Greece Travel information
Greece Travel information
All you need to know before organizing your trip to Greece
In this section, we provide you with all the information you could need in order to prepare an upcoming travel to Greece.
In brief, the best way to travel to Greece is by plane. The most popular international airports are located in Athens, Santorini, Mykonos and Heraklion.
To move around, you can use internal flights, a ferry, a bus or a train.
Table of contents:
How to get there?
Where to go travel in Greece?
How to move around?
For who is Greece?
Important Notice about Covid-19:
Learn how to travel during the Covid-19 pandemic (regulations, entry requirements, vaccinations, test centers and more)
HOW TO TRAVEL THERE?
Getting to Greece is something you should not worry about, as this is one of the most easy-to-reach destinations. You can travel there by:
Obviously, the fastest and easiest way to get there is by plane, especially if you live in Europe or the US.
Many international air companies have regular flights to Athens and during tourist season, there are many direct flights to some islands of Greece, if an international airport is available (Santorini, Mykonos and more).
Some locations have a national airport and there are only flights from Athens.
An alternative (and cheapest) way to reach your destination is by ferry from Athens ports (Piraeus, Rafina & Lavrio).
The best way to travel to a Greek island that does not have an airport is to find the closest International airports. For example, if a traveller wants to go to Amorgos island, he can reach Santorini which has an international airport and then travel from Santorini to Amorgos by ferry.
Ferry companies are operating between Italy and Greece all year round. Particularly there are ferries from Trieste, Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi in Italy to Patra, Igoumenitsa, Corfu and Kefalonia in Greece, facilitating European visitors who want to come with their car.
WHERE TO TRAVEL?
In few words, if you are a first-timer, the most popular destinations to travel to are:
Popular Greek islands
The most popular ones are in the Cyclades (Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos), Crete, in the Dodecanese (Rhodes, Kos), in the Sporades (Skiathos) and the Ionian (Corfu & Zakynthos).
They can be reached by plane and by ferry. Some international flights are also available.
Ancient Sites and Mainland
The most famous ancient sites to visit in the mainland, except Athens, are: Delphi, Epidaurus, Olympia and Mycenae.
A amazing place also to visit in the mailand is Meteora and its impressive monasteries built on huge rock formations.
The best way to visit these sites is with an organized tour or with a private transfer.
The most famous city is Athens, the capital. The second largest city is Thessaloniki and has recently gained in popularity.
HOW TO MOVE AROUND?
Transportation and the means you can use to travel around depend on the location you are visiting.
Generally, keep in mind that means of public transport are available in the big cities, while buses, trains and airplanes connect long-distance destinations on the mainland.
Many are also connected to the mainland via airplanes, although ferry connections are far more popular. On the large ones, buses are available for local transportation.
Some of the popular routes are: Athens to Santorini, Athens to Mykonos, Mykonos to Santorini.
• Internal Flights
For many foreign visitors, traveling by plane is the best option when visiting different parts of the country. Although flights might be more expensive than ferries, buses or trains, they are the way to go if you are looking for the least time consuming mode of transport and as far as an airport is available.
There are numerous airports all around the country and the islands, although most of them only serve domestic flights. This means that you will have to use a connective flight from Athens airport to your destination.
When traveling to the islands, different options may be available, although the most popular one is by ferry. All islands are connected to at least one port of the mainland and getting there by ferry is cheaper compared to flights.
Note that many islands are connected to each other by ferry, especially in the Cyclades, making island hopping a popular summer holiday plan.
As far as transportation on the mainland is concerned, KTEL buses are the most popular connections between cities, towns and villages.
KTEL buses also operate on almost all big islands and they are considered a reliable mode of transport, especially during the summer season.
The KTEL bus network is quite complex, allowing you to reach distant destinations, including slightly remote areas, or to travel locally, in the case of the islands.
In addition to buses, trains operate on the northern part of Greece and they also connect Athens to Thessaloniki.
However, they are not considerably popular and the train network is somewhat outdated.
Taxis are not a good choice for long-distance traveling on the mainland, as they can get very expensive.
For this reason, they are only used in cases of emergency. On the other hand, taxis are used more frequently on the islands, especially when no buses are available.
• Car rentals
A far better alternative to taxis is a car rental and with special arrangements between you and the agency, you will be able to use the car to reach out-of-town destinations with no issues.
The biggest advantage of car rentals is flexibility, as they make it possible to travel around as much as you want without having to rely on buses.
Car rentals are strongly recommended.
• Private transfers
Private transfers by car or minivan are available both on the mainland and on the islands and they can be booked in advance.
They are way more reliable than taxis and are usually used for short distance traveling, for instance to & from your hotel, the port or the airport.
Minivan transfers are particularly popular for private tours on the mainland, reaching ancient sites and towns such as Epidaurus, Olympia, Nafplion, Delphi and more.
• City transportation
For visitors or locals who do not have a private vehicle, transportation in the big cities is achieved via the means of public transport:
- Athens: There is a variety in terms of public transports in Athens, including buses and trolleybuses, 2 metro (subway) lines and 1 line of electric railway, tram and electric scooters.
For suburban destinations near Athens city, suburban KTEL buses and the Suburban Railway serve the connections.
- Thessaloniki: For public transportation in Thessaloniki, the second largest town, public buses are the cheapest option.
Taxis and private transfers are also available, while sea bus routes are offered during the summer, connecting the port of Thessaloniki to a few other locations.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS & FORMALITIES
Read about important things to have before travelling to Greece.
Also, don't miss our list of 101 things to know before organizing your holiday.
You will find below information about the documents needed to enter the country.
For EU citizens, no passport is required, just the identity card with Latin characters is enough. For non-EU citizens, a valid passport is necessary to enter the country.
In case you lose your passport in Greece, the local police and the embassy of your home country must be contacted. It is recommended to have a photocopy of your passport in order to get the process of replacement quicker.
When arriving by plane to the airports of Athens, mainland and the islands, all citizens of foreign countries, except for the countries of the European Union, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, need a visa to enter the country. For more information, contact the Greek National Tourist Offices in your country or go to your embassy in Greece.
A passport can serve as an ID. Apart from the official identity card of your country, another form of identification is the driving license.
- Animals' documents
Animals (pets) require a valid health certificate to enter the country.
This section provides information about formalities for EU Citizens, Non-EU Citizens, and animals.
- For EU Citizens
For the citizens of the European Union, no passport is required. A valid ID with latin characters is enough. There are no customs formalities and vaccines required.
- For Non-EU Citizens
For the citizens of non-EU European counties and other countries of the world, a valid passport is required. Citizens of some countries also need a visa to enter the country. There are exceptions for citizens of the USA, Australia, and New Zealand and a few other countries that do not need Visa, but for the majority of the countries, it is obligatory. To learn if you need a visa to enter the country, you should contact the Greek Embassy in your country.
- For animals
Animals and pets need a health certificate to enter the country. Kindly contact your vet and the Greek Embassy in your country to get informed on the certificates needed for an animal.
Greek Tourism Offices
WHAT IS THE BEST PERIOD TO TRAVEL THERE?
Tourist season is officially April through October, with July and August being the two high season months.
The popular islands receive the majority of visitors these two hot months, but the more secluded ones keep their calm atmosphere.
If you are looking for privacy, relaxation and less crowded places, then you should prefer the period between April and June. During this season, it will be easier to find budget accommodation and to book cheaper tickets for your flights.
Although Greece is mostly popular for summer vacations, you should also know that the mainland constitutes a wonderful travel destination for winter city breaks and ski holidays.
Athens is so enjoyable off-season when the ancient sites are not packed with tourists and the weather is not so hot.
The most popular ski centers are Arachova and Kalavryta, while many other centers are found in northern part of the country.
WHO GOES TO GREECE?
The country attracts on average 30 million tourists every year, while in record years this number may reach 35 million tourists.
Visitors cover all categories and ages. There are families with kids searching for a relaxing beach destination, couples or honeymooners on romantic holidays, teenagers and youth looking for long party nights or history lovers on archaeological tours.
In every case, a trip to Greece is a dream come true for everyone.
The natural beauty, the reviving sunlight and the rich culture open an entirely new world to visitors.
Even celebrities get there in summertime, while many of them have holiday homes in the islands.
HEALTH INFORMATION AND PROTECTIONS
Learn about the Health & Security Protocol for Greece & the islands
No special vaccination is required.
If you are under a special medical treatment, you are advised to take these medicines with you, as it is a high possibility that you may not find the exact medicines there.
In this section, we propose tourist information about health in Greece.
• E111 free health treatment for Europeans
The citizens of the European Union have the right to the E111 document which offers access to free health treatment in public hospitals of Greece.
Greek public hospitals are well equipped, at least in the major cities, but often overcrowded.
The conditions and services of private hospitals are much better but quite expensive.
On many small islands and towns, there are no hospitals but medical and health centers.
• Food & Water
Greek products are famous all around the world for their excellent quality.
As for the water, in Athens and other large towns, tap water is drinkable.
However, in most islands and in few mainland towns, bottled water is recommended in order to avoid health issues during your trip.
Most islands do not have their own water, but water is brought by water tanks from the mainland, therefore it is used only for showering and house cleaning, not for drinking.
• Summer heat
Serious health problems might come from the summer heat, especially in July and August which are the hottest months of the year.
Heat may severely affect people with heart and lung problems and sensitive skin as well, especially considering that in summer the temperature may rise to 40oC.
To avoid health problems in case of extreme heat, drink a lot of water, shower often, avoid physical activities, like walking, biking or climbing, wear light clothing and hat, avoid alcohol, wear sunglasses and sun lotion and generally avoid direct contact with the sun between midday and 4 o'clock in the evening.
WHY VISIT GREECE?
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High developed tourism
Whatever type of traveler you are, you will not be disappointed in your trip to Greece.
Whether you like beaches or mountains, winter or summer, relaxing or partying, Greece will be among the best choices for your holidays.
With an easy connection to Athens or even direct flights from Europe and Mediterranean countries, the islands are the perfect places to gather precious holiday memories.
Some of the most popular destinations are Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, and Zakynthos. Nice places for authentic holidays are also Paros, Naxos, and more.
Loved by people, this country is so rich in culture and beauty that it never seems to be fully explored, no matter how many times you come for holidays.
This is, after all, one of the reasons that brought it in the list with the top 20 tourist destinations in the world.
Apart from its highly cosmopolitan side and the upscale levels of tourism, Greece has a more substantial way to charm you.
With numerous historical sights dating from 3,000 years ago and gorgeous natural beauty, it is not an exaggeration to say that this country is a real heaven on earth and that everyone should travel there at least once in a lifetime.
Plus, over the last years, there is a large effort to develop the beach and sun model into a more modern approach, with agrotourism investments, off-season holiday packages, more authentic contact between locals and visitors, and more.
Which are the impulses that push millions of visitors to travel to this small corner of Europe? Discover 12 good reasons:
The holiday of a lifetime
A visit to Greece is the dream holiday of a lifetime. When thinking of holidays, people picture the long crystal beaches and the relaxing beach taverns. But be careful because Greece is addictive: if you have experienced Greek holidays once, no other place on earth will be sufficient for you.
Need to organize your holidays? We are here for you!
Walking on sunshine
The country is famous for its perfect climatic conditions. Not tropical and not arctic, this is a fantastic destination for every season. Did you know that most places in Greece get sunshine 300 days per year?
You will love the virgin landscape, the exotic color of the sea, the bright light of the sun. Each place has a different authentic style.
It will take you years to explore the country, but only a glance to fall in love with it. Have a look at our beautiful photos.
Greece remains among the safest countries in the world. The criminality rate is very low, especially on the islands.
Feel no fear to walk late at night and have chats with the locals. In fact, this will be among the best pleasures during your Greek holidays.
Only in Athens should you have an eye open, as pick-pocketing is usually reported in large queues, for example in buses or when boarding the ferry.
But this is not the case in the islands, where you can lay back and enjoy a carefree atmosphere.
High level of hospitality
Since ever, warm hospitality is one of the main reasons to visit Greece. Feel free to mingle with the locals, have long chats with them or stop them at the street to ask for directions. They love it!
Apart from the locals, you will also enjoy a high quality of services in the hotels and resorts.
A country with a past
Even in the smallest piece of land, you will find a connection to the past. There are ancient sites of various historical periods under every stone: from remains of ancient Greek temples to Byzantine monasteries and Neoclassical mansions.
Healthy and tasty cuisine
Greece is famous for its healthy products, including virgin olive oil, vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, and wine. These products are the basis of the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in proteins and low in saturated fats. These products are cooked together and make delicious dishes. Even in the smallest tavern, do not hesitate to taste local dishes. They will be totally different than any other ethnic recipe you have tasted so far.
Easy to access
There are frequent air connections from the largest world airports to the International Airport of Athens and from Athens, there are almost daily flights to many local airports around the country.
Also in summer, there are many direct charters and low-cost flights from various European airports to the most popular islands.
As for the ferry connection, there are ferries between Greece and Italy all year round and also between Greece and Turkey in summer.
As a member of the EU, clearly other EU citizens do not need a visa to visit the country and stay as long as they like. Also, many citizens of other world countries do not need to make visa arrangements for tourism, including citizens of the USA, Australia, and Russia.
You are young in age or young at heart, looking for a place with vivid nightlife? Mykonos, Paros, Ios, Skiathos, Rhodes, Corfu, Zakynthos are only a few of the places where parties start in the midday and last till the early hours.
Enjoy your cocktail under the hot sun and dance on the sand till your feet can hold no more!
You will find no difficulty to communicate in English with the Greeks. Ask for directions, the order in restaurants, shop or get information in English will be very easy everywhere in the country. In fact, in most tourist places, you will discover that staff of tourist businesses may also speak French, German, Italian or even Russian.
Destination of celebrities
Surely you have heard that Greece is among the top summer destination for celebrities and Hollywood stars. Many come and visit on yachts or stay in luxurious beach resorts, while others even have their holiday homes in some hidden areas.