Greece not freindly to tourists?

My spouse and I and a female cousin are planning three days in Athens prior to boarding ship for a Greek Island Cruise. Below is a message received from her with concerns about the attitude of Athenians toward tourists. I thought I would pose the issue here to learn how others were treated while in Athens. TIA for your repsonses: Just wanted to touch base about a couple of things. I've been talking to some people about Greece and so far they have corroborated what I heard when I was in Turkey - that the Greeks are not very friendly to tourists. One friend for whom I have a great deal of respect and who is a seasoned traveller told me that with the exception of Santorini and Crete, her experience in Greece was the worst she's ever had as a traveller. She was there 2 years ago and had always wanted to see Greece so was extremely disappointed. She told me about being turned away from restaurants - literally being told the restaurant was closed when there were people in line at the restaurant. She felt everyone was out to exploit them and they were even travelling with a Greek in their party. This pretty much jibes with what the other people we sailed with on our Turkey trip told us about the Greeks - not just
other Americans but another European and an Australian couple too.

Posted by Lee
1976 posts

True Fact: Not every visitor to a foreign country is going to have a good experience. There will always be a small percentage of tourists who somehow receive bad treatment at the hands of the locals, whether it be from someone who is genuinely hostile towards outsiders, someone who is having a particularly bad day, or someone who is merely reacting to an impolite, insensitive and demanding visitor who has stepped over the line of reasonable behavior into the realm of rudeness. Another True Fact: As a society Greeks are incredibly hospitable and friendly. As a frequent visitor to Greece I have never experienced hostility nor have I ever been turned away from a business when attempting to spend money. The message you received is an exception, NOT the rule. Go to Greece with an open heart and mind and you will be received with the same. Go with suspicion, distrust and the expectation of being treated badly and the chances are good that your wish will come true.

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
1190 posts

I have never experienced any rudeness in five trips to Greece. I find the Greeks to be kind and warm and helpful. Of course it always helps to go anywhere with a positive attitude; I think that if you expect people to be friendly, they will respond accordingly. I think Greece is one of the most magical places on earth and I hope you have a wonderful time!

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
972 posts

" what I heard when I was in Turkey" That might be the reason right there! Enmity can take time to go away. I didn't enjoy Athens much but that was because most of it outside the central ancient bit was so ugly. It certainly was not because of any unfriendliness. Quite the opposite in fact. I also think Turkey is very friendly - but then I'm not Greek!

Posted by JOSEPH
18 posts

Thank you for the speedy and informative replies. I have traveled all around the world since 9 months old. The world is a friendly place if you too are friendly. At least that has been my personal experience. I just wanted to allay, if possible, concerns for our cousin. I should think this will help her concerns.
Again, thanks.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3287 posts

If your cousin goes there looking for rude people she will probably find them. If someone told me that story I would not even give it any credibility... seriously, they were with someone who is Greek and they were turned away from a restaurant that was open??? Maybe they were not taking any more people because they were full with reservations, but to just turn them away... sounds like nonsense to me.
I was there a few years ago and found it to be just like everyplace else... just normal people. But, I probably could have found a few rude ones if I had looked.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
22591 posts

Joseph, The very articulate reply from Lee covers much of what I was going to say. People in the service industry in ANY country can be having a bad day, be under stress, having family problems or more commonly these days, economic problems. I don't recall any instances in Greece of the type described by your cousin. However, there were times when restaurant staff were a bit "abrupt" as they were extremely busy. I've experienced the same in other countries, so this is not unique to Greece. I try to travel with a positive attitude and the expectation that things will go well, but also with a realization that problems can occasionally occur. That philosophy has worked well for me so far, including in Greece. Happy travels!

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3399 posts

I and those in my traveling party found Greeks, even those in Athens, to be very friendly and helpful. Several went out of their way to accommodate us after some difficulties arose with our trip. I didn't find a single thread of truth in the quote you provided. Athens is a big city and like any big city, there will be residents that are less friendly and helpful than those in smaller cities and towns. And Athens can be crowded and hot in summer - something that can try anyone's patience. And the tourist trinket shops in the Plaka are like any tourist trinket shops - they hope to sell you cheap crap that you don't really need. And finally, even if some of it was/is true, what does it matter? Surely you wouldn't cancel your trip because you might run into a surly waiter...

Posted by Debabrata
Mumbai, India
79 posts

We traveled into Greece - Athens, Mykonos and Santorini. I can tell you that Greeks are wonderful people, so please go out there and enjoy yourselves. It is a truly beautiful country.

Posted by JOSEPH
18 posts

Thanks to all for the advice and in information. You have confirmed what I already believed to be true. I have passed this along to our cousin. Do not know the folks who told her that Greeks were often not hospitable, cordial. I think they may have been misguided or confused. Who knows.
Nevertheless, we are looking forward to our trip. My spouse and I grew up traveling and living around the world and have continued to do much the same as adults. We have always found that you get what you look for. We trust the Greeks and Turks encountered on this trip will be a great as everyone else we have met around the world.

Posted by Devon
833 posts

Traveled in late 2011 to both Thessaloniki, Greece and Istanbul, Turkey - had great times in both. Never felt unwanted. Greeks need the tourism income anyway. It may have happened to a few people but I wouldn't take it as an example for the whole country. Overall felt the people were friendly and welcoming.

Posted by gone
2081 posts

hi, before i went to Paris last year, i was told that Parisians would be rude to me since i dont speak French. Well, the only rude people i saw were Americans and some other travelers. I will give anyone a break since i can have a "bad day" also. i would go anyway and see for yourself. happy trails.