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Greece Travel Guide

When Less Is Not More …

Though Greece is becoming more liberal socially, old standards still prevail, especially among the middle-aged and elderly. Some Western habits can cause offense, and the big no-nos include:

Showing public displays of affection. Greeks hug, stroll arm and arm, kiss each cheek in greeting, but an amorous smooch or wandering hand will raise eyebrows in rural villages.

Baring it all. Nudity is common on Greek beaches, but it’s a question of where you decide to drop trou—this is usually appropriate only at the far ends of a strand, away from the areas where families congregate. Topless sunbathing is permissible, especially on the more cosmopolitan islands, but again, discretion is advised.

Showing legs and arms. Appendages, especially female, should be well covered when entering monasteries and churches. An attendant will usually be waiting near the entrance to drape the underclad in cloaks or skirtlike garments. Women might want to bring along a wrap or large scarf for such occasions.

To decipher the complexity of Greek culture, read Exploring the Greek Mosaic, by Benjamin Broome (1996), for insights into Greece's social landscape still valuable today.

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