Toilets in Greece: Why You Don’t Need to Worry!

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If you’re planning a trip to the country, you might have heard a few rumours about the toilet situation in Greece. I know people worry about whether there are public bathrooms available and what they’re like here.

This is a bit of a weird post to write, but nevertheless, I’m here to set the record straight for you! So, let’s just go straight in with the questions…

Is it True You Can’t Flush Toilet Paper?

Yes. People think Greek toilets are behind the times, but the issue is that they were actually very ahead of their time. It was actually the Minoans, from Crete, rather than the ancient Greeks that developed the first toilet systems. And it was way before toilet paper was a thing.


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Some of the oldest existing pipe systems in the world are in Greece. (Fun fact: apparently, the world’s first flushing toilet could have been created at the Palace of Knossos in Crete in 1700 BC.) So, they didn’t allow for the width of the plumbing pipes to accommodate paper or any other object

I know it can be a bit of a culture shock to put used toilet paper in a bin, but please don’t flush paper. It really does clog up the sewer system, which causes all sorts of problems. Maybe not for you, but for your Airbnb’s neighbours after you leave.

Even in hotel rooms, it’s the norm to dispose of toilet tissue in the small bin provided.

The housekeepers will take the rubbish/garbage out for you. I think it’s a horrible job, so I always at least tie up the plastic bags for them. They don’t assume you’ll do that, but please be considerate.

If you’re staying in an apartment and taking the rubbish out yourself, the bathroom bin bag just goes out with the household rubbish. Throw it in one of the big wheelie bins you’ll see on the street.

What to Expect With Public Bathrooms in Greece

Depending on where you go, you might experience a big difference between the various public toilets you encounter in Greece.

Squat Toilets

These aren’t the most common type of toilet you’ll see in Greece, but you may still happen upon them in some places. If you visit the Greek islands, you might come across these a bit more.

They’re sometimes known as Turkish toilets. And they were certainly much more prevalent while I was travelling in Turkey than here in Greece.

This is an example of a public loo in Paros.

Western Toilets in Greece

Modern Greek toilets are similar to what you’re used to. There’s usually hot and cold tap water available in the bathrooms, too. Although occasionally, I see just cold taps.

I saw on TikTok that visitors to Greece thought it was odd that toilets don’t have a toilet seat. To be honest, I’d never noticed this before.

In the UK, sometimes public toilets don’t have a seat because they have been broken and just haven’t been replaced. So, when I’ve gone to places like that here, I just assumed they were waiting to be fixed.

Standard modern toilet in a tourist attraction in Greece

Anyway, it’s not the case everywhere, certainly not in your hotel. But since it’s been mentioned, I’ve noticed there are a lot of missing seats!

Some are moulded that way, like the toilets on the side of the motorway.

Payment to a Bathroom Attendant

Another thing I learnt from TikTok is that a lot of Americans are surprised at having to pay for toilets. Greece is quite similar to the rest of Europe in this regard, I think, and many places will charge a small fee.

It’s usually only a small amount (0.50 – 1 euro) and helps pay to keep the facilities clean and maintained. Some places will only give you toilet paper when you pay.

Toilet Paper Availability

My top tip is to carry a small pack of tissues in your bag. Not everywhere has toilet paper available, although most places do.

Where to Find Public Restrooms In Greece

If you’re caught short while you’re out and about, don’t worry. There are plenty of WCs around.

The Nearest Taverna or Cafe

I’ve never been refused access to the toilet in any of the local tavernas or coffee shops I’ve asked. Usually, I’ll at least buy a bottle of water in exchange for using the facilities, but it doesn’t seem to be expected.

Hotels

Again, when I’ve popped into a hotel I’ve been passing, no one has ever minded me using their facilities. Not even the upmarket hotels.

Ancient Sites and Tourist Attractions

I can’t think of any of the main attractions I’ve visited around Greece that haven’t had decent, “normal” toilets. From the archaeological sites in rural areas on the islands to the National Garden in Athens, you’ll probably find at least a couple of toilets in touristy areas.

Generally, they’re pretty clean, but toilet paper availability varies.

Beaches

There are often basic facilities around the beaches. There might be a lone portaloo or some squat toilet cubicles, so don’t expect anything amazing, but they do the job. Obviously, there are better provisions if you go somewhere with a bar or beach club.

Transport Stations

Main train stations and some smaller ones, as well as the bus stations, have toilet facilities. You may need to collect a key from a cafe or pay an attendant for access and toilet paper. But in exchange, you’ll get decently maintained toilets to use.

Ports

The ferry ports are probably where I’ve experienced the least good service in terms of cleanliness. Not that that’s the case everywhere.

In Santorini, there’s a washroom attendant at the facilities in the waiting room. And, in my experience, those ones have always been clean.

But at busy ports like Piraeus and Rafina, the semi-portable toilets there can get in a bit of a mess.

Day Trip Boats

I always see people asking if the boats they book for day trips will have toilets. And the answer is, yes, they do. They might be down a steep flight of steps below deck. So check about that if it’s an issue for you.

Bathroom space and lidded bin in a boat toilet

Motorway/ National Road

As I mentioned above, there are toilets at quite regular intervals in laybys along the motorway.

There are also service stations with good facilities.

Supermarkets and Petrol/Gas Stations

The A.B. Vassilopoulos chain of supermarkets always has well-marked customer toilets. And international chain stations like BP and Shell do too.

Other supermarkets and petrol stations have offered me the staff toilets when I enquired if they had customer facilities.

Disabled/Accessible Toilets

Unfortunately, these aren’t as numerous as you might hope. Some of the touristy places do have dedicated disabled toilets. But it’s not the case in many tavernas/restaurants and cafes.

In Athens, there are adapted toilets in the centre at the following stations (you’ll need to ask to have them opened for you):

  • Syntagma
  • Monastiraki
  • Thisseo
  • Keramikos

Sometimes, the supermarket and petrol station toilets are wheelchair adapted, but not always.

Availability in the Off-Season

If you’re visiting the islands in the off-season, not all of these will be open. Portaloos get removed from the beaches, and in some places, a lot of the tavernas will be closed for the winter. Plus, in the busiest places, like Santorini, the general town public toilets are shut.

However, you should still find an available toilet without having to venture too far. The museums and tourist attractions that are open will have facilities.

Plus stations, ports, motorways, supermarkets and petrol stations. So you’ll be fine (as long as you don’t need something accessible).

More Greece Travel Tips

So now you know all about toilets in Greece, but you might still have some other questions. If so, check out my post with loads of tips about what to expect when you come to Greece for the first time.

Suzie Young

Suzie writes informative posts for solo, nervous or first-time travellers to Greece, Turkey and other countries on her 50-before-50 bucket list. She became a Greek resident in 2020 and intends to visit every inhabited island (13 down!).

2 Comments

  1. Thank you. I use the flush app but few are entered for my journey to Athens so your report has been very comforting indeed.

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