Home Language HacksGreek Survival Greek Travel Phrase Guide with Pronunciation

Survival Greek Travel Phrase Guide with Pronunciation

by Michele
Greek phrases english to greek translation
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Buying a ferry ticket to Santorini? Need directions to the Parthenon? Don’t expect everyone to speak English. Take my free Greek travel phrase guide with pronunciations and strike up a conversation with ease.

If you’re planning a trip to Greece or Cyrus, you’ve come to the right place. I’m a firm believer in learning a few choice phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting, so that’s exactly what I’m going to give you.

While English might be an international language, it doesn’t mean we should be lazy and assume everyone speaks it nor neglect to make an effort. But since you’re here, I know that’s not you. After all, why travel unless you learn more about people, culture and language?

As part of my on-going series of creating travel phrase guides, today I’m going to share some of the most common and useful Greek phrases.

To help me, I’ve asked a dear Greek friend, (whom I met in my French class) to help create this guide and provide all the important pronunciations, so you won’t have to learn the Greek alphabet!

You’ll be speaking Greek faster than you can say “It’s all Greek to me”!

See what I did there?

Ok, enough with the language jokes, let’s take a quick look at the Greek language so you’re a bit more clued up on its origin, use, and vocabulary.

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed bringing it together. If you have any requests for other languages, let me know in the comments section!

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Where is Greek spoken?

Greek is the official language of Greece (also called the Hellenic Republic) and the Republic of Cyprus. I know, shocking, right?

Outside of these countries, there are big Greek and Cypriot communities in the US, the UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, Chile, South Africa and Russia, but also in neighbouring countries, such as Albania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Spoken by about 13 million people, Greek belongs to the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European language family.

A Brief History of Greek

The Greek language has a long and rich history stretching all the way back the thirteenth century B.C. to the present.

The earliest form of the language is called “Linear B” (13th century B.C). This form of Greek used by writers such as Homer (8th century B.C.) and Plato (4th century B.C.) is called “Classical Greek.”

Modern Greek, which is what you’ll encounter in your travels, is a descendant of Proto-Greek, the ancestor of all Greek dialects.

The 24 letters of Greek alphabet was developed from the Phoenician alphabet and has been in use since the late 9th or early 8th century BC.

The word alphabet itself comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: άλφα [alpha] and βήτα [beta].

The Greek alphabet gave rise to the Latin, Cyrillic, Gothic and various other alphabets.

Now for the tricky stuff!

Pronunciation Tips

In 1982, the Greek language was greatly simplified with the introduction of the monotonic system. Since then, only the acute accent and the double dots are used instead of the many other little marks that could surround a letter.

As a general rule, all Greek words of more than one syllable, with a few exceptions, are written with an accent which indicates where you should put the emphasis.


The bulk of Greek vocabulary evolved from Proto-Greek. Modern Greek has also borrowed words from other languages such as French, German, and most recently from English.

It’s estimated that around 30% of the English vocabulary consists, directly and indirectly, of words of Classical Greek origin. Most of them are technical and scientific terms.

Words of Greek origin are often used at the beginning of a word, such as:

Greek Word Definition
Aero air
Auto self
Cata down
Hyper over
Hypo under
Mono one, alone
Psych mind
Tele distance
Photo light
Meter measure
-logy to speak
Phone sound

Some other words of Greek origin include;

Greek Word Definition
Academy Akademeia ‘grove of Akademos’, a legendary Athenian of the Trojan War tales on whose estate Plato taught his school.
Alphabet alphabetos, from alpha + beta, first two letters of the Greek alphabet
Athlete athletes ‘contestant in the games’, from athlein ‘to contest for a prize’
Bishop episkopos ‘watcher, overseer’, a title for government officials, later taken over in a Church sense, fromepi- ‘over’ + skopos ‘watcher’
Catholic katholikos, from kata ‘about’ + genitive case of holos ‘whole’
Cosmos kosmos ‘orderly arrangement’
Dinosaur deinos ‘terrible’ + sauros ‘lizard’
Diploma diploma ‘license, chart’
Drama drama (genitive of dramatos) ‘play, action’ from dram ‘to act, perform’
Exodus exodus ‘going out’, from ex- ‘out’ + hodos ‘way’
Genesis genesis ‘origin, creation’
Method methodus ‘scientific method of inquiry’ from meta- ‘after’ + hodos ‘way’
Metropolis metropolis ‘mother city’ from meter ‘mother’ +polis ‘city’
Monarchy monarkhia ‘absolute rule’ from monos ‘alone’ + arkhein ‘to rule’
Psalm psalmos ‘song sung to a harp,’
Rhythm rhythmos ‘measured flow, movement’
Syntax syntaxis ‘a putting together’ from syn- ‘together’ + tassein ‘arrange’
Thesaurus thesauros ‘treasury, storehouse’

P.S. If you’re reading this on your phone and can’t see the pronunciation column, turn it to landscape mode. For some reason tables aren’t mobile friendly. Sorry!

Basic Greek Phrases for Travellers

Basic Greek Phrases GuideWant the infographic to take with you? Scroll to the bottom of the page.

Eating Out
Getting Around

English Greek Pronunciation


Hello Γειά yee-a
Good morning Καλημέρα ka-lee-mair-rah
Good evening Καλό βράδυ ka-lo vra-dee
Good night Καλή νύχτα ka-lee nee-hta
Goodbye Αντίο a-ntee-o
How are you? Τι κάνεις? tee ka-nees
I’m well, and you? Είμαι καλά, εσύ? ee-me ka-la
Good, thanks Καλά, ευχαριστώ ka-la e-fha-ree-sto


Please Παρακαλώ pa-ra-ka-lo
Thank you Ευχαριστώ e-fha-ree-sto
You’re welcome Παρακαλώ pa-ra-ka-lo
Yes Ναί ne
No Όχι o-hi
Excuse me Με συγχωρείτε me see-ho-ree-te
I’m sorry Συγνώμη see-gno-mee
I don’t understand Δεν καταλαβαίνω den ka-ta-la-ve-no
Do you speak English? Μιλάτε Αγγλικά? mee-la-te ag-lee-ka


How much is…? Πόσο κάνει… po-so ka-nee
Where is…? Που είναι… pwee-neh
When? Πότε po-te
May I please have…? Θα μπορούσα να έχω… tha mpo-ru-sa na e-ho

Eating Out

Beer Μπύρα bee-ra
Wine Κρασί kra-see
Water Νερό ne-ro
I don’t eat… Δεν τρώω den tro-o
I’m a vegetarian Είμαι χορτογάφος ee-me hor-to-fa-gos
the bill, please Τον λογαριασμό παρακαλώ ton lo-ga-ria-smo pa-ra-ka-lo

Getting Around

Left Αριστερά a-ri-ste-ra
Right Δεξιά the-xee-a
Straight ahead Όλο ευθεία o-lo ef-thee-a
Turn left Στρίψτε αριστερά stree-pste a-ree-ste-ra
Turn right Στρίψτε δεξιά stree-pste the-xee-a
Bus stop Στάση λεωφορείου sta-see le-o-fo-ree-u
Train station Στάση τραίνου sta-see tre-nu
Airport Αεροδρόμιο a-e-ro-thro-mee-o
Entrance Είσοδος ee-so-thos
Exit Έξοδος e-xo-thos


1 ένα e-na
2 δύο thee-o
3 τρία tree-a
4 τέσσερα te-se-ra
5 πέντε pe-nde
6 έξι e-xi
7 εφτά e-fta
8 οχτώ o-hto
9 εννέα ve-nay-ah
10 δέκα the-ka
20 είκοσι ee-ko-see
30 τριάντα tree-a-nda
40 σαράντα ee-ko-see
50 πενήντα pe-nee-nda
60 εξήντα e-xee-nda
70 εβδομήντα e-vdo-mee-nda
80 ογδόντα o-gtho-nda
90 εννενήντα e-ne-nee-nda
100 εκατό e-ka-to


Monday Δευτέρα the-fte-ra
Tuesday Τρίτη tree-tee
Wednesday Τετάρτη te-ta-rtee
Thursday Πέμπτη pe-mptee
Friday Παρασκευή pa-ra-ske-vee
Saturday Σαββάτο sa-va-to
Sunday Κυριακή kee-ria-kee


Help! Βοήθεια vo-ee-thee-a
I need a doctor Χρειάζομαι ένα γιατρό hree-a-zo-me yee-atro
I don’t feel well Δεν αισθάνομαι καλά then e-stha-no-me ka-la
Call the police! Καλέστε την αστυνομία ka-le-ste tin a-sti-no-mia
Fire! Φωτιά fo-tia

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greek travel phrases english to greek translation with pronunciation

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Over to you!

Which of these phrases are the most useful? What other languages would you like a travel phrase guide for? Are you planning a trip to Greece or have already been there?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.

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Basil Pereira June 11, 2017 - 21:36

Thanks Michele. That’s really great. Not planning a trip to Greece any time soon but will keep this handy. Are you doing a Norwegian one? I might be heading there over Christmas so it should come in handy.

Michele June 11, 2017 - 21:56

Hi Basil, yes indeedy. I’ve reached out to a Norwegian friend who is helping me develop it as we speak! Norway is incredible. You’ll have a wonderful time :)


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