Best time to go: June – August. Late Spring (April – May) and Autumn (Late August – September) are good months to visit if you want to enjoy the warm weather but miss the crowds.
Best for: Mediterranean Beaches, Historic Sightseeing, UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Formal Name: Hellenic Republic
Local Name: Ellás
Local Formal Name: Elliniki Dhimokratia
Capital: Athens (ATH)
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language: Greek. English, French, German and Italian may be spoken in the tourism industry.
Dialling code from SA: +30
Time Zone: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sun in March to last Sun in Oct: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Side of the Road: Right.
Plugs: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink. Outside of the main towns, and on the islands, water may be contaminated and bottled water should be used.
Health: Healthcare facilities in Athens are good, but less so elsewhere. If visiting outside of Athens, and you require any medication on your travels, it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it. Visitors are required to pay for healthcare services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended, and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. Note that there are reports of underhanded dealings by healthcare professionals, particularly in public hospitals.
Customs: Normal social courtesies. If visiting a church, dress should be conservative: men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms and legs covered. Attempts at speaking the language / greeting in the language will be appreciated.
Local Offences / Laws: Indecent behaviour and public drunkenness is not tolerated and will be fined. Identification should be carried at all times. Smoking is prohibited in public areas. If you will be driving, be sure to know and follow the traffic regulations, as fines will be issued for disobeying them. Greece has very strict laws against drug use.
Travel Tips / Warnings: When travelling in Greece, you are protected by the Greek consumer protection law (read more). Strikes can inconvenience travellers, but are usually non-violent. However it is advisable to avoid areas where there are protests. Some restaurants and stores may not accept credit cards, be sure to carry cash. Most street signs are in Greek and English. Public transport may be preferable to driving on Greek roads.
Duty Free: If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:
• 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 400 cigarillos or 1kg of tobacco
• 10L of spirits (over 22%), 20L of spirits (under 22%), 90L of wine and 110L of beer
If you`re arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Greece by travellers over 17 years of age:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco (if arriving by air)
• 40 cigarettes or 20 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50g of tobacco (if arriving by other means)
• 1L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of spirits up to 22% volume
• 4L of wine
• 16 L of beer
• 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de cologne
• Gifts up to a value of €430 if arriving by sea or air or €300 if arriving by other means (reduced to €150 for children under 15).
Prohibited Imports: The import of soil (as well as plants) and certain animals is restricted. The import of meat, meat products, milk and milk products from outside the EU is also restricted. Firearms, explosive and drugs are very tightly controlled.
Prohibited Exports: The export of antiquities is prohibited without the express permission of the Archaeological Service in Athens; those who ignore this will be prosecuted.
For up to date Health & Visa information click here