Greek words and expressions to learn before you visit Greece

One step closer to your trip to Greece?

So here you are, one step far from crossing away Greece from your bucket list! Your journey is about to begin, and you keep thinking of all rumors that speak of Greek hospitality and long-lasting friendships that get built during someone’s trip to the country where democracy was born, where the most famous philosophers lived and created their inspiring sayings of wisdom, the country with one of the most difficult languages in the world!!!

“The knowledge of the Greek language is an indispensable foundation for someone who wishes to achieve a high cultural level.” 

Marianne McDonald

But in which language will you be able to communicate and interact with the locals when you have no idea of even how to pronounce a Greek word? Well, do not get stressed! Greeks understand that their language is hard, so they do not expect visitors to master it at all. As a matter of fact, you will find lots of locals to speak English. It is though, quite honoring for Greeks and they always highly appreciate it when tourists put some (even not successful) effort to speak Greek even when the results turn out to be funny and incomprehensible! This attempt to show locals your respect for culture is the first step in immersing yourself in Greek life during your holidays.

Common Greek Phrases

Locals greet one another by “Kalimera” in the morning, which means “Good Morning”, but, the same way they greet one another in the afternoon, while they also rarely use “Kalispera” in midday hours. “Kalinichta” means “Good Night”. Hello is translated as “Yasas” which is more respectful and polite than “Yasou” which is used in a more friendly way. “Yamas” or “Yasas” is also used as a toast, meaning cheers! When requiring something in Greek, do not forget to add “Parakalo”, which means “please” but in other cases, it can also get translated as “excuse me”, when someone does not understand or wishes to repeat. To thank someone, you can say “efcharisto” but also to express gratitude.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Common Errors

Yes and No are often getting confusing in Greek, as yes is “Ne” and no is “Ochi”! Make sure to note this down! It will prove to be a useful tip!

Basic Expressions / Common Words

In case you have a long flight until you reach Greece, you can study the below manual with some useful words and expressions that may facilitate your holidays!

EnglishGreek   Phonetic  
Good morning / Good eveningΚαλημέρα / ΚαλησπέραKalimera / kalispera  
How are you?Τι κάνετε ;Ti kanete?
All right, thank you, and you?Καλά, ευχαριστώ. Και εσείς;Kala, efkharisto, ke esis?
Do you speak English?Μιλάτε Αγγλικά ;Milate anglika?  
I understand/ I do not understandΚαταλαβαίνω / Δεν καταλαβαίνωKatalaveno / den katalaveno  
Excuse meΣυγγνώμηSignomi
Good byeΑντίοAdio
WelcomeΚαλώς ήρθατεKalos irthate
Thank you very muchΕυχαριστώ πολύEfkharisto poli
You are welcomeΠαρακαλώParakalo
No, thank youΌχι, ευχαριστώOchi, efkharisto
Yes / NoΝαι / ΌχιNe / Ochi
My name is …Με λένε …Me lene …
Shops / Μαγαζιά
How much is that?Πόσο κάνει;Poso kani?
Is there another color?Υπάρχει σε άλλο χρώμα;Iparchi se alo chroma?
Is there another size?Υπάρχει σε άλλο μέγεθος;Iparchi se alo megethos?
I would like to buy this oneΘα ήθελα να αγοράσω αυτόTha ithela na agoraso afto
I will pay cashΘα πληρώσω σε μετρητάTha pliroso se metrita
I will pay with my creditΘα πληρώσω με κάρταTha pliroso me karta
Transport / Μεταφορά
I would like to go…Θα ήθελα να πάω …Tha ithela na pao …
I would like to rent …Θα ήθελα να νοικιάσω …Tha ithela na nikiaso …
Where is the taxi station?Πού είναι η πιάτσα ταξί;Pou ine I piatsa taxi?
Where is the bus station?Πού είναι η στάση λεωφορείου;Pou ine I stasi leoforion?
Where do I issue my ticket?Πού βγάζω εισιτήριο;Pou vgazo isitirio?
Where is the airport?Πού είναι το αεροδρόμιο;Pou ine to aerodromio?
Where is the port?Πού είναι το λιμάνι;Pou ine to limani?
Directions / Κατευθύνσεις
Where is…? / How to get to…?Πού είναι …;/Πώς να πάω…;Pou ine…? Pos na pao…?
Is it near / far?Είναι κοντά / μακριά?Ine konta / makria?
Straight aheadΕυθείαEfthia
Right/ LeftΔεξιά / ΑριστεράDeksia / aristera
North/South/East/WestΒορράς / Νότος / Ανατολή / ΔύσηVoras / Notos / Anatoli / Disi
During meal/lunch/dinner / Κατά τη διάρκεια του γεύματος/μεσημεριανού/δείπνου
Enjoy your meal!Καλή όρεξη!Kali oreksi!
Cheers!Γειά μας!Yamas!
What do you recommend?Τί προτείνετε;Ti protinete?
I am vegetarianΕίμαι χορτοφάγοςIme chortofagos
I am allergicΕίμαι αλλεργικόςIme alergikos
I would like…Θα ήθελα…Tha ithela…
The check, please!Το λογαριασμό, παρακαλώ!To logariasmo, parakalo!
Everything was delicious!Ήταν πολύ νόστιμα!Itan poli nostima!

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