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Navigating Athens metro, signs, trains

Hello everyone my sister and I are considering Greece as a first time vacation option for the summer of 2016 trying to compile info from the pros! We are women is our early 30's. Pretty well traveled around Europe so trains and metros are not a new thing to us. That being said the Greek language is very different from say Italian where our last trip together was.....so will we experience total confusion navigating ourselves without speaking or reading the language?

Posted by
3685 posts

Fear not! You will see the Greek alphabet, the Latin alphabet and even lots of English in Greece.

This guide to getting around in Athens may be helpful. Be sure to click on any links to pictures you can to see the signs. Signs will usually be in the Greek alphabet, followed by a Latin alphabet version and often English as well. The last two are virtually the same for place names. You will even see signs like "Exit" or "To" ...

Do a little Google images search for Athens Metro and you can see lots of pictures illustrating that, including maps of the routes. In fact, doing a Google images search for Athens and then refining it by the topics across the top will be lots of fun and produce even more Greek and Latin alphabet and English language examples. Even back on my first trip to Greece in 1978, I was surprised at the amount of English being used. My favorite from the trip we took in the fall was the laundromat in Chania on Crete where the signs were in the Greek alphabet and in English.

In all the museums we visited, there was an English and a Greek version of the information on the objects. Restaurants had menus in both languages.

The same will be true with many street signs and signs on highways, but the farther away from the tourist areas, the more likely you are to see only the Greek alphabet.

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you so much for your helpful reply!!! I will def Google all of your suggestions!!

Posted by
4535 posts

Agreed. English is very, very prevalent, especially in Athens. Signs, menus, museum labels, and spoken.

Posted by
1780 posts

We did Greece/ Athens last year and Spain this year. We anticipated struggling with the language in Greece and not in Spain. Found it to be opposite- Greeks really went out of their way to help and those that do speak English go out of their way reach out and help.