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Revision as of 11:48, 30 October 2023 by Mrmagicmax (talk | contribs) (Wild camping: pronouns, minor typos)
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Earth > Europe > Southern Europe > Balkans > Greece
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Flag of Greece Greece
Language: Greek
Capital: Athens
Population: 11,216,708
Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
Hitchability: <rating country='gr' />
Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots or BeWelcome
<map lat='39.8' lng='21.47' zoom='6' view='0' float='right' />

Greece is a country in Southern Europe, bordering Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. It is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement.

Hitchhiker Jass thumbing in Greece, June 2008. His hips have seemingly turned inside out.

Hitchhiking in Greece can vary between very slow and very fast.

A few useful Greece-particular tips to make it faster:

1. Signs are usually very helpful. Write the closest reasonably big town - not road numbers and not a faraway destination. The Greeks generally will take your sign very literally and won't stop if they're not going that far, even if it's the same direction. Write the signs in both Greek and English.

2. Local roads during daytime can be very fast and hitched without a sign. After dark people won't be going far and many of them won't stop.

3. Motorways - Sliproads, ramps etc generally don't work well (unless you're in a big city and many cars are taking the road you need). If there's a motorway, the best (though not safest) option will be to stand on it. Officially it's illegal, and some hitchhikers have been asked to move by the police, while others have had no problems at all. It's better to stay away from tollbooths, bridges and tunnels, since you might be seen by people or by cameras. Safety-wise, there is usually room to stop, and sometimes you can walk on the external side of the fence until you get to a good point.

  • Petrol stations are very small and rare on motorways, so hitchhiking from one to another is not a good option. Better stay on the motorway itself.

4. Locals can give very good hitchhiking advice (locations, routes, and sometimes they'll even find the next ride for you). Make sure they understand that you're hitchhiking all the way (not just to a bus station) and tell them where you want to be today. They might be able to help!

Many Greeks seem to be afraid of immigrants. It's best not to ask too much about it as something close to racism and prejudice comes out. Greeks who have lived abroad or have travelled around seem to be much more open to picking up hitch-hikers, as are foreign tourists.

Because there are few motorways in Greece, the national roads become great havens of locals and long distance drivers pouring in from the south east to west and vice versa, up into the north. Also, tolls have increased as of recently, making motorways less attractive for long distance drivers. Greek drivers will never directly ask for money. In very few cases, some might say they don't have enough to pay the tolls, or that they have not enough petrol to arrive to their destination and no money to buy more.

You can cross the border by foot! (If youre crossing border to Turkey between Alexandroupoli and Tekirdag it´s not possible to go by foot. Between greek and turkish border there is a bridge and soldiers will tell you that you have to go by car on this bridge of course because of national security).

It would be smart not to mention "Macedonia" as a country. Greeks call "Macedonia" the northern part of Greece. If you're going to North Macedonia, and want to avoid the political conversation, just say that you're going to North Macedonia or Skopje

Map of licence plates.

In summer it can get very hot in Greece, so be careful that you don't get sunburned and carry plenty of water with you. It is also wise to have a large cardboard sign which you can use as makeshift umbrella while you're waiting for cars.

Wild camping

Wild camping in Greece is forbidden by law, however a lot of people (even locals) do it. It's very easy. If you camp next to hotels, organized campgrounds or other kind of tourist accommodation, their owner can call the police. Police may fine you (150 euro) during the summer months (July and August especially), so it's best to ask other wild campers when you arrive at a beach. But generally, if you are good in hiding yourself from other's eyes there will be no problems.

However Greece has corrupted and lazy police (and a whole system in general) so don't be really scared if someone threatens you calling a police. Even if he do so, normally police is very slow and will arrive to the place in 1-3 hours, so you will have your time to change your location avoiding the problems. The same trick works with every random greek person who is threatening you - they will do nothing, so just ignore them. NB! That trick doesn't work with firefighters who are really fast due to the frequent forest fires in Greece. Campfires are strictly forbidden in Greece (so better to have a burner with you; gas bottles are cheap there) and they can fine you. Canonically greek firefighters don't speak English, so if you pretend to be a foreigner it can save you from fine.

Compared with the other Mediterranean EU countries, there are still a lot of of beaches where you can camp for free and without police problems. You can camp freely anywhere in the mountains, valleys, hills, river beds etc. Nobody is going to chase you off.


Getting away

You can get a ferries from Igoumenitsa or Patra. A lot of trucks going through Igoumenitsa. Ferries are expensive and time consuming, but there is a shower and you can sleep on the deck. Crossing in the truck cab - dangerous and illegal. There are discounts for students. If you are under 25 - ask for a discount!

Personal Experiences

August 2016 - I was just crossing Greece from Bulgaria to Turkey and I expected easy way but it was totally different. I spent there about 4 days hitch-hiking full of depressions. Greeks just didn't stop and waiting time about 3 hours wasn't anything special. For me it was the worst hitch-hiking country ever. For me Greece was even worse than Italy or Spain! (Local's answer : There's a big wave of refugees since the war in Syria and people are scared. A driver could be detained for trafficking, if he's carrying passengers who entered Greece illegally. If you try NOT to look like a refugee and speak to people in gas stations, East Macedonia + Thraki could be crossed in less than 48h).

Early September 2018 - Hitchhiking to Athens seems to be extremely easy. In fact we only needed one car all the way from Thessaloniki and even on the way back people were offering us rides to Athens on gas stations and certain points. Hitchhiking north however is an absolute nightmare! Barely anyone outside the bigger cities speaks even elementary English and it seems some pretend not to as to avoid conflict. The national road not only has an exit to every village (which means people go 5km ahead like on local roads) but it's also illegal to be on it. We got displaced by the yellow inquisition multiple times for walking or hitchhiking on it so if you're not the entrance you've got high chances you'll get to meet them too. The police doesn't seem to care but these guys are ruthless. Local roads are sometimes way easier to hitchhike (From Kastro to Tragana you have a good chance to ride in the back of a pick up truck) often with nicer people but their layout is a bit nonsensical, and drinkable water isn't a standard in a big part of Greece. Overall it's not an easy journey (at least in the southern and central parts) but definitely a fun challenge! SO if you're looking to test your willpower and strength, this is the way to go! If you're looking for speed on the other hand and are going north of Athens I recommend not settling for cars that will take you to villages/smaller towns. It might seem like it's taking longer but a single truck driver is way better than spending 2 days on some national road entrances in the middle of nowhere.

November 2018 - hitched from Kulata (Bulgaria-Greece border) to Thessaloniki then to Evia (Island E of Athens) solo male. Hard getting lifts, parent generation of Greeks very friendly once you've had a conversation with them; one family gave me a cornucopian meal, bought me a pack of cigarettes gave me some wine and paid for my ferry ticket. But was after 3 days of being stuck trying to hitch out of Larissa. Hitchiking from Meteora to Albanian border very hard. Getting rides on islands is easier.

Nomadwiki & Trashwiki

Check Nomadwiki for info on accommodation, showers etc. or Trashwiki for dumpsters...and share your wisdom :)