Here you’ll find useful information for preparing your trip to Greece. We give you practical tips on documentation, safety, healthcare, what clothes to pack, currency, tourist cards, public holidays… so you’re all set when you arrive. You’ll find the whole list below. Enjoy!
Capital of Greece : Athens
Official language: Greek
The currency : Euro(€)
Population: 11.306.183 (2010 estimate)
The country is a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy
President of the Republic: Mr. Karolos Papoulias
Prime Minister: Mr. Antonis Samaras
Calling code: The international calling code of Greece is +30
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 (lepta in Greek) and 1 and 2 Euros. The banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros.
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 13:30 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 & Local Holidays
Time Greece: GMT +2
National celebrations and Holidays
-New Years 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.
-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 Athens.
-Pentecost: It is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
-Assumption of the Virgin Mary: 15th of August.
-28th of October: National Celebration. Military parade.
-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. You can find more information about the EHIC here
In these cases, the necessary treatment in Greece is provided by:
-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
-Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 36 17 089
-Poisoning First Aid: 210 77 93 777
-Tourist Police: 1571