Essential information for travellers in Greece: entry rules, car rental and medical insurance
Greece is one of the top popular destinations for tourists. And it's not a surprise: warm seas, world-famous culture, authentic cuisine, and a relaxed, pleasantly optimistic atmosphere do the job perfectly. But if the Republic of Hellas means Athens, Parthenon, Olympus, and comfortable seaside hotels, you don't know anything about this country. After all, tourism in Greece is a multitude of variations and options for recreation 365 days a year.
Vacation in Greece
Greece indeed has multiple options for vacations throughout the year:
- By the sea
The high season is from May to September. It is the best time for those who want to lie on the beach, sunbathe and swim in the warm waters of the three seas that wash the coasts of the Hellenic Republic. The velvet season comes from October to November. However, equally comfortable conditions, both for swimming and for traveling are also noted in March-April (local summer can be too hot, you see). In some southern regions, the weather makes it possible to rest on the beach even in winter.
Water activities, such as diving, snorkeling, boat trips, windsurfing, etc., are available throughout the beach season. Although taking into account the temperatures, it is more pleasant to engage in active water sports in autumn and spring. An exception is the Aegean Sea.
- In the mountains
From November to March mountainous regions offer vacations at numerous ski resorts. In autumn and spring, fans of hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, canyoning, and rafting come here. In the summer, mountain tourism is also available, but here you should pay attention to the weather conditions: it may not be very comfortable in the south.
- All over the country
The velvet season is also the most favorable time for sightseeing tours and trips around Greece. The secret is in comfortable warm conditions, fresh winds, and the opportunity to make your vacation as diverse as it is possible. Experienced travelers also advise coming for sightseeing tours in winter, especially if you are interested in the southern part of Hellas. Summer is also a great time, but the sweltering heat can take its toll.
Greece has a very developed tourist infrastructure, so everyone will find ideal options and itineraries for a vacation to suit their taste and budget. Almost every choice allows a combination of cultural, active, and recreational components due to the rich nature, culture, good weather conditions, and the level of preparation for receiving guests.
What are the sights
Greece is a country of 1000 and 1 curiosities. Antique temples, ancient cities, legendary places, and incredible natural sights. To list all the noteworthy places, one article is definitely not enough.
In addition to the well-known Athens, Crete, the city of Thessaloniki, and the island of Santorini, while being in Greece you should see:
- Peloponnese and the Corinth Canal (by the way, you can bungee jump in there);
- Meteora cliffs and monasteries;
- The island of Rhodes with its Instagrammable views and ancient heritage;
- Sparta, Mistra and Voidokilia beach;
- The wild and picturesque island of Tinos;
- The legendary city of Delphi;
- Diverse for adventure and recreation island of Andros;
- Asos Fortress and Myrtos Beach;
- The quiet town of Idra on the homonymous island (there are no cars or crowds, only silence, peace, and typical Greek aesthetics);
- Arcadia and its vine distilleries;
- Laconia, with a special note to the Diros sea cave;
- Mykonos Island;
- Canyons and waterfalls on the Neda River;
- The picturesque area of Zagori (ancient bridges, villages, temples; Lake Drakolimni, Vikos gorge, and incredible wild nature).
Subtropical, Mediterranean type. Summer here is dry and hot, winter is mild and rainy. Yet Greece has up to 320 sunny days per year.
The peculiar geographical position makes its adjustments, as throughout the country there are regions with unique microclimates. For example:
The northern and northwestern part of Greece beyond the Pindus has features of a maritime climate. This is where the most precipitation falls. The northeastern part is arid and windy. Alpine climate prevails in mountainous regions. Climatic conditions in the north of Greece are similar to transitional-continental ones.
In the Aegean region, within the high season, the powerful dry Meltemi wind blows. It makes it cooler and fresher than in the Ionian Sea basin or on the mainland of Greece.
The official name of the country is the Hellenic Republic or Hellenic Democracy (Ελληνική Δεμορακία). The Greeks themselves call their Motherland Hellas.
The currency is the euro. Payment by card is available in major cities exclusively. For payments in small towns, villages, and islands, it is better to have cash.
The official language is Greek. But most people speak English well, and most signs have English subs.
The classification of hotels in Greece is indicated not by stars, but by letters. Usually, the A category corresponds to 4 stars, B to 3, C to 2, and the "de luxe" is a five-star mark. However, there may be differences, so do care to check relevant information on the website, reviews, and photos of hotels and hostels.
Roads are good on the mainland, but on the islands, they are worse and much narrower. In terms of road traffic, Greece has its own atmosphere, so for city trips, it is better to call a taxi.
When renting a car chose companies with a large number of branches: it may be more pricey, but then you can easily return the car anywhere in the country;
Many islands have their own airports, but the best way to travel around is by ferry. They are cheaper, well-scheduled, and allow you to enjoy the beauty of Greek landscapes.
For traveling around the mainland use railways.
Greeks are very religious. Therefore, during the journey (especially to temples and monasteries), do your best to meet all rules and the mandatory dress code.
As in the other parts of the Balkans, local life follows its own, relaxed, unhurried rhythm which affects everything, including service.
Every Greek life by the statement "there are two opinions — mine and wrong one". So if you decided to ask passers-by, ask only one person. Or be prepared for heated arguments and heaps of controversial advice.
Medical care in Greece is a problem. Good doctors are not available in all institutions, especially in provinces or on the islands. Public clinics often showcase problems with cleanliness, and guarantee queues, while the offices can be quite smoky. Calling an ambulance is pretty expensive. Therefore, you should take good care of health insurance beforehand. If you need reliable health insurance, you can contact our agents.
Rules of entry
Greece is a member of the European Union and a part of the Schengen zone. Therefore, the entry documents are processed according to the standard rules for obtaining a Schengen visa.
In general, a tourist visa to Greece provides standard requirements:
- Visa application form filled in in English;
- Application for obtaining a Schengen visa;
- 2 color photos on a light background;
- A copy of the travel ID and previous visas (if any), the document must be valid for at least 3 months from the date of departure from Greece;
- Tourist medical insurance is valid for Greece and the Schengen area;
- A cover letter, which indicates the purpose of arrival and the route of the travel;
- Confirmation of social status (if any; child’s birth certificate, marriage/divorce one, death of a partner cert, certificates of subsidies, etc.);
- A copy of the flight schedule, inbound and outbound;
- Confirmation of accommodation booking;
- A bank statement proving solvency during the entire period of stay in Greece.
In addition, they may require an invitation from relatives or friends (if any), a bank statement showcasing the movement of funds on account for the last 6 months, copies of IDs, proof of pension payments for the last six months (for pensioners), confirmation of admission and a letter of consent from the educational institution (for students and schoolchildren), a copy of your business license and tax payment proofs (for the self-employed), an employment contract, a letter of consent from the employer and confirmation of vacation leave (for the employed).
4 minResidence permit
The simultaneous stay of visitors in the hotel lobby not more than one person per 10 square meters of serviceable area is allowed.
Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
Online check-in making in advance is recommended to avoid queues at check-in to hotel.
Meals in hotels are provided through meals delivery service to rooms upon prior order or at hotel restaurants situated inside or in open areas, provided the distance of at least 1.5 meters between seats at adjacent tables.
Not more than 4 clients are allowed to stay at the table (excluding children under 14 years old). Unless these tables are separated by a special partition;
Self-serve is not allowed.
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