Language in Greece

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What Language do they Speak in Greece - 2023 Guide

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What language do they speak in Greece? 

 Greece is a beautiful small country in southeast Europe with a rich and vibrant history. Greek is the primary language used in Greece by the vast majority of the population.

Language of Greece Parthenon
Language of Greece : The Parthenon.

Official Language Of Greece

Modern Greek is officially used as the standard language form in all the country. Greek is the language written and spoken by the majority of people in Greece. The alphabet is made up of 24 letters total, with a 5-vowel scheme. The Greek language’s syntax, morphology, and phonology demonstrates how well has maintained its consistency while also demonstrating the inventive inclinations that have emerged over the whole history of the language, from the ancient forms to the present linguistic style. 

The modern Greek language is the sole official language of Greece, and it is spoken by 99.5% of the population or over 11.0 million people. In order to separate it from the ancient Greek language, it is known as modern Greek. 

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Ancient Greek

It is one of the oldest and most significant languages in human history. Ancient writings that have been preserved go back to the ninth century BC. The Iliad and Odyssey were written in this dialect that was spoken in Greece till the 6th century. The written language history dates back to the 12th century BC. Although this language is now a dead language, Greeks are very proud of this heritage. Actually, ancient Greek is still taught at students at high schools.

language of greece inscription
Language of Greece: Ancient Greek inscription.

Dialects of Greece

Modern Greek is the ‘main’ dialect, which would be encountered in all the major Greek cities. You will come across the vibrant dialects of Greek and regional languages as you travel across the many Greek districts. Those regional languages serve as non-official dialects and the second or third languages for those that speak them. Even Greeks find themselves in trouble when two Cypriots or Pontic talk together. But don’t worry; in most cases, they will try to communicate with you using standard modern Greek if they understand that you are a foreigner. Officially acknowledged as modern greek dialects, at least eleven distinct dialects, however, the ones you’re most likely to hear are: 

Cretan Greek Language

Spoken by Cretans and on the island of Crete, Cretan Greek has somewhat longer vowels than other Greek dialects and has a distinctive melodic flare. It’s perfect for mantinades, which are quick poetry that Cretans are known for writing on the spot! 

Cypriot Greek Language

This dialect, used by Greek Cypriots, is said to be the most like hearing Ancient Greek spoken today. Cypriot Greek still retains many of the original Ancient Greek features from ancient periods, including pronunciation, grammar, and syntactic aspects. 

Pontic Greek Language

Northern Greece is where you are most likely to hear this dialect. Short vowels and strong consonants give it a distinctive sound. Pontic Greek is a fusion of the ancient Ionian Greek dialect with the Byzantine koine Greek.

Language of greece zagorochoria
Language of Greece: Traditional bridge in Zagorochoria area.

Foreign languages spoken in Greece 

Greek culture is oriented towards good hospitality and commerce. As a result, speaking multiple languages is considered a must for Greeks. It is very common for children at the age of 7-8 to start lessons in a foreign language. There are kindergartens that teach toddlers some words in English. The languages you’re safe to assume a good percentage of Greeks can speak from a competent to a proficient level are: 

English: English is considered a vital necessity for education and career advancement in Greece. As a consequence, the great majority of Greeks are able to communicate well in English. All road signs and road names are transliterated completely, and where required, an English translation is supplied. You will have absolutely no problem navigating in Greece if you speak English! 

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French: French is a very popular second foreign language for Greek students. Therefore it’s probable that Greeks will be able to speak it without too much difficulty.

German: Competing with French in popularity, many Greeks choose to learn German as their second foreign language. 

Italian: Greeks commonly go to Italy to work and study, making it the fourth most popular foreign language to learn. 

Language of Greece sign
Language of Greece: A sign of Greek taverna in Athens.

Minority languages spoken in Greece 

There is a remarkable diversity of dialects and languages spoken in Greece despite the near-complete linguistic uniformity of Modern Greek language, which is spoken by practically everyone. This results in a lovely mosaic of sound and expression that bears a historical heritage merged with life’s present rhythm. Some of the minority languages that are spoken are Turkish language, Albanian language and Russian language.

Turkish Language: Especially in Western Thrace, you will encounter Muslim Greeks and Turks of the Muslim minority in Greece speaking Turkish as a second language. 

Albanian Language: Albanians make up the largest minority in Greece and are found all around the nation. It is highly likely that you may hear individuals speaking Albanian at odd moments, often in a mix with Greek, since there are many intermarriages with Greeks and a good number of citizens of Albanian descent! 

Russian Language: Due to the large numbers of immigrants from Russia and the northern Balkans who moved permanently to Greece. Russian is rather common among languages spoken in north Greece along with other Slavic languages like Macedonian-Slavic dialect and Bulgarian.

Language of Greece beach
Language of Greece: A typical beach in Greece.

Is the Greek language easy? 

Greek is a challenging language to learn, especially for English speakers. However, it is still simpler to learn than Arabic or Russian. Greek is not closely connected to English, which is why many English speakers find it so challenging. The Greek language is so rich in vocabulary and expressions. It is usual even for a native speaker like me to open a dictionary to check the meaning or the spelling of a word.

language in greece
Holy Bible in Greek

Useful expressions 

Once you get to Greece, it is a good idea to have a note of Greek phrases on hand in case you run across somebody who doesn’t understand English. 






Γειά σας

Good morning



Good afternoon



Good night












Thank you




Most frequent questions and answers

The vast majority of the population of Greece speaks Greek, which is the country’s only official language.

Greek is a relatively difficult language to master, even more so for English speakers.

Greek is one of the richest languages in the world and is distinguished by its extensive vocabulary.

Greek is a beautiful language and is filled with thousands of years of history and influence.

The official language spoken in Greece is Greek. There are other languages spoken in Greece, also. English is also widely spoken, so you will be absolutely fine when visiting Greece.

Greek is one of the 24 official languages of the European Union and the official language of both Greece and Cyprus. At least 13.5 million people speak it in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania, Turkey, and other countries where Greeks have emigrated.

Almost 15 million people speak Greek in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania, Turkey, and other Greek diaspora nations.

In Greece, English is the most often used second language, with 51% of the population speaking it. This amounts to almost  5,500,000 English speakers at the absolute least. With 99 percent of the people speaking it, Greek is the most common language in Greece.

One of the greatest percentages in Europe is about 50% of Greeks who can speak English. Using English when visiting Athens and other tourist destinations is really quite safe.

According to the 2001 Census, the Albanian language is the most common minority language in Greece, where it is spoken by almost 450,000 immigrants from that country.

Traveling to 🇬🇷 Greece soon?

I recommend these travel resources for Greece that I personally use:

🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Greece. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Greece, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.

🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.

🚙 Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer from the airport and beetween destinations with Welcome Pickups. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.

🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Greece, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Greece. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.

📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.