As you prepare for an unforgettable adventure to the enchanting island of Milos in Greece, you have a to-do list: Dust off your camera to capture the awe-inspiring ruins and dazzling cliffside sunsets, find the perfect island-hopping outfits for stylish Instagram snaps in front of white-washed houses draped with bougainvillaea, and prepare yourself to come back a few pounds heavier from all the feta doused in olive oil that will indeed be eaten at many a quaint taverna.
Lower on the list of priorities may be picking up a few basic Greek phrases to converse with locals while you’re there.
While you’ll find that almost everyone speaks a basic level of English in the most popular tourist destinations (not as they say the French do), Greeks are a very friendly and social people, and they will love it if you can trade a bit of banter with them in their own language — even if they poke fun at you for trying. When they treat you to a free slice of halva cake or a shot of ouzo at the end of your meal, you’ll know you scored points for trying.
So read the guide and make some Greek fuss!
Basic Greek Words and Phrases:
Hello: Γειά σου (YAH-soo)
How are you?: Tι κανείς (tee-KAH-nis)?
Good morning: Καλημέρα (kah-lee-MER-ah)
You would say this greeting up until noon, and then for the rest of the day, you can use “Γειά σου” (YAH-soo) as the standard greeting.
Goodnight: Καληνύχτα (kah-lee-NEEKH-tah)
Say this when going to bed.
Thank you: Ευχαριστώ (eff-kha-ri-STOE)
Remember that a good tourist is a polite tourist.
Please/You’re welcome: Παρακαλώ (para-kah-LOE)
It’s polite to say “para-kah-LOE” after asking for directions or the price of something.
My name is…: Με λένε (may LEH-neh)…
See/Talk to you later: Τα λέμε (tah-LEH-meh)
You may hear people ending their conversations with this phrase as well.
Yes: Ναί (neh)
No: όχι (OH-hee)
Excuse me/Sorry: Συγνώμη (See-GHNO-mee)
Say this to get someone’s attention, ask to pass by someone, or apologize if you’ve bumped into someone.
Where is the bathroom?: Πού είναι η τουαλέτα (Poh-EE-nay ee tua-LEH-tah)?
Do you speak English?: Μιλάτε αγγλικά (Mee-LAH-teh ag-li-KAH)?
Cheers!: Στην υγειά μας! (STIN-eh YAH-mas)
This literally means “To our health!”
Bottoms up!: Ασπρο πάτο (AHS-pro PAH-toh)
Meaning literally “white bottom,” if you use this with a new Greek acquaintance, you’ll be sure to impress.
How much is it?: Πόσο κάνει αυτό (POH-soh KAH-nee af-TOH)?
I don’t understand: Δεν καταλαβαίνω (Then Kah-tah-lah-VEH-noh)
Help!: Βοήθεια (voh-EE-thee-yah)
I love Greece: Αγαπώ την Ελλάδα (Ah-gah-POH teen Eh-LAH-tha)
By taking the time to learn a few key phrases, you have navigated Milos confidently and opened doors to authentic connections and moments of shared understanding.
We hope you carry the spirit of Milos and its warm hospitality with you as you embark on future adventures, armed with a pocketful of Greek words and the memories of an incredible journey.