Six things not to say to a Greek - Advice for tourists

Six things not to say to a Greek - Advice for tourists

When visiting Greece it can be difficult for you to understand some of the cultural norms that you must follow during your stay in this beautiful country.

To help you avoid awkward conversations and awkward situations, here is a list of things you should avoid saying to a Greek. Welcome!", writes the website of the Greek diaspora in its publication.

This list of tips for tourists is as follows:  

Can I have a Turkish coffee?

“No, you can't. You really don't ever want to ask this question – not in a Greek's home or in a coffee shop. Two reasons: First, it's Greek coffee and they'll tell you the whole pre-history – so make sure you get comfortable! Second, you're in Greece – so again, it's Greek coffee!”, notes the publication and continues:

Which way is the ocean?

Greece is not in the ocean! We have the Mediterranean Sea and it is divided into other seas – the Ionian, the Aegean and the Cretan. If you have ever been to an island in the ocean, you know that there are huge waves. In Greece we are very proud of our beautiful, relatively calm blue seas, which are ideal for swimming, sailing and water sports.

Where is the Pantheon?

Wrong country. You mean the Parthenon. For the Greeks, history and antiquity are intertwined with culture and society. So before you come to Greece looking for the Pantheon – an ancient Roman building located in Rome – do a Google search!

Can you teach me to say something in Greek?

This is a bad question, as many Greeks have fun telling foreigners to try the almost impossible-to-pronounce, tongue-tied word that describes an ancient Greek holiday dish invented by Aristophanes. Go ahead, give it a try and see how you do! It is "Lepadotemachoselahogale craniolysanodrimipotrimmatosilphio tyromelitocatechymenokichlepicos syphophattopisteralectryonopte cephaliokiglopeliohagoosiraio vaftragalopterygona".

Here is my address, look for me if you come to my country

Don't say that unless you really mean it! If you give your address to a Greek it's pretty much a given that if he ever visits your country, he'll look you up. Greeks are known for their hospitality and after welcoming you to their country, or their island, or their village, they will assume that you wish to do the same.


The Greeks still call this city Constantinople. Nothing bad is going to happen to you if you call it Istanbul, but it is a really touchy subject for many Greeks for various reasons. Even in the news, journalists refer to Istanbul as Istanbul. Here's why: The city is not only deeply steeped in Greek history, but also because of its deep religious ties. Constantinople means "City of Constantine" and was named after the Byzantine emperor who established the city as the capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire. The Ottomans captured the city in 1453 and its name was officially changed to Istanbul at the beginning of the last century. Actually even that name means 'in the city' - meaning Istanbul - but that's a story for another day," the publication concludes.

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