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getting around prior (and during) RS Greece tour?

We've been thinking of the Greece trip and a recent thread is making it sound even better!

I have a basic question, though. Are the street signs written in the Roman and Greek alphabet or just the Greek one?

I'm concerned about how easy it is to get from the airport to the hotel and then to do a day or two prior to the tour on our own. The funny thing is we've been to several countries where we don't speak the language (France, Germany, etc) but at least we felt that we could read the map and find our way. I'm worried about doing this in a country where I may not even recognize the lettering.

Posted by
3949 posts

Had no problem getting from airport to hotel and getting around before the tour started.

No need for concern.

And should you need help, Greeks are very friendly and helpful.

Posted by
1977 posts

Easy peasy, John. I was on the wonderful RS Greece Tour in 2017, and spent about a week on my own before, plus a week after. Had no problem communicating, and never even learned the Greek alphabet. Now that I think about it, visitors have been coming to Greece for literally thousands of years, and I expect very few have spoken or read Greek. I found the quantity of English speaking Greeks, and the level of their English, to be surprisingly high. I believe they study English in school from the early grades. And yes, they are very friendly and helpful. Street signs and other signs are generally in English, as I remember.
As for getting from the airport to your hotel by taxi, that should not be a problem, unless maybe in the middle of the night. If you like to greeted at the airport by someone holding a sign with your name on it, often nice after a long flight, then you can probably arrange for that through your hotel.

Posted by
1794 posts

Yes, signs are often in both alphabets. Really, Athens is a very easy city to navigate. Things are often signed in English, not just the Roman alphabet, but often English words next to the Greek. I guess because there are so many visitors and very few speak Greek. A coffee shop will have the word “coffee” somewhere on the sign. Etc.
Most people you interact with will have at least basic English, many will be fluent or nearly so.

Posted by
1576 posts

Still our favorite RS tour. Go! Getting around is easy. Write the name and address of your hotel (in English) on a piece of paper you can give to the cab driver at the airport. Street signs in central Athens are in Greek and English. Many are on the wall of the building on the corner so look up. Use your money belt, watch for pickpockets in crowded areas especially the metro. Enjoy the best tomatos you’ll ever eat!

Posted by
204 posts

I took this tour last September and it was wonderful. I used GoOpti for transport to the hotel from the airport. And it was wonderful. The driver was so kind even though my flight had been delayed two hours. I totally recommend them. I did notice that in the rural areas of the Peloponnese, there was no English on the signs, but you're on the RS tour, so you don't need to worry about navigating the roads. Enjoy your tour!

Posted by
15 posts

don't worry; i just came back from Athens in Nov/18. i was actually amazed by how many Greeks speak English! i took a cab from the airport to my hotel (Euro 50) but there is a train from the airport, each hour. Greeks are extremely friendly, helpful and honest. actually, i always think of Athens as my favourite city! if i were you, i would spend at least 2 weeks walking about - every day was a delightful adventure and the food is incredibly delish!

Posted by
9 posts

Just take a mathematics or statistics class before going--you'll learn a bunch of Greek letters in your class! ;-)

In all serious, my job is in statistics and just recognizing Greek letters, especially the ones that aren't in the Roman alphabet like theta (basically th) or are different (P is rho and it's basically R), is useful in reading something like the pdf of a bus timetable that's in Greek.

Posted by
5 posts

John, I'm going in two days before the start of the RS tour. I solved the 'getting around on my own' problem by booking a walking food tour on each of my two 'getting acclimated' days. Gets me into the city and won't duplicate the tour stops...not to mention I love food tours in foreign cities.