Greece is part of the Shengen treaty so European Union travellers from other countries members of the treaty do not need a passport. All Citizens of European Union countries have free access. A visa is not needed for visitors from USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand staying of up to three months. Visitors from all other countries have to obtain a visa from the Greek Embassy or the Consulate in their residence country. For duration of stay longer than 3 months, they have to obtain permission from the Aliens Bureau in Athens.
The Euro is the official currency in Greece. There is free and unlimited importing of foreign currency in Greece either in traveller’s cheques or cash. But on departure, any remaining amount that is worth more than 1.760€, in any currency, has to be declared. Money can be exchanged in any bank, exchange bureaus, some travel agencies or in some hotels. Credit cards are used almost anywhere in Greece for paying hotel or restaurant bills. You can also use them to withdraw cash from ATMs. Smart card credit cards have not been introduced yet by the local banks so take into account credit card readers are not very advanced.
•Electricity Supply: 220 volts a.c. at 50 Hz. The wall sockets have two or three round holes as in continental Europe.
•Telephone dialling systems: Tone and Pulse, wherever the telephone sets are able to interchange between systems.
•Television systems: PAL – SECAM – M.
•Water Quality: Overall, the water quality is excellent. But you have to be aware that in a few regions and on certain islands, the water is not drinkable. Then, it is preferable to ask for mineral water, even for your coffee.
GSM access networks, similar to the ones in Europe, cover the whole of Greece. Mobile phones are very popular and cheap so to avoid roaming charges could purchase local prepaid SIMs to use. You can easily find a public telephone, property of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), that work with a telephone card. Cards for mobile phones and for telephone booths can be purchased from kiosks, local post offices, local OTE offices, or tourists’ shops.
Country dialling code : +30
Healthcare and Medical Assistance
Tourists requiring urgent medical care should go to the nearest hospital emergency ward (airports and many train stations also have medical teams and first aid facilities). Those with serious illnesses or allergies should always carry a special note from their physicians giving detailed information on the treatments they are following or that may be necessary. Pharmacies (ΦΑΡΜΑΚΕΙΟ), generally follow shop opening times (approx. from 8.30am to 12.30pm and from 3 to 7pm, Monday to Saturday, but in large cities many are open throughout the day. Night time service is provided on a shift basis. Business hours and night shifts are displayed outside each pharmacy and are published in local papers. It is advisable to procure a document certifying coverage by the national health care service before departure.
There are a number of maps of the country on the market and most of them are provided free of charge by Hotels, and Travel Agents.
Newspapers and magazines
Most western European newspapers and magazines arrive in Athens on a daily basis and they are available in many places.
Greece is seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the USA and Canada. Daylight saving time in Greece goes into effect each year usually from the end of March to the middle of October.
The Universal Currency Converter.
All Post Offices are open from 8am-2pm Monday to Friday.
Greece is an interesting place to shop. Greece has at least 2000 years of manufacturing unique and skilful handicraft gold jewellery. Many shops sell classic and modern gold and silver jewellery as well as antique reproduction jewellery, in 14k and 18k with diamonds and precious stones. Antique carpets and hand made silk on silk rugs, furniture, paintings and porcelain can also be found. Greece is also famous for the leather and fur, bottles, leather coats, fur coats, and mink. Other kinds of goods such as souvenirs, sponges, clothes, shoes, books, and more can be found in the many shops of Greece. And the traditional art workshops for the world famous hand made pottery’s-ceramics.
Shops opening times
Although shops are normally open from 9am to 1pm and from 3.30/4pm to 7.30/8pm, in some tourist areas they tend to stay open uninterruptedly from 9.30am to 7.30pm, allowing for slight variations from town to town. Large department stores are open throughout the country from 9.30am to 7.30pm.
Holidays and Feasts
The following is a list of official holidays, during which all departments of public services are closed:
•January 1- New Year’s Day
•January 6 – Epiphany.
•First day of Lent (movable) – in Greek is known as ‘Clean Monday’
•March 25 – anniversary of the revolution for freedom against the Turkish invaders.
•Good Friday (movable)
•Easter Sunday, Easter Monday (movable)
•May 1- May Day
•Of the Holy Spirit (movable)
•August 15 – Dormition of Virgin Mary
•October 28 – anniversary of Greece’s refusal to submit to the Italians in 1940
•December 25 – Christmas Day