Greece Information

Capital City: Athens

Area: 131,957 sq. kms [Source: Greek National Tourism Organization]

Population: 10,964,020 [Source: Greek National Tourism Organization]

Most Popular Destinations: Athens, Thessalonica, Olympia , Mystras, the Greek islands in the Aegean and Ionian Sea.

Time Zone: Local time is GMT +2 hours.

Language: Greek is the official language, but English is taught in state schools as a first foreign language along with French or German as a second option.

Religions: 98% Christian Orthodox, 2% Muslim (1.3%) Jewish and Buddhist. (Source: The World Factbook).

Currency: Euro

Electricity: The power supply in Greece is 220V AC (50Hz). Appliances from North America require a transformer and British ones an adaptor. Power sockets are uniquely Greek, with two or three round openings.

Dates: Written in the format day/month/year

Country Dialing Code: From USA to Greece , 011+30+phone number.

Telephone Numbers: For emergencies, dial 100 from any telephone in Greece to contact police, 166 for the ambulance and 199 for the fire department. This is a free call service, so there is no need for coins.

Directory Assistance: Dial 131 from any telephone in Greece for directory assistance. Contact the Greek Tourist Police by dialling 171.

Maps: Available from most bookstores, news agents and kiosks.

Business Hours: From 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Banks are open from 8:00 to 2:30 on weekdays apart from Fridays which is 8:00 to 2:00. Post offices are open from 7:30 to 8:00 on weekdays only. Money transfer is feasible at the post office via Western Union. To send money to other countries from Greece , the fee starts at 10 Euros for up to 1,000 Euros.

Shops are open Monday through Friday from 09.00 till 14.30 and on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday also from 17.30 through 20.30. On Saturday shops open from 09.00 till 15.00, while they are closed on Sunday.

Supermarkets and kiosks may stay open till 10:00. More specifically, in the centre of large urban areas as well as in tourist areas, tourist shops and kiosks are open from early in the morning till late at night, seven days a week.

Taxes: A Goods and Services Tax of 19% (this rate is flexible) is built in to the price of many goods and services. Items purchased in duty-free stores do not incur this tax.

Internet Access: Available throughout most of the country. Even small towns generally have at least one internet café.

Newspapers: The following are some of the most popular daily newspapers. Most capital cities also have their own daily newspapers that give greater coverage of state news items.

Kathimerini, To Vima and Athens News are some of the most popular papers in Greece

Pets: Medical procedures may take too long, thus it is wise to leave your pet at home. For more information read relevant content at Athens News at

Tipping: Tipping is customary and expected in Greece in restaurants and hotels.

Water: The quality of water is acceptable to drink in most areas, but if in doubt, mineral water is recommended. Mineral water is a Greek product and originates from the mountains of various places such as Vikos, Loutraki and Zagori. It is directly bottled at source and it is safe and healthy to drink.

Alcohol: Minimum drinking age is 18 but there are no strict rules. Most pubs are open from 10:00 a.m. to after midnight. Alcohol is also sold in liquor stores, called CAVA and supermarkets everywhere. Traffic police may test drivers at times, especially during the night or during peak holiday seasons.

Smoking: Minimum smoking age is 18 but there are no strict rules. Smoking is not allowed in some public areas such as museums, theatres, airports, hospitals and public offices. However, smoking is allowed in most restaurants as well as in all pubs and cafes.

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