Do People In Greece Speak English?

English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, likely due to British influence over the last few centuries. However, it is not the most widely spoken language in the world.

Many countries, especially in Europe do speak English along with their native language – and yes, Greece is one of them. In fact, recent statistics show that over half of the population in Greece speak English.

Of course though, there’s going to be lots more you’ll want to know about the use of English in Greece. Luckily, we’ve written this handy guide for you to know everything about it.

So, if you’re wondering about the use of English in Greece – read on and learn a lot more! 

Greece And English

Greece is one of the most visited countries in the world for vacation goers. They have millions of tourists head there every year. In fact, in 2018, it was reported that over 30 million vacation goers flocked to Greece. 

Of course, many of these tourists would have been English speakers. However, many people who have not visited Greece may be asking how easy it is to get around without knowing Greek. 

Well, Greece has one of the highest proportions of English speakers in European countries, especially in areas like Athens and Crete. 

However, if you head to more rural areas or less frequented tourist destinations, having some knowledge of the Greek language will certainly help you out. 

Recent statistics indicate that around 51 percent of the population of Greece can speak English, which is higher than countries like Italy or Spain (Check out How Far Is Spain From Italy?) – but not quite so prevalent as it is in Germany.

Can I Just Speak English In Greece?

If you’re planning a vacation to Greece and questioning if you’ll be able to get around without any knowledge of the Greek language, then yes – you should be okay just speaking English (You might also want to check out How Far Is Greece From Italy?). 

As we mentioned however, if you’re going to areas that aren’t as tourist-heavy, then having even a basic knowledge of Greek will definitely come in handy. 

But places that are frequented regularly by tourists like Athens, Zakynthos and Crete are very knowledgeable of the English language – so it’s fine just to speak English. 

The Greek schooling system has begun teaching children English much younger now than they used to, so if you meet someone under the age of about 40, you’re likely to be able to converse in English – even if this is at a basic level. 

This even moves onto things like road signs, attraction advice and guidelines printed around areas in Greece. 

Generally speaking, it’s very rare that English speakers have a problem with a language barrier in Greece and it’s unlikely that you’ll have trouble finding someone who can speak English nearby. 

However, it’s always good practice to learn some basic Greek. Not only will this allow you to integrate and immerse yourself a little better, but you might be able to read things on menus or signs more quickly. 

It will also help you if you do find yourself in an area that isn’t so fluent in English. So, we would still recommend that you learn the basic phrases like please, thank you etc. 

English In Major Tourist Areas In Greece

English In Major Tourist Areas In Greece

You may be wondering about the prominence of English in the major tourist areas in Greece, especially if you’re planning a vacation soon. 

We’ve covered the main tourist areas below with their usage of English. 


The capital city of Greece is of course a huge tourist destination. It’s covered in ancient history, culture and beautiful landscapes. 

Due to the huge number of tourists that frequent the city every year, it’s very easy to get around with English. 

In fact, some people even move to Athens to retire or emigrate and have little to no problems with communication with the locals. 


Another huge area where English is widely spoken due to tourists. You really won’t have much trouble conversing in English if you go to this popular destination.


Rhodes has become increasingly more popular with tourists – and the locals have not only become very talented with their use of English, but they even understand slang terms used by American and British tourists.


Similar to Zakynthos, Crete is popular among tourists and as a result, English is a very widely spoken language. You’ll be fine just speaking English here. 


English is widely spoken in Corfu and is much more prominent in areas like Perama and Bentises. You’ll find though that the locals will absolutely be delighted if you can speak some Greek words and phrases – so it’s well worth learning a few! 

What If I Want To Live In Greece?

As we said earlier, places like Athens have many people that decide to move permanently or for a very long time. As a result, you might wonder if you’ll need to learn Greek as well as speaking English to get around. 

Well, generally speaking you probably won’t need to become fluent in Greek due to the huge numbers of people that already speak English – and that number continues to grow. 

However, learning some basic Greek will always be good for you if you want to really live in Greece for the rest of your life. 

This will help you to integrate with the locals much easier, and you will find the language useful in some areas that aren’t as English-heavy. 

If you want a general rule, then it’s recommended that you learn basic Greek and maybe take it further once you’ve settled into Greece over time. 

Remember that most people 40 and under would have learned English at school, so you should be okay if you’re around this age demographic. 

The Bottom Line

Yes, English is widely spoken in Greece – but if you want to really integrate and make friends, it’s worth learning some Greek before your trip!

Andrea Arthur