Greece Travel Tips
Bring comfortable rubber soled walking shoes (recommended for all archaeological sites), a sweater, clothes you can layer, and an all-weather coat. On cruises, informal dress is the general rule, with some occasions requiring cocktail attire. Most religious sites and places of worship do not permit shorts and sleeveless shirts. Wrap-around skirts and shawls are available on site.
Spring: 60-80F Summer: 85-95F Autumn: 60-80F Winter: 40-50F.
Greek currency is the Euro. Notes are issued in values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and coins 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents.
Banks are open Monday thru Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Likewise, you may find exchange offices throughout Greece, many of which are open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. The exchange rate in Greece is regulated by the local government, and there is very little difference between exchange offices and banks.
ATM machines are abundant in Athens and other major cities, but they are located only in DLX hotels in Athens. In smaller towns and on the Islands they are few, and most are located in the town center, so be sure to make sufficient cash withdrawals while in town.
Travelers Checks are not widely accepted, and may only be cashed in banks and by the holder. Most major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) are accepted, though not preferred, in small local restaurants and shops. Cash is the most common and widely accepted form of payment. Credit cards should only be used in large restaurants and never when the bill total is small.
A service charge which covers the servers tip is included in your meal price. It is customary, however, to leave a small additional amount for good service (5). You will also find a separate service charge on your bill ranging from Euro 1.00 to 3.00 per person, which is the restaurants fee for table service (plates, flatware, and sometimes bread).
The traffic in Athens is heavy, practically all day long. Although buses are available in sufficient numbers, taxis are the principal Athenian mode of transportation, and are thus, hard to come by. Between midnight and 6:00 a.m. cab fares double. Taxis start their meters at Euro 1.00, and adding supplemental charges, the minimum cost to ride will be Euro 2.50. The maximum number of passengers per taxi is 4, and it is customary for people to share taxis. You can flag down a taxi that is carrying other passengers just as a taxi can pick up other passengers along your ride. Taxis may be ordered by your hotel staff for an additional Euro 4.00. In many cases, this is the easiest way to get a taxi.
The Metro is a safe, simple and affordable way to get around Athens. A single ticket cost only Euro 0.80. A Metro map will be provided to you upon arrival.
No inoculations are necessary when arriving in Greece from the U.S. however, it is suggested that you consult your local health care provider before traveling.
While tap water in Athens and on the islands is safe to drink, we recommend you purchase bottled mineral water. Such purchases can be made at hotels, shops, cafes, restaurants, and kiosks. Your stomach may still become upset due to the change in diet, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. Bring anti-diarrhea medicine just in case.
When visiting archaeological sites, we recommend you carry a good supply of bottled water as it is not readily available on site and the sun is very hot during the day.
Conservation/Code of Conduct:
Visitors to Greece will find the Greeks very much in tune with their historical and cultural heritage. Traditions and customs differ throughout Greece, but overall, a strong sense of citizenship prevails. The Greek Orthodox Church holds traditional influence on the Greek way of life, especially in more rural areas. The throwing back of the head is a negative gesture, and dress is generally casual.
There are currently no departure taxes in Greece.
The electric current in Greece is 220 Volts, the U.S. uses 120 volts. You will need an adapter for conventional appliances as well as a converter. Some hotels have a limited number available, however, you can purchase a converter and transformer at your local hardware store prior to traveling.
Greek is the local language. Limited English is generally spoken as well. English is spoken by cruise staff.
The official religion is Greek Orthodox. You can recognize Orthodox churches by their characteristic Byzantine domes.
Local Emergency Phone #
General Emergency: 112, Ambulance/Medical: 166, Fire: 199, Police: 100
There are very few non-smoking regulations in Greece. The ferries do have non-smoking sections, but they are not separated from the smoking sections by any visible barrier. All lounges on board cruise ships are divided into smoking and non-smoking areas, while the dining room is strictly non-smoking.
Gratuity is a matter of personal discretion. Although most bills do not include a service charge, it is customary to tip in restaurants and other places that cater to tourists.
Please visit http://www.righttravel.info/page/luggage-9.html for luggage guidelines and Important Baggage Information for U.S. Travelers. When traveling on ferries, be advised that you will have to carry your own luggage, as there are no porters available.
Changing of the Guard Locations and Time Specifics Athens:
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in front of the Greek Parliament Building at Suntagma Square. The Changing of the Guard ceremony occurs every hour, with a rotation on the half hour. The official ceremony takes place every Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
Although most people visit Greece for its historical sites, interesting souvenirs and artifacts abound. Most department stores and boutiques are open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday hours are 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
You will find souvenir shops throughout the city, many near Syntagma Square and in the Plaka area. Their hours are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. On Kolonaki Square and Ermou Street you will find the famous designer boutiques and popular local shops. There are souvenir shops on board cruise ships as well