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Greece Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT +2

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts and 50Hz. A variety of plugs are in use, including the European-style two-pin and the round three-pin.

Language

Greek is the national language, but English is widely spoken.

Travel Health

There are no specific health risks associated with travel to Greece, but visitors who plan to walk through forested areas are advised to consider vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis. Yellow fever vaccination certificates are required for those arriving from infected areas. A hepatitis A vaccination may be recommended by some doctors for extended travel in rural areas.

Medical facilities in Greece vary. Those in major cities are excellent but many of the islands are some distance from a decent hospital. For this reason, travellers should take along any necessary prescription medication. Food and water are safe, but those visiting for short periods should consider sticking to bottled water. UK nationals are entitled to a refund on emergency hospital treatment under a reciprocal agreement between the UK and Greece, and a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) should be taken on holiday for this purpose. Despite this, all visitors are advised to take out medical insurance.

Tipping

A service charge is often included in the bill at restaurants in Greece. It's best to see if this is the case before tipping. If no service charge has been included, leave between 10 to 15 percent. For drinks at cafes, round the bill up to the nearest euro. Taxis expect change as do cloakroom attendants and porters.

Safety Information

There is a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. Visitors should be vigilant in public places, including tourist sites.

Also, austerity strikes have taken place in the past and have been widespread. These strikes can bring the country to a halt, with transport networks being especially hard hit. So far, strikes have inconvenienced travellers without turning violent. Still, tourists are advised to stay away from political gatherings, as there have been clashes between police and protesters.

Greece is otherwise a safe destination, though peak tourist season usually sees an increase in petty theft cases, particularly in crowded areas. Visitors should store valuables in hotel safes instead of carrying them. It's also advisable to conceal conspicuous wealth and make sure valuable possessions aren't easily accessible to pick-pockets. Violent crime is infrequent, but there have been incidents on some Greek islands. Lone visitors should not accept lifts from strangers.

Local Customs

Indecent behaviour is not tolerated and the police will not hesitate to arrest or fine offenders. Some form of official identification should be carried at all times.

Business

Greeks favour a formal dress style, with dark, conservative suits for men, and stylish, classical suits, dresses or blouses for women. Punctuality is important, though the meeting may not start immediately. A firm handshake with eye contact is the norm for first-time greetings with men and women.

Business cards should be printed in both Greek and English, although there is no ritual surrounding the exchange. Greeks like to get to know their business colleagues before conducting any serious business, so a deal is unlikely to materialise at the first meeting.

Greek culture adheres to a hierarchical structure and respect should be shown accordingly. Gift giving is common in social circumstances, though not necessarily in business.

Communications

The international access code for Greece is +30. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The city code for Athens is 21. Free wifi is available at cafes, restaurants, hotels and other similar establishments throughout Greece. As international roaming costs can be high, purchasing a local prepaid SIM card can be a cheaper option.

Duty Free

Travellers from non-EU countries do not pay duty when entering Greece for 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco; 1 litre of spirits with alcohol volume under 22 percent, or 2 litres of dessert wine not exceeding 22 percent alcohol volume, 4 litres of wine and 16 litres of beer.

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