Before you venture to these beautiful islands, study up on some helpful Greek phrases.

When venturing to a foreign country, it can be a bit overwhelming. The cultural differences make for a constant learning experience, and a language barrier only heightens this. Of course, depending on your frequency of international travel, it is quite impossible to become fluent in your destination country’s language before your feet get there. Don’t let this discourage you. With modern day technology and translation capabilities, you should not have significant issues if you prepare for language differences. By taking the necessary steps prior to visiting a new country, you ensure that you are being culturally sensitive as well as setting yourself up for success. For example, if visiting Greece, you are going to need to know some Greek phrases.

All that to say, Greece is likely another place that speaks a much different language than you. Naturally, visiting here is going to require some preparation on your part. If you have already checked out their language, you might feel slightly apprehensive about taking it to memory. You may find you relate to Shakespeare’s well-known quip, “It’s all Greek to me.” Greek’s unique letters are quite foreign to Latin-based language speakers. Before you write off any chance of attempting to learn these new language symbols, give some basic Greek phrases a chance. You might be surprised by how easily you recall it.

Here are the best Greek phrases to learn before you visit.

Greek beach

Greetings and Introductions

Some of the first things you learn when tackling a new language are greetings and introductions. This gets you by in shops, or just passing someone on the street. It is courteous to speak to locals in their native language, so give it a try. Use these Greek phrases as you go and feel just like a fluent speaker.

  • Hello: Γειά! (ya)
  • My name is… : Με λένε (may LEH-neh)
  • What is your name? πως σε λένε? (pos-oh LEH-neh)
  • How are you?: Πώς είσαι (pos íse?)
  • Thank you: Ευχαριστώ (efcharistó)

Restaurant Ordering

Greek phrases - restaurant ordering

Greek food is absolutely all that people say it is and more. Enjoy some Barbouni, a dish with a small fresh fish. Dolmades are small grape leaves, a local favorite. Order Keftedes if you love meatballs with flavorful herbs and onions. You likely also recognize Gyro, a popular meat dish served on flatbread, popular among Western foodies. Ensure that you have the absolute best culinary experience possible by keeping some helpful phrases about food in mind. Here are some basic Greek phrases to use when you visit a restaurant in Greece.

  • Breakfast: ΠΡΩΙΝΟ ΓΕΥΜΑ (proino gevma)
  • Lunch: μεσημεριανό (mesimerianó)
  • Dinner: Βραδινό (vradinó)
  • What is the dish of the day?: Ποιο είναι το πιάτο ημέρας (poio eínai to piáto iméras)
  • Can I order? / Can we order?: Να παραγγείλω; / Να παραγγείλουμε (na parangeílo? / na parangeíloume)
  • Can you bring me the bill?: Μου φέρνετε το λογαριασμό (mou férnete to logariasmó)

Yes and no in Greek might be a bit confusing to the English speaker’s ear. Yes sounds a lot like “no” in English, while no is a completely different sound. These are good to know, especially when someone is asking for your preference for something.

  • Yes: Ναι (nai)
  • No: Όχι (ochi)


The last thing you want is to be lost in a foreign country. The unknown signs and landmarks can make navigation more challenging than you are used to. If your GPS fails you, and you don’t have a map, you can always get to where you want to go by asking the locals. If you know a few phrases to help get you in the right direction, this doesn’t have to be as intimidating. Keep these key Greek phrases in mind as you communicate with the locals and ask for directions.

  • Outside: εκτός / έξω (exo apo)
  • Near: κοντά (kontá)
  • Can you show me?: Μπορείτε να μου δείξετε (Boreíte na mou deíxete?)
  • Can you help me?: Μπορείτε να με βοηθήσετε (Boreíte na me voithísete?)
  • I'm lost: Έχω χαθεί (Écho chatheí)
  • It's near here: Είναι εδώ κοντά (eínai edó kontá)
  • Turn left: Στρίψτε αριστερά (strípste aristerá)
  • Turn right: Στρίψτε δεξιά (strípste dexiá)

Check out these helpful tools as you learn Greek phrases.

Greek phrases - tools

If you want to take your language learning a step farther, consider investing in some helpful tools. Smartphone apps are an ideal way to gain some foreign language knowledge on the go. Duolingo is a top-rated language learning app for multiple languages, including Greek. This fun and interactive program helps you learn what you need to know to handle basic conversations. Not to mention, it’s free. Another great option is Memrise. This app earned the Best App award during the 2017 Google Play Awards. Create an account and start broadening your Greek vocabulary.

Now that you know these main Greek words and phrases, you are ready to venture to the popular European nation.

An escape to the Greek islands means a trip full of spectacular architecture, breathtaking beaches, and timeless cities. With a little bit of the national language, you are even more prepared for anything. Keep these Greek phrases fresh on your mind when you take your trip to Greece. Don’t be intimidated by the fear of speaking a foreign language. Remember that the only way to truly learn a language is to practice. You might make a few mistakes, but that just means you are trying. Most of the time, the locals appreciate the fact that you are taking the time to learn their language, so the less than perfect delivery is overlooked.

Related Article: Essential Hawaiian Words and Phrases To Know Before You Go