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Things That Set Tourists Apart from Locals at a Greek Beach

Greeks beach
Greeks at the beach on the island of Rhodes. Credit: Greek Reporter

When Greeks hit the beach each summer they do it with an effortless finesse. You will see them soaking up the sun and enjoying a day at the beach as if it were second nature for them.

For the trained eye, there are several things that set apart a local from a tourist at a Greek beach.

Playing rackets at the beach

If you see two or more people on the beach playing what Greeks call “the rackets”, an impromptu tennis game on sand, they are most definitely Greek.

The noise of the ball hitting the racket and the loud interjections between the players can be irritating for bathers who want to enjoy the sun and the sea in silence.

Playing backgammon

Playing one of the oldest known board games at the beach or the near-by beach bar is a definite Greek trait. The only tourist you are likely able to find playing backgammon would probably be one being taught by a Greek how to play the game.

Ordering a hot coffee or tea

Classic Greek beach order: frappe and water. Credit: Catherine Singleton/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Greeks drink coffee at the beach. In fact, when there is a bar at the beach, you will find that throughout the day, Greeks will order only coffee and water, particularly a frappe or freddo espresso.

As the evening approaches they might order a cold beer or another coffee, but throughout the day, it’s chilled coffee all the way. Tourists on the other hand, often order hot drinks at the beach.

Assuming the beach is free

Greek beach
Credit: Municipality of Glyfada/ Zisimos Zizos

Any organized beach, or one with sunbeds and umbrellas, in Greece is going to have a fee; there is no way around it. If there are beach bars, showers or a restaurant as well, you will pay even more to use the amenities at the beach.

For example, using sunbeds or umbrellas at organized beaches in Greece usually costs around five to six euros, plus any cost of drinks or snacks if there is a beach bar nearby. Well worth it!

Alcohol on the beach

Greeks tend to drink alcohol on the beach later in the day. When you spot a bather drinking beer early in the morning he/she is more likely a tourist.

This is mainly happening in tourist resorts popular with young tourists. Getting drunk on the beach is actually something that is not hilarious to Greeks, but more of a nuisance.

Spending the entire day in the hot Greek sun

The umbrellas at organized beaches are there for a reason. You must pace yourself when laying in the strong Greek sun to not get burned, or even experience sun stroke.

Many tourists will move their chairs so that they are laying in the direct sun for the entire day at the beach. When in doubt, take a look at the locals.

They are laying in the diffused sunlight coming through the semi-transparent umbrellas, or laying in the sun directly but only for short amounts of time.


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