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Travel Tips Greece

VISA REQUIREMENTS

If you are a citizen of a European Union country, Canada, Australia, Japan or the United States, you do not need to obtain a visa for your visit to Greece of up to 90 days as long as your passport is valid for a minimum of three months beyond the end of your projected stay.

These days, as security arrangements change rapidly, visa requirements can also change. Please verify your needs directly with the local Greek consulate in your nation of origin. If you're flying directly to Greece, your airline may also be able to tell you if a visa is required, but it is best to verify visa requirements for Greece with the Greek embassy or consulate in your country.

As of May 2008, no visa was required for regular passport holders from the following nations for stays of 90 days or less:
Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, The Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lettonia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Vatican, Venezuela.
These nations do presently require visas, even for transit visits which continue on the same aircraft. They are Angola, Bangladesh, the Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, and Turkey. If the political situation in a nation changes abruptly, it may be added to this list.
Requirements for other countries vary substantially and should be verified with the local Greek Embassy or Consulate in that country. Hong Kong is special circumstance.
Although the information on this page is believed to be accurate as of May 2008, changes can occur. We strongly recommend you to contact the Greek Embassy or Consulate in your area at the time of your trip to confirm visa requirements.

CLIMATE / WEATHER

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).

GREEK CUSTOMS

On arrival in Greece, all travelers must complete a customs declaration form.r>
Here are some of the items that must be declared: plant materials, foods, and animal products. Expect that Greek customs officials will inspect all declared items before deciding whether they can be brought into the country. Personal belongings such as cameras, radios, cassette players, musical instruments and so on, may be brought freely into Greece, but only one of each kind per traveler. Duty free goods, such as cigarettes and alcohol, may be imported, but the volume allowed into the country varies -- there are limits.

FoFor more detailed information you can contact the Greek Ministry of Finance and Greek Customs.

REQUIREMENTS TO DRIVE

You need an International Driver Licence in order to drive in Greece
Minimum driver age required. All drivers of rented vehicles must hold an E.U. or International valid Drivers license for at least 1 year prior to rental.

Drivers for car groups A1,B1,C must be at least 21 years old, whereas for car groups D,E,F,G,G1,K,R,T,S,X,L drivers must be at least 25 years old.

BASIC GREEK WORDS AND PHRASES

The Greek language is considered as one of the most difficult languages to learn. Here you can find some basic Greek words and phrases. As it happens in every country, people in Greece will be glad to hear you trying to speak their language. Even if all you can say is "kalimera" or "Yassou", people will smile and open up.r>
In all the following, "e" is read as in "egg" and "th" is read as in "this".
Kalimera = Good morning
Kalispera = Good afternoon
Kalinihta = Good night
Yassou = Hello
Adio = Goodbye
Ne = yes
Ohi = No
Endaxi = Ok
Efharisto = Thank you
Parakalo = Your Welcome/Please
Ela = Come
Simera = Today
Avrio = Tomorrow
Hthes = Yesterday
Afto = This one
Kalo = Good
Tora = Now
Argotera = Later
Anihto = Open
Klisto = Closed
Megalo = Big
Mikro = Small
Ftino = Cheap
Akrivo = Expensive
Kyrios = Mr
Kyria = Mrs
Despinis = Miss
Mitera = Mother
Pateras = Father
Filos = Friend
Fournos = Bakery
Farmakio = Pharmacy
Tahidromio = Post Office
Gramatosima = Stamps
Trapeza = Bank
Lefta = Money
Toualleta = Toilet
Astynomia = Police
Yiatros = Doctor
Nosokomio = Hospital

Ena = One
Thio = Two
Tria = Three
Tessera = Four
Pente = Five
Eksi = Six
Epta = Seven
Okto = Eight
Ennia = Nine
Theka = Ten

Milate Anglika? = Do you speak English?
Then katalaveno = I don't understand
Pos se lene? = What is your name?
Me lene ... = My name is ...
Thelo ena kafe = I want a coffee
Thelo ena tsai = I want a tea
Thelo mia mpira = I want a beer
Thelo ena poto = I want a drink
ya mia mera = for one day
ya thio meres = for two days
ya mia vthomatha = for one week
ya thio vthomathes = for two weeks
Poso kanei? = How much is it?
Poso hrostao = How much do I owe?
Logariasmo parakalo = The bill, please.
MpMporo na bgalo mia fotografia? = May I take a photo?

HEALTH

In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from member states of the European Union (EU) wishing to visit Greece must be holders of the European Health Card (EHIC) or any other legal Community document issued by their competent social security agency.
In these cases, the necessary treatment in Greece is provided by:
- the IKA (Social Security Institute) Health Units (polyclinics) or doctor’s offices in the region;
- Regional clinics (former rural clinics) or the Health Centres of the National Health System; and
- the outpatients’ departments of the hospitals on contract
In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from countries other than the member states of the European Union wishing to visit Greece must consult their social security agency for information before travelling.
In case of emergency call:
Ambulance Service: 166
SOS Doctors : 1016
Duty Hospitals and Clinics: 1434
Poisoning First Aid: 210 7793777
Pharmacies: 1434
Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 3617089

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

2009r> 01 January: New Year's Day
06 January: Epiphany
10 March: Orthodox Shrove Monday
25 March: Independence Day
17 April: Orthodox Good Friday
20 April: Orthodox Easter Monday
01 May: Labour Day
08 June: Orthodox Whit Monday
15 August: Assumption
28 October: Ochi Day
25 December: Christmas Day
26 December: Boxing Day

2010
01 January: New Year's Day
06 January: Epiphany
15 February: Orthodox Shrove Monday
25 March: Independence Day
02 April: Orthodox Good Friday
05 April: Orthodox Easter Monday
01 May: Labour Day
24 May: Orthodox Whit Monday
15 August: Assumption
28 October: Ochi Day
25 December: Christmas Day
2626 December: Boxing Day

TIPPING

In restaurants a service charge is normally included in the bill and while a tip is not expected (as it is in North America), it is always appreciated and should be left if the service has been good. Taxi drivers normally expect you to round up the fare, while bellhops who help you with your luggage to your hotel room or stewards on ferries who take you to your cabin normally expect a small gratuity of between €1 and €3.

LUGGAGE

Due to the recent airline safety regulations, passengers are not allowed to carry on board flamable things, sharp items and liquids. Weight of luggage for domestic destinations is 15kgs and a handbag maximum weight 5kgs.r> AcAccording to Greek domestic flight 2005 standards the permitted weight per person for luggage is 33 pounds (15 kg). For carry-on luggage that is boarding the plane with you, the permitted weight is 13.2 pounds and the dimensions must not exceed 22inches length Χ 16inches height Χ 8inches . For any extra weight the cost is 2 euro per kg or 2.2 pounds.

CREDITS CARDS

All major Credit Cards are recognized and accepted in most hotels, shops, travel agencies, car rental offices and restaurants. Stickers in the front doors will advise you about the acceptable credit cards. For one thing, Greek ATMs usually allow for only a four-digit password; you must get advice from your bank as to how deal with this if your password has more than four. Also note that the punch keys on the Greek ATMs do not use letters, so you must convert your password to numbers.
TRAVELLER'S CHEQUES issued by all the major companies are widely recognized. You can cash your traveler's cheques in all Greek and foreign banks, exchange bureaus and big hotels. Identification is necessary for the transaction, so do not forget to have your passport with you.

COMMUNICATION

Telephone Getting prepaid phone cards is the cheapest way to make intercity or international calls. Local and international calls can be made from a public card phone using these prepaid calling cards or from kiosks (periptera) equipped with meters. Prepaid calling cards can be purchased from kiosks and OTE offices. Tip: Use Vivodi Telecom Prepaid Calling Card as the cheapest way.r>
Mobile Phones In Greece you can use all GSM mobile phones (system used in Europe and a few other countries) but, US cell phones do not work in Greece. If you bring your own mobile phone with you, when you first switch it on in Greece, you will be prompted to which mobile phone provider to use. We recommend you to choose the one recommended by your home mobile phone service provider.

Certain companies provide a fixed charge per minute when "roaming" outside the country your phone service is from. Where this does not apply, you will pay fairly high rates for outgoing calls.
InIncoming calls are expensive, because you pay for the international part of the call (from your country, where your phone service is provided, to you, in Greece).

INTERNET

When traveling in Greece you want to have a look at your e-mails, or at your favorite news site using your Notebook, but don't have an Internet Connection or your provider does not offer roaming in Greece.
Easiest way to "connect" your own notebook in Greece and on all your travels worldwide, is to set up an account with Net Roamer. They give you an ISP account that you can use worldwide without changing settings on your laptop. You can also use internet cafes which are easily found on almost every street.