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Going to the bathroom is a weird subject. Everyone does it, but nobody wants to talk about it. One of the most difficult things to get used to for people from Western countries are the bathrooms in Greece. Because you see, Greeks don’t flush their toilet paper. If you’re from most other European countries or North America you probably find that idea really gross.
Greeks Don’t Flush Toilet Paper
When I arrived in Greece in 2014 I had no idea about this. I kept seeing signs in public bathrooms that said: “don’t throw anything in the toilet.” I thought they were talking about menstrual products which still get incorrectly disposed of in many countries (a good reason to switch to eco-friendly period products). But eventually, I was informed that you don’t flush toilet paper in Greece because it clogs up the plumbing. And I still haven’t gotten used to it and don’t think I ever will. There are so many bathrooms where you see everyone’s used toilet paper in the bin which doesn’t even always have a lid.
The smell in restaurant bathrooms is pretty bad, and the whole thing is very unsanitary. Maybe if these bins got emptied regularly it wouldn’t be that bad. But if you go to the bathroom at a bar and see a bin that is overflowing with used toilet paper you can’t help but feel grossed out. But of course, for Greeks this is normal, and they actually find it really weird that someone would flush toilet paper down the toilet. But it’s not only the toilet paper situation. It’s also how people use the toilet.
Many toilets don’t have a toilet seat, or it’s constantly up.
Footprints on Toilet Seats and Unflushed Toilets
And if there is a seat when you go to the women’s bathrooms you will often see shoe prints on the seat. Apparently, Greek women place their feet on the toilet seat and squat when doing their business. Which leads to a horrible result. There’s urine all over the toilet seat in many bathrooms in Greece. I used to work at a big multinational company, and the toilet seats were often splashed. Despite the fact that there were cleaning ladies coming in several times a day.
I’ve also never seen unflushed toilets as often as I have here in Greece. I guess it can happen to everyone. You forget to flush the toilet. But here, it seems almost like the norm.
But most people will come to Greece as tourists and will not use the office bathrooms. So what about public bathrooms? While these don’t really exist, you can go to a café or restaurant. Of course, it’s much better to at least get a drink, but you don’t always have to. But I’d suggest using the bathroom whenever you’re at a restaurant so you don’t have to look for one later. (Check out my guides to vegan restaurants in Athens or Corfu for ideas on where to eat.) Other options are malls and, of course, museums.
Many Bathrooms Don’t Lock
But when you go to the bathroom in a restaurant be prepared for the doors not to lock. I have rarely seen a bathroom in a Greek café, bar, or restaurant that locks. I’ve heard that the reason is that children could get locked in. I’m not sure how that makes sense since children that small wouldn’t go to the bathroom alone in the first place.
Whatever the reason may be, it’s obviously extremely convenient because you constantly have to worry about someone walking in on you. If the door is close enough you can somehow hold it shut. If not, well, you simply have to be as quick as possible and hope nobody else will want to use the bathroom.
Bathrooms in Greece Are Very Small
If you’re thinking about moving to Greece you also need to know that bathrooms in apartments tend to be extremely small. In most places, bathrooms are barely big enough for the toilet, the sink, and a shower. If there’s a bathtub it’s usually tiny. Bathrooms in Greece also don’t have bidets. Though if you move here for longer you can, of course, install a bidet attachment. If not, the good old watering can will have to do.
But even hotel bathrooms in Greece can be disappointingly small. In some cases, you may even see the shower not being separated at all. There will be a drain in the floor so the bathroom doesn’t get completely flooded, though.
So these are the things you have to know about bathrooms in Greece. Even after almost six years of living here, I can’t get used to any of those. But I hope that after reading this post you now know what to expect when you travel to Greece. And maybe this is even a reason for you to look for accommodation that may be a bit pricier but will have better bathroom facilities.
Did you know these things about the bathrooms in Greece?