40 Basic Greek Phrases For Your Upcoming Trip


Basic Greek phrases overlaid on a picture of Oia.

Do you have an upcoming trip to Greece?

If you are planning to travel to Greece in the near future, it’s always a great idea to learn some basic Greek phrases.

Don’t get me wrong; you can easily get around most of Greece with just English in your back pocket.

But do you enjoy going off the beaten path, hanging at local dives, and fully immersing yourself in a culture?

If so, some handy expressions in Greek could make all the difference to your Grecian experience.

Basic Greek Phrases

Before we cover lengthier Greek sentences, let’s look at some common one to two-word basic Greek phrases that could come in handy during your travels.

While you may be less inclined to learn the Greek alphabet, we have included the words in the Greek language just in case you need them.

We have also included the phonetic pronunciation for each of the useful Greek phrases below.

Any portion of a word that requires emphasis to be correctly pronounced has been capitalized.

Phrase – Greek – Phonetic Sound

  • Yes Ναί (neh)
  • No Οχι (o-hee)
  • Please παρακαλώ (pa-ra-ka-LOH)
  • Thank you Ευχαριστώ (ef-ha-ree-STOH)
  • You’re welcome παρακαλώ (pa-ra-ka-LOH)
  • Sorry/Excuse me Συγνώμη (sig-NO-mee)

When discovering a new language, I find it always a good idea to learn the formal version of phrases versus the informal version reserved for “friends.”

That’s one of my top travel tips; it’s best to be over-polite to a person than mistakenly offending someone like an elder.

Greek Basic Greetings

Whether you’re meeting your Air B&B host or visiting the local coffee shop, there are some standard Greek greetings the locals will appreciate.

Phrase – Greek – Phonetic Sound

  • Hello Γεια σου (YA-soo)
  • Goodbye Αντιο (a-dio)
  • How are you? Τι κάνετε (tee-KA-ne-te?)
  • Good morning Καλημέρα (kah-lee-ME-rah)
  • Good afternoon/Good evening Καλησπέρα (kah-lee-SPER-ah)
  • Goodnight Καληνύχτα (kah-lee-NEEF-tah)
  • Nice to meet you Χαίρω πολύ (HEH-ro po-LEE)
  • I’m fine, thank you καλά, ευχαριστώ (ka-la ef-ha-ree-STOH)
  • My name is … Με λένε… (me LE-ne)
  • What is your name? Πως σε λένε? (POS-sas-LE-ne?)
Plated grilled octopus (Χταπόδι)

While Greece is overflowing with an endless list of delectable foods to try, some dishes will always remain a classic.

Phrase – Greek – Phonetic Sound

  • Water Νερό (neh-ro)
  • Caffee Καφές (ka-fes)
  • Beer Μπύρα (BEE-ra)
  • Spinach pie σπανακόπιτα (spa-na-ko-pita)
  • Fried cheese σαγανάκι (sa-ga-na-ki)
  • Tzatziki Τζατζίκη (sats-iki)
  • Octopus Χταπόδι (ta-poh-di)
  • Souvlaki σουβλάκι (soov-laa-kee)
  • Meatballs κεφτεδάκια (kef-teh-des)
  • Baklava μπακλαβά (baa-klah-vah)
  • Yogurt with honey Γιαούρτι με μέλι (yee-ah-oor-tee me me-li)

Greek Emergency Phrases

Even though 51% of the Greek population speaks English, sometimes things can get lost in translation, or you need to explain something in your native language.

Whether you find yourself in need of help or things are a little unclear, here are some useful phrases.

Phrase – Greek – Phonetic Sound

  • Help! Βοήθεια (voy-EE-th-ya)
  • I’m lost. Εχω χαθεί (eh-HO HAH-thee)
  • I’m ill. Είμαι άρρωστος (e-meh a-ro-stos)
  • Do you speak English? Μιλάς αγγλικά (mi-las an-gli-ka?)
  • I don’t understand. Δεν καταλαβαίνω (den ka-ta-la-VE-no)
  • Where is the restroom? Πού είναι η τουαλέτα (pu E-ne e two-a-LE-ta?)
Santorini Church

Greek Transport Phrases

While transport in Greece may seem daunting, it’s actually quite easy to navigate.

However, some basic greek words are always good to know.

Phrase – Greek – Phonetic Sound

  • Where is…? Πού είναι… (pu E-ne…?)
  • Where’s the station? Πού είναι ο σταθμός (pu E-ne o stat-mos?)
  • What time does the ferry leave? Τι ώρα φεύγει το πλοίο (ti-o-ra fev-yi to pli-o?)
  • I’d like to get off at… Θα ήθελα να κατέβω στο… (tha e-the-la na ka-te-vo sto…)

Greek Expressions Appreciation

And we can’t end this list of easy Greek words without some phrases to express your delight or appreciation of the country.

Cheers! Στην υγεια μας! (ya-mas!) (shortened version)

Opa! Ώπα (O-PA)

While Opa can be used to express a few different things, such as Oops! as a tourist, you are more likely to use it at a gathering while dancing.

I love Greece. Αγαπώ την Ελλάδα (A-ga-PO tin E-LA-da)

Final Thoughts

When traveling, there is always a new adventure to enjoy.

Whether you enjoy lounging in the sun, traveling through the Greek islands, or visiting museums in Athens, mingling with the locals can only enrich your experience.

So try your best to learn from basic Greek phrases, and you’ll quickly see how much your efforts are appreciated by the amazing Greek people that make up this beautiful country.

Other Greek Travel Tips

How many days do you need in Santorini?

Santorini vs Mykonos, best island to visit?

Klima, Milos Fishing Village Guide

Hiking Skaros Rock (Imerovigli)

9 Unique items to pack for Greece

7 Santorini mistakes to avoid

Lightweight Summer Dresses for Greece

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40 Basic Greek Phrases For Your Upcoming Trip