The official language is Greek (spoken by 99% of the population). The most commonly used foreign language is English. Most of Greek people dealing with tourism also speak some French, German or Italian.
Greece has a warm Mediterranean climate. Dry hot days are often relieved by a system of seasonal breezes. The mountain areas are much cooler, with considerable rain. Winters are mild in the lowlands with rare frost and snow, but the mountains are usually covered with snow. It rains mostly from October to March. Rainfall is rare from June to August, and days are dry and sunny, which is usual for a Mediterranean climate.
Best time to Travel
It depends on where you want to go. The best months to visit the islands are May, June, early July, late August, September and early October. Avoid the dates July 20th to August 20th which are the busiest of the tourist season, and late October because the weather gradually deteriorates. If you want to visit the mainland, then March, April, May, June, September and October and the first two weeks of November are suitable
Passports & Visas: What is required?
Overall E.U nationals and US/Canadian citizens do not need a visa. US/Canadians visitors must have a valid passport that will be in effect at least another 3 months after the end of their trip. For more information, please contact the appropriate consulate or embassy.
Is an international driver’s license needed?
E.U Nationals: No; US/Canadians: Opinions vary. Up until recently, a valid driver’s license was sufficient but more and more car rental companies require an international one. We suggest you have one issued prior to your departure. Car Club AAA can issue this license. One must be 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. They will take 2 passport size photos for the International License: approximately $7.00 for members – $10.00 for Non. The drivers fill out an application. Costs $20.00 for the permit. This should take about 15-20 minutes depending on traffic at the AAA office. Prices are approximate.
Euro (EUR) (since 1/1/2002. 1 Euro=$1.30 – $1.45 US (fluctuates daily). There are many Bureaus de Change throughout the country open from morning until late evening. You can also exchange money at banks (commission varies). Banks are open Mon-Thu from 0800 – 1400 and Fri from 0800-1330. There are some banks in central locations in Athens (Omonia, Syntagma) open in the afternoon. Visa, Diners Club, American Express, Master Card is accepted at most shops and restaurants.
What is the voltage in Greece?
220 V (please bring your transformer with you)
How can one spend one’s holidays in Greece – winter period (November-February)?
The winter months in Greece are much milder than they are in Northern Europe, but still we get heavy rains, low temperatures, strong winds and snow (in the north). The majority of the tourist related enterprises on the islands – hotels, shops, restaurants – close down, the transportation to/from/between the islands becomes irregular and weather dependent, the sights and museums close earlier and many hotels on the mainland close down for renovation and maintenance. Good destinations are Athens, bigger islands with many permanent inhabitants like Crete and Rhodes, and certain mainland areas in Greece that offer winter activities (e.g. ski centers) or can be easily visited throughout the year like Delphi, Nauplion, Meteora, Karpenissi, Mani etc…
What should I pack?
It depends on the time of the year and the kind of holiday you have booked. Overall, bring casual clothes with only a few informal pieces for evening outings. If you go on a cruise, ask for the evening dress code. In all cases, bring good, sturdy shoes and your hat.
May through September – casual clothing made of lightweight fabrics and good walking shoes are essential. A shawl, sweater and/or jacket is recommended for cooler evening breezes (depending on temperature of the day and visiting location in Greece).
Mid- November through Mid-March – A wardrobe of matching coordinates, made of man-made fibers and/or wool, which allow or minimum and maximum warmth for varying temperatures is suggested. A topcoat with zip-out lining is also advised).
Mid-March through April and then October through Mid-November – Lightweight wool or topcoat are suggested.
Informal attire, except for some selected restaurants, which require tie and jacket for men.
Dress is more formal than in the U.S. Jacket and tie mandatory for men.
Swimsuits are prohibited.
Monasteries and Churches
Ladies are required to wear appropriate length dresses or skirt with sleeved blouse. Men are required to wear slacks and shirt.
Casual daytime attire is suggested. For occasional special gala evenings cocktail dress and tie and jacket are suggested
Bus and train schedules to the mainland
Both these companies are owned by the state. Tickets are sold almost exclusively through publicly owned outlets. Recently the following sites have been set up on the Net. We cannot guarantee their accuracy when working, but it will give you an idea of what is available, if they update them: Best to check while in Greece.
Bus service: http://www.KTEL.org
Train service: http://www.OSE.gr
Age groups entitled to discounts are children until the age of 12, youths between the ages of 12 and 24, and senior citizens over 60.
Age groups entitled to discounts are children from age 4-10. Children under 4 are free of charge, when not occupying a bed in a cabin.
Age groups entitled to discounts are children from age 4-10. Children under 4 are free of charge, when not occupying a seat.
They are applicable on international sea routes only.
Here the cases are too many to be listed under a regular FAQ list. Please contact us when having a special request. Check under flights on our website for prices and schedules.
There are many Theatres in Greece. Every summer, many festivals take place in different Greek ancient theatres. Greek Museums are one more attraction. Contact the Ministry of Culture for information on opening hours and ticket prices.
January 1, January 6, Lent Monday, March 25, Holy and Good Friday, Easter Monday, May 1, Whit Monday, August 15, October 28, December 25, 26
011 +Country code: Greece 30 Every city has a different area code (e.g. for Athens 210 or 211 for new numbers). Example: 001 30 210 plus local tel. #
Most public telephones do not accept coins. A telephone card is necessary. In some cases using your credit card is possible. Cell phones are available for rent. If you have a Tri- or Quad Band phone from the U.S. (make sure your provider has it unlocked to change networks) you can change the network service to receive calls.
The standard household electrical current throughout Greece is 220 AC, 50 cycles, and the outlets are made for two round poles
General Trade Stores Shopping Hours: Mon: 9:00am – 5:00pm – Tues: 10:00am – 7:00pm Wed: 9:00am – 5:00pm – Thurs: 10:00am – 7:00pm Fri: 10:00am – 7:00pm – Sat:10:30am–7:00pm – Sun: Closed NOTE: The Flea Market and other souvenir shops in the Plaka are open seven days a week. SUMMER: 10:00am – 10:00pm WINTER: 10:00am – 7:00pm
How to Shop Tax Free
1) Shop in any of the stores that display a TAX-FREE FOR TOURISTS window sticker or ask for a Tax-Free Shopping Check. With this check you can later claim your VAT (Value Added Tax) Refund. The VAT is included in the selling price.
2) When you leave Greece, make sure your purchases and receipts are readily available for inspection. Allow plenty of time for this process when you arrive at the airport. A Customs official will stamp your checks. Without this stamp, a check is not valid and VAT refund cannot be made.
3) Cash your Tax-free Shopping Checks at the International or local Refund points that can be found at most major EU exits. Visitors can also fill in the back of the VAT checks indicating how the refund is to be given (bank check or credit card). Place checks in a pre-addressed envelope given by the shopkeepers and mail to: 10 Nikis Street, 10563 Athens. Tel: (210) 325-4995; Fax: (210) 322-4705
Major Tourist Attractions
Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Delphi, Mycenae, Argolis, Olympia, Athens, Meteora.
A 10% tip in restaurants is appropriate; tour guides and coach drivers may be tipped at the end of the tour. The following amounts per day are appropriate: for bus tours, $1-2 for the driver, and $4-5 for the guide; for private car tours, $10 for the driver/guide.
Attractions while in Athens
Athens on foot is much better. First of all you will need a good map of Athens, your tourist information booths at the airport can provide you for free or at your hotels reception. Then you will need a pair of comfortable shoes and your camera. Depending on the month you travel to Athens, the weather is probably warm to hot, so I will advise you to start early morning with visiting Acropolis. Walk down the slope to Thission and you will come to Monastiraki. If you still have time after having a break at one of many coffee shops there and tasting “dikano” – kebab in Greek pita bread, walk thru Plaka (the old city of Athens with its many shops) on Ermou str. to Sintagma square. In the evening you can visit Plaka (old neighborhood) and have a glimpse of night in old Athens. Next day you can go by cable car to Lecabettus hill and enjoy the view of Athens. It is a long walk up or down; I prefer to go by cable car again. Near is Kolonaki with a lot of fashion coffee shops and expensive shops. Here you will find many politician and business people stopping for a relaxing cup of coffee. In the evening I am sure you would like to come back to the old town of Plaka, where you can have a nice dinner or visit some clubs or cafes that provide music. Next day (time flies by in Athens!) you will have time to visit Kallimarmaro stadium and at least a few of the museums. Enjoy your stay in Athens, Greece. Take many photos to share with your loved ones back home and I am sure that you will visit Athens again and again!
10,848,058 (July 2010 est.)
Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Greek 98%, other 2%
Eleftherios Venizelos Athens (ATH)
Heat exhaustion, dehydration, sunburn