Greece Travel Notes

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Australian Embassy in Greece

Level 6, Thon Building
Cnr Kifisias and Alexandras Ave Ambelokipi
Athens 115 23, Greece
Tel: +30 210 870 4000
Fax: +30 210 870 4055
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday from 08:30 to 15:30 except for public holidays.
www.greece.embassy.gov.au
E-mail: [email protected]

Smartraveller

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers.
www.smartraveller.gov.au

Time Zones

Greece is on GMT +2 time which makes it 9 hours behind Australia. When Greece is on daylight saving time (GMT +3) it is 7 hours behind Australia.

Daylight Saving in Europe
Start: last Sunday in March, End: last Sunday in October

To obtain the current local time and date in cities and countries in all time zones.
www.worldtimeserver.com

Voltages and Plugs

Greece uses 220 volts. Plugs are of the two-round-pronged European type.
www.korjo.com/Adaptor-Guide

Currency

To obtain the most up-to-date exchange rate you may wish to visit
www.xe.com/currencyconverter

As Greece is a member of the Euro-zone, their official currency is the Euro (EUR). There are 8 euro coins denominated in 2 and 1 euros, then 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Every euro coin carries a common European face. On the reverse, each member state decorates the coins with its own motifs. No matter which motif is on the coins they can be used anywhere inside the 16 countries that are members of the Euro-zone.

There are 7 euro notes. In different colours and sizes they are denominated in 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 euros. The notes are uniform throughout the euro area; unlike coins, they have no national side. The designs depict Europe’s architectural heritage.

Credit Cards and ATM machines

ATMs (guichets automatiques) are the easiest way to access your money. They are common in all tourist towns and cities, virtually all accept Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Cirrus, Maestro and InterBank cards. ATMs sometimes run dry on weekends in smaller towns.

Please note that capital controls currently exist in Greece. Further disruptions to banking services are possible. Credit card processing and servicing of ATMs throughout Greece remains limited. Foreign credit/debit cards are still generally being accepted in Greece. Daily ATM withdrawal limits do not currently apply to most major foreign debit/credit cards. Make sure you have sufficient cash in various denominations to cover emergencies and unexpected delays.

Please also note that using a credit card in a growing number of foreign countries usually requires a new “chip-and-pin” credit card with an embedded microchip and an associated PIN number (the PIN is specific to each credit card). If you have questions about using your credit card in a foreign country, please contact your back prior to departure from Australia.

Cash

Currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange bureaux and larger hotels, though you may get a better exchange rate at the ATMs.

Travelers Cheques are NO longer accepted.

Telephone & Communication

Mobile telephones

Most mobile telephones work in Greece and coverage is excellent. Check with your local provider that your phone can switch on ‘Global Roaming’ and that your provider has coverage in the places you are visiting. Mobile phones can be very useful for SMSing (especially if you get lost!). International calls are often expensive, as is checking your messagebank as calls have to be routed through Australia.

Should you choose to purchase a local sim card please check with your local provide prior to departure to make sure your phone is unlocked and will accept another sim card.

Internet

Internet access is widespread and available throughout Greece. Many hotels and cafes now offer access, some you need to pay while others have free Wi-fi zones.

If you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype or Vonage, which allows you to make free international calls between online computers and phones, and cheap international calls if you’re calling a normal phone number. Most cybercafes throughout the country will be using these programs already, complete with headset, microphone, and webcam.
www.skype.com    www.vonage.com

Business Hours in Greece

Banks: 08.30 – 14.00 Monday to Friday.
Post Offices: 08.00 – 14.00 Monday to Friday; Saturday mornings only.
Shops: 09.00 – 21.00 Monday to Saturday, with some variations in Different regions of Greece.

Security and Personal Safety

Protests and strikes can occur in cities across Greece. Air, sea and rail transport services, as well as taxis may be disrupted by industrial action. Strikes, including by air traffic controllers, can occur with little warning.

Australians are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent. Areas in Athens that have been affected by demonstrations and riots include Syntagma Square, Omonia and Exarchia.

Rioting can break out with little warning in Athens and other Greek cities. Australians should be particularly vigilant during days of national or commemorative significance, as the likelihood of civil unrest may increase.

We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Greece. You should exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.

Please be aware that pickpocketing has become more prevalent in recent years across Europe, especially in larger cities, busy tourist areas and on public transport.

  • We strongly recommend the use of a money belt to keep your cash, cards and travel documents safe. This should be kept under your clothes at all times. This is a precaution that should be taken anywhere due to the difficulties that can be experienced in trying to replace stolen items.
  • Take photocopies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, airline tickets, insurance) and keep one copy securely in your luggage and leave another copy at home.
  • It is generally helpful to take a business card from the hotel you are staying at. This can assist hugely if you get lost. If you also have a key card for your hotel, make sure you keep these two cards separate or you run the risk of allowing a thief access to your room
  • Take extra care in crowded places and try not to ‘advertise’ the fact that you may be carrying valuables by having something like an expensive camera over your shoulder. Put it in your bag or under your coat. And men, try to avoid keeping your wallet in your hip pocket.
What to Pack

Clothing (general)

The time of the year you visit Greece will dictate the type of clothing it is appropriate to bring. It would always be advisable to take a rain coat or a water proof windbreaker. For daytime activities, we suggest a wardrobe that is versatile, casual and comfortable. While you are travelling in spring, you can expect the weather to be changeable.

It is recommended that “layered” clothing might offer the best comfort. There are both indoor and outdoor activities, so packing versatile and adaptable clothing will help ensure your comfort in a variety of conditions.

Beyond the normal wardrobe we suggest

  • comfortable walking shoes (very important)
  • sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat
  • folding umbrella and/or light raincoat
  • ladies should have a scarf with them at all times in case it is required to cover shoulders or head when entering religious sites
  • prescription medicines for the full duration of your time away and a written copy of your prescriptions including what they are for, provided by your doctor
  • extra prescription eyeglasses (if required)

Clothing (Churches, Mosques and Monasteries)

Although ‘foreigners’ do not have to adhere to strict dress rules, women should wear a head covering (ie a scarf) in active churches. Men must remember to remove their hats in religious buildings. In churches it is polite to stand around the edges of the building, rather than in the centre. It is acceptable for foreigners to light candles.

Medications

Australians who travel to Greece with medication that contain narcotics such as Codeine (an opiate), should have a prescription and a letter from their doctor. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Greece for information if you have a concern.

It is always good practice when carrying any prescribed medication to have a letter from the doctor explaining what it is and what it is required to treat.

Etiquette

No attempt should be made to photograph anything remotely connected with the armed forces or in the vicinity of defence installations. Many people do not like being photographed. Always ask before photographing someone, they may try to obtain money from you.

In churches, avoid using a flash or photographing the main altar, which is considered taboo. At archaeological sites, you’ll be stopped from using a tripod which marks you as a professional and thereby requires special permission.

Clothing (Churches, Mosques and Monasteries)
Although ‘foreigners’ do not have to adhere to a strict dress rules, women should wear a head covering (ie a scarf) in active churches. Men must remember to remove their hats in religious buildings. In churches it is polite to stand around the edges of the building, rather than in the centre. It is acceptable for foreigners to light candles.

Useful websites

The Official website of the Greek Tourism Organisation
www.visitgreece.gr/
City of Athens’ Official Visitors Website
www.thisisathens.org/

Climate

We suggest that prior to departure you check the weather forecast for the most up-to-date information.
www.worldweatheronline.com

Average minimum/maximum Temperatures (˚C)

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Athens 7/12 7/12 8/14 11/18 15/22 19/26 22/28 22/28 19/25 15/21 11/17 8/13
Delphi 0/10 0/11 2/14 5/18 8/23 12/29 15/31 15/31 11/26 8/22 4/15 2/10
Heraklion 9/15 8/15 9/17 12/20 15/24 19/27 22/29 22/29 20/27 17/24 13/20 10/17
Chania 9/15 8/15 9/17 12/20 15/24 19/27 22/29 22/29 20/27 17/24 13/20 10/17
Fira, Santorini 10/14 10/14 11/16 13/19 16/22 20/26 23/27 23/28 21/26 18/22 14/19 11/15