Travel guide

Useful tips


Useful tips

            

 

Passport required          

Return ticket required

 

        Visa required

 

Australian

 

              Yes

 

                 Yes

 

                  No

 

British

 

              Yes

 

                 No

 

                  No

 

Canadian

 

              Yes

 

                 Yes

 

                  No

 

Other EU

 

              Yes

 

                 No

 

                  No

 

USA

 

              Yes

 

                 Yes

 

                  No

 

           


A passport valid for three months beyond the length of stay and issued within the past 10 years is required by all nationals listed in the chart above except (1) EU nationals holding a passport or national ID card which is valid for the duration of stay.
If travelling from one border-free Schengen country to another however, EU nationals are not required to show a passport or national ID card. It is still recommended that you travel with your passport or ID card to prove your identity if necessary though. Note that Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the UK are not part of the Schengen area, so a passport or ID card is required if travelling to/from these countries.
EU nationals are not required to possess a return ticket or show sufficient funds.



Visas:


A visa is not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for the following durations:


• Nationals of most EU countries for stays of up to 90 days (EU/EEA citizens may stay a further three months if seeking work).
• Nationals of Australia, Canada and the USA for stays of up to 90 days.
Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.


Visa note:

Greece refuses admission and transit to holders of travel documents issued by the area of Cyprus not controlled by the Government of Cyprus, and holders of UN laissez-passers.


Types and cost:

Transit/short-stay Schengen visa: €60 (£51).


Validity:

Schengen visa: 90 days within a six-month period.


Transit:

Australian, Canadian, US and EU passport holders do not require transit visas. Other nationals should check with the consulate.


Application to:

In person at the consular section of their nearest Greek Embassy.
Visa processing time is usually seven to 14 days.



Sufficient funds:

Australian, Canadian, US and EU passport holders do not need to prove access to funds when entering Greece for tourism.
Schengen visa applicants do need to prove sufficient funds.

 

Extension of stay:

Schengen visa holders can only extend their visas in exceptional circumstances, such as force majeure or for humanitarian reasons.


Entry with children:

Children must either have their own passport or be registered on the passport of one of their parents.

 

Entry restrictions:

Non-EU passport holders can stay within the Schengen zone for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. After their 90-day stay, they cannot return to these countries for at least another 90 days.

 

Entry with pets:

Pets travelling to Greece from other EU countries need a microchip for identification, an EU pet passport, and stamp to prove they have been vaccinated against rabies (within between four weeks and one year of date of entry into Greece). Pets arriving from outside the EU need a health certificate completed by a vet in either Greek or English.




Greece Health Care and Vaccinations


Members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are entitled to free emergency medical treatment providing they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Visitors from outside the EU are strongly advised to take out travel medical insurance before visiting Greece. Respective consulates and Athens-based embassies can help visitors find hospitals and doctors in Greece, should the need arise. Note that most Greek doctors speak basic English. If you plan to do any ‘extreme’ sports, such as scuba diving whilst on holiday, you should also look into extra insurance cover.
For minor problems, it may be sufficient to visit a pharmacy – pharmacists in Greece are highly qualified and can offer advice and medication for mild conditions.
Emergency care, in the case of accidents, is provided free of charge to all nationalities at public hospitals. Note that the Greek health care system is heavily concentrated in Athens (and to a lesser extent Thessaloniki), so that people from the islands and rural areas usually have to visit to the capital to see consultants and receive treatment for more serious ailments.
For emergencies, ring 166 (public ambulance).



Food and drink:


Tap water is drinkable in Athens and other cities – in fact, in areas where the local water is good, bars and restaurants are obliged by law to provide customers with glasses or jugs of tap water free of charge upon request.
 Bottled water is widely available and prices are strictly controlled on the mainland and islands. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are considered safe to eat.



Money & duty free for Greece
 

Currency information:


Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2, 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
Credit cards:
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa and other major credit cards are widely accepted (although less so in petrol stations).
ATM:
ATM’s are widely available in all cities and towns, on the mainland and the islands. They are generally reliable.
Travellers cheques:
All major currencies are widely accepted and can be exchanged easily at banks. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.
Banking hours:
Mon-Thurs 0800-1430, Fri 0800-1400.



Currency restriction:

 

There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding €10,000 or equivalent must be declared if travelling from or to a country outside the European Union.
Currency exchange:
Foreign currency can be exchanged at all banks, savings banks and bureau de change. Exchange rates can fluctuate from one bank to another.

 

Greece duty free

 

If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:

 

• 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 400 cigarillos or 1kg of tobacco.
• 10L of spirits (over 22%), 20L of spirits (under 22%), 90L of wine and 110L of beer.
If you're arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Greece by travellers over 17 years of age:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco (if arriving by air).
• 40 cigarettes or 20 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50g of tobacco (if arriving by other means).
• 1L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of spirits up to 22% volume.
• 4L of wine.
• 16 L of beer.
• 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de cologne.
• Gifts up to a value of €430 if arriving by sea or air or €300 if arriving by other means (reduced to €150 for children under 15).


Banned imports:


The import of soil (as well as plants) and certain animals is restricted. The import of meat, meat products, milk and milk products from outside the EU is also restricted. Firearms, explosive and drugs are very tightly controlled.



Peloponnese Weather, climate and geography

 

Best time to visit:

Peloponnese has a warm Mediterranean climate. In summer, dry hot days are often relieved by stiff evening breezes, especially in the north and in coastal areas. Athens can be stiflingly hot, with temperatures occasionally exceeding 40C in July, so visitors should allow time to acclimatize - the evenings are generally cooler, but can remain very hot during heat waves. Winters are mild in the south but much colder in the mountainous north, where it is not uncommon to see snow and temperatures plummeting to well below zero. November to March is the rainy season,
If you are planning a beach holiday, the sea is warm enough to swim from June through September, and hardier types will also manage in May and October. Seaside hotels are generally open from Easter through to late-October, as are water sports facilities.
Sailing holidays need slightly more careful planning. Charter companies operate from May through September, but weather conditions vary greatly from place to place, and month to month. Beginners should start with the Ionian Sea, which sees moderate winds through summer.
Spring and autumn are the ideal seasons for hiking and mountain biking, when the days are sunny but not unreasonably hot. Spring sees the Greek countryside dappled with wild flowers, while in autumn the trees take on russet hues.
Although few people think of Greece as a winter destination, it is in fact possible to ski and snowboard here. One of the most popular mountain ski resorts is Kalavrita, which is much loved by Athenians, and therefore also well provided with cosy hotels and authentic rustic eateries with blazing log fires.



Required clothing:

Lightweight clothes (cotton is best) during summer months, including protection from the midday sun and sunglasses. Light sweaters are needed for evenings, especially on the islands. Waterproofs are advised for spring and autumn. Winter months can be quite cold, especially in the northern mainland, so normal winter wear will be required.


Keeping in Touch in Greece

 

Telephone:

The best way to call home is from a call centre or internet café – public telephones are scarce and those that exist tend be on noisy street corners.

Mobile phone:

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is excellent on the mainland and islands, but occasionally disappears when out at sea.

Internet:

Internet cafes are available in the main cities, including Athens, Thessaloniki and the islands of Crete, Kos, Mykonos and Rhodes. More and more hotels and cafes are gradually offering free Wi-Fi too.

Post:

All letters, postcards, newspapers and periodicals will automatically be sent by airmail. Airmail to the rest of Europe takes five days; six to North America; seven to Australia.
Post office hours:
In Athens, the main post office on Syntagma Square is open Mon-Fri 0730-2000, Sat 0730-1400 and Sun 0900-1330. Most smaller offices work Mon-Fri 0730-1400 only.



Greece Shopping and nightlife


Shopping in Greece

Special purchases include lace, jewelry, metalwork, pottery, knitwear, rugs, leather goods, local wines and spirits, olive oil and objects made from olive tree wood. Peloponnese offers local handicrafts and international brand names and high street stores. The Sunday morning flea markets are crowded in high season. Athens’ Central Market, a series of halls lined with colourful stalls plying fresh seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables, is also well worth a look in. Regional specialities include silver from Ioannina; ceramics from Sifnos and Skopelos; embroidery and lace from Crete, the Ionian Islands, Rhodes and Skiros; alabaster from Crete; furs from Kastoria; and flokati rugs from the Epirus region. Other popular buys include olive oil based eco-friendly toiletries (soaps, shampoos, face creams etc), and mastiha products (cosmetics made from mastic resin, produced on the island of Chios).


Shopping hours:

These vary according to the season, location and type of shop, but a rough guide follows: Mon, Wed, and Sat 0900-1430; Tues, Thurs and Fri 0900-1430 and 1730-2030. Most holiday resort shops stay open until late in the evening.


Greece Food and Drink

Eating out is national pastime in Greece. For an informal snack, try an ouzeri, where you can join locals for small platters of savoury appetisers and a glass or two of aniseed-flavoured ouzo. Visit a mezedopolio to feast on a selection of tasty mezes which you might accompany with a flask of rakija (a potent spirit made from distilled grapes) or a carafe of hima (barrel wine).
For a more hearty meal, try a taverna, serving generous portions of traditional Greek favourites, often in a rustic (or pseudo-rustic) setting – the best ones have open log fires and stage occasionally live music. A psarotaverna is a taverna that specialises in fish and seafood. Last but not least, an estiatorio is a full blown restaurant, where service will be a little more formal and the menu will probably include a choice of both Greek and international cuisine, as well as quality bottled wines.
Greek food tends to be very simple, rarely involving sauces but with full use of local seasonal produce, olive oil and charcoal grills – just as people have been eating in outlying villages for many centuries. However, Athens and some of the more fashionable islands such as Santorini and Mykonos have seen the arrival of fusion cuisine and so-called modern taverna fare (involving lighter dishes with more subtle flavours and artistic presentation).
Restaurant hours are normally 1200-1500 for lunch and 2000-2400 for dinner. Opening hours vary according to the region and local laws – many establishments in popular holiday destinations stay open all day through the summer. Waiter service is usual.
Those with a sweet tooth should head for a zaharoplasteio (cake shop), where a vast array of syrup-drenched Turkish-inspired goodies such as baklava and slices of chocolate-coated cakes like Black Forest gateaux are displayed behind glass counters. You can choose pieces individually and then have them put in a box to take away.

 

Specialities:

 

• Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves).
• Gemista (tomatoes, peppers and courgettes, stuffed with rice and oven-baked).
• Gigantes (big butter beans baked in a rich tomato sauce with olive oil).
• Moussaka (aubergine casserole with minced lamb, cinnamon, red wine and olive oil).
• Calamari (deep-fried rings of squid) or htapodia (octopus).
• Souvlaki (spit-roasted meat, generally pork or chicken).
• Stifado (a rich beef stew with caramelised onions, cinnamon and cloves).
• Kokkinisto (a rich stew of either beef, pork or chicken cooked with red wine and tomatoes).
• Horiatiki (Greek salad: feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, green peppers, black Kalamata olives and fresh olive oil).

 

Tipping:

 

12 to 15% is usual.


Regional drinks:

 

 

• Krasi (wine - lefko is white, kokkino is red).
• Retsina (wine made with pine-needle resin).
• Ouzo (an aniseed-based clear spirit to which water is added).
• Raki (a sharp and fiery spirit made from distilled grapes).
• Greek coffee (thick and strong, and sugared according to taste).
• Frappe (frothy iced coffee made from Nescafe and drunk through a straw).


Drinking age: 16.