Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and has signed the Schengen Agreement. While traveling within the E.U., you only need your Identity card. However, a passport is necessary for a number of other transactions, such as currency exchange, purchases, etc.
Visas are not required by European citizens from countries that are part of the Schengen Area. Greece as a member of the Schengen Agreement, has abolished controls on common internal lands, at air and sea borders and allows Member-State citizens to travel around without a visa for a short stay period of up to three (3) months. However, keep in mind that airlines and other carriers require a valid passport and/or identity card.
Citizens coming from countries that have not yet joined Schengen Area may require a visa to enter Greece. The E.U. visitors from these countries can acquire further information from the Hellenic Embassies or Consulates in their countries, or from their travel agencies. Before visiting Greece, please consult the detailed information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website and find out whether you require a Visa.
Note: During your stay in Greece, if you require a Visa, you are advised to have suitable insurance coverage for emergency medical or other needs.
The official language in Greece is modern Greek. Most people though speak at least some English, which makes it easy to communicate in Greece, even if your English is not fluent. Most Greeks are familiarized with tourists and they will help you if you need directions or an explanation. Moreover, most street signs are in both Greek and English, so no reason to really worry about getting lost. Moreover, in the urban and resort areas it is often to meet people who speak even more than two or three languages. The most widespread languages are English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and lately Russian. Even in the case the person you have in front of you doesn’t speak any foreign language, someone else will probably show up to help you get along.
o You can purchase your travel insurance through BOREAS travel! (Hyperlink to booking form)
It is always a good idea, when travelling abroad to have a valid comprehensive travel insurance to cover theft, loss and medical problems. Some policies specifically exclude dangerous activities such as scuba diving, motorcycling, skiing and even trekking: read the fine print. Check that the policy covers ambulances or an emergency flight home. Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures. If you have to claim later, make sure you keep all documentation.
As an EU citizen, if you unexpectedly fall ill during a temporary stay abroad – whether on holiday, a business trip or studying abroad – you are entitled to any medical treatment that can’t wait until you get home. You have the same rights to health care as people insured in the country you are in.
You should always take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you on all trips abroad. This card is the proof that you are insured in an EU country.
If you don’t have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), or you can’t use it (for instance, for private health care), you can’t be refused treatment, but you might have to pay for your treatment upfront and claim reimbursement once you get home.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The Greek cuisine offers a wide variety of high quality ingredients in highly beneficial combinations and flavours specific to Greece: oregano, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, lemon, and, of course, olive oil. Fine meat produced by small farmers, fresh fish and seafood, dairy products accredited worldwide, healthy fresh vegetables served with brilliant wine, and mouth-watering fruits all create a kaleidoscope of tastes!
Many women travel alone in Greece. The crime rate remains relatively low and solo travel is probably safer than in most European countries. This does not mean that you should be lulled into complacency; bag snatching and sexual assault do occur, particularly at party resorts on the islands. The biggest nuisance to foreign women travelling alone is the guys the Greeks have nicknamed kamaki. The word means ‘fishing trident’ and refers to the kamaki’s favourite pastime: ‘fishing’ for foreign women. You’ll find them wherever there are lots of tourists: young (for the most part), smooth-talking guys who aren’t in the least bashful about approaching women in the street. They can be very persistent, but they are usually a hassle rather than a threat. The majority of Greek men treat foreign women with respect.
Greece was not designed for people in wheelchairs: crooked sidewalks, too many cars, hotels with no wheelchair access ramps and elevators that are too narrow and you have the makings of a miserable holiday for anyone who is dependent upon a wheelchair.
Nevertheless, things are changing, especially in the major cities and little by little Greece is addressing the needs of the handicapped. A few years ago, it would be quite difficult for someone physically impaired to face a tour in Greece. Now, that a new awareness in helping the handicapped is raised by people in the travel industry, the government and especially the activist organisations of the handicapped themselves in Greece, the country is getting more and more accessible to anyone in a wheelchair.
o Greece is one of the safest countries you could visit! Violent crime is very low: no comparison to other European countries or the USA, where there are ghettos and gangs. Except for some neighborhoods in Athens, like Omonoia, where it would be preferable not to walk alone at nights, the whole country is safe. Crime in smaller cities and villages is almost inexistent. In some resort areas, there have been some reports of fights between intoxicated tourists.
o The political situation on the borders with Turkey and the F.Y.R.o.Macedonia which are the main entrance gate of refugees after the war in Syria, is being carefully monitored by several embassies – including the U.S. State Department and U.K. Foreign Office – and none have yet reported specific risks to overseas nationals visiting these regions. It is still safe to travel around the country and tourists are not targets of violence.
o Since the economic crisis, some organized protests can lead to fights between the demonstrators and police force, it is therefore unwise to join any of these protests. Just avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities.
o Protect your personal belongings at all times, especially your ID and passport. Petty crime, like bag snatching and pick pocketing, can be a problem around touristic areas and on public transport. In big cities, take the usual precautions (e.g.: not walking in parks alone at night, not leaving your bike or phone and camera unattended and not keeping your wallet in your back pocket) and you will most likely not encounter any crime at all while staying in Greece.
o Terrorist attacks in Greece can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. There have been several attacks involving explosives and automatic weapons against Greek institutions, shopping malls, banks, media offices, diplomatic premises and the police, primarily committed by far- left revolutionary organizations.
Tourists aren’t normally considered a specific target, but attacks could happen in places visited by foreigners.
o Generally, tourists are welcomed in Greece. Because of the recession tourists are seen not only as an enforcement to local economy, but also as people who trust Greece and help the country in a difficult situation. Yet, in highly touristic areas, like downtown Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes or some areas of Crete, the locals can show some hostility, which is mostly due to work overload and shouldn’t be taken personally.
Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and a limited amount of rainfall.
Due to the country’s geographical position, its rugged relief and its distribution between the mainland and the sea, there is great variation in Greece’s climate.
In summer, the dry hot days are cooled by seasonal winds called the meltemi, while mountainous regions have generally lower temperatures.
The winters are mild in lowland areas, with a minimum amount of snow and ice, yet, mountains are usually snow-covered. Moreover, a common phenomenon is the occurrence of different climactic conditions during the same season (for instance, mild heat in coastal areas and cool temperatures in mountainous regions).
National Observatory – www.meteo.gr
The currency in Greece and most of Europe is the Euro (€).
Generally, most common credit and debit cards are widely accepted and only some small stores in remote villages wouldn’t accept them.
Cash can normally be withdrawn from ATMs of all major banks.
In Greece, although there is no legislation against homosexual activity, it generally pays to be discreet. Some areas of Greece are extremely popular destinations for gay and lesbian travellers. Athens has a busy gay scene, but most gay and lesbian travellers head for the islands. Mykonos has long been famous for its bars, beaches and general hedonism, while Skiathos also has its share of gay hang-outs. The island of Lesvos (Mytilini), birthplace of the lesbian poet Sappho, has become something of a place of pilgrimage for lesbians.
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