Dating in Greece can be an appealing concept whether you have recently moved to the country or you are just travelling through. Greeks, and Southern Europeans generally, are warm, friendly, passionate people.
Better still, dating in Greece allows you a glimpse into the culture and lifestyle that the average tourist will not get. You will have a partner on hand to tell you about all the best places to eat, drink, and hang out, you will get to experience family celebrations, weddings, and home cooking.
Physical appearances absolutely are not everything but Greeks, on the whole, are a very attractive group of people. The men fall into the ¨tall, dark and handsome¨ category, and the women are beautiful and exotic with dark features.
Dating in Greece
Dating in Greece has both its differences and its similarities to dating in other countries. First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge that although Greece is a European country, it is a lot more traditional than other countries like, for instance, the United Kingdom, the United States, or parts of Western Europe.
Dating someone from another country and culture to your own can be both exciting and stressful on occasion. You will enjoy learning about each other’s differences and traditions but at the same time, you may come across instances where you have very different cultural norms and expectations.
Tinder in Greece
Tinder in Greece does exist. You will find a lot of tourists, international ex-pats, and locals floating around on the app.
There are certainly those people that use apps like Tinder or Bumble in Greece and are able to turn their connection into a meaningful, lasting relationship. However, for the most part, these are widely regarded as hookup apps.
In western countries, while there are certainly those that use these apps that are looking for a short-lived fling, there are also a lot looking for relationships. This is less of the case in Greece.
That is not to say that is impossible, but just to manage your expectations. Dating in Greece is in some ways, more traditional than in the west.
As in, it is still very common to meet people ¨the old fashioned way” in real life. It is common to meet prospective partners through mutual friends while out at bars or tavernas.
Internet dating is still a relatively new concept. It is also worth noting that Instagram is often used as if it is a dating app in Greece, particularly by men.
If you are a female traveller visiting Greece, don’t be surprised if men start finding you and messaging you via location geotags and hashtags. Greeks will often use Instagram in a similar way to Tinder, start following people that they find interesting or attractive, and reach out via direct messages.
Going on Dates in Greece
Going on dates in Greece is much like going on dates anywhere else in the world. Your date may suggest going out for coffee, grabbing dinner or drinks at a bar, or taking a romantic stroll through Athens.
Greeks are very proud and patriotic people that always want to show foreigners the beauty of their country. Your date may suggest taking you on a trip/excursion somewhere to see something wonderful that the tourists do not see.
It would be impossible to generalise what an entire demographic of people are like. When you think of people from your own country as an example, you probably encounter people that act one certain way, and people that act another.
The same is true in Greece. If you are female for example, you may go on dates with Greek men that are very gentlemanly, open doors for you, pull out your chair, and insist on paying the bill.
Others may not do so and splitting the bill is fairly common in Greece. Take everyone as an individual and try not to let any preconceived notions or stereotypes get in your mind too much.
Be Mindful of Xenophobia
Greek men are offered enamored with foreign women. If you are from elsewhere, you are considered exotic. This is probably the case in a lot of countries around the world,
Similarly, a lot of people are very direct and are not shy about wandering up to women on the street, at the beach, in coffee shops, etc. However, whether they view you as a person to have an actual relationship with is another thing.
A lot of Greeks will be open to having fun with a foreigner but will be absolutely certain that they want to settle down with a Greek. Many people have the importance of being with their ¨own kind¨ drilled into them from a very early age.
What’s more, you will find that their parents and grandparents will not approve of a serious relationship with a non-Greek. Younger generations are becoming more open-minded and this xenophobia is certainly not true of every Greek person, but it is important to know that this does happen.
Sometimes, you may find a partner whom you see a future with, only to be met with an explanation that that absolutely is not possible because you are not Greek. Even if your partner is happy with your intercultural partnership, trying to win the approval of their family may cause headaches and upset.
Different Attitudes to Dating
Modern dating in the western world can be a nightmare for a lot of people. You date a couple of people that you meet on Tinder or other similar apps and sometimes, you may find someone that you genuinely like.
However, until you have the ¨are we exclusive?¨ conversation, everything is fair game. So you will often find that everyone is dating multiple people so as to keep their options open and protect themselves from getting hurt.
Of course, there are players and casanovas in every country and in Greece that is no different. But generally, attitudes to dating are a little more old-fashioned and when you are dating someone, they focus their energy and attention on you.
There are no games, people will be honest if they are interested in you, and most people do not date multiple people at once. This can be quite refreshing. If it doesn’t work out, you can go your separate ways and move on but there is less concern about trying to protect your heart and not catch feelings when dating in Greece.
What is it Like Dating a Greek?
Most Greeks are very sociable people and the warm, sunny climate and welcoming Mediterranean culture contribute to that. Venture through any Athenian neighbourhood on a random weeknight – from the Mets to Koukaki, and you will find that all of the tavernas, coffee shops, and bars are jam-packed full of locals chatting with their friends.
Greeks work hard but they also play hard and there is absolutely no sense of only living for the weekend here. You might find that your partner always keeps busy with friends, family, coworkers, etc.
As far as most Greeks are concerned, free time is not to be spent curled up on the sofa watching TV every night after work. One of the most common Greek pastimes is going for coffee.
You will find that coffee shops are situated on virtually every street corner here and they are always full! Greeks will meet their friends for a Freddo espresso (espresso poured over ice) or a Freddo cappuccino (espresso poured over ice with the addition of foamed milk).
They will then sit, cradling the same cup of coffee for hours and hours as they catch up on what is happening in each other’s lives. If you are invited to meet a Greek person’s friends and family, you know that they are genuinely interested.
There are stereotypes that Greeks are jealous of their partners. However, it all depends on the individual and you should reserve assumptions before you get to know the person you are dating in Greece.
Gender Roles in Greece
Greece is a very patriarchal country. Dating in Greece can be a very different experience depending on whether you are a straight woman looking to date a Greek man, a straight man looking to date a Greek woman, or a member of the LGBTQI+ community. We will discuss the differences here.
Dating in Greece as a Straight Woman
According to a 2019 Gender Equality study by EIGE, Greece ranked as being one of the worst countries in Europe for gender equality. It received just 51.2 points out of a possible 100 and little progress has been made in recent years.
It is important to note that a lot of Greeks still believe in the importance of traditional gender roles – the man is the main breadwinner and things like cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry are all womens work. Today, it is common for both men and women to work.
The ever-increasing cost of living in Greece means that two incomes are necessary. However, this is less common in rural areas where just 30% of women work and many will dedicate their lives to being full-time housewives.
It is important to be aware that some people in Greece still have outdated views – especially the older generations. Younger generations are more open-minded but a lot of men still expect certain behaviours from their partners.
Women raised in more liberal countries like the UK and the USA may find the expectations shocking. Never compromise on your core values to please someone else. When you are dating in Greece, it can be tricky to know someone’s stance on this sort of thing at first.
Offensive Stereotypes of Western Women in Greece
Keep in mind also, that some Greek men have downright disrespectful views of western women as being promiscuous. It is not unheard of to be approached in an extremely forward, sexual, and vulgar way.
There is often the assumption that British and American women are easy, particularly the former, as some parts of Greece are often filled with drunken Brits during the summer. Taking offense can be met with shock as some individuals really do believe that western girls will be up for anything, at any time. This says more about their character than it does about yours.
Dating in Greece as a Straight Man
Straight international men may find that there are fewer culture shocks when dating in Greece. Why?
A lot of Greek women brought up in the patriarchy are raised in a culture where they are constantly pandering to the needs of men. A lot of Greek men essentially go from being cared for by their mothers to being cared for by their partners and not all of them are appreciative.
The Greek woman – international man pairing can work quite well. For a Greek woman, it can be a welcome change not to have a partner that expects his dinner to be on the table and his laundry to be washed and folded when he comes home.
For a Greek woman, raised around women that are true homemakers, it is nice to know that should she choose to do this, it will be more appreciated. Meanwhile, the international man is delighted to be treated to sumptuous Greek foods and pastries occasionally.
Greek women are beautiful, take pride in their appearances, and have strong family values. If you are a man hoping to meet a Greek lady while dating in Greece, know that Greek women are by no means easy, have a lot of self respect, and value meaningful connections.
Dating in Greece as an LGBTQI+
Greece is not the most LGBTQI+ friendly country but things are improving, slowly but surely, year on year. Unfortunately, because the country is very conservative, many older people are very religious, and many people are focused on outward appearances.
More people are likely to remain in the closet here and it is a sad commonality that a lot of Greek parents disown their children if they come out as gay/lesbian/bisexual. Oftentimes, people will hide their sexuality and have an opposite-gender partner as a cover.
Yes, this happens in other countries too, but not as to the extent as it does in Greece. Greece’s machismo culture often means that people may make derogatory comments about the community.
Tinder, Grindr, and lesbian dating apps like her can be used in Greece. Greece is essentially a land of contrasts when it comes to the LGBTQI+ scene because although the mainland can be quite conservative in this regard, some of the islands are the biggest international hotspots on the LGBTQI+ scene.
Mykonos and Skiathos in particular are very gay-friendly destinations. If you happen to be in Mykonos between the 17th and 24th of August, you can attend XLSIOR, one of the world’s biggest gay dance parties. Both islands, as well as several others around the Cyclades, are home to several gay hotels.
Beware the Kamaki
Kamaki is something of an outdated term to address Greek men that would pursue tourist girls on vacation in Greece. It was mostly used during the 1970s and 80s when tourists from the UK, Sweden, and other parts of Europe started travelling to Greece en masse.
Kamaki means the act of harpooning a fish with a spear and was used as a metaphor for these men hunting these girls. Still, although the term is no longer used and seems outdated, this still happens in tourist areas.
If you go on vacation to popular Greek islands like Zakynthos, Skiathos town, Corfu, Crete, Santorini, etc, you will find that a lot of Greek men are very taken with foreign women. The problem?
A lot of them have local girlfriends whom they routinely cheat on when the season rolls around. There is such a consistent stream of attractive international tourist girls visiting some parts of Greece that it is very important not to be naive if you are female and happen to meet a handsome, charming local.
If something seems too good to be true, generally speaking, it is. The same could be said of dating anywhere, not just dating in Greece.
Your exotic Mediterranean lover may be the summer romance you have always dreamt of but for him, you might be one of several over the course of the summer. He most likely has a girlfriend back in Athens. Proceed with caution.
Religion in Greece
Most Greeks follow the Orthodox faith. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is ultra-religious.
A lot of younger generational Greeks may only attend church for notable occasions such as Christmas, Easter, and ascension day. They may be baptised and want their future children to be baptised in the same way but they do not attend church every Sunday or consider themselves devout Orthodox people.
Greeks may be willing to date and hang out with people of different backgrounds and religions. However, if it comes to discussing the possibility of marriage or having children, they may want you to consider converting to the Orthodox faith. It is just something to keep in mind.
Do you have any additional questions about dating in Greece or suggestions that you would like to add? Feel free to reach out via the comments below!
Safe travels! Geia sou xo