Greece Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Athens tourist information, Greece food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Athens. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Greece Travel Guide

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Full country name: Hellenic Republic
Area: 131,957 sq km
Population: 10.75 million (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Athens
People: The government does not recognise any ethnicity other than Greek. However, a foreign population does exist.
Language: Greek
Religion: 98% Greek Orthodox, 1.3% Muslim, 0.7% other
Government: Parliamentary Republic, EU Member
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +2 (Eastern European Time)
Dialling Code: 30
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Currency: Euro
Average yearly salary: USD 32,100

Budget: €5-15
Mid-range: €15-30
High: €30-40
Top: €40+
Budget: €20-80
Mid-range: €80-200
High: €200-450
Top: €450+

Greece is no longer the cheap destination it was. A strict budget traveller should need approx. €40.00 a day. On this budget you will be hitching, staying in youth hostels or camping, staying away from bars, and only occasionally eating in restaurants or taking ferries. Allow at least €80/day if you want your own room, plan to eat out regularly and intend to see all the sights. If you want comfortable rooms and good restaurants all the way, you will need closer to €120/day. Hotel rates vary enormously according to season with big savings if you travel outside of high season (mid-June until the end of August).

Geography: Greece is located in Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey. It is also bordered to the north by Bulgaria and Macedonia. Much of Greece is mountainous and rocky terrain, with the occasional plain. The Pindus Mountains start in northern Greece and stretch south to the Gulf of Patra. In the southern part of Greece are the Peloponnesus Mountains. About 20% of Greece is made up of islands. Crete is a large island located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a popular tourist area for its beautiful mountains, coastline, and many ancient ruins. Most of the people in Greece live along the coast, or along rivers and harbors. The largest cities include Athens, Patra, Piraeus, Larisa and Salonica.

Climate: Greece has a warm Mediterranean climate. In summer, dry hot days are often relieved by stiff breezes, especially in the north and coastal areas. Athens can be stiflingly hot, so visitors should allow time to acclimatise. The evenings are cool. Winters are mild in the south but much colder in the north. November to March is the rainy season.

Recommended clothing: Lightweight clothes during summer months, including protection from the midday sun. Light sweaters are needed for evenings. Rainproofs are advised for autumn. Winter months can be quite cold, especially in the northern mainland, so normal winter wear will be required.

Social conventions: Greeks are strongly influenced by the Greek Orthodox Church, especially in more rural areas, and visitors should respect their believes. Note, that throwing back the head is a negative gesture. Smoking is prohibited on public transport and in most public buildings.

Health: There are no specific health regulations or immunizations required in Greece, however, visitors planning to walk through forested areas, should consider vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis. Yellow fever vaccination certificates are required for those arriving from infected areas. Medical facilities in major cities are of a good quality, but rural areas and small islands do not usually have good conditions. Tap water is considered to be good, but visitors should stick to bottled water instead. All visitors are advised to have a medical insurance.

Food & Drink: Traditional Greek dishes are very old; they are made from recipes handed down from generation to generation. One of the most popular dishes is called moussaka, spiced lamb mine with layers of eggplant, potato and bechamel sauce. Souvlaki is the so called Greek fast food, it is made with lamb or chicken cooked on a rotisserie, sliced and served in pita bread with salad and tzatziki. Spanokopita, the filo pastry parcels filled with spinach and feta, are available everywhere, and are very tasty. The famous Greek soup, avgolemono, is made from chicken, rice and lemon. The favorite and most popular alcoholic drink of Greece is ouzo, which is made from a pressed grape skins, herbs and berries. Note, that it is famous for the major hangovers it produces the next day, and should be taken with some care.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1
New Year’s Day
Jan 6 Epiphany
varies between Mar 22 & Apr 25 Orthodox Shrove Monday
Mar 25 Independence Day
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 20 Day of the Holy Spirit
Aug 15 Assumption
Oct 28 Ochi Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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