Under this section for Customs And Culture In Greece, I want to guide you in the way of the done things here.
There are many activities that take place in Greece which are not necessarily the done thing in other parts of the world.
For example the food in Greece is amazing and should be tried by all, but I am sure
there are some things that you do not know.
There are the traditional public holidays here too, but Easter takes precedence over Christmas whereas in other countries it can be vice versa.
There are other traditional holidays too that the Greeks celebrate because of events that have happened in its history.
Family life is also a priority in Greece and a lot of the time family comes first. What do you know about it?
What about the working life in Greece? Some people assume they are actually quite carefree and not hard-working at all? Maybe there will be a surprise for you here!
Whatever your curiosity, I hope I cover most of them below.
Naturally if you have something to share then let me know, I am always happy to listen to ideas and experiences of others to make the information here more diverse 🙂 Use the comments area below and I will respond to you as soon as possible.
Actually I have been to the Island of Rhodes only two weeks ago. What a coincidence! It was only a day trip.
We are currently in Turkey for vacation and traveled to Rhodes by ship for about an hour. Everything was amazing!
he food, the beach, the people… I am planning on traveling to Rhodes again in the near future. \
Thanks for sharing this post!
Hi Ruya, great that you managed to get across here even if it was only for a short time.
Rhodes is amazing yes, did you come here from Marmaris? I know there is a frequent boat that goes to and from Marmaris.
I hope you make it again here on the island for a longer period.
Nice to hear from you Ruya
Hi Chris, thank you for this great review about customs and culture in Greece. You are right of course every part of the world has many traditions and a “way of life” that is special to the region.
I think that Greek food is lovely. My favourite is how they do octopus. I was wondering if Rhodes and Cyrus do octopus differently to mainland Greece or are they roughly the same?
Also I know that goats are cooked as a fairly common dish. This is not true in my part of the world, so I was wondering how the people of Rhodes like their goat cooked?
Hey Glenys and thanks a lot for getting in touch.
Although I will admit I am not a Chef by any means, I have a couple of friends that own Tavernas here in Rhodes.
For cooking Octopus, I think the standard way it to boil them. I am not sure if this differs from Cyprus and/or mainland Greece, I will need to check that out.
As with most other dishes (including Goat) you will find a lot of it is grilled. Using a barbecue is very popular here in Greece and grilled meat is very popular.
I will be adding a section soon containing different cookbooks and Greek recipes. Stay tuned. Maybe you will see something of interest 🙂
I’ve really enjoyed reading your post about the customs and culture in Greece. I’m just surprised because after looking at the food, beaches, culture etc of Greece I didn’t know it’s such an amazing place.
Tell me, if I would like to visit Greece/Rhodes with my family for one month, how much would it really cost me and do you think it’s a nice investment for me?
Hello Paul and thanks, it is nice to hear from you.
Greece is indeed a special place, and the culture is so friendly, warm and inviting. There is so much to appreciate, and although the food is beautiful, it really is the tip of the iceberg.
It is difficult to answer your question though when it comes to pricing up a stay in Rhodes. Of course it depends on how many people you are, what standard of living you want and what you want to do while you are here.
If you hit me up on a private message, we can discuss it and I can fine tune some better price ideas for you.
I’ve never been to Greece but it’s definitely on my bucket list, Mykonos in particular.
One of my closest friends here in New York is Greek so I feel like I know something about the culture from her. I agree with you that the food is amazing and my friend makes a killer Baklava.
Reading this interesting article has made me want to visit even more. Why do you say that people may believe that Greeks aren’t hard-working?
That’s never been my impression.
Hey there and thanks so much for getting in touch.
It is great that you have a Greek friend there with you. There is nothing like learning from the natives 🙂
To be honest, I find it quite frustrating when people have bad words to say about the Greeks and their working behavior. I can agree sometimes that the pace of working here can be a little slower than you will find in other parts of the world, but there is some hard work to be done too.
I know during the summer months when the tourist season is in full swing, a lot of the people are working more hours than anywhere else. Sometimes 15 and 16 hours per day, in the hot sun. So they do their fair share.
I think because of the financial crises that hit Greece, there was naturally a lot of bad press. Most of the opinions have come from the news and are mostly voiced by people who have never been to Greece.
Me, I love it here, and would not change it for anything 🙂
Thanks, and I hope you get to see this wonderful country for yourself someday!
I’m lucky enough to have travelled to Greece several times and it is amazing, so much history as well as great people and food.
My friend recently emigrated to the island of Kefalonia, so I’m very much looking forward to that trip this September.
I’ll be sure to use your food guide for my next visit, thank you.
Great to hear from you Emily, Greece is an awesome place isn’t it? 🙂
I have personally never been to Kefalonia, but I have no excuses not to go. Being in Rhodes, it is quite accessible from here. Maybe I will see you there one day!
Enjoy your vacations in September.
I have been wondering whether to go to Greece for a holiday with my family and I will do that for sure and I am big fan of international food,:) I look forward to taste the food in Greece.
I love to go fishing so do you know about some good places or Waters in Greece that I can go fishing?
Thank you for great information about Greece.
If you love fishing then Rhodes is a place you can relax and enjoy. When you walk on the beaches, you will very often see people fishing, and you will also see the boats out on the water fishing too.
Fishing is very popular and you will find many different species of fish.
As fishing is important to you, you may want to check out the Rhodes Aquarium. This will offer you lots of information about the marine life in the area.
I hope this helps 🙂
Excellent information. I have lived in Hong Kong for thirty years. I haven’t been to Greece before.
What you write tells me a lot about Greece. Especially the link of “the food” inside the article. I love eating so much. I always try different kinds of foods everywhere. So I become fat after every trip.
Thank you so much. Please write more about Greece.
Thank you CT. It is nice to know you enjoy your food.
I love the Greek cuisine, but I also try to eat healthy. There are fast food options, and while they are tasty, they can add the kilos onto you.
On saying that, if you travel somewhere, it is a shame no to taste the local delicacies 🙂
Thanks my friend, and lots more coming don’t worry!
It may not be too much surprise that there’s a place where Easter is considered more important than Christmas. After all, Christians should consider the Resurrection at least as glorious as the virgin birth.
By the way, the Island of Rhodes looks kind of like an arrowhead. It seems quite fitting, given its history as a fortress.
Hey Michael, yes the island is shaped like an arrowhead and this is something that has been well documented by many people and publishers 🙂
The Easter Celebration here is really important yes. Of course Christmas is important too, but the Greek people really come into their own when it comes to celebrating Easter. I love it.
Thanks one again my friend.
I love Greece, although I’ve only really been to Kos. Thinking about trying Rhodes next for a holiday and found your articles really helpful. Got loads more to read.
Keep up the good content so I can keep researching.
Do you know much about Kos? Does it compare to Rhodes in anyway?
Or anywhere else for that matter?
Hi there Ryan.
There is a lot going on with Kos too yes. Tons of history as you are most probably aware and lots of nice attractions. It is actually the second most popular destination when it comes to tourism and it falls in second place to Rhodes.
For the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes is the number one choice for holidaymakers, but there are a lot of similarities yes. If you love Kos, then you will love Rhodes too without a doubt.
Of course there are the other islands too such as Santorini, Crete and so on, and yes they are beautiful. But for me, Rhodes will always have a special place in my heart.
Hello Chris 🙂
I have heard about Greece through some old Greek history like Hercules and some old ancient Greek GODs like Athena, Zeus, the Olympia. Sorry in advance if I miscall those with Rhodes island. Then, can you tell me more where the Hercules stories and Zeus, the Olympia world stories come from?
Hmm… little curiosity… can you explain the story and culture behind the national flag? I know it would have a long story, but to you, what would you like to share when I ask about the flag? What should I know to avoid some tattoos?
Thank you in advance.
Hello my friend and thanks for your interest on this.
To be honest, the deep stories and myth from Ancient Gods is not something I am going into in too much detail on this site. The reason for this, is the site is about Rhodes, and not really about Greek Mythology, and I do not want to be to wide with my subject choice.
If you want to know more about these Gods, take a look at these links here.
These pages will offer you a lot of in depth information which i am sure you will find interesting.
As for the Flag of Greece, this dates back to 1821. It was first used as the official Greek Flag after they obtained independence from Turkey. At that time it was of course The Ottoman Empire.
The blue and white stripes which total 9 in all, show the amount of Syllables in the Greek Translation to the words “Freedom Or Death” ie (Eleutheria H Thanatos).These were the shouts made during the final conflict with The Ottomans.
As for the Cross you see on the flag, this naturally is display of the Orthodox Church. Religion is important in Greece, and the cross is a representation of this.
Great questions my friend, Hope to see you back here again!
It is strange to learn that family life is a priority thing in Greece while my country here in Cambodia family life and working life have to be balanced.
I do not know much about working life in Greece, but as long as I learn is that the country was in much debt. I think as the citizens are not working hard and the government is responsible for the pension program, this could be the result of debt.
By the ways, I would love to taste the food in Greece if I can visit there. What is the taste like?
Hello my friend.
When it comes to talking about the debt that was accumulated, I have to say it is a long story with millions of opinions. Far too much money has been spent and borrowed in my opinion and I think all people living in Greece have played there part in a small way to make the problem overwhelming.
Thankfully, Greece seems to be coming out of it now, which I am sure we are all grateful for. Let us hope there is not a repeat situation.
As for the food you mention, check out the Traditional Food In Greece section. There is some food for thought there 🙂
Thanks, great to hear from you.
I absolutely love Greek food.
Greece has been on my bucket list for a while now, especially Rhodes after reading all the great information you have provided.
I like that family life is a priority. I am German, and I know in Germany it is the same way. And as it should come first!
What is your favorite food from Greece?
Hey Leahrae, great to hear from you once more.
I know you have visited a few times here now, often leaving your thoughts and opinions, but in all that time, I never knew you were German 🙂
I also lived in Germany for some time some years ago, and I loved it there. You are quite right too, family in Germany also plays a very important role in everyday life.
Greece is no different, and family here means everything. Families stick together through good and bad. It is hard to try and come between them
As for the food, Wow, I do not know. I will confess I am partial to the beautiful Greek Salads, but also I like to have a meal with choices on the table.
In Greece they make an effort to have what is called a Meze, and this is basically lots of choices in the middle of the table and you take what you like.
Very often this is salad, different meats, potatoes and other vegetables, and lots of bread 🙂
Thanks Leahrae, it is really lovely to have you here with me again.
Greece is my second favorite vacation destination! Love the food, love people and hospitality. Definitely a place with so much to see and learn with the ancient history and culture.
When I visited Greece for the first time I was surprised that not all shops there work 24/7 🙂 Now I know that life-work balance is valuable in Greece and should be actually be valuable in all other countries.
Food, oh, yes! so delicious! my favorite will be Moussaka that is similar to the Italian lasagna and it tastes too yum!
Hello there Anna and thanks so much for getting in touch!
I will admit, I have become accustomed to the Greek food too. I find many of the dishes very tasty and I love to go to the local Greek tavernas. I am actually going to one tonight as it happens in my local area with some friends 🙂
I like the fact that not everything is 24 hours. I am originally from the UK, and everyone is always in such a hurry and very pressed when it comes to the working life. While work here is important, so is rest and family time. I respect the Greeks and their way of life for this!
Thanks for getting in touch, and I will have a taste of Moussaka for you tonight!
Thanks Anna, nice to hear from you!
I love your honest reviews on Rhodes and Greece.
I think Greece is a fantastic travel destination and the everyone really deserves to know about the wonderful country they are visiting.
You’re also spot on when you say that the common perception of the Greeks is that they’re laid back and not hard-workers, when it’s definitely not the case. The same can be said about lots of countries.
Keep the good content coming.
Hello there Stephen and thank you for getting in contact.
I also think it is important to know something of the place you are intending to visit. Even from having access to information for getting around, for the sites and even a little on the culture and traditions can not do any harm.
It is one of the reasons I wanted to offer the information here. As I live on the island, I have come across so many people that do not know where to go, what to see or how to get there. So yes, I hope this site will be of benefit to anyone wanting to visit and get the most out of their stay here.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the Greek society, they can sometimes portray this relaxed attitude. After working along side them though, I see it in a different light.
As you say there are relaxed people in all walks of life, but as a general rule, the Greeks sweat too for their earnings 🙂
Thanks Stephen, and great to hear from you.
You have a really great website. It’s jam-packed with so much information that it makes one want to go and visit as soon as possible.
I have been to many places, but not to Greece as yet. The information and pictures you have put up on your site really make me want me to go over, at least for a couple of days.
I’d love to savor the food there and get immersed in all their wonderful culture.
Where would be, in your personal opinion, the best places to visit?
Hi there and thanks for your comment and for your question 🙂
There is a lot to soak in here I must admit. There is so much to see and so much to get involved with that you will realize that a couple of days is simply not enough.
If you were to visit Rhodes, you can spend 3 or 4 weeks here and still not see everything. Although this amount of time is a long stretch for many, if you can manage 10 days to 2 weeks for a vacation this will leave you quite satisfied 🙂
When it comes to visiting the different places, there are lots of attractions here. I will be building on these areas as I build up the information on this site. So be sure to call back.
Of course if you cannot wait, let me know and I will answer any questions you may have 🙂
I love travel and have always wanted to go to Greece. Your post reminded me of food and family and how the two just go together.
What I found most useful about your post is the culture and how different it is to Australia; it’s one thing that I really love about travel and that’s culture…not forgetting food of course!
Hi there Mel and greeting to you all the way in Australia. I have been there myself, all be it many years ago. I stayed in Sydney for a few days before continuing on to New Zealand. Great days and a wonderful place.
I must admit, during my time in Australasia there was a lot I was not used to as well. Culture and the way things are done are different wherever you go though.
For instance I am originally from the UK and a persons home is their home, and people do not usually make themselves feel welcome without invite. Not the case in Australia and New Zealand. When I was there staying with family people were forever in and out of the house as if it were their own. It was very weird for me.
Greece is also has a private culture when it comes to home and family. Family is strong between the Greeks and the home is a place of togetherness. With this comes the dining and other activities and usually people do not invade this privacy without being invited.
Is the culture there in Australia the same as I remember it from all those years back?
Thanks Mel and hope to speak soon!
How fortuitous of me to stumble upon your page a day before I leave for my first ever visit Greece.
Of course, I headed right to the food page, and am so glad I did. I knew from previous visits to Europe that every culture has different customs related to food, and was glad to learn about Greece’s custom of communal sharing and placing food in the middle of the table rather than individual plates.
Traveling with a picky eater, and one that is not always the most culturally astute, this is going to help me give some social cues. This information is going to help save me from some embarrassing situations.
I wonder, what is the custom of tipping in Greece?
While I will only be visiting Athens and Santorini and not The Island of Rhodes, I know the Greek culture is similar. I am sorry that I will miss your beautiful island, and hope that I will have the opportunity to explore Greece further some day in the future.
Hello Brian and thank you so much for getting in touch.
I am happy the information here has been helpful and has offered you some tips for your visit to Greece.
It is a shame that you will not make it to The Island Of Rhodes, but hey, Santorini is also an amazing island, and for sure you will adore Athens too 🙂 When is your visit planned for?
Personally I love the way the Greek people do things at the dinner table. It is fun, happy and really entertaining. Sharing the food from central platters is simple the way it is done and do not worry, just get stuck in 🙂
For the tipping, it is a common thing to do if you have enjoyed the meal and the service. Although there is not any percentage I am aware of, anywhere between 5 and 10 euros is usually sufficient.
What I normally do, is wait for the bill to come. Once it is payed and they return the change to you, leave it on the table for the staff to take later.
This is sometimes a better way to do it as not all waiters and waitresses like to be handed the money, sometimes it can make them feel uncomfortable. Again, this is not always the case.
Just be sure to have lots of fun, and let me know how it went once you return back on home soil 🙂
I’m from Australia. Here we don’t really have much of our own culture. But we are very multicultural!
I love Greek food! They are so big on big family dinners and I love the idea of this!
I also love the culture around their weddings! They are huge and go all out! It surely makes a day to remember!
Thanks again for the post! It’s a great informative read!
Hey there Hailey, and greetings to you there on the other side of the world 🙂
Greek food is amazing ye, and to be honest the food can go hand in hand with the celebrations too.
Things are not done by half here, and when the Greek people have something to celebrate, everyone gets involved. It can be a really magnificent experience 🙂
Thanks for reading!
This is an interesting topic and one I am very happy to have read.
My boyfriend is from Greece, though he spent much of his adult life in Cyprus.
The islands surrounding Greece are very laid back, much like the mainland itself. Crime rates are low, which only tells you about the people that live there.
Indeed, food is like the heart of Greece aside from family. My boyfriend loves food! lol
He introduced me to mezes(mez-ah), or “small bites”. These are very simple plates that are made in abundance that are eaten with the main course, or just eaten together to make a meal. The best way of describing them is like our idea of appetizers. They can be as simple as marinaded feta with lemon or mackerels spritzed with lemon and olive oil. As far as food goes, mezes are definitely worth mentioning! 😀
He wasn’t ever a huge celebratory kind of person, but his family loves to celebrate. They come up with any reason to have a party and get together. His sister once told me,”Celebrating is not like being happy for one day. Everyday is a celebration of life.” All in all, I would say that the culture beats to the drum of a very lively and outgoing people. 🙂
Hey there, thanks for getting in touch!
Having a Greek boyfriend certainly offers you a great insight to the Greek way of life.
You are right about the Meze dishes too, some of them really are mouth watering aren’t they? 🙂
I have a group of Greek friends here and once per week we try to go out on an afternoon to eat a nice Greek meal. Meze in the middle, salad, lots of cheese and bread, and Retsina 🙂 What more can you ask for,
As for the celebrations, I love the Greek people for this. Life is a celebration, and they make the most of it as often as possible. Personally I love it, and get involved with it all as much as I can!
Do you ever manage to get to to Greece yourself on a regular basis? I was in Cyprus too many years ago. I was serving in the military in my younger days, and I loved it there.
Great to hear from you 🙂
Thank you for such authentic information about my favorite country in the world.
I lived in Glyfada for nearly four years and graduated high school from ACS in 1975. I have many friends who live in Greece today and, in fact, my friend Costa plays music at Sticky Fingers Club and Linden Gardens every summer.
The base my father was stationed at was known as Athenia Air Base, but the name was changed to Hellinikon.
Our house was four blocks from the beach, we lived in the community and I spent nearly every day in the water. I have seen the most magnificent sunsets. Of course, souvlaki was a daily staple and for 4 drachmas it was a meal all it’s own.
The community would close down from around 2 until 7pm. It was common for the evening meal to be eaten late in the evening at 9 or 10:00 pm. On Thursday’s a whole street was shut down and filled with a street market – where you could purchase freshly harvested everything! The Greek people would shop for the daily meals daily. The trash cans were the size of bait buckets. The Americans would have more trash in one day than a Greek family would have in a week. We rode cabs everywhere. For 7 drachmas we could get a ride to Monistraki in Athens.
I never got to Rhodes but I did frequently visit Aegena, Potros and Hydra as weekend trips. I also spent two weeks on Paradise beach on Mykonos.
You described an authentic Green salad and my mouth began to water. A real Greek salad has no lettuce and is topped off with at least 1/2 pound slice of Feta cheese.
I need to go make my plans to visit – but thank you so much for such a wonderful walk through my memory.
Oh – and my favorite is the fried baby squid.
Hey there Carole and thanks for your wonderful comment and for sharing your Greek experience.
Of course since the Drachma, things have changed now. Naturally things are a lot more expensive than they used to be since the Euro came into play, but it has not changed the way the Greek people go about daily life. I guess they have just had to tone it down a little.
It is a shame you never got to see Rhodes (not yet anyway) but hey, you have had a lot of time in Greece and you certainly received a lot of experiences and taken a lot of nice memories.
I have been to the mainland in Greece too, and to Mykonos, but not to the other places you have mentioned. This is something i need to do. It would be a shame for me to miss out on this.
The Stick Fingers bar I know, but I will be honest I do not know your friend Costa personally. Maybe we have crossed paths without me realizing who he was. A lot of the bars have regular musicians, so maybe I will pass by again and see what is happening there 🙂
If you ever have the opportunity to get back to Greece let me know. Get yourself to Rhodes and I will get you that Greek Salad and a nice cold Mythos Beer 🙂
Thanks again Carole, it is really great to hear from you.
I must admit I know very little about Greece but it is one place I really want to visit. You see the outer Island pictures and they are to die for.
You mentioned Grecian food, what typically is Grecian food?
The other thing I found fascinating was that Easter is more important than Christmas. If you celebrate both religious holidays, why the difference?
Thank you for an interesting post
Hey there Mark and thanks for your questions….
Greek food is largely a Mediterranean diet. The Greeks like to eat their meals with lots of fresh bread and oil, they have olives and feta cheese. They are also big meat eaters. Overall Greek food is considered very healthy as most dishes are served with vegetables and there is always a salad to go with it all. You can read more on Traditional Food In Greece here.
As for the Easter, it is a very important celebration in Greece. Christmas is of course important too, but you will see the evidence of this more on the mainland as opposed to the islands.
In Athens for example, you will see all the Christmas decorations in the streets and people out enjoying the festivities, whereas in Rhodes and some of the other islands it is very low key.
People tend to stay home with their families and there is little going on outside to enjoy. In the past I have been out on Christmas Day and struggled to find anything at all going on here.
When the Easter approaches though, this is a huge celebration, and the Greek people take it very seriously too. If it a nice tradition and they really pull out all the stops for this!
Thanks Mark, and if you need more feel free to get in touch!
Great stuff! I especially appreciate the links to food and family customs.
I am from the US, but I am living in France now (much closer to Greece!), so hopefully I can get down there and see for myself all the great things Greece has to offer.
In the US we have a lot of places which serve Gyros but I imagine they are not nearly as good as the authentic stuff from Greece!
Thanks again for sharing.
Hey there Justin and thanks for your input.
I have been lucky to visit the US too. I was in New York for a while as my Step Father was from a place called White Plains. Do you know it?
I have also been to France, but mostly just passing through. But I know it is a beautiful place, especially in the South.
Of course you are a lot closer to Greece now living where you live, so make sure you get over here to taste the Gyros. This way you can decide for yourself if the original is worth making the journey for 🙂
Greece has always been a country I have wanted to visit and plan on doing so in the near future.
The food is amazing, we have visited our local Greek Taverna on many occasions and every time we go we want to start planning a trip there.
Other than Athens where are the best places to visit?
What time of year is best to go? Is it too hot in the summer? Does it get really cold in winter?
Hi Craig and thanks for getting in touch 🙂
The Greek food really is amazing yes. I am from the UK originally before I decided to live here in Rhodes, and I also had a great Greek Taverna local to where I lived back in England.
I have to say though, that there is nothing like experiencing the Greek Cuisine while you are actually in Greece. It is simply beautiful and you can really taste the difference in quality.
As for the weather you ask about, and for the best time to visit, I have prepared some information for you on this. You can find it on The Climate Of Rhodes page.
I hope this helps you, but of course if you need more information just get in touch 🙂
Lots of excellent information, with great links to further detail.
Such a good resource for the culture and customs in Greece. Fascinated to read about the table manners and sharing plates, never knew that.
They come across as very sharing and inclusive as a culture, I am convinced some of this has to do with the weather!
You have hit the nail on the head there to be honest when you refer to the Greek people being sharing.
They are indeed very friendly and will welcome you with open arms. Sometimes if you are not used to it, you can feel like you are a free loader. They will offer you everything once you have a friendship.
It is the culture here, and the sharing of the food from the middle of the table is an example of this. It is the tip of the iceberg too, and a lot more comes with the friendships you create.
I always try to offer back though, even if it is not accepted, it is polite to show your appreciation by offering something back!
There is some great information here, I checked out all the links you put in the text. I myself are really interested in culture and food, I’ve been living in China for the past 6 years, and have many experiences with different customs and cultures.
I also see that there are similarities in Greek table maners and Chinese table maners, were both share food from plates at the table, and talk a lot! I have to say I prefer it this way, very friendly and open:)
I didn’t know much of customs and culture in Greece, and for me this was a good read. How is it with conversations with Greek people? Any questions that are rude to ask, that may be normal in other countries?
I will sure keep myself updated on your website!
Hi there Sondre and thanks so much for sharing your experiences here.
I have never been to China, and I will be honest it is not a place I ever had the urge to visit. I do not know why, as I hear only good things from it.
I had no idea they had the same cultures when it comes to eating and sharing the food from the middle of the table either, so I have also learned something today!
When it comes to talking with the Greek people they are quite friendly in all honesty. The conversations that take place vary widely in topics and I am happy to get involved with most of th