Greece’s (Unfair?) Reputation For Bad Service

Greece’s (Unfair?) Reputation For Bad Service

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I’m just wrapping up a lengthy trip to Greece. I’ve been to Greece several times, and I think it might just be my favorite country in the world to travel to in the summer, thanks primarily to the incredible scenery, climate, and food. In this post I wanted to address what I consider to be a common misconception about traveling to Greece. I’m curious if OMAAT readers agree or disagree.

Greece has a reputation for bad service

Greece has long had a reputation in many circles for bad service. I’ve heard things like “you don’t go to Greece for the service,” or “well, it’s Greece, what do you expect?” I’ve seen this mentioned several times in my recent series about the horrible customer service experience I had at the Aegon Mykonos.

On balance, that doesn’t reflect my experience, so I wanted to share my take on that. Personally I find service in Greece to range from quite bad to spectacular. I’ll take it a step further — I can’t think of another country where there’s such a huge spectrum of service quality. I’ve had both some of my worst and best customer service experiences and general interactions in Greece.

Yes, in Greece it’s not unusual for service to be disorganized and indifferent. Your ferry is canceled the day before you’re supposed to travel, with no good alternatives? That’s just normal. Your ferry actually departs on time, but then arrives two hours late with no explanation? Also kind of expected.

Ferries in Greece are… not amazing

You go to a restaurant and have to ask five times for the same thing? That’s also pretty normal. But then there are also situations where the exact opposite is true.

Service in Greece can be wildly inconsistent

Greece has some truly spectacular service

Reader John left an interesting comment on one of the posts about the Aegon Mykonos:

Yes the hotel staff were horrible, Ben. But the real underlying point is that while Greece is a good tourist country, it sorely lacks a hospitable culture for ‘paying’ guests in service sectors (e.g. hotels, airlines, shops). It’s just not in their culture for Greeks to be nice and pleasant at ‘service’. But outside of work, the hospitality is better in home settings if you happen to be a friend or social guest. This is hard for many to admit, especially if you’re Greek (and I can fully understand why), but it is the uncomfortable truth that must be acknowledged.

I think there’s some truth to this. It is generally in Greek peoples’ nature to be hospitable and welcoming. I can attest to this hospitality firsthand — Ford has quite a few Greek friends, and over the years we’ve been invited to their homes, and they’ve consistently been beyond generous and welcoming.

While that doesn’t always translate in a transactional or commercial setting, I’ve also had some of the best customer service in the world in Greece. Let me just give a few examples.

In Santorini we stayed at Canaves Oia Epitome (which we booked with World of Hyatt points, thanks to Hyatt’s SLH partnership), and it was absolutely incredible, and probably one of my 10 favorite hotels in the world (which is saying a lot). What stood out more than anything was the service. It was simply perfect, and then some. For one, it was attentive, and no request was ever forgotten. But beyond that, there was a genuine warmth to the staff that you simply can’t “train.”

Sunset at Canaves Oia Epitome

For example, two of the ladies working in the restaurant — Konstanina and Evi — were some of the loveliest people I’ve come across. I asked Konstanina where she was from, and when she described the town, I said “wow, that sounds amazing, I really want to visit some day, are there places to stay there?” Her response? “There are, but save your money, you can just stay with me.”

Similarly, when we left the Aegon Mykonos, we decided to check into Katikies Mykonos, where paid rates were actually lower than at the Aegon. The service was flawless — kind, detail-oriented, proactive, and lovely. At check-in we were told that the hotel tries to treat guests like royalty, and there were actions to back that up.

The beautiful Katikies Mykonos

It’s not just luxury hotels where service has been great. For example, we know of an awesome taxi company in Mykonos (which Ford found out about through local friends), and they’re beyond professional. They’re on-time, have nice cars (typically Mercedes vans), are friendly, and they basically charge the same price as regular taxis. We exclusively use them in Mykonos.

A couple of days ago we were on our second ride of the day with them (with a different driver than on the first ride), and the driver said “my boss said that we accidentally overcharged you by 5EUR on the last ride, so I will deduct that with this ride, and take off a further 5EUR for the inconvenience.” We hadn’t even realized we were overcharged.

What’s the moral of the story?

Service in Greece is never going to be as consistently polished as in a country like Japan or Thailand, for example. While many know Greece for not having great service, I also find the polar opposite to be true — service in Greece can be exceptional.

The Greek culture is inherently hospitable and generous, though typically more among friends, rather than in a transactional setting. However, there are many businesses that manage to bring this kind of hospitality to life.

Greece is one of countries where you can go from having an absolutely awful service experience, to having one of the best service experiences of your life. And perhaps that’s all the more reason to choose your hotels and other service providers more carefully.

To those who have traveled to Greece, what has your experience with service been like?

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  1. Marek Lagger

    I liked the trip to Zakynthos because of the environment but its shame that people we asked even from different hotels had a very mixed experience. One hotel had problem with smell, other with soundproofing, food. The food was really tragic, it was on similar level as I can remember the school food in postcommunism. I was really trying to choose based on reviews but it just wasnt possible as each hotel had its own...

    I liked the trip to Zakynthos because of the environment but its shame that people we asked even from different hotels had a very mixed experience. One hotel had problem with smell, other with soundproofing, food. The food was really tragic, it was on similar level as I can remember the school food in postcommunism. I was really trying to choose based on reviews but it just wasnt possible as each hotel had its own serious issues. Very mixed feelings. I think Greece has much to offer and I would rather go there again but I feel like they are just not really trying.

  2. Milton

    Been in Greece for 6 weeks now traveling throughout the country. There’s probably a few countries where you love the country and get really irritated at the inhabitants sometime. Greece is a strong top 3 of them.

    The central aspect to them is that they are some of the most self centered people living in a pretty crowded country. Very little sense of civil acknowledgment of other people, except maybe other Greeks that they’re...

    Been in Greece for 6 weeks now traveling throughout the country. There’s probably a few countries where you love the country and get really irritated at the inhabitants sometime. Greece is a strong top 3 of them.

    The central aspect to them is that they are some of the most self centered people living in a pretty crowded country. Very little sense of civil acknowledgment of other people, except maybe other Greeks that they’re familiar with. When it comes to each other I guess they’ve grown used to not having any civility. This applies to nearly everything, from driving, laws, commerce, dining, lodging, transport, etc.

    For us foreign visitors we might as well be walking pinatas to be smashed as fast as possible. As an solo Asian traveler I have experienced some of the most obvious overt racism in terms of treatment.

    On this trip I was also in Romania and Bulgaria. Romanians are a bit cold and standoffish but they remain polite and get what you need done. Bulgarians are mean and loud but they are super helpful if you have any questions. I feel like Greeks will literally stab you if they could without consequences. It’s been tough visiting such a beautiful country and dealing with its people, whether in the tourism industry or just normal Greeks.

    I’ve felt like this in China as well, but I’ve found they’re literally just ignorant of expectations. Greeks most certainly are not ignorant of this, they just literally don’t give a shit.

  3. Richard B Layman

    I booked a room with Nissos Thera in Fira, Greece about two weeks ago. Six nights cost me over €800. I have since been exposed to COVID. I am currently in isolation per the Ministry. I sent the property a plea to charge my cancellations fee, but to give ANY possible refund. The property returned with, "We are trying to do our best to be as flexible as possible during these times." Only to say,...

    I booked a room with Nissos Thera in Fira, Greece about two weeks ago. Six nights cost me over €800. I have since been exposed to COVID. I am currently in isolation per the Ministry. I sent the property a plea to charge my cancellations fee, but to give ANY possible refund. The property returned with, "We are trying to do our best to be as flexible as possible during these times." Only to say, you will be charged for the full 6 night reservation. I would never book with someone who is only after your money. Shame on them. May immediate Karma hit them hard :(

  4. touchmeduza

    I'm currently staying in Chania, being in Greece for the first time and my first but also second and third impression was that the service is great, hospitality, politeness, professionalism of the staff at our hotel, restaurants, beach bars, car rental company and even petrol station were were really great. Today is our only sixth day here so we haven't yet had chance to try out other services like ferry rides etc. but so far...

    I'm currently staying in Chania, being in Greece for the first time and my first but also second and third impression was that the service is great, hospitality, politeness, professionalism of the staff at our hotel, restaurants, beach bars, car rental company and even petrol station were were really great. Today is our only sixth day here so we haven't yet had chance to try out other services like ferry rides etc. but so far we're very happy being here. And I'm not talking luxury hotels and restaurants here, our hotel is only ⭐⭐

  5. Craig

    I love wven Americans always compare service from Europe to USA.
    You can't...so different...and not in same bakl park...it would be like comparing currencies. Europe service is so different...usually better..we are in Germany and in Austria a ton. So we have higher expectations...
    Its funny when i see americans make posts...the waiter never came to us for an hour.... It is bc tjey lwave you alone w your friend or family... We just...

    I love wven Americans always compare service from Europe to USA.
    You can't...so different...and not in same bakl park...it would be like comparing currencies. Europe service is so different...usually better..we are in Germany and in Austria a ton. So we have higher expectations...
    Its funny when i see americans make posts...the waiter never came to us for an hour.... It is bc tjey lwave you alone w your friend or family... We just raise our hand and they come to help...or bribg the check.
    My #1 pet peve w American...and kills me..is when the waiter brings the bill and I am not done eating

  6. Terry

    This is silly. You don't go to Greece expecting 5 star service...and shouldn't. I've been there a lot and think it enough that since joining the EU Hotels now clean rooms and change bedding after every guest. In the goid old days that wasn't expected....we brought our own sheets and towels. Of course, now that hotels charge way more, more is expected, but better to forget about it, have patiece, bring your own bedding.

  7. Ron Mexico

    Although I accept your sentiment of Greece, it’s my favorite destination in the world for many of the reasons you mention. Mykonos—is not Greece. Get off the beaten path. Cheers.

  8. Anastasia Xanthopoulou

    Being a seasoned traveller and a Greek myself I would like to put my two cents in. This article is spot on. Perfect. For those of you who are considering travel to Greece and see yourselves as 'me the client versus them as in service', my advice is stay away. Go to Thailand being served immediately, politely and efficiently is what you are aiming for. Greece and its people are varied and colourful. Whether someone...

    Being a seasoned traveller and a Greek myself I would like to put my two cents in. This article is spot on. Perfect. For those of you who are considering travel to Greece and see yourselves as 'me the client versus them as in service', my advice is stay away. Go to Thailand being served immediately, politely and efficiently is what you are aiming for. Greece and its people are varied and colourful. Whether someone is from the Peloponnese, the Ionian islands, Crete, Thessaloniki, or Ioannina, plays a very distict role as to how they will act, what service they will be able to provide. Please note that there is also a distinct difference with those offspring from the expelled Greeks of Asia Minor and the Black Sea and the rest. Combine that with the type of education, and exposure to the outside world they have had and you have a mish mash of Greeks and resulting quality of service. Greeks are as varied as the terrain of the country, from completely dry arid to lush green. Bottom line, while visiting my magnificent country and you want to actually experience it you need to focus on the fact that there is a human being behind that tray whose life experience does not automatically turn off because she/he is providing you with a service. Keep in mind that by nature Greeks are generally very, very proud, and 400 years of Ottoman occupation are labelled as 'the years of slavery' and they 'eleftheria i thanatos' which means 'freedom or death' is represented in the national flag. Why does that matter? Well connect that to the education and origin part I talked about earlier and you may realize that the 'service industry' can range from the best to the worst because it is composed of people who want or need to be seen as individuals who choose to serve you for a reason. The friendlier ones have a combo of backgrounds and need to be seen as individuals. Most tourist will say that they don't care about any of this, they want to get what they order on time and served with a faceless smile, that's all. Well then good luck to you because Greece will always be a gamble for you.
    As for Italy, news flash tourists, they are pretty similar to Greeks in many ways. Italian's and the country are absolutely amazing. Again, to get the full service you need to 'see' the people.
    As far as the Americans and tipping commentary, if you are happy with the service you tip, that's why these people are serving you, they are not in this line of work because of vocation. If you see and treat them as 'the service' they see you as 'the tip'.

  9. Sean Furlong

    I'm leaving for Santorini tomorrow. This is my 5th trip in 6 years. I'm going again in August. Greece is my favorite destination BECAUSE of the service and people.

    With the exception of tomorrow's trip, I always travel with my disabled mother. I travel a lot domestically and internationally. I have never been anywhere, states included, more accommodating than Greece.

    I think the difference is the type of travel being discussed here. I don't...

    I'm leaving for Santorini tomorrow. This is my 5th trip in 6 years. I'm going again in August. Greece is my favorite destination BECAUSE of the service and people.

    With the exception of tomorrow's trip, I always travel with my disabled mother. I travel a lot domestically and internationally. I have never been anywhere, states included, more accommodating than Greece.

    I think the difference is the type of travel being discussed here. I don't stay on the party, fancy, side of Santorini. I stay in the more quiet Perissa side. Our main hang out is Meltemi Lounge. I still talk to local friends I made there from my very first trip. From day one, we were treated like family.

    We treat them like family because that's how we feel.

    If I wanted some version of US service and accommodations, in another country, I'd go to Cancun or the Capitol hotel in Tokyo.

    I guess I think if you're looking for fancy, elite, vacations, pick your Greek hotels carefully. If you want a relaxing, beautiful trip, where you can hang out with locals and friendly travelers, try Perissa, Santorini. Do not expect the Four Seasons. Do expect a slow shower drain.

  10. Ellinas

    As a Greek I agree.

    Even as Greeks we get treated poorly in these tourist places, and sometimes not even there but just retail stores etc, during every day errands (though Im sure many other countries have the issue of bitter employees)

    We have a saying here that roughly translates to "the only thing they didnt do is hit (punch) me!"

    Its an expression used often with particularly bad staff, which implies the service and...

    As a Greek I agree.

    Even as Greeks we get treated poorly in these tourist places, and sometimes not even there but just retail stores etc, during every day errands (though Im sure many other countries have the issue of bitter employees)

    We have a saying here that roughly translates to "the only thing they didnt do is hit (punch) me!"

    Its an expression used often with particularly bad staff, which implies the service and tone was so bad, the only way it could have been worse was if the customer was punched.

    This is because Greeks just generally are poor at accepting the idea of customer service or service in general when it comes to work.

    On the other hand you can meet someone for the first time and they will lend you their island summer home for a week and arrange for you to go to the best local tavernas.

  11. Neil

    I live on corfu Greece, service is getting worse and prices getting higher, can't wait sell up now and get out of here.

  12. Mike

    Americans seriously need to stop this tipping nonsense. Complete Stupidity. Does Americans realize that people in those countrieds that doesnt have tipping culture actually laugh behind your back when you tip? Americans tip because they dont wanna feel "cheap". Complete nonsense. Everyone does perfectly fine without tipping. Maybe if employers in US pay their staffs properly this notion of tipping will die out. There are many restaurants in US that does away with tipping now....

    Americans seriously need to stop this tipping nonsense. Complete Stupidity. Does Americans realize that people in those countrieds that doesnt have tipping culture actually laugh behind your back when you tip? Americans tip because they dont wanna feel "cheap". Complete nonsense. Everyone does perfectly fine without tipping. Maybe if employers in US pay their staffs properly this notion of tipping will die out. There are many restaurants in US that does away with tipping now.

    Ben, saying sometimes service is good and sometimes its bad is just horrible thing to accept as a standard. There is nobody in this world that will accept their business to be sometimes good. Sometimes bad. If thats the case that service/business is just plainly bad. Good service is consistently good with maybe errors on rare occasions. For someone that travels so much you shouldnt post things like this. This is pretty much the same attitude you have/had with accepting things "as is" when you should have pushed back.

  13. Nicole Messina

    I visit Greece as often as I can and honestly, since the olympics were held there I have found a huge change in attitudes and service! Since then I have always had amazing service from hotels to restaurants to taxis. I have visited many different areas of Greece! Love it and won’t stop going!

  14. Anastasios Balodimas

    I am Greek American and I myself agree that most of the service in Greece is awful!!!! They give you a stare and a unpleasant TalkBack! I live in Greece... When I receive service bad I let them have it. My village know me of my self being outspoken person and brought things back to shops ... Bakery cafe.... They best experience I have is AB supermarkets. It is like I was at Publix back...

    I am Greek American and I myself agree that most of the service in Greece is awful!!!! They give you a stare and a unpleasant TalkBack! I live in Greece... When I receive service bad I let them have it. My village know me of my self being outspoken person and brought things back to shops ... Bakery cafe.... They best experience I have is AB supermarkets. It is like I was at Publix back in the states ... When a business goes out their way to serve me im happy a as a button but if you lack customer service.... I use my tongue to other tourists where to go and we're not to go so beware!

  15. Hilary Sherman

    I totally agree that this is an unfair categorization of Greece. I just finished a lengthy trip there myself and found everyone that I encountered to be service-oriented and just plain nice. The service and accompanying niceties also seemed genuine. If they were not, then good on those we encountered for doing recognizing that tourism is a large part of Greece’s thriving economy. Thanks!

  16. David

    Been to many islands and Athens, service was terrible attitude of the locals is ignorant. The views are beautiful to bad the people are not.

  17. Adam Guillette

    I just stayed at the Canavas Oia Suites and couldn't agree more! The service was literally as spectacular as the view.

  18. Brad Taylor

    Will visit Greece for the first time this coming August - in Mykonos. The reviews of the booked villa are outstanding - and the place is actually far more affordable than most places on Mykonos - so we'll see how it goes. I wish the author had mentioned the name of the taxi company that delivered such exceptional service - as it isn't my intention to rent a car or motorbike during the upcoming visit....

    Will visit Greece for the first time this coming August - in Mykonos. The reviews of the booked villa are outstanding - and the place is actually far more affordable than most places on Mykonos - so we'll see how it goes. I wish the author had mentioned the name of the taxi company that delivered such exceptional service - as it isn't my intention to rent a car or motorbike during the upcoming visit. Finally, I think for the warmest hospitality in the world, people should look to Bali - where everyone is super friendly everywhere on the island. Moreover, the gracious Balinese people can seem even more friendly in settings away from the heavier traveled tourist paths - such as up on the north shore in Lovina. As is often the case in Asian destinations, it is wise to carry local currency in Bali, since smaller merchants don't all accept credit cards - and even those who do, will add a surcharge for credit purchases. This is likely not an issue in Greece - but time will tell come August. Happy travels!

  19. Romanianflyer

    Another overlooked factor why Greece has a bad rep among many Americans: 90% doesn't look further than Mykonos and Santorini. Which are among the most touristy places and thus suffer from a lot of properties (hotels, restaurants) just looking for quick tourist $. Amazingly bad quality/price ratio there generally, which any Greek will probably tell you as well if they are honest (Greeks don't really go there for vacation at all - which tells you...

    Another overlooked factor why Greece has a bad rep among many Americans: 90% doesn't look further than Mykonos and Santorini. Which are among the most touristy places and thus suffer from a lot of properties (hotels, restaurants) just looking for quick tourist $. Amazingly bad quality/price ratio there generally, which any Greek will probably tell you as well if they are honest (Greeks don't really go there for vacation at all - which tells you something).

    Go to the islands (or mainland places) which are not overcrowded by Americans or European package tours (Rhodes, Zakynthos fall in that category) and all your interactions with Greeks will be fabulous and honest, just like the example you gave with your Mykonos taxi. I can think of dozens of islands I'd rather visit than Mykonos, which is vastly overrated even when it comed to natural beauty and beaches.

  20. Lesley

    Greece is a very laid back country , this is why we love to vacation there. Service is not bad it is just slower than we are used to perhaps. Isn't that what vacations are for. Greek food is delicious and healthy so all that is really needed is as happy wait person. So what if something is forgotten. I cannot imagine working in the heat that Greece is known for I know it would...

    Greece is a very laid back country , this is why we love to vacation there. Service is not bad it is just slower than we are used to perhaps. Isn't that what vacations are for. Greek food is delicious and healthy so all that is really needed is as happy wait person. So what if something is forgotten. I cannot imagine working in the heat that Greece is known for I know it would slow me down. I give my thanks to all wait staff it is a very hard job which would be nicer by having nice patrons

  21. Ernie

    What’s the name of the taxi company in Mykonos?

  22. Schar

    Why would you talk about an amazing taxi service in Mykonos on a travel blog and not include the name of the company???? you always do this its so annoying

  23. Andy 11235

    I think you sum it up pretty well -- Greece offers a huge variety of customer service experiences. Honestly, I can't say that I've ever really had what I would call bad customer service. But my family's Greek, I speak the language, and we almost always go to places that were either recommended by friends and relatives or are owned by friends and relatives. We have had amazing food and service at restaurants we would...

    I think you sum it up pretty well -- Greece offers a huge variety of customer service experiences. Honestly, I can't say that I've ever really had what I would call bad customer service. But my family's Greek, I speak the language, and we almost always go to places that were either recommended by friends and relatives or are owned by friends and relatives. We have had amazing food and service at restaurants we would have never even known existed except for recommendations from the small hotels we've staid at.

  24. Stanley

    Not sure what Lucky meant, but I have also been to both Japan and Thailand and I cannot say that services from both countries are comparable or even to say Thailand has great service. I had much better service experiences in Japan whereas in Thailand they only provide you services because of the transaction. In Japan, the service was genuine and warm and they gave you extra help without asking for anything in return. In...

    Not sure what Lucky meant, but I have also been to both Japan and Thailand and I cannot say that services from both countries are comparable or even to say Thailand has great service. I had much better service experiences in Japan whereas in Thailand they only provide you services because of the transaction. In Japan, the service was genuine and warm and they gave you extra help without asking for anything in return. In Thailand, my tour guide asked for money from another foreigner simply because he gave him directions. Stayed at the Hilton Phuket where service was all right but it felt very robotic and not as polished.

  25. George Anthony

    I've been to Greece for holidays around 12 times in the last 30 years. Everytime I go, I and sad to leave and can't wait to return. The place is blessed; it has warm mediterranean climate, with 250-300 days of sunshine per year, the latter pertaining more to the islands, 160 of the islands being well inhabited. The food quality and falvours in Greece are to die for are not comparable to anywhere else I...

    I've been to Greece for holidays around 12 times in the last 30 years. Everytime I go, I and sad to leave and can't wait to return. The place is blessed; it has warm mediterranean climate, with 250-300 days of sunshine per year, the latter pertaining more to the islands, 160 of the islands being well inhabited. The food quality and falvours in Greece are to die for are not comparable to anywhere else I have been in the world.. I was born and live in Australia and I have heard that our food freshness and quality compares favourably to the U.S, if not better, as you may be more commercialised than us. The flavours and freshness in Greece are at times like a kaleidoscopic explosion in one's mouth! I can't describe it in any other way! As for the service, I will say this much. It is far better than what I have received in Italy, England, France and as good as eg Bali and at times better. There is a positive difference in the service in Greece today compared with 20 years ago. There is not uncommonly a sense of honoring their guests and I have found them to be warm and freindly hosts, much better than that which I receive in Australia. Depending on where you go, it might not be up to the service level of eg Dubai, but then again, you are not paying 10x more for what you are given either. You will also mostly get genuiness and generosity and we always feel safe. AS with anywhere, do your homework about where to go and stay. Look up other people's reviews eg on trip advisor beforehand.
    This place is the birthplace of democracy, theatre, the olympics, science, modern medicine etc and their view on life has a lot of depth. Sure, they are more relaxed about things, however maybe we acn learn something from that! Thats probably one of the reasons why they feature the island of Ikaria, hosting one of the worlds 5 longest living cultures (www.bluezones.com)
    Pre-pandemic, Greece was receiving 3x their population in tourism visits each year ie 30 million + visitors for a country with just over 10 million population. Few countries can boast 3x their population as annual visitor.s Many of these are return travellers. This year Forbes has also reported that Greece is the world's number two most popular wedding destination.It is very hard to beat Greece for climate, scenery, history, food quality and flavours, recreation and value...and not uncommonly for hospitality and service. For other reviews and tips see:

    Forbes Magazine: Greece is the word: why its the most booked european destination for the summer
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzannerowankelleher/2021/05/22/greece-is-the-word-why-its-the-most-booked-european-destination-for-summer/?sh=4a18643d32f0

    Matt Barrett's Travel guides at https://www.greecetravel.com/

  26. Ahmet cilengiroglu

    They have no other industry to rely on to make a good living in Greece so they bump up prices and they ask same price what's in cote d'azure for second class service

  27. Jen

    Been to Greece now 4 times, and now brought a flat in Athens. Never experienced bad service wether it's a one euro take out or upmarket restaurant. Services is excellent comparing to my home town of Johannesburg.

  28. Paolo

    LOL. You keep saying you’ve been to Greece many times, with the implication you know it well. No, you’ve been to a couple of Greek islands on repeat visits. That is NOT Greece, any more than Key West or Fire Island is the USA.
    Many hotels/restaurants on the island are seasonal , relying on imported, transient labour ( rarely the most professional in my observation).
    Yes, it’s true that Greeks everywhere don’t engage...

    LOL. You keep saying you’ve been to Greece many times, with the implication you know it well. No, you’ve been to a couple of Greek islands on repeat visits. That is NOT Greece, any more than Key West or Fire Island is the USA.
    Many hotels/restaurants on the island are seasonal , relying on imported, transient labour ( rarely the most professional in my observation).
    Yes, it’s true that Greeks everywhere don’t engage in the smarmy small talk, sleazy insincerity of hospitality venues in some of the tourist trap destinations ( ...in anticipation of a tip), but it is the provision of good food, efficiently served, without intrusion that is most valued.
    Please spend some time in Athens, other smaller mainland towns, or Crete before making sweeping observations about the county’s service ( based ,it seems , on having visited very little of it). Mykonos, Santorini are not in any way a reflection of the rest of the country, although they are not without charm...

  29. Bruce

    I think that generally this is true. I am Greek and grew up in Greece, and found that where money isn’t necessarily involved, you can expect unmatched generosity and kindness from most Greeks. This kindness extends to small businesses, boutique hotels, local shops, etc. Big chains suffer from indifference and some form of laziness typically noticed in the civil service, public sector and banks.

  30. Seth

    Ha, so I DID see you at the Havaianas store in Oia!

  31. Maria Feldman

    I feel that American travelers have incredibly high expectations. I am Greek and American having lived most my life in the US. Americans who travel internationally for an once in a lifetime trip cannot expect service like back home. Greece is an experience and if travelers are not focusing on food, history, scenery and the vibes of Greece but instead how well they were treated or how well their stay at the hotel went, unfortunately...

    I feel that American travelers have incredibly high expectations. I am Greek and American having lived most my life in the US. Americans who travel internationally for an once in a lifetime trip cannot expect service like back home. Greece is an experience and if travelers are not focusing on food, history, scenery and the vibes of Greece but instead how well they were treated or how well their stay at the hotel went, unfortunately they have missed the boat. In high end service, lux hotels and private transportation you can expect service way beyond what your imagination allows but in regular sectors of hospitality you must chill and enjoy the views.

  32. Han Meerendonk

    I am Dutch married to a Macedonian and living in Skopje North Macedonia. We go to Greece for the clean sea and the good beaches but not for the Greeks. We are treated horrible by hotel staff and our car was demaged ( black paint sprayed over the registration plates) at the hotel parking. Whereever we go we are treated like shit by Greeks because we come from North Macedonia. We try to ignore the behaviour of these people but it is hard

  33. Anthony

    I was in a Greece last week. Stayed in a lovely $50/night boutique hotel in Athens where the staff couldn’t be happier to help and then a $40/night Airbnb with a truly wonderful host. Every restaurant experience was exceptional and I never paid more than $25 for a lavish meal. Maybe the secret is to stick to the places that cater to regular working people and locals rather than the “flashy” places?

  34. Kostas

    Great service requires a society to be slave orientated. The Greeks did not ever make great slaves always fighting throughout their history for their freedom more so than many others. The 5 euro incident has to do more with honesty than service. To always get great service in Greece you must always treat others with respect and not in any way minimize their dignity. These are very proud people with a strong rich bright history...

    Great service requires a society to be slave orientated. The Greeks did not ever make great slaves always fighting throughout their history for their freedom more so than many others. The 5 euro incident has to do more with honesty than service. To always get great service in Greece you must always treat others with respect and not in any way minimize their dignity. These are very proud people with a strong rich bright history that very few other nations can compare to.

  35. Morgan

    Whats the name of the taxi company I want to use it!

  36. mangoMan

    We just returned from a 14 day trip to Greece. We spent time in Athens, Naxos, and Santorini. I can't recall a single instance of poor treatment, but there were many examples of excellent service, especially at the boutique hotels we stayed at on Naxos (Argo Hotel) and Santorini (Dreams Luxury Suites). We've never been to Greece before, so can't compare, but I think a large part of the excellent service we experience was because...

    We just returned from a 14 day trip to Greece. We spent time in Athens, Naxos, and Santorini. I can't recall a single instance of poor treatment, but there were many examples of excellent service, especially at the boutique hotels we stayed at on Naxos (Argo Hotel) and Santorini (Dreams Luxury Suites). We've never been to Greece before, so can't compare, but I think a large part of the excellent service we experience was because there simply weren't that many tourists there.

  37. Emmanuel Kyriakakis

    You get what you pay for. When service providers are treated with disrespect and underpaid both from their employers (who in most cases steal their tips) and from customers who don't tip. This is what happens.
    I've worked for Marriot and for Hilton in the US as a young man while going to college, and I'm working part time for a relative in Greece now that I'm in my 60s. And I know all...

    You get what you pay for. When service providers are treated with disrespect and underpaid both from their employers (who in most cases steal their tips) and from customers who don't tip. This is what happens.
    I've worked for Marriot and for Hilton in the US as a young man while going to college, and I'm working part time for a relative in Greece now that I'm in my 60s. And I know all about it. ( for my relative, I'm doing it to help him out) but I see how most all others are treated here in Greece.
    Greece needs to do like the Bahamas and charge visitors a modest fee upon entry of 10 or 20 €uros for the hospitality employees and tourism workers....

  38. Rob

    Been to Greece twice, had nothing but great service throughout each trip. Put the USA to shame. The cab driver drove back to the restaurant to give me the $1300 camera I left in the back seat. Try getting your forgotten child back from an Uber driver lol. Everyone is always grateful and gracious when I go.

  39. Dmitry

    I will be the third or fourth person to ask for the name of that cab company. How can you write something like that as a travel blogger and not post the name?

  40. Yreal

    Been to greece a "couple" of times, but I have honestly never heared about this.

    Only thing that springs to mind is a shopkeeper in chania to Google it if I want to know how the games work he had on display.

    From the streetvendors in Athens to the Pools of santorini, always lovely.

  41. Harvey Young

    We go to Greece almost every year and have nothing but praise for the friendliness and hospitality
    Stay away from crowded tourist spots, though.

  42. Manoli

    To be brief...in Rhodes the taxi driver after 10 min into the ride remarks that he may not really know how to get to the restaurant we asked him to take us but he knows a very nice restaurant near by.....I said fine.....once the taxi pulled up to the restaurant he honks his horn and the proprietor (his cousin most likely) comes and opens the taxi doors for us. A terrible restaurant.
    At another...

    To be brief...in Rhodes the taxi driver after 10 min into the ride remarks that he may not really know how to get to the restaurant we asked him to take us but he knows a very nice restaurant near by.....I said fine.....once the taxi pulled up to the restaurant he honks his horn and the proprietor (his cousin most likely) comes and opens the taxi doors for us. A terrible restaurant.
    At another fish taverna we pick out the fish from the display, he calls his waiter to weigh it, which by the way the scale is way at the back out of sight....the weight he recorded was more likely twice the actual weight (I know fish)....we said nothing, finished our dinner
    , left and never returned..

    And I’m Greek (Greek/American)

  43. David

    Just returned Saturday from my second trip to Greece during the past year (the previous trip was in September 2020). Maybe it was just good luck, but I found the service to be fantastic. We stayed at independent upscale hotels not affiliated with global chains. As one example, last Friday at a restaurant in Athens, I ordered moussaka as a main course, which was a little slow in coming out because, well, moussaka takes time...

    Just returned Saturday from my second trip to Greece during the past year (the previous trip was in September 2020). Maybe it was just good luck, but I found the service to be fantastic. We stayed at independent upscale hotels not affiliated with global chains. As one example, last Friday at a restaurant in Athens, I ordered moussaka as a main course, which was a little slow in coming out because, well, moussaka takes time to prepare and bake. Without my complaining or even thinking the delay was excessive, the waiter appeared with a complimentary second appetizer and 1/2 liter of wine!

  44. Johnny

    You only went to mykonos and Santorini, and you expect that to representative of Greece when it comes to customer service? These are two of the most touristy destinations in the world and hardly representative of Greece as a whole. These are just expensive cash making sceney places.

  45. Astoria9

    I was born and raised in Greece, and moved to the US decades ago. Service in NYC where I live can be also quite hit and miss (more the latter) and I was used to it when I moved here from my Greek days. There is indeed no customer service culture in Greece. There are individual wonderful people and individual owners who strive for it and select employees with that in mind, but the reason...

    I was born and raised in Greece, and moved to the US decades ago. Service in NYC where I live can be also quite hit and miss (more the latter) and I was used to it when I moved here from my Greek days. There is indeed no customer service culture in Greece. There are individual wonderful people and individual owners who strive for it and select employees with that in mind, but the reason people remember them is because they are few and far between. There is also NO tipping culture among Greeks, and that is not because servers are well-paid. If you are an American and do go to a place where they treat you decently, tip (not excessively) and go there again. Service next time will be even better. Greek employees are not used to being rewarded for good service--not even verbally!--so such an act will improve your experience. That is the reason many locals who do tip wonder at the bad reputation the country has.

  46. Bill Wortbington

    I wish the service industry could rate their customers, it seems that they have becmore entitled and rude. Don't treat people like your servants, be polite and you might enjoy life more.

  47. Barry

    Worst customer service on the world. The Greeks like the tourists owe them rather appreciating their contribution to their country and economy and livelihood.
    Go to Turkey and see how they treat you. On a scale of 1 to 10, Greece is 0, zero! What a pity for such a beautiful country. All.of them are thieves, rowdy, rude, uncivilized, unfriendly and any other negative descriptions that you can find in the dictionary.

  48. R.b.

    As I was reading your article about the suite downgrade, I read the back and forth between you and the manger, and I giggled, and said to myself "oh, that's so Greek!". But like you say, it's also French, also Italian, and also Mexican. And also, none of those places, of you're lucky.

    I'm in Santorini, now. We actually had dinner at Canarva last night. And I'll be in Greece for another 6 weeks....

    As I was reading your article about the suite downgrade, I read the back and forth between you and the manger, and I giggled, and said to myself "oh, that's so Greek!". But like you say, it's also French, also Italian, and also Mexican. And also, none of those places, of you're lucky.

    I'm in Santorini, now. We actually had dinner at Canarva last night. And I'll be in Greece for another 6 weeks. We were thinking Italy, but ended up here. We love it.

    But as you say, if you want to meet a Greek, you've got to be in his family. Otherwise you're a guy contributing to the reason he's not on a beach, or picking wine ans shooting the breeze, with his grandfather, in paradise. And why his uncle can't afford to live on the cliff in Fira anymore, for example!

    Greeks are proud. But hospitality is very good. Like the Americans, they have a hatred for bureaucracy built in, thats precisely 568 years old. And each Greek has lived each of those ancient days of shame, every day of their life, as equally as they've mourned the days that have passed since Alexander thr Great has Died. For them, organization and cooperation mean ottoman overlords. They simply don't respond. Unless you're family, and then the world is unlimited.

    Sorry to waste the time of your readers. But I hear you, you're right. :)

  49. lynda

    I have been to a lot of islands in greece and every one of them have been lovey and well maner dont no wear these people have been but it is not true the young are a bit of had but they are like that in England so don't call the greece has I sad I have been going thear for twenty five years to most of the iland cant wait to get back after having two cancel this year cant wait for September to meet the people again yours mrs

  50. shane

    Did you see that the Aegon managed to get your review on Google removed? It seems like they even managed to wipe a few 1/5 star reviews from a few months ago too...

    Think it's likely they're using some sort of "reputation management" company because some of their reviews / reviewers look a bit dodgy too..

  51. Katherine Nelson

    Go to the Peloponnese. The mainland of Greece is full of small villages with wonderful restaurants that cook the most delicious meals ever. They have homemade wine and serve it in carafes. Always personal, family style. We walk in the kitchen sometimes and see what’s cooking when there’s no menu. In August, you can go to the village festivals and see Greek dancing like you’ll never forget. Join in, they don’t mind letting you in...

    Go to the Peloponnese. The mainland of Greece is full of small villages with wonderful restaurants that cook the most delicious meals ever. They have homemade wine and serve it in carafes. Always personal, family style. We walk in the kitchen sometimes and see what’s cooking when there’s no menu. In August, you can go to the village festivals and see Greek dancing like you’ll never forget. Join in, they don’t mind letting you in snd circle, knowing you will watch them until you get the step down pat. They usually try to hand you the napkin to wrap around your hand as you lead the circle. You won’t find any Americans there. Relax. If you want to play golf in a top Greek resort, go to COSTA NAVARINO and stay at one of two hotels there ( one more family oriented). The people who work there are village Greeks who are trained and have humility and treat people beautifully. It is near Pylos, a beautiful town in Southwest Greece on the Mediterranean (Adriatic) Sea. The harbor there is where an important naval battle was fought in Greece’s war for Independence from the Ottoman Empire (October 1827).

  52. steven kapellas

    Greek American here. The reputation is well deserved. Taxis were worse. Had better experiences with taxis in former Soviet Republics.

  53. James S

    Ive only been to Greece once, but Ive been to France many times and never encountered the rudeness/lack of service Americans love to complain about.

    In the US, aside from fine dining, waiters frequently come by with the check, drop it off without you asking, and say "no rush whenever youre ready". In most countries, thats considered exceptionally rude.

    Yeah, it can be annoying in Europe if you have a strict itinerary and...

    Ive only been to Greece once, but Ive been to France many times and never encountered the rudeness/lack of service Americans love to complain about.

    In the US, aside from fine dining, waiters frequently come by with the check, drop it off without you asking, and say "no rush whenever youre ready". In most countries, thats considered exceptionally rude.

    Yeah, it can be annoying in Europe if you have a strict itinerary and you cant find a waiter to bring you the bill, but thats because a 3 hour lunch is expected. If they came by your table more often, THAT would be considered rude.

    That being said, there are some countries where tourists are simply seen as a target for scamming. Now thats annoying and you need to be prepared for.

  54. KEVIN

    I have not been to Greece for close to ten years. I stayed at Grande Bretagne which was suppose to be the best hotel in Athens at that time. I thought everything was fine. Nothing stood out. No great experience but no bad experience either. It’s not a city I would want to return to as I enjoyed Rome far more. But for travelers who never been to Greece, I would recommend it.

  55. Mario Bravo

    TYPICAL ANGLO-SAXON HATERS/TROUBLEMAKERS/RACISTS CREATING A PROPAGANDA FOR "A BAD SERVICE IN GREECE". EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT U.S./U.K./GERMANY ARE THE TROUBLEMAKERS OF THE WORLD. I AMN'T SURPRISED FOR UNTRUTHFUL & DEROGATORY COMMENTS ON GREECE, WHICH DON'T NEED FASCIST/CRIMINALS/WHITE TRASH AS TOURISTS WHO DON'T SPEND MONEY ANYWAY.

    1. ML

      I think we found the unhinged manager from the Aegon :).

  56. patrick

    I would think that if you have to say "service in Greece can be exceptional." then you have pretty much said all that needs to be said. It CAN be exceptional but it sound like poor service is more likely what you'll get.

  57. MitchNYC

    My partner and I spent 10 wonderful days in Greece in October 2019. I was amazed at the incredibly warm and efficient service we received in Athens, Mykonos, and Rhodes. Not a bad moment to report. In fact the hotel staff in Mykonos went out of their way to help me correct a travel arrangement error of my own doing to ensure that we weren’t stranded and could get to our next destination.

  58. Tragerrät

    The new font is terrible to read. It is too wide, so I have stopped visiting this site as much and try to use a RSS reader instead. Please change the font

  59. Barbara Williams

    In Athens, people were incredibly rude. The hotel front desk man actually threw the room key at us. The woman in the jewelry store declined to shower a pair of earrings in a case. I asked why not? She said I looked Ike I could afford them.

  60. Santastico

    Greeks, similar to Italians, they enjoy life in a different way. There is no rush to anything which means nothing starts at the time it was supposed to start. Service will be slow and on their own way. People are nice but not polished. Do not expect compliments just for the sake of following rules. If they lime something they will acknowledge it in a very warm way. If they don’t like it, do not...

    Greeks, similar to Italians, they enjoy life in a different way. There is no rush to anything which means nothing starts at the time it was supposed to start. Service will be slow and on their own way. People are nice but not polished. Do not expect compliments just for the sake of following rules. If they lime something they will acknowledge it in a very warm way. If they don’t like it, do not expect politeness. As you said, it is not Japan. As long as you are OK in not following rules by the book and don’t mind some rudeness, you will have a great time.

  61. N1120A

    The key to Greece is patronizing the less corporate, family owned places and simultaneously showing that you are 1) not a cheapskate and 2) not going to be taken for a ride. You want to become more like friends and family with your hosts, not simply transactions. Doing that will get you amazing service.

    I'm not surprised you enjoyed your time at Canaves. The owner is a friend of our good friend and my...

    The key to Greece is patronizing the less corporate, family owned places and simultaneously showing that you are 1) not a cheapskate and 2) not going to be taken for a ride. You want to become more like friends and family with your hosts, not simply transactions. Doing that will get you amazing service.

    I'm not surprised you enjoyed your time at Canaves. The owner is a friend of our good friend and my wife and I have gone out for drinks with him - he is a stellar guy.

  62. Renate Neuendorf

    My daughter and I just returned from 8 days in Crete. Only at one place did we experience truly bad service (waiter rushed us, then never returned after taking our order, we finally asked another server for our bill but never got it and had to go up to front to request our check and pay). This was the most expensive place we ate, with stellar reviews. Food was not great either, to our dismay,...

    My daughter and I just returned from 8 days in Crete. Only at one place did we experience truly bad service (waiter rushed us, then never returned after taking our order, we finally asked another server for our bill but never got it and had to go up to front to request our check and pay). This was the most expensive place we ate, with stellar reviews. Food was not great either, to our dismay, and in contrast to every other place we ate where it was consistently excellent. People in general were maybe not as friendly on the street, but I attributed that to Covid, as Greece was still on lockdown and they had just started the push to immunize the island population, so I suspect people were just too nervous to interact with strangers.
    Every other place people (tour guides, hotel staff, store clerks, restaurant staff, grocery clerks) were very friendly and helpful.
    I would also give kudos to the fantastic car rental staff at AutoRentals Crete (owned by Dimitri), who has a stellar reputation online and great rates without all the extra add-ons of the big rental places--they meet you at baggage claim and Dimitri himself chatted with us before we took off.
    Overall a fabulous trip!

  63. Bob hussain

    My son, daughter in law, my wife and myself had tickets to come to Athens. Last minutes air line (verbiage the worst Air line in the world) we could not get in plain . The service counter lady then manage were worst. My daughter in started crying big time . She had procedure working day. She checked every thing and myself and my wife had vaccinations couple of months and did chroma test with city...

    My son, daughter in law, my wife and myself had tickets to come to Athens. Last minutes air line (verbiage the worst Air line in the world) we could not get in plain . The service counter lady then manage were worst. My daughter in started crying big time . She had procedure working day. She checked every thing and myself and my wife had vaccinations couple of months and did chroma test with city medical Ajency
    So they let my Aon and daughter in law get in but we could not and we had called earlier . Is any thing will hinder our flight . According to website and phone call with air line people we were confident that there will no problem. But it 2 days and different aor lines to het to greese
    We are very very upset and tried to call everyone no help
    So Greese trip was disaster . We will not come back again. And Setvice is not what we expect while spending thousands dollars
    I hope every body will thing again to come to Greese. I rather go to other countries like Turkey, Albania , Italy etc

  64. Alexis

    I have been in Greece since the currency was Dracma. I was never cheated or taken advantage of. Only by the man I married. All the rest of Greece has been wonderful to me. Still to this day always good service and kind words . They always ask about my family back in the states. Makes me feel loved!

  65. Icarus

    Many countries, such as those in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, simply don’t have a customer service history unlike say Japan. On the other hand, service in the US has declined over the years when it’s was once stellar. In the US service industry pay is so low employees (often)rely on tips. It’s completely absurd to tip someone for doing a job and feel guilty if you don’t. If a waiter or taxi driver goes...

    Many countries, such as those in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, simply don’t have a customer service history unlike say Japan. On the other hand, service in the US has declined over the years when it’s was once stellar. In the US service industry pay is so low employees (often)rely on tips. It’s completely absurd to tip someone for doing a job and feel guilty if you don’t. If a waiter or taxi driver goes the extra mile , then they may deserve a bit extra.

    Good service to me is often trying to resolve a problem and offering a solution, if possible. At least someone will see you made an effort rather than a big fat NO.

    1. Eskimo

      Same goes to everywhere else in the world?

    2. JW

      For those of us playing at home, what exactly does this mean?

  66. Bryan

    Hey Ben, here's the issue I have with this topic.

    For someone who travels as much as you do, it's probably expected that some trips won't be great and others will. No different than a bunch of domestic trips I do - some will be amazing, some will be good, and some will be not so good. However, many people don't or won't get the opportunity to travel internationally somewhere multiple times - even for...

    Hey Ben, here's the issue I have with this topic.

    For someone who travels as much as you do, it's probably expected that some trips won't be great and others will. No different than a bunch of domestic trips I do - some will be amazing, some will be good, and some will be not so good. However, many people don't or won't get the opportunity to travel internationally somewhere multiple times - even for a lot of Americans, it's one big international trip for a lifetime and that's it.

    For a once in a lifetime trip if someone was considering Greece, why would you leave it up to chance to hope that you luck out on good service?

    Maybe that's not for the target audience of this blog (which I assume is for people to travel as much as possible), but I know my parents are getting ready to retire and have talked about Greece as a possible place they'd like to visit. If it's a once in a lifetime trip for them, why leave this up to to chance when they could go somewhere where they could expect better?

    Hearing about a wide range of possibilities for service doesn't seem all that appealing, especially since I don't think a ton of people are (adventurous?) keen on the local hospitality angle mentioned.

    1. Kaleb_With_A_K

      Lucky's experience with the Aegon Mykonos, while certainly disappointing and uncalled for, is NOT going to be the experience that 99% of the general population is going to encounter.

      How many Marriott titanium members do you think are out there that book two separate stays using points and cash AND apply SNAs on each night of the stay?

      I don't know about you (or your parent's expectation for service), but I don't travel simply...

      Lucky's experience with the Aegon Mykonos, while certainly disappointing and uncalled for, is NOT going to be the experience that 99% of the general population is going to encounter.

      How many Marriott titanium members do you think are out there that book two separate stays using points and cash AND apply SNAs on each night of the stay?

      I don't know about you (or your parent's expectation for service), but I don't travel simply to get my bummed kissed by those in the hospitality industry. YMMV, but 75% of my travel is spent outside of the hotel room and restaurants.

  67. Julia

    I have traveled to Greece for many years and have experienced both excellent and truly bad service. I love Greece and will always go but they are a country who relies on tourism and would benefit from a readjustment in attitudes towards tourists. My late husband was from Greece and was very frustrated by this when we traveled there. There is nothing that compares to the 'filotima' experience when visting at a Greeks home, they...

    I have traveled to Greece for many years and have experienced both excellent and truly bad service. I love Greece and will always go but they are a country who relies on tourism and would benefit from a readjustment in attitudes towards tourists. My late husband was from Greece and was very frustrated by this when we traveled there. There is nothing that compares to the 'filotima' experience when visting at a Greeks home, they would be well served applying it to tourism.

    1. Pences

      You mean..FILOTIMO... almost impossible to translate it's true meaning in English.

  68. Sjs

    The title of this article is deceiving...I have traveled in 72 countries....Greece has one of the best and friedliest hospitality workers and staff, I have encountered throughout the region...To the reader above, who claims that he got a bad service 23 years ago..
    Well, two years ago and while in Portugal or the major resorts were crowded with rude, drunken, and loud British tourists that made there best to ruin my vacation...The staff was...

    The title of this article is deceiving...I have traveled in 72 countries....Greece has one of the best and friedliest hospitality workers and staff, I have encountered throughout the region...To the reader above, who claims that he got a bad service 23 years ago..
    Well, two years ago and while in Portugal or the major resorts were crowded with rude, drunken, and loud British tourists that made there best to ruin my vacation...The staff was at best indifferent...We checked out of the resort (high end( after 3 days...Decided to drive up the coast...The water was frigid and most small towns lacked basic wifi...roads were another story...I guess different strokes for different folks...And thank God for Google translator and Spanish since most of the people outside the resorts had a hard time communicating in any other language than Portuguese...

  69. Joseph

    Hah, Google deleted all the Aegon one-star reviews left over the past few days. That's a shame -- this place has to be taught a lesson.

  70. Maya

    I once had to pay extra for air conditioning at the hotel we were staying. My son had horrible Jet lag he was 13 at the time we left him sleeping in the room. When I returned my son was suffocating at 100F plus temperatures. The receptionist saw us leaving and popped the fuse to our room, she turned it on when she saw us return.

    Although I am Greek I hate to admit...

    I once had to pay extra for air conditioning at the hotel we were staying. My son had horrible Jet lag he was 13 at the time we left him sleeping in the room. When I returned my son was suffocating at 100F plus temperatures. The receptionist saw us leaving and popped the fuse to our room, she turned it on when she saw us return.

    Although I am Greek I hate to admit the service in Greece is horrible and they will not admit they were in error or apologize. Now with Airbnb and internet reviews I hope they learn their lesson but it is a nation of "know-it-alls" but it will take time.
    We must be deligent with internet reviews to help them learn faster
    Greeceee is a beautiful country but across the Aegian you can find the same beauty with better service.

  71. Kevin

    We are currently in Greece.. and the service has been stellar... absolutely flawless
    From the Grand Hyatt Athens (great Globalist recognition w an upgrade) to Pezoules in Santorini (which is the #1 luxury boutique hotel I’ve ever been to in the world), to the much bigger The Romanos in Costa Navarino,(incredible service, not only honored our confirmed upgrades but further upgraded us on check-in and provided flawless butler service)... can’t say enough positive things...

    We are currently in Greece.. and the service has been stellar... absolutely flawless
    From the Grand Hyatt Athens (great Globalist recognition w an upgrade) to Pezoules in Santorini (which is the #1 luxury boutique hotel I’ve ever been to in the world), to the much bigger The Romanos in Costa Navarino,(incredible service, not only honored our confirmed upgrades but further upgraded us on check-in and provided flawless butler service)... can’t say enough positive things about our current experience on this trip..

    1. Santastico

      We have stayed at the Romanos at Costa Navarino and it was probably the best hotel experience we ever had. Simply fantastic.

  72. FFups

    I have been to Rome in August (goes almost without saying, don't do it if you expect decent, friendly service), have had more than my fair share of bad service at restaurants in Germany, and some not-so-great experience in France (along many positive experiences in those countries, I might add). But nothing comes close to what I experienced with my Ex 23 years ago in Greece. From the cab driver to the ferry staff, from...

    I have been to Rome in August (goes almost without saying, don't do it if you expect decent, friendly service), have had more than my fair share of bad service at restaurants in Germany, and some not-so-great experience in France (along many positive experiences in those countries, I might add). But nothing comes close to what I experienced with my Ex 23 years ago in Greece. From the cab driver to the ferry staff, from the waiter to the hotel check in person, it was just INCREDIBLY bad, unfriendly service. Constant feeling like being a burden, staff acting like they couldn't care less -- or worse -- wanting to take advantage of you. You'd think they care about tourists, since it's the main income source. I decided to not ever go back. Too many great other places to visit. E.g., Portugal (incl Azores) also heavily dependent on tourism but experience has been night and day. Super friendly all around, from the moment we placed foot on the ground until we left.

  73. Gayane

    Hello, why you compare Greece with Japan or Thailand? It's totally different cultures, Greek well known as lasy people, who don't like to work, but to relax. You've been there many times, it means that you like Greece. I love Greece. It's A must to visit country. Yummy food, blue flag beaches (means the cleanest in the world), history, music, dance. You just need to become a friend for greeks and you will have tbe...

    Hello, why you compare Greece with Japan or Thailand? It's totally different cultures, Greek well known as lasy people, who don't like to work, but to relax. You've been there many times, it means that you like Greece. I love Greece. It's A must to visit country. Yummy food, blue flag beaches (means the cleanest in the world), history, music, dance. You just need to become a friend for greeks and you will have tbe best service. Greece is country you want to always return to.

    1. smic

      Good stuff! Making a false blanket statement over a specific culture. Please work on your grammar.

  74. Steven M

    "It’s just not in their culture for Greeks to be nice and pleasant at ‘service’. But outside of work, the hospitality is better in home settings if you happen to be a friend or social guest. This is hard for many to admit, especially if you’re Greek (and I can fully understand why), but it is the uncomfortable truth that must be acknowledged."

    This is 100% accurate

  75. snic

    I've had some fantastic experiences in AirBnBs in Greece - maybe partly that's because of Greeks' generosity towards guests in their own homes. I've also had great service from a non-chain local car rental company in Athens: they dropped the car off at our hotel and met us at the airport terminal when we returned it; they were on time, extremely professional, and the car was clean and functional.

    Actually I can't think of any...

    I've had some fantastic experiences in AirBnBs in Greece - maybe partly that's because of Greeks' generosity towards guests in their own homes. I've also had great service from a non-chain local car rental company in Athens: they dropped the car off at our hotel and met us at the airport terminal when we returned it; they were on time, extremely professional, and the car was clean and functional.

    Actually I can't think of any negative service experience in Greece - but that's based entirely on a single trip taken in winter. Maybe when it's hot and crowded, and service employees are under greater strain, there are more failures.

  76. Sandy

    Greece is hospitable but never having had really an aristocracy nor therefore trained servants like england or elsewhere, so it tends more to depend on the person. In a village I visit I see everyone "serving" everyone else. The cafe owner serves the supermarket clerk and vv.

  77. Bart

    You hit the nail on the head when you say you will find the extreme. You are more likely to find better service in small hotels than in the larger chains. Similarly different islands have different service standards. I've actually had the worst service of my life in Santorini, but in Crete I was blown away by the friendliness of everyone. I assume Santorini and Mykonos don't need to focus as much on service because...

    You hit the nail on the head when you say you will find the extreme. You are more likely to find better service in small hotels than in the larger chains. Similarly different islands have different service standards. I've actually had the worst service of my life in Santorini, but in Crete I was blown away by the friendliness of everyone. I assume Santorini and Mykonos don't need to focus as much on service because people will just always visit these places no matter what. Particularly Santorini where you only go for the view and nothing else.

  78. Formerly Frequent Flyer

    I just got back from Greece (Athens and Hydra) and had a fantastic time. Also flew through London like you. Stayed at A77 in Athens and Hotel Leto in Hydra. Service I encountered everywhere (hotels, taxis, restaurants) was friendly and attentive, if only maybe a bit slow in restaurants. A77 was above and beyond. Maybe the difference is to not stay in US corporate chains where local mentalities may not live up to American expectations...

    I just got back from Greece (Athens and Hydra) and had a fantastic time. Also flew through London like you. Stayed at A77 in Athens and Hotel Leto in Hydra. Service I encountered everywhere (hotels, taxis, restaurants) was friendly and attentive, if only maybe a bit slow in restaurants. A77 was above and beyond. Maybe the difference is to not stay in US corporate chains where local mentalities may not live up to American expectations and you don't expect lots of perks and freebies to be included because of member status.

    Also I used the "Welcome Pickups" app to book car service everywhere and it was perfect!

  79. pstm91

    Moral of the story should be that blanket statements/generalizations are never a good idea. YMMV is almost always accurate, especially when it comes to travel.

    As examples, I've had mediocre stays in Bali, a terrific stay in Togo, and everything in between all throughout the US and Europe. Yes, certain brands strive to perform consistency at the highest level, but people are people and you will get a miss every now and again. Take...

    Moral of the story should be that blanket statements/generalizations are never a good idea. YMMV is almost always accurate, especially when it comes to travel.

    As examples, I've had mediocre stays in Bali, a terrific stay in Togo, and everything in between all throughout the US and Europe. Yes, certain brands strive to perform consistency at the highest level, but people are people and you will get a miss every now and again. Take Ben's advice and don't let the little things get in the way of a great trip.

  80. tef0306

    We gave up on Greece (and Italy, frankly) awhile ago because of the service and general attitude of the travel industries. Instead, we've retreated to the Dalmatian coast. Not as many Americans venture there and so you're treated more like Europeans. Though because of that, very few options for points, so it's a tricky balancing act.

    1. TLS

      Got to say that Croatia really surprised me when we went there a few years ago. Nice, friendly people, good service in most places and excellent food in most places too. Also a lot more affordable than the typical tourist places.

  81. Nick

    I travel to Greece every year. I am Greek American. What I have noticed is that when their economy is strong and doing well, service is lackluster and it seems like they do not care as much. In the past few years, since the economy has gone downhill, I must say, I have been treated exceptionally well. It also depends on where you go and how you handle yourself. We usually try to go all...

    I travel to Greece every year. I am Greek American. What I have noticed is that when their economy is strong and doing well, service is lackluster and it seems like they do not care as much. In the past few years, since the economy has gone downhill, I must say, I have been treated exceptionally well. It also depends on where you go and how you handle yourself. We usually try to go all out and don't really think of how much things will cost. You must also understand that different countries have different standards. I have had some bad experiences for sure, but the majority have been excellent. A little trick I use is use Google and look at the reviews, let Google be your guiding compass in Greece. So far we have not been steered wrong.

  82. Vicente Russo

    What is the name of the taxi service you mentioned on this posting?

  83. Kaleb_With_A_K

    I had a two week trip in Santorini, Mykonos and Athens and found the service to be fine.

    Greeks (and most Europeans) in general don't brown nose like US service staff because of the lack of a tipping culture.

    I actually prefer that most of the times. I don't need wait staff to ask me every 10 minutes if I need anything else and to inquire about how the food is.

    1. Alexis

      I agree. Aggravates me to be bothered every 5/10 mins.

  84. Ian

    @Lucky what is this awesome taxi company you found? Didn’t see the name in the article but could always use good transport options

  85. khatl

    I agree that Greek service can be completely opposite ends of the spectrum. I've experienced the ferry cancellations for no reason, the taxis that don't turn up, but also truly great service in hotels, apartments and restaurants!

  86. Tracy S

    When we travel we tend to stay at midrange hotels. We've yet to have truly bad service at a Greek hotel. It's not spectacular, but neither is it terrible...on average it's a bit better than American midrange hotels.

    Our higher-tier Greek stays have been terrific, and the one time we chose a lower-end hotel for lack of options it was actually better than our expectations.

  87. Loni

    Mykonos and Santorini tend to have the worst service in Greece because no one is from there and most visitors are tourists that never return. In less visited islands the hotels and restaurants are family owned and good service is a matter of pride. Your mistake was to go to these two Islands and book “chain hotel” accommodations rather than smaller family owned ones.

  88. R B

    Is the curfew still in place in the Greek islands?

  89. DAN NAINAN

    A few years ago we went to three islands in Greece. Santorini, Naxos and Mykonos. We thought the service was absolutely fine and didn't have any bad experiences whatsoever.

    Have you perchance experienced how bad service is in the United States these days?

    1. Alexis

      Yes it is most horrible in so many restaurants and hotels! Kinda like Taxi drivers in Spain after tourist season is over!!!I had a very bad experience.

    2. Seth

      Have you ever tried to order sushi at a 7/11 in the US. Service is out of this world!

    3. Sas

      And old days, service at holiday Inn 57th New York was disgusting, in February hotel was half empty and they insisted on putting me in the room right behind the lift where I could here all movement and sound of recorded voice for guiding blind customers moreover the toilet flooded for no reason and no compensation. Very bad experience.

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Bob

Greece was fine until Americans started tipping.

Bryan

Hey Ben, here's the issue I have with this topic. For someone who travels as much as you do, it's probably expected that some trips won't be great and others will. No different than a bunch of domestic trips I do - some will be amazing, some will be good, and some will be not so good. However, many people don't or won't get the opportunity to travel internationally somewhere multiple times - even for a lot of Americans, it's one big international trip for a lifetime and that's it. For a once in a lifetime trip if someone was considering Greece, why would you leave it up to chance to hope that you luck out on good service? Maybe that's not for the target audience of this blog (which I assume is for people to travel as much as possible), but I know my parents are getting ready to retire and have talked about Greece as a possible place they'd like to visit. If it's a once in a lifetime trip for them, why leave this up to to chance when they could go somewhere where they could expect better? Hearing about a wide range of possibilities for service doesn't seem all that appealing, especially since I don't think a ton of people are (adventurous?) keen on the local hospitality angle mentioned.

Vicente Russo

What is the name of the taxi service you mentioned on this posting?

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