The birthplace of Aphrodite herself (not to mention that trouble-making Eros), and with gorgeous sunsets and countless miles of sandy beaches to walk arm-in-arm with a new love or old spouse, Greece seems made for trips for two.
But what if you don’t have anyone to link arms with non-platonically (like the record numbers of single adults in this day and age) and are one more bad Tinder date away from giving up the search entirely? Well, we can’t promise that you’ll find love in Greece – and in fact we don’t really think you should actively try (experience tells us that, like a cat on a porch, love only comes knocking when you’re thoroughly distracted by other things).
But we do think that you should check out this list below of amazing activities that just so happen to be frequented by many other people. And, you know, many of those people will be single. I mean not that anyone cares about that – we’re just saying.
So either by yourself, or with a group of friends, try out whatever suits your fancy, have a great time, and, who knows? You may just find a like-minded person to link arms at sunset with before the holiday is done. And even if you don’t, you’ll still have had a great time.
So, depending on your passion, below are top things to do when single in Greece:
1. For Yoga Lovers
Groups of people at yoga retreats usually consist of more single people and groups of friends than couples. The reason? We’re guessing the self-empowerment that comes with yoga has something to do with it. Yoga has a way of making you feel strong, healthy, balanced, and beautiful. In other words, exactly the way you need to feel when you meet someone you want to impress.
Pure Fitness – Various Destinations
This innovative fitness center organizes new yoga trips around Greece several times a year. They combine luxurious accommodation, beautiful surroundings, and traditional holidaying with yoga classes for beginners and experienced yogis alike. Most people who join the retreats, they say, happen to be singles from around Greece and the rest of Europe. Coming up is a Yoga Cruise of the Aegean, and a six day retreat in Ikaria.
The Happiness Retreat – Mountains and Islands
A holistic health approach defines The Happiness Retreat, which organizes various programs at several places around Greece. We like the three-day Biomatic Anatomy retreat held in Seliana, on the Peloponnese, where you learn things you never knew about your skeleton and your breathing, and share healthy meals. The Blue Bliss retreat in Koufounisia is another tempting option, combining the yoga classes with impulse dancing and floating body exercises in the sea.
Skyros Holistic Holidays – Skyros
On the beautiful island of island of Skyros in the Sporades, the Skyros Center offers truly holistic retreats. At their two locations (villa and huts at Atsitsa Bay and a facility on the outskirts of the island’s main village) you can design a retreat that suits you by picking from a plethora of activities to combine with your yoga classes. Think windsurfing, reflexology, abseiling, massage, music, psychotherapy, dance, comedy and tai chi.
It’s a mix that may seem random, but it’s all aimed at caring for the body as a whole. If you go alone, you can use the time to connect with your inner self while also having fun, and it’s a great place to meet new people from all over Europe (about a third of the participants are from the UK).
2. For Nature Lovers
Whether you are experienced in ski mountaineering, an avid hiker, or curious to try kayaking or rafting for the first time, there is a Greek destination with your name on it, and group excursions to join.
Beware, if you don’t want to meet the love of your life while sweaty and muddy, this may not be right for you. If, however, you love nature and you’re not afraid to show it, a fellow hiker/climber/skier/biker might just see the real you behind your flushed face.
Trekking Hellas is a group of 12 companies around the country, who organize tons of outdoor holidays all year round. Below are three of their suggestions.
Trekking – Mount Taygetus
Join one of the groups trekking up the E4 trail on Mount Taygetus. It is a well-marked trail, and you don’t have to be very experienced, but you do need to be in good physical shape. A five-day excursion in total, you will traverse the forest of Vasiliki, passing small, remote villages on the way, before reaching the summit at 2404 meters above sea-level.
If you’re lucky, by the time you get up there, you might have found a special someone to admire the view with. If not, it’s still breathtaking. Available May-October. By appointment (trips require a minimum number of participants to be reached).
Backcountry Skiing – Pindos
If skiing is your hobby – and you have to be experienced to go on this trip – booking eight days of ski mountaineering on the jaw-droppingly beautiful Pindos Mountain range could be the best decision you’ve ever made. Not only is it an amazing excursion in itself (you’ll descend back-country slopes in the virgin areas of Zagori, Mount Timfi, Mount Smolikas and Mount Vasilitsa, with amazing runs and pristine snow, have your equipment transferred by horse on the ascents, and spend the nights in charming little guesthouses), but sharing it with others is sure to be a bonding experience.
Available in February-March. By appointment (trips require a minimum number of participants to be reached).
Sea Kayaking in the Ionian – Lefkada
We can think of few better ways of experiencing the Mediterranean than on an eight-day sea kayaking adventure around Lefkada and neighboring islands. Discover remote beaches inaccessible by land, snorkel in crystal clear water, and overnight and dine in small villages on the islands. Oh, and our favorite part: spend your evenings around the campfire on the beach.
Available May-October. Departure Dates for 2018: 19-26 May & 13-20 October (+any other date upon request).
3. For Foodies
The way to a foodie’s heart is through their stomach, so how could you possibly meet the love of your life anywhere else but over a delicious meal? And the timing has never been better as food tourism in Greece is bigger than ever.
Note that this involves a lot more than visiting tavernas – you can go mushroom hunting, visit farms, take cooking classes, visit food-centered museums, and watch the grape harvest at some of Greece’s finest wineries. Doing so in a group is bound to spark interesting conversations, and maybe even an urge to cook together.
Even if you’re not looking to meet someone and are happy with food being your one and only, these are some great destinations that we know you’ll love:
Aglaia’s Table – Kea
Head for a six-day holiday in Kea. Specifically, to Ioulis farm, run by Greek cookbook author and local gastronomy expert Aglaia Kremezi. The gastronomic adventures here include cooking lessons and food and wine tastings, as well as seasonal activities like olive harvesting and pressing in the fall. You will also enjoy guided walking tours around the archeological sites and surrounding villages, visits to the beach, and talking recipes and ingredients with other foodies.
Ioulis, Kea, Tel. 22880.21917, 693.2413205, www.aglaiakremezi.com/kea-artisanal/
Guest House Anemi – Zagori
At this guest house, you’ll take part in cooking workshops learning how to make products such as marmalade, chutney, pasta, and cheese. Mushroom picking is also on the menu, as are other activities like wool handicraft workshops and loom weaving. Mingling is done by the old wood-burning cob oven, where delightful meals last for hours.
Guest House Anemi - Zagori
Kato Pedina, Zagori, Tel. +30 26530.72003.
House Venikos – Corinthia
If you’re a wine enthusiast, House Venikos is hard to beat. While there are many beautiful wineries where you can stay and enjoy wines and great food pairings, this one takes things further. At House Venikos you will not only be offered a different bottle of excellent wine to enjoy every evening; it also works as a base camp for over 20 tours to selected food and wine tourism stops in the Peloponnese. The central theme of the outings is the wine of the Nemea wine region, and you’ll visit wineries, take part in cooking classes, and even help out during harvest if you like.
Koutsi, Nemea, Corinthia, Tel. +30 27460.23436.
4. For Volunteers
What could be a nicer way to bond with someone than doing good together? On a volunteer holiday, you won’t just meet people you have things in common with, but people who you know have good hearts.
Archelon – Zakynthos
The sea turtles Caretta caretta that nest on Zakynthos need protection. At Archelon’s volunteer programs, which last from one to two months, you get to help protect the turtles during their nesting season by spreading information, safeguarding the nesting beaches at night, relocating nests that are in danger, tagging nesting females, and more.
From May to October.
MOm – Alonissos MOm has two volunteer programs. The first, lasting for two weeks, is for the monk seal. You can also help the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project, for which you will record, monitor, and photograph the threatened dolphin populations from a research boat. These expeditions last for up to one week.
From June to September.
Arcturos, the Bear Sanctuary – Florina
Joining the team at Arcturos means helping them protect the mountainous ecosystems around Florina, in northern Greece, for the benefit of its bear and wolf populations. Spending four to eight weeks at this large mammal sanctuary, you get to observe bears and wolves and learn to evaluate their behavior. You will also help out at the Greek Sheepdog Preservation center, where large Greek sheepdogs are bred to be distributed to farmers, as a way to protect their livestock from the bears and wolves. It’s free to volunteer, and you can stay at the center’s guesthouse.
From March to December.
5. For Sailors
Sitting on deck, watching the sun set into the Aegean with a glass of retsina and the soft sound of waves lapping against the side of the sailboat; it might be a romantic image that is easiest to imagine as a setup for two. However, many of those who book trips with companies like IonionSails.gr travel alone or in groups of friends. They don’t just charter yachts and catamarans but also organize flotilla holidays, where you sail in groups with many yachts together with as many as 60-120 people taking part.
It’s a proven recipe for romance: “We know of five couples who have met on our flotillas that are now married,” owner Gabriel Efstathiou says, “two of them already have children”.
To make sure you remember your trip forever, they have professional photographers on every flotilla they arrange.
Flotilla holidays are organized throughout the Greek seas, with the Ionian being a good option for beginners. If you’re an experienced sailor and want to meet other people who already love sailing, a flotilla setting off from the Gulf of Volos will be just the thing.
6. For Campers
If you’ve ever stayed at a campsite you know that it’s impossible not to meet new people when you do. More common than not is for groups to melt together and become one, and for clusters of tents or caravans to turn into little temporary neighborhoods. Go alone, or go with your friends or family, it doesn’t matter – you will meet new people.
Greece may seem like a country too hot for tents, but in the shade of the trees, right next to the clear blue, refreshing sea, once you’re done setting up and take that scenery in, there is nowhere you’d rather be. Many organized campsites also feature bungalows to rent.
Sithonia is the middle of three peninsulas branching off from another peninsula (Halkidiki), so, as you can imagine, it is a summer destination that is all about the sea. The area has over a hundred white beaches with trees that provide shade and amazing clear waters, and a large number of well-organized campsites that makes them all accessible, pieces of paradise.
If you don’t own a caravan and don’t feel like sleeping in a tent, you can rent a bungalow at luxurious Akti Onoirou (Dream Coast). For a busier environment with lots of beach fun, one of the most well-known sites is Armenistis.
Camping is becoming a more and more common vacation option among the Greeks, and one destination that has become increasingly popular over the last few years is Evia. Close to Athens (it’s an 80 km/1 hour drive to its capital, Halkida), Greece’s second largest island is so easy to reach that some even commute from here to work in the city, living the camping life even when not on vacation.
The northern part of the island is especially nice, with lots of green, quiet and beautiful beaches. The camps at Aghia Anna feature bungalows swimming pools, basketball and beach volley courts, and a busy beach bar.
7. For Festival Lovers
If you can, book your trip to Greece during one of the many annual festivals and celebrations that happen all around the country. The mood is always light and happy, and people who visit are there to socialize, as much as to enjoy the events.
Music festivals happen all around Greece many times a year, but mostly during the summer. The River Party Festival which takes place near the town of Kastoria in Macedonia every August features the winning combination of camping, swimming in the river, and music. Bring a tent, or rent one that’s already set up in the lush landscape around the river, and get ready to dance the nights away.
The Rockwave Festival in July on the other hand, is just outside Athens (a roughly 40 km/40 minute drive), so you can easily stay at a hotel in the city and go to the concerts during the day (so far, Iron Maiden, Arctic Monkeys, and Judas Priest have been announced for 2018).
If you want to spend even more time in the capital, the Release Athens Festival is a new music festival, to be held for the third time in 2018, situated in the city, by the sea, near the neighborhood of Kallithea.
Food Festival – Tinos
Tinos Food Paths is an annual gastronomic festival, which will take place for the fourth year in 2018. Run mainly by volunteers, it has still managed to become extremely successful, and visitors rave about the quality of the event. Shining a light on the island’s local products, like their blue cheese, called kariki, their artichokes, and their sweet and delicious tomatoes, the festival presents local cuisine through events in the street, special menus at restaurants, and tours in the villages.
Strike up a conversation with your fellow festival goers about the incredible products – you might just find yourself the perfect dinner date.
Film Festival – Thessaloniki
The Thessaloniki International Film Festival is a 58-year-old annual event, but its rich history is not the only reason to visit. If you love film, when the festival is held in early November is a great time to visit Greece’s second largest city – both for the movies, and the mingling. You will meet thousands of likeminded people here, and the whole city is practically buzzing with news from the festival, so you’ll meet other movie buffs all around the city.
Carnival – Patras
The Greek carnival season begins about three weeks before the start of Lent and goes on until the weekend before Clean Monday. It is celebrated across Greece with street carnivals and masquerade parties, and the biggest parade of all is the one held in the city of Patras.
Patras is a city with thousands of students, meaning the town knows how to party year-round. However, nothing compares to the last weekend of the carnival season, when people flock here from all over the country. It is the perfect time and place to let loose. If you’re normally shy, put on a mask and be someone who’s not shy for a day.
On the Sunday, the Grande Parade takes over the street complete with elaborate floats, and professional dancers and musicians. At night, fireworks light up the sky.
8. For the Party Animals
Finally, the most well-known choice of vacations for singles is not one to leave out. Party destinations in Greece have all the things you could ask for in order to live the classic “beach bar to pool bar and back again” scenario.
Mykonos is known to all, and frequented by all types of people looking to have a good time – either in large, thumping parties with internationally renowned DJs driving the crowd into a frenzy, or in smaller, more intimate bars dancing into the night. The beach bars never close, and the clubs hardly do either.
Ios and Paros are other popular destinations for those looking to get their groove on.