GREECE, is the southeastern country in Europe (laid in between Italy and Turkey), occupying the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula.
Ηas land borders with Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the east.
The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, including more than 1.400 islands, of which 227 are inhabited, including Crete, the Sporades, the Dodecanese, the Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands among others, which occupy more than one fifth of its total land territory. Greece looks like a big island, as no part of the country is more than 85 miles from the sea, with total area 51.000 square miles (131.957 sq. km) and population, approximately, 11 million. Athens one of the world's oldest cities, is the capitol and largest city of Greece with population of almost 4 million people.
Greece is renowned all over the world for its history of millennia (starting about 3.500 years ago), for spreading art, culture, science and philosophy throughout, thus being the cradle of modern western civilization. As such, it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. This legacy is partly reflected in the seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Greece, ranking Greece 7th in Europe and 13th in the world. The modern Greek state was established in 1830, following the Greek War of Independence.
Has been a member of what is now the European Union since 1981 and the eurozone since 2001, NATO since 1952, and is a founding member of the United Nations.
Is a country of beautiful contrasts, a constant journey in time, from the present to the past and back again. It is one of the most charismatic locations in terms of natural beauty, with mild climate conditions, a combination of landscapes from sea to mountains and appropriate for vacation throughout the year. Among others visitors can enjoy the tantalizing Greek cuisine which reflects the Greeks' zest for the good life and love of simple.
Customs and culture
The Greek Orthodox Church is the national religion and is practiced by the majority of the population. The native language of the population is Modern Greek, however English is widely spoken as a second language by the majority of Greeks, while French and German are also spoken by many. The country is characterized by its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and its deep-rooted sense of family as it is the basis of the social structure. While Greece will forever be widely known for its antiquity and long history, the city of Athens presents a unique combination of the abundance of ancient history and the energy of the modern world and can claim its role of great cultural centre by hosting an increasing number of contemporary artists and researching new aesthetic trends.
The islands, on the other hand, maintain a much more relaxed pace of life. The residents are always friendly and willing to help if you face any kind of problem. The Greek people are proud of their islands and want to share with the visitors the beauty and history of their land.
Greece is a full member of the European Union since 1981, and its currency is the Euro (€).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 14:30 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.
The gratuity is not obligatory but upon discretion, for example you may tip 50cents the taxi or a euro in hotel but most experts in the market suggest generally 5%-15% of the net charter fee.
With your arrival in Greece, we will ensure that your safety and security will be our top priority.
Unlike other countries, we welcome children aboard and treat them with extra care. Visitors have no reason to worry about their safety, both on land and sea, as police officers make frequent patrols in the streets and at the sea. Moreover, a solid proof of how safe you can be in our islands is that most of the residents leave their doors unlocked even during the night. So, you can walk fearlessly in the streets any hour of day or night and not worry about any kind of danger.
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.
- 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.
- Assumption of the Virgin Mary: 15th of August.
- 28th of October: National Celebration. Military parade.
- Christmas: 25th-26th of December.
In case of emergency call:
- Ambulance Service: 166
- Pharmacies: 1434
- Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 36 17 089
- Poisoning First Aid: 210 77 93 777
- Police: 100
- Fire Department: 199
- Emergency: 112
Passports and 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:
Andorra, 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.