Welcome to your first stop on your journey to discovering Greece. Here you will find all you need to enable you to coordinate your travel arrangements as well as lots of other information on the land of the gods of mythology.
Greece, also known as Hellas, is the birthplace of politics and democracy.
|Capital of Greece||Athens|
|The currency||Euro (€)|
|Population||11.306.183 (2010 estimate)|
|International calling code||+30 (0030)|
|Quick dial number for emergencies||199|
|Duty Hospitals and Clinics||1434|
|Poisoning First Aid||210 7793777|
|Tourism police||dial 171 any day, any time, from all over Greece|
Before you travel
Before you travel in Greece, it is advisable to bear in mind the following:
– Depending on your country of origin, you might need a passport and a visa; you could obtain a visa through the Greek consulate nearest to your residence.
– Call your bank or your credit card company to let them know that you will be using it in Greece.
– The Electric Current in Greece is 230V AC (50Hz). Appliances from North America require a transformer and British ones an adaptor.
– 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. Tourists from countries other than the member states of the European Union must consult their social security agency for information before travelling.
– Contact your phone company in order to make sure that your can use your mobile phone in Greece.
As a consumer, you are protected by Greek consumer protection law for all transactions you make while travelling in the country.
Time Zone: 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||40 days before Easter. It is the day people begin the Lent. On Ash Monday Greeks fly kites, eat meatless food and celebrate Koulouma.|
|Independence Day and 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|
Passports & Visas
– Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and has ratified the Schengen Agreement. Citizens traveling inside the E.U. just need to display their police I.D. Card without the need of a passport. However, a passport is necessary for a number of other transactions, such as currency exchange, purchases, etc.
– Visas are not required by citizens of Member-States of the Schengen Agreement. Greece follows the provisions of the Schengen Agreement, which abolished controls on common internal lands, at air and sea borders and allows Member-State citizens to travel around without a visa for a short stay period of up to three (3) months. However, airlines and other carriers require a valid passport and/or police I.D. Card or other form of official identification means.
– Citizens of the majority of the countries that are not Member-States of the Schengen Agreement require a visa to enter Greece and the E.U. Visitors from these countries can obtain further information from the Hellenic Embassies or Consulates in their countries, or even from their travel agencies.
Visas are not required by holders of valid passports from the following non-E.U. countries if they want to visit Greece and remain in the country for up to 3 months (90 days) within a chronological period of 6 months: Andorram, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Vatican, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Marino, Singapore, South Korea, USA, Uruguay & Venezuela.
Note: During their stay in Greece, visitors with a visa must also have suitable insurance coverage for emergency medical or other needs.
INFORMATION For Russian Guest / Tourist Visa
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 or 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.
|Russian Federation||Nikiforou Litra St. 28 Psihiko||+30 210 6726130 &
+30 210 6725235
|Russian Federation(Consulate)||Ethnikis Antistasseos St. 91, Halandri||+30 210 6742949|
The Athens Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos)
All flights, all airlines, inbound and outbound use the new airport. This makes connecting flights to the greek islands, far easier.
It does mean a longer journey to the port at Pireas and to the centre of Athens; Luggage carts (baggage trolleys) are available at 1.50 euros.
The airport is designed to cater for disabled people.
Public Transport: Metro, train, tram & buses
Public transportation has improved, especially with the introduction of the Metro Lines. Anything on rail (metro, tram) will be more efficient and reliable time-wise. A large network of buses and trolleys is also available. You are advised to use the Metro, as traffic in Athens can make a snails progress seem very fast indeed at busy times. When the roads are clear, journeys can be surprisingly quick, but you might wonder if drivers are practicing for the Monte Carlo rally!
– Tram (Light rail system): An excellent way to take the south coastal route and arrive at the beaches outside Athens.
Helpful: the updated site of OASA (Athens Urban Transport Organization). You will find right there, all the information you may need about routes, tickets and times regarding all means of public transport: metro, train, tram, buses, trolleys.
– Taxis:If you are tired, hailing a taxi is OK and fares are among the lowest of European cities (see our taxi information in the Airport section below).
Getting to and from Athens airport to the centre of Athens by Metro, train & express bus
The easiest & fastest way:
Airport to the centre of Athens, Monastiraki (and vice versa): in only 45 minutes!
* Suburban train leaving from the airport and connecting with Metro Line 3 at Plakendias station.
You can continue on Line 3 to the centre (Syntagma or Monastiraki) or change to Line 1, at Monastiraki station, to continue toPireas port.
* Also, some of the metro trains of Line 3 “surface” at the Plakendias station and continue all the way to the airport. There is a train (Metro or Suburban, alternating) every 15 minutes.
NEW: The Suburban (above ground) rail from Athens airport was extended and now goes all the way to Pireas port (takes about 50 minutes).
* Metro (or Metro & Suburban rail) tickets Monastiraki to Airport (and vice versa) cost 6.00 euros one-way, 10.00 euros return.
*Useful: Information about traveling from Athens airport to the centre or port (or wherever) on Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) and on on the Athens Airport (& access maps1 & access maps 2 )
More about the new Suburban train (“Proastiakos”) routes.
Also, see the Athens Metro map and Athens centre map (with the Metro Lines on).
There are 3 express busses which will take you from the airport to Athens or Pireas
X94 Express bus to the Metro station, “Ethiniki Amyna” on the signs, better known as Pentagono (travelling time: 50-70 minutes).
First bus 07.30, last bus 21.55 (frequency 10-20 minutes).
X95 Express bus to the centre, (Syntagma) (average travelling time: 70-90 minutes). Every 10-30 minutes, 24 hours a day (travelling time: 70-80 minutes).
Connecting with Metro Lines 2 & 3.
X96 express bus, all the way to Pireas taking a route that avoids the centre of Athens, partially along the coast (travelling time: 90-120 minutes).
Every 20-40 minutes, 24 hours a day.
Taxis at the airport
– There is a taxi rank at Door 3 of the Arrivals level. Taxis cost about 30 euros to the centre; 35 euros to Pireas – plus 3 eurosairport surcharge (the meter stays at tariff 1 for these trips, except after midnight, when tariff 2 applies).
– Taxis charge 0.30 euros more for each piece of luggage over 10 kilos.
– Recommendation: try to adjust your position in the taxi line to coincide with a newer looking taxi – whether you get into a shiny new Mercedes or a battered old Fiat, you pay the same rate.
Weather and airThe clearest days in Athens are wonderful, with sunny, clear views across the city and its monuments. It can be this way in any month, but at times Athens suffers from noticeable and quite severe pollution. It’s clearest after windy or rainy weather.
Winters during the mid-November to end of February period can be cold, with daytime temperatures occasionally falling to low single digit figures (centigrade), snow is rare. You can expect the norm to be 10-16 degrees. The likelihood of rain is higher, mostly in January and February.
Summers are hot and dry with 28-38 degrees the expected range. Consider these conditions to apply from mid-May until the end of September.
Spring and autumn tends to have a sample of both summer and winter weather, in temperature and rainfall, usually somewhere in between the two – but these periods are typically mild.