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Greece country information

Greece map
Hellenic Republic
Area: 131,990 sq km
Population: 11,216,708
Population density: 84 per sq km
Capital: Athens
Passport & Visa
Passport Required?
British Yes
Australian Yes
Canadian Yes
USA Yes
Other EU 1
Visa Required?
British No/2
Australian No
Canadian No
USA No
Other EU No/2

Passports

Passport required by all except:
(a) 1. EU nationals holding a valid national ID card.

Passports must be valid for the following durations:
(a) British and EU (excluding Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia) passports must be valid for length of intended stay.
(b) Australian, Canadian, USA and excluded EU passports must be valid for at least three months beyond length of stay.
 
Note: EU and EEA nationals are only required to produce evidence of their EU nationality and identity in order to be admitted to any EU Member State. This evidence can take the form of a valid national passport or national identity card. Either is acceptable. Possession of a return ticket, any length of validity on their document, sufficient funds for the length of their proposed visit should not be imposed.

Passport Note

Greece is a signatory to the 1995 Schengen Agreement.

Visas

Not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for the following durations:
(a) nationals of EU countries for an unlimited period;
(b) nationals of Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Romania and the USA for stays of up to 90 days.

Note: Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Visa Note

(a) 2. EU nationals staying more than 90 days or for employment (including establishing a business, trade, profession or commercial activity) have to apply in person to the consulate general of Greece for a national visa; (b) Greece refuses admission and transit to holders of travel documents issued by the area of Cyprus not controlled by the Government of Cyprus, and holders of UN laissez-passers; (c) Some nationals may have to register with the Aliens Department of the nearest police station within 48 hours of arrival. Contact the nearest embassy/consulate to determine whether this is necessary prior to travel.

Types of Visa and Cost

National visa: 30.

Working Days Required

Three to 14, dependent upon nationality.
Getting there

Getting There by Air

The national airline is Olympic Airlines (OA) (website: www.olympicairlines.com ).

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Athens is 4 hours; and from New York is 13 hours.

Main Airports

Athens (ATH) (Elfetherios Veniselos) (website: www.aia.gr ) is located 33km (23 miles) northeast of the city. To/from the airport: There is a six-lane motorway linking the city and the airport, and regular airport buses run 24 hours from the centre and the port of Piraeus. In addition, metro line 3 has been extended so that some trains run between Monastiraki in the city centre and the airport. Facilities: Duty-free shops, car hire, banks, ATMs, bureaux de change, bar and restaurant facilities, post office, business centre and hotel.

Thessaloniki (SKG) (Macedonia) is 16km (10 miles) from the city. To/from the airport: Regular coach and taxi services are available. Facilities: Duty-free shops, restaurants, bars, banks/bureaux de change, car hire and a post office.

Corfu (CFU) (Kerkira) is 3km (2 miles) from the city. To/from the airport: Regular coach, taxi and local bus services are available. Facilities: Duty-free shop, cafe, bar and car hire.

Rhodes (RHO) (Paradisi) is 16km (10 miles) from the city. To/from the airport: Coach, taxi and local bus services are available. Facilities: Duty-free shop, car hire, bank, bureau de change, cafe and bar.

Departure Tax: 12.

Heraklion (HER) (N. Kazantzakis) is 3km (2 miles) from the city. To/from the airport: Taxi and local bus services are available. Facilities: Duty-free shop, car hire, bank, bureau de change and bar.
Departure Tax
12.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Corfu, Heraklion, Igoumenitsa, Patras, Piraeus (Athens) and Rhodes.
 
International car ferry lines link Patras and Igoumentisa with Ancona, Bari, Brindisi and Venice in Italy year round, and there are also summer services from Corfu to these ports. There is also a service between Rhodes and Marmaris in Turkey.

Major ferry operators covering the international routes are Superfast (tel: 210 891 9000; website: www.superfast.com ), Minoan (tel: 210 920 0020; website: www.minoan.gr ) and ANEK (tel: 210 323 3481; website: www.anek.gr ).

Greek ports (notably Piraeus, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Heraklion) are used by a number of cruise lines.

Other useful links:
Ferry crossings to and from Italy, Turkey and Greek islands
Open Seas booking of ferry crossings, airline tickets etc

Getting There by Rail

The national railway company is Hellenic Railways Organisation Ltd (OSE) (website: www.ose.gr ; tel: 1110). A good way to travel from the UK is to take the Eurostar through the channel tunnel, from London to either Brussels or Paris, both of which have onward connections to Greece. For further information and reservations, contact Eurostar (tel: 0870 518 6186, within the UK or +44 1233 617 575, outside the UK; website: www.eurostar.com ) or Rail Europe (tel: 0844 848 4064, within the UK; website: www.raileurope.co.uk ).
Rail Passes
InterRail: offers unlimited first- or second-class travel in up to 30 European countries for European residents of over six months with two pass options. The Global Pass is available in durations of one month and 22 days for those looking to travel continuously; otherwise there are passes that allow for 5 days of travel to be used over a ten-day period or a ten-day pass to be used over a period of 22 days. Each pass is valid across all countries. 

The One-Country Pass offers travel for three, four, six or eight days to be taken in one month in any of the countries except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. Travel is not allowed in the passenger's country of residence. Travellers under 26 years receive a reduction. Children's tickets are reduced by about 50%. Supplements are required for some high-speed services, seat reservations and couchettes. Discounts are offered on Eurostar and some ferry routes. Available from Rail Europe (tel: 0844 848 4064; website: www.raileurope.co.uk/inter-rail ). 

Eurailpass: the global Eurail pass offers unlimited train travel in 20 European countries. Select, regional (Greece is grouped with Italy) and one-country Eurail passes are also available. Tickets are valid for 15 days, 21 days, one month, two months or three months. The passes cannot be sold to residents of Europe, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, or the Russian Federation. Available from The Eurail Group (website: www.eurail.com ).

Getting There by Road

It is possible to ferry cars and caravans across to one of the major ports of entry. Points of overland entry are from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia via Evzoni, and Niki; from Bulgaria via Promahonas or Kastanies and Kipi. From Serbia, the route is via Italy (Trieste), Austria (Graz) and Belgrade. The journey from northern France to Athens is over 3,200km (2,000 miles). For car ferry information, see Getting There By Water.

Bus:
There are routes from Athens via Thessaloniki to cities in Albania, Bulgaria and Turkey. Information and bookings are available from the Hellenic Railways Organisation Ltd (OSE) (website: www.ose.gr ; tel: 1110), which operates international coach services.
Cycling & Maps

Greece Road Map
scale 1:500,000
Road Editions

Road Editions (a Greek company) publishes several detailed maps of Greece. We used this one, because it has all of Greece on it. Recommended by Lonely Planet.

Available at bookshops around Greece.

Other maps by the same publisher have split Greece up in six portions, which means more details: scale 1:250,000

These maps are available at bookshops around Greece. Note: they are pricey!

Cost of living
Greece: all prices in European Euros (€)
drinks and snacks

food: local markets; restaurants; and stores

water (mineral)
juice
soft drink (bottle)
soft drink (bottle)

1 litre
1 litre
500ml
1.5 litre
0.75
0.85
0.75
1.40

bread loaf-white
bread loaf-whole grain

700g
800g
2.20
3.30
veggie restaurant
fries/salad/roast veggies
mid range restaurant
pizza-takeaway
meal + salad
big serve
meal + wine
med
7-10.00
2.50-4.50
15.00
6.00+
beer-local
wine
500ml
750ml
0.75
2.50+
tea
coffee (cafe / bar)
Nescafe instant
coffee-ground
Magnum icecream
20 bags
per cup
125g
500g
each
1.50
2.25
2.75
6.20
tba
dolma or jumbo beans
tinned tomatoes
rice (white)
pasta
eggs
160g can
250g
kg
500g
per 10
0.90
0.80
2.70
0.54
2.00
milk
yoghurt / curd
cheese (hard)
cheese (feta)
1.5 litre
200g
kg
kg
1.65
0.50
5.50+
4.30-7.50
potatoes
onions
tomatoes
green beans
kg
kg
kg
kg
1.20
0.40
1.20
2.50
kalamata olives
chips
chips-tortilla
salted peanuts
dried apricots
kg
200g pack
200g pack
kg
kg
4.50
1.90
1.65
tba
tba
apples
oranges
bananas
pears
kg
kg
kg
kg
1.50
0.65
1.25
1.15
cornflakes
chocolate

biscuits-plain
biscuits-chocolate
375g pack
100g block

130g pack
200g pack
2.20
0.75

0.85
1.45
pineapple (can)
oil (olive)
500g can
500ml
1.55
1.80
peanut paste
chocolate spread
honey
500g jar
600g jar
400g
2.70
2.80
4.20
 
accommodation personal
budget city hostel
budget city hotel
12-15.00 per dorm bed
35-50.00 double with ensuite

deodorant - roll-on
soap
shampoo
toothbrush
toothpaste
disposable razor
toilet paper

50ml
150g bar
200ml
each
75ml
5 pack
8 pack
3.20
1.05
2.30
1.20
1.20
3.40
1.90
camping
municipal
wild camping

10.00+ per tent + 2 persons
not often but sometimes even foc
yes very possible and quite safe

internet 3.00+ per hour

* tba = price to be announced
* January 2009: at time of writing 1.00 USD = 0.79 EUR
all prices have been taken from internet resources such as wikitravel, hostel world, leading supermarket chains, travel blogs, forums and of course our own travel experiences and purchases of everyday products in food markets, bazaars and local shopping facilities. They are only an indication and designed to give you a general impression of the cost of living in Greece. Items are geared towards the budget conscious traveller with an occasional craving for a bit of luxury.

TIP:
Did you know that most of the museums and sites are open to the public on Sundays and that they are free on that day?! A bit of sightseeing planning can safe you enough euros for a nice evening out!
Accommodation

Want to find a camping in Greece? Try these first:
arrow campingclub.gr
arrow greecetravel.com/campsites
arrow camping-in-greece.gr
arrow travelling.gr/camping

arrow Thessaloniki-Bikers is a refuge for travellers who are cycling through Greece. Not only does it provide good budget accommodation, facilities and information, but it is the place for cyclists to meet and share cycling tips of their travel across Europe. Located near the waterfront it makes for a good base for exploring Thessaloniki on bicycle. There is also free and secure parking for your bicycles as well as free bike rental for city-touring. Included in the price of just 15 euros per person per night is your linen, laundry facilities and 24 hours hot water. E-mail them or look them up, if you are passing through Thessaloniki.

Food & drink
Bike shops
Climate
climate chart Athens Greece climate chart Patra Greece
climate chart Thessaloniki Greece
Road distances
Greece road distance chart
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