Country guides Europe
Electrical current is 230 volts and 50Hz. A variety of plugs are in use, including the European-style two-pin and the round three-pin.
Greek is the national language, but English is widely spoken.
The official currency is the euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. All major credit cards are accepted and ATMs are widespread.
A service charge is automatically added to most restaurant bills and an additional tip is not expected, though it's always welcome. Rounding up the bill is sufficient for drinks at cafes; taxis, porters and cloakroom attendants will expect a tip.
There are no specific health risks but everyone 12 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before visiting Greece. Most health problems come from too much sun and too much food or alcohol, though there's also the risk of encountering sea urchins, jellyfish and mosquitoes. Medical facilities in major cities are excellent but some of the smaller islands are a long way from a decent hospital. Larger towns and resorts have English-speaking private doctors and the highly professional local pharmacies can usually deal with any minor complaint. Travellers should take along any necessary prescription medication. Food and water are safe, but those visiting for short periods should consider sticking to bottled water. After Brexit, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK citizens. The GHIC allows UK citizens access to state healthcare during visits to the EU. The GHIC is not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, nor is it an alternative to travel insurance.
Though Greece is a safe destination, peak tourist season usually sees a spike in petty theft cases, especially in crowded areas. Visitors should conceal valuables or store them in hotel safes and watch out for pickpockets. Violent crime is rare but there have been incidents on some islands; visitors travelling alone should not accept lifts from strangers.
Though more traditional than the British in some ways, most Greeks are friendly and welcoming enough to seem intrusive to reserved British tourists. Greeks are also the heaviest smokers in Europe and will often ignore the smoking ban in public places. Swimwear is expected on the beach but tourists should dress properly in bars and restaurants.
Greeks prefer to dress formally in dark-coloured suits for men and stylish outfits for women. Punctuality is important to them though meetings may not start immediately. Visitors should offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact when greeting Greek men and women for the first time, and print business cards in both Greek and English. There is no ritual surrounding the exchange of business cards.
As Greeks like getting to know their colleagues before conducting any serious business, it's unlikely a deal will take shape at the first meeting. The local culture follows a hierarchical structure and visitors should show respect in the same way. Gift giving is common in social settings but not necessarily in business.
Travellers visiting from inside the EU can bring in 800 cigarettes, or 200 cigars, or 400 cigarillos, or 1kg of tobacco, 10 litres of spirits with an alcohol volume over 22 percent, 20 litres of spirits with an alcohol volume under 22 percent, 90 litres of wine and 110 litres of beer.
Visitors arriving from outside the EU and are over the age of 17 will not pay duty for 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 100 cigarillos, or 250g of tobacco, 1 litres of spirits with an alcohol volume over 22 percent, 2 litres of spirits with an alcohol volume under 22 percent, 4 litres of wine and 16 litres of beer.
The international access code for Greece is +30 and the outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Free WiFi is available at cafes, hotels, restaurants and similar establishments throughout Greece; purchasing a local prepaid SIM card can be a cheaper option to paying high international roaming costs.
Passport & Visa
The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. All of these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries.
Non-EEA travellers to Greece must hold visible means of financial support to cover their stay in the country. It is also recommended that non-EEA members hold return or onward tickets, and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Passengers not holding onward tickets may be asked for proof of sufficient funds for their return or onward journey. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US citizens must have a passport that is valid three months beyond the period of intended stay. No visa is required for a touristic stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
British passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, only need to be valid for period of intended stay in Greece. All other endorsements require at least three months validity beyond the period of intended stay in Greece.
A visa is not required for passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period for holders of passports with any other endorsement.
Holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar authorities, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom', do not require a visa to visit Greece.
Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Greece. No visa is required for a touristic stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Greece. No visa is required for a touristic stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay, and a valid Schengen visa, to enter Greece.
Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Greece. No visa is required.
New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Greece. No visa is required for a touristic stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
Greek National Tourism Organisation, Athens: +30 21 870 7000.112 (general European emergency number); 1571 (tourist police)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Greek Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 939 1300.
Greek Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7313 5600.
Greek Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 6271.
Greek Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6271 0100.
Greek Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 348 2352.
Greek Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 676 7254.
Greek Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 473 7775.
Embassies / consulates in Greece
United States Embassy, Athens: +30 21 721 2951.
British Embassy, Athens: +30 21 727 2600.
Canadian Embassy, Athens: +30 21 727 3400.
Australian Embassy, Athens: +30 21 870 4000.
South African Embassy, Athens: +30 21 617 8020.
Irish Embassy, Athens: +30 21 723 2771.
New Zealand Consulate-General, Athens: +30 21 692 4136.