What Were Inns Like in Ancient Greece?

What Were Inns Like in Ancient Greece?

Ancient Greece was known for its vibrant culture, rich history, and bustling cities. As a hub of trade and commerce, travelers from all over the world would visit Greece for various reasons. To cater to these travelers, inns played a crucial role in providing accommodation, food, and other amenities.

The Purpose of Inns

In ancient Greece, inns served as important meeting places for travelers. They were not just places to rest and eat but also served as social hubs where people could gather, exchange ideas, and form connections. Inns were often located near major roads or ports to attract a steady stream of visitors.

The Layout of Inns

Most ancient Greek inns followed a similar layout. They typically consisted of a central courtyard surrounded by various rooms. The courtyard acted as a communal space where guests could relax and interact with each other.


  • Private Rooms: These were available for wealthier travelers who preferred more privacy.
  • Dormitories: Commonly used by budget-conscious travelers or large groups.


  • Common Dining Area: Inns usually had a central dining area where guests could enjoy meals together.
  • Taverna: Some larger inns had tavernas – separate areas where food and drinks were served.

Hospitality and Services

Ancient Greeks valued hospitality and considered it their duty to provide comfort to their guests. Inns offered various services to ensure the well-being of their visitors:

  • Bathhouses: Inns often had bathhouses where guests could freshen up after a long journey.
  • Stables: As many travelers arrived on horseback or with carriages, inns provided stables for their animals.
  • Guides: In some cases, inns would arrange local guides to help travelers explore the city and its attractions.

Entertainment and Activities

Inns were not just places to sleep and eat; they also offered entertainment and activities to keep guests entertained:

  • Music and Dance: Musicians would often perform at inns, providing lively entertainment for the guests.
  • Gambling: Some inns had designated areas for gambling, where guests could try their luck.
  • Storytelling: In ancient Greece, storytelling was a popular form of entertainment. Inns would often have skilled storytellers who would captivate the audience with their tales.

The End of an Era

With the rise of the Roman Empire, the concept of inns evolved into what we now know as hotels. However, the influence of ancient Greek inns can still be seen in modern hospitality practices.

In conclusion, ancient Greek inns were much more than just places to stay. They were vibrant social centers that provided comfort, entertainment, and a sense of community to travelers from all walks of life. The legacy of these inns lives on as a testament to the importance placed on hospitality in ancient Greek society.