restaurants can have a separate room for smokers (you will smell it) and smoking in the outside area is common; smaller restaurants can decide themselves if they ban smoking or not. It's even not uncommon for smaller hotels that the recepionist will smoke during your check in. Moreover, compliance with the law is barely monitored.

Well, all in all that's an annoying situation, but, after all, we are visitors and have to cope with the customs of the country we are visiting, don't we?

Posted by
11 posts

I have been in Athens for a week. I have encountered more public smokers than I am accustomed to in the U.S., but never in an indoors restaurant or public building. An occasional smoker passing briskly by on the street. There are more coffee shops here than Seattle and most have a couple of sidewalk tables at which there are ashtrays. I have not found smoke bothersome at all.

Posted by
22 posts

Went to Greece this year (Athens and several islands), people don t smoke inside anywhere. They do in cabs, on the restaurants terraces and in patios, ferry decks, but nothing exaggerated.

Posted by
106 posts


I am afraid that despite the fact that the law against smoking in public places went into effect almost 10 years ago (2008), Greece is not even close to implementing it at least in cafes & restaurants. The best solution is to check when entering a place and say that you are a non-smoker. I've seen plenty of times customers being allowed to smoke inside cafes and restaurants, against the government rules. As much as I love Greece, guys this is not cool at all...

Posted by
812 posts

If possible I will mainly buy fruit and possibly other food at grocery stores or whatever markets are near the sites I will see and in case I do break my diet and try some cooked food, I have no need or desire to spend time sitting in a restaurant or at least not the fancy kind of places with table service. I know my diet seems bizarre but I worry that restaurant food is unhealthy and my great grandfather with my same last name had a heart attack and died when he was 39 and my grandfather on my mother’s side got sick and died when he was 36. I just won’t worry about cigarette smoke and hopefully there won’t be smoking in any hostels or loging places and hopefully there won’t be an excessive number of people smoking near me while I am waiting in line to enter any museum or site. I went to Italy and yes sometimes on sidewalks and in lines people smoked but I wandered or steped away from them and I didn’t let it ruin my trip.