GREECE

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Feta is fittingly coined from an Ancient Greek word meaning "sliced."

JST GREECE GUIDES:

Greece is on Central European Time (CET) during most of the year, and Central European Summer Time (CEST) during daylight savings time/the summer.

Greece permits stays of up to 90 days without a visa for tourism or business purposes. Ensure that you have sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. Your passport should have 6 months of remaining validity.

Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (AIA) is the largest international airport in Greece. It receives direct flights from the majority of central European airports as well as passengers from around the world via transfer. The Athens International Airport offers a hotel, a retail park, and access to railway, metro, bus, and taxi services. Flight time from Athens to other airports across the Greek islands ranges from 40 minutes to 1 hour.

One of the most popular forms of transportation from Athens to the Greek islands is by ferry. Piraeus is the central port of Athens, but many ferries also leave from the ports of Rafina and Lavrion. Car rental agencies are also common in popular Greek destinations for those who wish to travel the sunny islands by car. Green KTEL buses also connect Athens to other neighboring locations for tourists, and the Athens Metro provides a rapid transit system which serves the Athens urban area and parts of East Attica.

With low levels of homicide, violent crime, incarceration, and political instability, Greece is considered one of the safest destinations in the Mediterranean. Be cautious of pickpockets in crowded spaces and when using public transportation, and be careful to avoid common travel scams.

To report a crime or contact the police, dial 1-1-2.

For fire services, dial 1-1-9.

For emergency medical services, dial 1-6-6.

Greece is one of the sunniest places in the world with an average of 300 sunny days a year. Warm weather lingers throughout the first half of fall (September-November), making it is one of the best times to travel to Greece on a budget to avoid peak travel season while still enjoying the sunny beaches and coastlines. Winter in Greece (November-March) is mostly mild in the south, though northern regions are cold during the winter months, even receiving snow in some areas.

The spring (March-May) is warm with more frequent rainfall early in the season. Prices are typically low for spring travelers, and beaches are far less crowded, though the ocean stays chilly until early summer.  The summer (June-August) is hot and dry, featuring the highest temperatures, best travel schedules, and biggest crowds. June is the best time to catch great deals on a cheaper vacation while still enjoying the warmth and excitement of summer in Greece.

The official language of Greece is Greek, which is spoken by 99% of the population along with other languages like Albanian, Macedonian, and Turkish. The most common foreign languages learned by Greeks are English, German, French, and Italian. Although most popular destinations in Greece are catered to international tourists with language barriers, here are some Greek words/phrases to help you get by:

Hello: Γειά σου (YAH-soo)

Please/You’re welcome: Παρακαλώ (para-kah-LOE)

Thank you: Ευχαριστώ (eff-kha-ri-STOE)

My name is… : Με λένε (may LEH-neh)…

Yes: Ναί (neh); No: όχι (OH-hee)

Excuse me/Sorry: Συγνώμη (See-GHNO-mee)

Do you speak English?: Μιλάτε αγγλικά (Mee-LAH-teh ag-li-KAH)?

Greeks are known to be warm and hospitable, and most etiquette is common sense. Here are a few important tips before your trip:

  1. Shake Hands. When meeting an individual or group for the first time, shake hands with everyone present–men, women and children–at a business or social meeting. Shake hands again when leaving.
  2. Be conscious of gestures. The “O.K.” sign is a rude gesture; “thumbs up” means O.K. Tilt the head backward once to indicate “no,” and nod the head slightly forward to gesture “yes.” It is best to verbally agree or disagree to avoid confusion.
  3. Dress appropriately. Some churches- especially monasteries, require covered shoulders, so be sure to bring a shawl or scarf when visiting religious sites like the monasteries of Meteora in Central Greece.