Hitch-Hiking in Greece
Capital city: Athens
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Hitch-hiking: very difficult (4/10)
Couchsurfing: well-known (6/10)
As a member of the European Union and a member of the Schengen treaty, the same visa rights apply as in other EU countries. EU nationals are not required to get a visa for stays of 90 days or less, the same applies to nationals from the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.
Greece is a country blessed with some of the most stunning landscapes that not only Europe but the world has to offer. Travelling across this beautiful land you will soon forget about the doom and gloom of back home.
The biggest disadvantage about hitch-hiking in Greece is that simply cars do not stop. Well, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration. More accurately: cars stop very very very irregularly. Whilst we did have some success travelling from the Turkish border to the city of Thessaloniki, the journey from Thessaloniki down to the Larissa was torturous. The journey from Larissa to Athens – impossible. We acknowledge that this was only our experience. We would love to hear about yours.
English is also not widely spoken in Greece outside of the big cities, and we found that some people knew German so bear this in mind when there.
Crossing the Greece-Turkey border will also give you a memorable experience should you choose to try and hitch-hike across. Read more about our experience here
Things you should be aware of while hitch-hiking in Greece
Greece is relatively well connected by motorways which is a good for motorists, bad for hitch-hikers. We had an extremely long wait on a slip road in Greece due to a lack of any other places to try. We have also had motorists dropping us off on the motorway itself so try your best to arrange with the driver a suitable place to disembark.
The archipelagic nature of Greece also presents its only problems. Ferries are a hurtful expense to the penny pinching traveller and the wait between ferries can often lead to losing a day’s hitch-hike. The only advice we can offer is: plan ahead and don’t let the delays worry you – you’re on holiday, remember?
Absolutely essential hitch-hikers phrasebook
– hello – (formal) Γεια σας (YAH sahss) (informal) Γεια σου. (YAH soo)
– thank you (very much) – Ευχαριστώ (πολύ). (ef-hah-rees-TOH po-LEE)
– goodbye – αντίο. (AHN-dee-oh)
– hich-hiking – ωτοστόπ (or – TO – stop)
– I don’t have money – Δεν έχω χρήματα (then ekho KHRI-ma-ta)
– we don’t have money – δεν έχουμε τα χρήματα (then EH-khoo-meh KHRI-ma-ta)
– money – χρήματα (KHRI-ma-ta)
– friend – φίλος (FEE-los)
Very useful when they ask you where you’re staying. The concept of Couchsurfing is often too difficult to explain, so just say you’re staying with a friend. You can also use this word to express the relationship between you and your fellow travellers.
– bus station – σταθμό λεωφορείων (STA-si le-oh-for-RI-ool)
You should know this word and listen out for it to avoid situations when your driver, in their best intentions, takes you off the road and drives you to a station.
– train station – σταθμό τρένο (STA-si TRE-noo)
– ferry – πλοίων (PLI-oo)
Map of Motorways in Greece
Main Border Crossings
Greece – Albania
There are four border crossings between Greece and Albania
- The main crossing is at Kakavia. It is situated on the Sarandë and Gjirokastër to Ioannina road, which passes through the border crossing.
- The other crossings are at Konitsa, Krystallopigi and Sagiada, more information can be found here
Greece – Macedonia
There are three land crossings between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia
- The main crossing is situated in Evzoni, 70km north of Thessaloniki along the E75 European express route.
- The other crossings can be found at Niki, north of Florina; and Doïrani, 30km north of Kilkis., more information can be found here
Greece – Bulgaria
There are three border crossings between Greece and Bulgaria
- The main crossing is Promahonas, just over 100km northeast of Thessaloniki, on the European route E79.
- The other crossings are situated at Ormenio, at the very tip of north-eastern Greece, and a tunnel border crossing at Exohi, about 50km north of Drama. More information can be found here
Greece – Turkey
There are two border crossings between Greece and Turkey.
- The main border crossing is Kipoi, and is the most convenient if you are travelling from Greece to Istanbul. WARNING: crossing on foot can be very problematic as there is a mile of no-man’s-land between the two borders and you are not allowed to walk across. We had a hard time trying to find a car that would take us across. You can read about our trials and tribulations at Kipoi/Ipsala here
- The other crossing can be found at Kastanies, on the European route E85. More information can be found here
Greece’s absolute must
1. Best area for hitch-hiking
Seeing as our hitch-hiking in Greece was far from a success, it is quite difficult to identify an area in which it was easiest or most rewarding. Saying this, we did have some success travelling from the Turkish border to the city of Thessaloniki in the north. Travelling along the Aegean coast we were treated to some dramatic landscapes and contrasting hills and coastline. The motorway was quite direct from the border and we had no problem in arriving to Thessaloniki
2. Most beautiful nature spot
We have not travelled as extensively as we would have liked in Greece, so any contributions from our fellow travellers would be well appreciated. Saying that one place we did visit that we thought was particularly beautiful was the small fishing village of Glyfa. We stumbled across this seaside resort after heading for the sea and somewhere to camp.
Its clear water and beach bays were relatively clear of the usual tourists, and bathing in the water in the evening sun was a pleasure.
3. Best city / town
It is undeniable the Greek capital of Athens that deserves the title of best city. Its museums and monuments stand alone as vestiges of an ancient history. The Acropolis stands high over the city and is an omnipotent presence as you wander down through the old town. Passing Ancient Roman and Greek ruins, tucked away behind winding alleys, forgotten relics of a bygone time. When the sun sets the people of Athens, shrug off the impending fiscal disaster by filling the cafés, restaurant and pubs of the city, eating and drinking late into the night.
Thessaloniki also deserves an honourable mention and as a big university town, is definitely an enjoyable place to spend a few days.
written by: Jon