Greece

Greece Destination Guide & Travel Information

Greece is a country of exceptional natural beauty, fascinating geographical diversity and extremely rich cultural heritage. Strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and situated on the Southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, Greece occupies a position of great geopolitical importance, accessible and fascinating in many aspects!

Breathtaking views, stunning sunsets, beautiful beaches, endless nature, fascinating archaeological sites, rich culinary tradition, numerous cultural events, warm hospitality, innumerable accommodation options, ski resorts and countless activity options are only a few reasons why Greece is the perfect holiday destination. With something to offer everyone, and suit all interests, Greece provides a unique holiday experience all year round!

Important Information

Capital: Athens
Official language: Greek
The currency: Euro (€)
Climate: Mediterranean
Population: 11.306.183 (2010 estimate)
Governmental Regime: Presidential Parliamentary Democracy
Calling code: +30

Exchange Currencies

Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and uses its uniform currency – the Euro. Greece, as is the case with the other Member-States of the E.U. uses eight coins as follows: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 and 2 €. The banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 €.

Currency exchange rates are clearly displayed in every bank that accepts currency exchange, while credit card holders may acquire money from the ATMs of the collaborating banks. Greek banks are open for the public from 8:00 to 14:30 Mondays to Thursdays and from 8:00 to 14:00 on Fridays. They are closed on Public Holidays.

Euros can also be exchanged for notes of other foreign currencies at exchange offices that are situated at the airport and certain main ports, in the larger cities, as well as at many tourist destinations. A passport is required when exchanging currencies.

Time Zone

Time Greece: GMT +2

National celebrations and Holidays

New Year’s Day
1st of January

Epiphany
6th of January. Sea water is consecrated in the area of Piraeus. The priests throw the Cross into the sea and young men dive to catch it.

Ash Monday
41 days before Easter. It is the day people begin the Lent. On Ash Monday Greeks fly kites, eat meatless food and celebrate Koulouma. Athenians gather on Philopappou Hill.

Independence Day & Celebration of Evaggelismos
25th of March. Military parade takes place all over the country.

Easter
From Holy Friday until Easter Monday. On Holy Friday evening every church decorates the Epitaph (Bier of Christ). During the procession of the Epitaph the streets of every city or village in the country are full of people. It is a religious procession where everybody holds lit candles in their hands and sings hymns.

Night of the Resurrection
It is celebrated in midnight before Easter Sunday with fireworks and candles.

Easter Sunday
On Easter Sunday Greeks eat barbecue lamb. The celebrations include singing and dancing all day long.

Labor Day
1st of May. Flower feasts all around the country.

Pentecost
It is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

Assumption of the Virgin Mary
15th of August.

28th of October
National Celebration. Military parade takes place all over the country.

Christmas
25th – 26th of December.

Health & Safety

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:

  • Social Security Institute Health Units (polyclinics) or local doctor’s offices
  • Regional clinics (former rural clinics) or Health Centers of the National Health System
  • 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 & Clinics: 1434
Pharmacies: 1434
Open Line for alcohol or drug addiction: 210 36 17 089
Poisoning First Aid: 210 77 93 777
Police: 100
Tourist Police: 1571