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75 of the Most Inspiring Quotes About Greece

Greece has long been a source of inspiration for travelers and is considered an iconic destination across the world. So, it makes sense that there are hundreds if not thousands of quotable sayings about Greece from well-known public figures.

For example, certain Greek proverbs and sayings date back to the most famous Greek philosophers, like Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. However, you can also find interesting quotes about Greece from modern-day politicians, American authors, and other celebrities.

With this in mind, our goal with this article is to collect 75 of the most famous Greek quotes in one place. Whether you’re looking for inspirational quotes before your trip or maybe the perfect Greece Instagram captions for your social media posts afterward, we’ve got you covered!

We’ve even included quotes relating to some of the most famous places in the country, including Santorini, Mykonos, and Athens, making your island hopping adventure all the more memorable. Find everything from ancient Greece quotes to contemporary insights on our list!

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when you book an activity or reservation through these links at no extra cost to you.

Famous Greece quotes

Picturesque white windmill on the island of Santorini in Greece, with a view of the Aegean Sea in the distance“It takes a lifetime to discover Greece, but it only takes an instant to fall in love with her.”

― Henry Miller, American writer & author of The Colossus of Maroussi

“Greece was a muse. It inspired creativity in magical ways that I can’t even begin to understand or explain.”

― Joe Bonamassa, American guitarist

“The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores, expanded my whole being.”

― Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi

“Greece is a good place for rebirths.”

― Judy Martin, Style and Substance: A Comedy of Manners

Aerial view of Shipwreck Beach on the island of Zakynthos in Greece“Greece – The feeling of being lost in time and geography with months and years hazily sparkling ahead in a prospect of inconjecturable magic.”

― Patrick Leigh Fermor, author of A Time of Gifts

“I want to have an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ experience where I drop off the face of the planet and move to Greece.”

― Jennifer Hyman, CEO of Rent the Runway

“Even people who know nothing about Greece know something about Greece. The very name sparks visions of ancient civilizations that dominated the Mediterranean.”

― Polly Letofsky, American author

View of the Little Venice area of Mykonos Town, showing whitewashed buildings lining the harbor“Greece is a good place to look at the moon, isn’t it.”

― Leonard Cohen, “Days of Kindness”

“I came to the Greeks early, and I found answers in them. Greece’s great men let all their acts turn on the immortality of the soul. We don’t really act as if we believed in the soul’s immortality and that’s why we are where we are today.”

― Edith Hamilton, American educator

“The spirit of Greece, passing through and ascending above the world, hath so animated universal nature, that the very rocks and woods, the very torrents and wilds burst forth with it.”

― Walter Savage Landor, The Works of Walter Savage Landor

Quotes about ancient Greece

View of the "Portara" or Temple of Apollo in Naxos, Greece, at sunset“If you go back to the Greeks and Romans, they talk about all three–wine, food, and art–as a way of enhancing life.”

― Robert Mondavi, American winemaker

“The ancient Greek definition of happiness was the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.”

― John F. Kennedy

“In many ways we are all sons and daughters of ancient Greece.”

― Nia Vardalos, Canadian actress

“It’s a shame to be called “educated” those who do not study the ancient Greek writers.”

― François Rabelais, French writer

View of the Acropolis on top of a green hill in Athens, Greece“The Greeks had invented democracy, built the Acropolis and called it a day.”

― David Sedaris, Naked

“To be really medieval one should have no body. To be really modern one should have no soul. To be really Greek one should have no clothes.”

Oscar Wilde,“A Few Maxims For The Instruction Of The Over-Educated”

“In every island of the Aegean Sea, on almost every barren rock I might say, are found abundant traces of a vast prehistoric empire.”

 James Theodore Bent, Aegean Islands: The Cyclades, Or Life Among the Insular Greeks

Quotes about Greek mythology

View of the archaeological site of Delos, showing temple ruins in Greece“Greece is the home of the gods; they may have died but their presence still makes itself felt. The gods were of human proportion: they were created out of the human spirit.”

― Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi

“In a way, it’s nice to know there are Greek gods out there, because you have somebody to blame when things go wrong.”

― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

“The early Greek mythologists transformed a world full of fear into a world full of beauty.”

― Edith Hamilton, Mythology

“That is the miracle of Greek mythology—a humanized world, men freed from the paralyzing fear of an omnipotent Unknown.”

― Edith Hamilton, Mythology

Small figurines of characters within Greek mythology for sale at a souvenir shop in Athens, Greece“Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn’t see their thoughts as belonging to them. When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love.

Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy, but now they call this free will.
At least the ancient Greeks were being honest.”

― Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby

“You can’t swing a cat in Ancient Greece without hitting one of Zeus’s ex-girlfriends.”

Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods

Quotes about Greek culture & people

View of the three blue domes in Santorini, Greece, with a view of sail boats in the harbor over the edge of the caldera“Among all peoples, the Greeks have dreamt life’s dream most beautifully.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections

“The Greeks were realists. They saw the beauty of common things and were content with it.”

― Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way

“The Greeks were the first people in the world to play, and they played on a great scale.”

― Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way

“We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts, have their root in Greece.”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley, the preface to “Hellas”

“You have to make allowances for all other arts; it is only Greek art that leaves you forever in its debt.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections

“How can any educated person stay away from the Greeks? I have always been far more interested in them than in science.”

― Albert Einstein, physicist

View of restaurants lining the port area in Naxos Town on the island of Naxos in Greece, showing whitewashed homes along the hill next to the harbor“You know, it is said that we Greeks are a fervent and warm-blooded breed. Well, let me tell you something–it is true.”

― Melina Mercouri, Greek politician & actress

“Greek architecture is the flowering of geometry.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson, A Dictionary Of Thoughts: Being A Cyclopedia Of Laconic Quotations From The Best Authors Of The World, Both Ancient And Modern

“Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing. In South America, they throw flowers to you. In Greece, Greeks throw themselves.”

― Melina Mercouri, Greek politician & actress

“In Greece, we’re too poor to go to psychiatrists–we have friends instead.”

― Melina Mercouri, Greek politician & actress

“There are two kinds of people–Greeks, and everyone else who wish they was Greek.”

― Gus Portokalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding

“I wonder if Socrates and Plato took a house on Crete during the summer.”

Woody Allen, Love and Death

Quotes about Greek food

View of a café on the island of Mykonos, with colorful blue signage indicating the menu“Right now, I’d love to be sitting on a Greek island somewhere because of being Greek American, eating great octopus salad and some fantastic lamb. Or sipping a little ouzo. I think the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest…lots of nuts, vegetables, fruits, fresh fish, lean meats, yogurt.”

― Cat Cora, American chef

I also grew up with a Greek family; when other kids were eating fried okra, we were eating steamed artichokes.”

― Cat Cora, American chef

“Part of why I love Greek food so much is that it is simple, but it’s unpretentious. It’s authentic.”

― Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark

“Get ready for wine, raki, and getting hand-fed by strangers.”

― Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown

Quotes about Athens & the Parthenon

View of the Parthenon in Athens on a sunny day, showing clouds behind the structure“Earth proudly wears the Parthenon, as the best gem upon her zone.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Problem”

“There are men whose manners have the same essential splendor as the simple and awful sculpture on the friezes of the Parthenon, and the remains of the earliest Greek art.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson, “History” in Essays: First Series

“Let there be light! Said Liberty, And like sunrise from the sea, Athens arose!”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Hellas”

“In the world over, the very name of our country is immediately associated with the Parthenon.”

― Melina Mercouri, Greek politician & actress

“You must understand what the Parthenon Marbles mean to us. They are our pride. They are our sacrifices. They are our noblest symbol of excellence. They are a tribute to the democratic philosophy. They are our aspirations and our name. They are the essence of Greekness.”

― Melina Mercouri, Greek politician & actress

“Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts and eloquence, native to famous wits.”

― John Milton, Paradise Regained

Quotes about the Greek islands

Beautiful view of the vibrant town of Agios Nikolaos in Crete, as seen looking through a flower bush“Greece has got something like 1,400 islands. There is so much of Greece you can’t know even if you’re Greek. It’s sprinkled out all around the edge of the Aegean, all over the place. It’s already a secret place wherever you go, even if it’s somewhere huge like Athens or Corinth. The place enchanted me.”

― Joanna Lumley, British actress

“Contemporary travelers to the Greek Isles come for myriad reasons and find a dazzling array of unexpected delights, for each of the more than three thousand islands has its own particular character. From the larger, bustling islands of Crete, Rhodes, and the island nation of Cyprus to the quieter havens of Folegandros and Kárpathos, to the hundreds of tiny, uninhabited islets of the region, the Greek Isles present a collage of diverse landscapes and customs. Mykonos is fun-loving, with lively tavernas and populated beaches. Delos is stoic, protecting the ruins of its ancient sanctuaries in solemn dignity. Milos is magical, with its volcanic rock formations and stunning village vistas.”

― Laura Brooks, The Greek Isles: Timeless Places

It is no wonder that historians trace the birth of Western civilization to these jewels of the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean seas. The Greek Isles are home to wide-ranging and far-reaching cultural traditions and mythic tales, not to mention the colorful history and unforgettable vistas that still draw thousands of tourists to the region every year.

― Laura Brooks, The Greek Isles: Timeless Places

Blue domed church along a sleepy cobblestone lane in Paros Town on the island of Paros in Greece“Today, to walk along the pebbled pathways of a traditional Greek mountain village or the marbled streets of an ancient acropolis is to step back in time. To meander at a leisurely pace through these island chains by boat is to be captivated by the same dramatic landscapes and enchanted islets that make the myths of ancient Greece so compelling. To witness the Mediterranean sun setting on the turquoise sea is to receive one of life’s greatest blessings.”

― Laura Brooks, The Greek Isles: Timeless Places

“The isles of Greece! the isles of Greece
    Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
    Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.”

― Lord Byron, “The Isles of Greece”

“Gradually the magic of the island [Corfu] settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen.”

― Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals

“On a summers night, I have sat on the balcony drinking Ouzo, watching the ghosts of Greek Heroes sailing past, listening to the rustle of their sail cloths and the gentle lapping of their oars…and lain alongside Pythagoras watching him study the myriad of triangles in the constellations twinkling above us.

Whether it was Crete, the heat, the Ouzo, or a combination, it is unequalled anywhere other than Santorini, in my humble opinion.”

― Phil Simpkin, author of Jack Ketch’s Puppets

Quotes about Mykonos & Santorini

View of the famous windmills in Mykonos, Greece, as seen from town, with waves crashing into the walkways“Unless you have seen the houses of Mykonos, you can’t pretend to be an architect. Whatever architecture has to say, it is said here.”

― Le Corbusier, Swiss-French architect

“Mykonos made you long for the restful, happy day to day reality of life on the Greek island, and it was the brief visits that tortured the soul. Paris was a romantic respite from life, Mykonos was life itself, and living.”

― Bobby Underwood, The Long Gray Goodbye

“Her dress sparkled like the stars that blanketed the Mykonos night sky.”

― Anthea Syrokou, The Greek Tapestry

“The beauty in front of her interrupted her thoughts. She took a deep breath, staring at the shores of Mykonos with the scenic coves and the golden sand beaches.”

― Angel Sefer, Deadly Secrets

“I felt like a pilgrim upon a rare and spiritual planet landing the soil of Mykonos, I ensured it could give me a high inspiration for a next new epic, which was machining inside my inner brains.”

Nithin Purple, The Bell Ringing Woman: A Blue Bell of Inspiration

View of the sunset over the town of Oia in Santorini, Greece, showing whitewashed houses and a windmill“According to some theories, the legendary Atlantis, said to have sunk beneath the sea in a great cataclysm, is in actuality the Greek island of Santorini.”

― Laura Brooks, The Greek Isles: Timeless Places

“Santorini’s boutique hotels and fine dining make it one of the classier (and pricier) Greek islands, but this is balanced by the down-to-earth hospitality and tradition for which Greece is renowned.”

― Mike Gerrard, National Geographic

Quotes about the Greek language

Vibrantly colored traditional fishermen's homes in the village of Klima on the island of Milos in Greece.“If the Gods speak, they will surely use the language of the Greeks.”

― Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman

“If the violin is the most perfect musical instrument, the Greek language is the violin of the human thought.”

Helen Keller, author, political activist & lecturer

“The knowledge of the Greek language is an indispensable foundation for someone who wishes to achieve a high cultural level.”

― Marianne McDonald, scholar, historian of classics, and philanthropist

“Everyone has to learn Greek, because it is through Greek that one can understand one’s own language.”

― Jacqueline de Romilly, French classicist and writer

“The Greek language has the best mathematical structure and it will be used for a new generation of most sophisticated computers because only in the Greek language there are no limits.”

― Bill Gates, American business magnate

Quotes from ancient Greek philosophers

Marble statues of Plato and Socrates, as seen in front of The Academy of Athens in Greece“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

― Epicurus, ancient Greek philosopher

“Of all things which wisdom provides to make life entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship.”

― Epicurus, ancient Greek philosopher

“The ancient Oracle said that I was the wisest of all the Greeks. It is because I alone, of all the Greeks, know that I know nothing.”

― Socrates, Ancient Greek philosopher

“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”

― Socrates, as quoted in Plutarch’s Of Banishment

“I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy.”

― Aristotle, Ancient Greek philosopher

“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”

― Plato, The Symposium

Quotes from famous Greek writers & poets

Entrance to a bookstore in Oia, Santorini, Greece, with a cat sitting on the stairs“Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.”

Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“If you deconstruct Greece, in the far end see an olive tree, a grapevine, and a boat remain. That is, with as much, you reconstruct her.”

― Odysseas Elytis, Greek poet 

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”

Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.

Nikos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek

“I knew that no matter what door you knock on in a Cretan village, it will be opened for you. A meal will be served in your honor, and you will sleep between the best sheets in the house. In Crete, the stranger is still the unknown god. Before him, all doors and all hearts are opened.”

― Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

Did you enjoy these famous Greek quotes? Don’t miss these other Greece travel guides!

The Best Greek Islands for Couples

Top Greek Souvenirs to Bring Home

The Best Books Set in Greece

Things to Bring to Greece

Greek Islands to Visit in October

Mykonos vs. Santorini: Which is Best?

The Best Beaches in Paros, Greece

Travel Tips for Paros, Greece

What to Do in Naxos, Greece

How to Spend 10 Days in Greece

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Greece, the birthplace of democracy and home to breathtaking landscapes, has inspired generations of people throughout history. From famous Greek philosophers to modern day writers and poets, some of the most powerful words have been said about this magnificent country. In this blog post, we're going to look at 75 of the best quotes about Greece - some funny, some deep and some that will make you marvel at its beauty!

This article was first published in March 2023 and has since been updated.

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