16 In Destinations

Bathrooms in Greece: 4 Shocking Facts

Last Updated on January 6, 2021 by Nina Ahmedow

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.

bathrooms in greece pin lemons and luggage

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 inconvenient 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?


  • Reply
    Marjut | The Smooth Escape
    April 4, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Whenever I travel to countries where toilet paper shouldn’t be flushed, I’m always so confused in the beginning and thinking “Do I REALLY need to put the paper in the bin for everyone else to see?!?”. It’s the perfect example of cultural differences that visitors struggle to adapt to 🙂

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      April 4, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      Right? It’s so shocking, but at the same time, they find it weird that we flush the toilet paper.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Doesn’t really sound like a very pleasant experience, haha! I guess I got lucky when I was in Greece, I never had to deal with doors not locking or unflushed toilets! It’s funny how something simple like using the bathroom can be done so differently in different parts of the world.

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      April 6, 2020 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Jen! Yes, it’s not the nicest experience, lol! Glad you never had to experience that while you were here.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    Indeed the first time I was in a hotel Greece and I saw the sign about not flushing toilet paper I could not believe it. I though they had translated the message incorrectly in English and I was afraid to leave it in the bin! But then I heard about the plumbing system and I suppose it makes sense, it is a matter of habit after all!

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      May 6, 2020 at 11:59 am

      You must have been so shocked! 🙂

    • Reply
      C Mitchell
      July 13, 2022 at 12:29 am

      Thanks for your candid review especially about the foot prints on toilet seats. In the USA we flush with the lid down to prevent smells and bacterial aérosols . I plan to carry those bio- dégradables doggy bags , and moist wipes, and toss into those open cans all wrapped up. Hope sinks works but will carry my own hand sanitizer . This is also an example where a portable standing female travel urinal might be handy . I just hope the solids and liquids flush . During Covid when bathrooms aéré closed I learned to do this.

      • Reply
        Nina Ahmedow
        July 18, 2022 at 10:45 pm

        Have a good time in Greece!

      • Reply
        Faith F
        October 4, 2023 at 5:37 pm

        Thanks, C Mitchell, for the biodegradable doggy poo bag hack! This worked perfectly for us during our 2 week visit to Greece – and we moved around a lot. We stayed in mostly modern hotels that did not have the notice in the bathrooms warning not to flush paper, but rather than stop up the toilet, we opted to use the poo bags for used toilet paper and flushable wipes. In cases where there were signs not to flush the toilet paper, this worked perfectly. We each carried a ‘bathroom pack’ (I used a makeup bag) wherever we went with a roll of bags, flushable wipes and hand sanitizer/hand sanitizing wipes. Everything was neatly disposed of into the bag then into the trash. We did run into some bathrooms that did not have toilet seats, some that did not lock and some that were pretty sketchy for sitting. In one of the monasteries in Meteora, it was basically a hole in the floor. A couple of women in our group also carried and used the disposable stand-up urinals where the toilet looked extremely sketchy.
        Thanks, Nina, for the insight!

        • Reply
          Nina Ahmedow
          October 12, 2023 at 3:44 pm

          Glad everything worked out well for you, Faith!

  • Reply
    July 4, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    It’s not only in Greece that you do not throw used toilet paper into the toilet bowl. Same in Maghreb countries. And some Latin American countries (can’t remember where) It’s quite an effort to adjust I admit… I once had an Indian tenant in Germany ! who also chucked it into a basket next to his toilet… Eine gute Zeit, bleib gesund 🙂 I am brushing up my rusty Greek next month, so I might come to Greece (Corona willing)…- greatful for this timely reminder LOL

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      July 5, 2021 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Anita! Usually, in Muslim societies (such as in the Maghreb) we use water to clean ourselves so there’s no need for toilet paper in the first place. In that case, it’s more for drying afterwards.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    Always carry a water bottle. Clean up using water and then use the toilet paper. Simple. Apply common sense and innovate than being confused.

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      April 4, 2022 at 3:44 pm

      That doesn’t make it any nicer to have all the toilet paper overflowing from the bin.

  • Reply
    Mario Sgouros
    July 12, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    Flushing paper is definitely an issue, and thank you for bringing this up, Greece should definitely take action to try to change this situation.

    The other points mentioned are quite rare, and they paint a quite unfair picture of the toilet situation in Greece (the title included, though I understand the need to make it catchy).

    Having travelled to more than 40 countries and lived in 5 (including Greece),
    I wouldn’t say that bathrooms/restrooms/toilets are otherwise any different than elsewhere in Europe or north America.
    Sure, you can find badly tended ones if unlucky, but this is everywhere.

    Thank you for accommodating the comment!

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      July 18, 2022 at 10:44 pm

      Thanks for your comment! Perhaps some of the other issues are not as common in the men’s bathrooms as they are in the women’s bathrooms, but having lived in four countries myself I noticed those in Greece.

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