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Greece

General

Greece is a member of the EU.

Time

The time in Greece is one hour ahead of Amsterdam, Paris and Rome and two hours ahead of London.

Language

Greek, but English and German are well understood.

Border formalities

Many formalities and agreements about matters such as necessary travel documents, car papers, requirements relating to your means of transport and accommodation, medical expenses and taking pets with you do not only depend on the country you are travelling to but also on your departure point and nationality. The length of your stay can also play a role here.

We advise you to consult the relevant authorities before your departure about:

  • which travel documents you will need for yourself and your fellow passengers
  • which documents you need for your car
  • which regulations your caravan must meet
  • which goods you may import and export
  • how medical treatment will be arranged and paid for in your holiday destination in cases of accident or illness
  • whether you can take pets. Contact your vets well in advance. They can give you information about the necessary vaccinations, proof thereof and obligations on return. It would also make sense to enquire whether any special regulations apply to your pet in public places at your holiday destination. In some countries for example dogs must always be muzzled or transported in a cage.

You will find plenty of general information on www.europa.eu but make certain you select information that is relevant to your specific situation.

For the most recent customs regulations you should get in contact with the authorities of your holiday destination in your country of residence.

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Currency

The currency in Greece is the euro. Approximate exchange rates September 2016: £1 = € 1.18. Take note: some cash machines issue the money before returning your card.

Credit cards

You can pay by credit card in larger hotels, restaurants, shopping chains and car rental companies. You are advised to take sufficient cash with you.

Opening times/Public holidays

Banks

Banks are mostly open on weekdays until 14:00. A number of banks in larger towns and tourist areas are open in the evening and on Saturdays.

Shops

Shops in Greece have different opening times in winter and summer. In winter the opening times are Monday and Wednesday until 16:30, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday until 14:00 and from 17:00 till 20:00 in the evening. Saturday until 15:00. In summer shops open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday until 14:00, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday until 14:00 and from 17:30 to 20:30 in the evening.

Chemists

The price of medication is considerably lower than in the UK. Be aware that specialist medical help on the Greek islands is limited. Chemists are open until 14:00. Chemists in larger towns may also be open between 17:30 and 22:00.

Public holidays
  • New Year’s Day
  • 6 January (Epiphany)
  • 27 February (Kathara Deftera)
  • 25 March (Independence Day)
  • Good Friday
  • 16 - 17 April Easter (Orthodox)
  • 1 May (Labour Day)
  • 4 - 5 June Pentecost (Orthodox)
  • 15 August (The Assumption)
  • 28 October (National Holiday)
  • Christmas

Communication

(Mobile)phones

The mobile network works well throughout Greece. There is a 3G network for mobile internet.

Wifi, internet

There are plenty of internet cafes in larger cities and tourist areas.

Post

Greek post offices are called ‘tachydromeia’. They are open on weekdays until 19:00 and in rural areas until 14:00.

Roads and traffic

Road network

Greek drivers do not always adhere to driving rules! The road system is limited on Greek islands, with the exception of Crete. Driving after dark is not advised outside the towns. If you have breakdown insurance you can call the Greek automobile club (ELPA) for assistance on 10400.

Traffic regulations

Remember, all traffic in Greece drives on the right and overtakes on the left! Headlight deflectors are advisable to prevent annoying oncoming drivers.

Greece uses the metric system, so distances are measured in kilometres (km) and speeds in kilometres per hour (km/h). Traffic from the right has priority in built-up areas; outside these areas traffic on main roads has priority. Ascending traffic always has priority over descending traffic.

Maximum permitted alcohol level is 0.5‰. The use of dipped headlights during the day is not compulsory. Drivers may only use a phone hands-free. Seatbelts are only mandatory in the front seats. If a child under 12 years is travelling in your car you are not allowed to smoke. Your car does not need to have winter tyres.

Navigations

Notification of fixed speed cameras by navigation systems or mobile phones is permitted.

Caravans, motorhomes

Bear in mind that on the Greek islands suitable facilities for caravans and motorhomes are limited. If travelling with a car and caravan you must pay double tolls on motorways. The toll for a motorhome is even higher than for a car and caravan.

Maximum allowed measurements of combined length

Height 4 metres, width 2.55 metres and maximum length 18 metres (of which the trailer maximum 12 metres).

Fuel

Lead-free petrol and diesel are readily available. LPG is readily available on the mainland.

Filling stations

Filling stations in larger towns close at midnight; elsewhere they are usually open from 07:00 to 22:00.

Tolls

You are required to pay a toll on certain Greek roads. You can only pay in cash, not by credit card.

Emergency number

112: the national emergency number for fire, police and ambulance.

Camping

Free camping is not permitted. Most campsites are of a very respectable standard. Toilet facilities are usually well maintained. You will find campsites with marked out pitches on the mainland and the Peloponnesos peninsula. Campsites on the Greek islands are geared mainly towards tent campers. Be aware that in early and late seasons most campsites on the coast are much quieter than in summer. It may occur that not all facilities are in use.

Ferries

Take note that the number of places for motorhomes on car ferries is limited. If travelling from Italy to Greece in high season it is advisable to book well in advance. It is a good idea to book tickets for ferry services between the Greek islands one day in advance.

Practical information
  • Deep sea diving is possible in specially designated places. It is only permitted under the guidance of a diving instructor.
  • Make sure you have a world adaptor for electrical appliances.
  • You are advised to drink bottled (mineral) water in preference to mains water.