Getting there

British Airways fly direct from London to several Greek cities including Athens, Thessaloniki and Kalamata. They also offer services to several Greek islands including Corfu, Crete, Kefalonia, Kos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Skiathos and Zakynthos. Budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet also have a wide range of flights available between the UK and mainland Greece and the islands.

Time zone

Greece is +2 hours ahead of GMT.

Visa requirements

British citizens do not require a visa for travel to Greece for up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Do's and don'ts

Try to avoid cheap souvenir shops that sell imported goods at a low price. Instead try to ‘buy local’ and support Greek craftspeople and small businesses.

When taking photographs, permission should always be asked before taking someone’s picture.

Make sure you pack suitable clothing so that you can dress respectfully for visits to religious venues. Knees and shoulders should be covered when entering churches and places of worship.

If you manage to learn a few words in Greek it will be greatly appreciated.

Money

The local currency in Greece is the Euro. Both cash and card payments are commonly accepted throughout the country, however you may find on the smaller islands or villages that only cash will be accepted. ATMs are reliable and commonplace in most towns, cities and larger islands.

Tipping

Tipping in Greece is left to your discretion and should, of course, be based on the satisfaction of the services you receive. There is no set rule for tipping in Greece, but 5-10% for good service is appreciated. In some restaurants service charge is added to your bill automatically so ensure you check this. Tips in cash are preferred.
If your trip includes guides and you believe they have offered an outstanding service, they will welcome any monetary gift at the end of a trip.

Holidays, festivals and celebrations

With such an ancient history and rich culture, the Greek calendar is packed with events and religious festivities throughout the year. Orthodox Easter is Greece’s biggest celebration where visitors can expect candlelit street processions, spit-roasted lamb and firework displays. Another of the country’s important events is Carnival season which is related to the Greek Orthodox religion and starts three weeks prior to Lent. Known as Apokreas, the carnival period is celebrated all over Greece with costume parades, colourful floats, traditional dancing and feasting. Other prominent events include the Hellenic Festival focusing on local and international dance, music and drama, Navy Week and the August Moon Festival.

Shopping

Greece offers a great selection of shopping ranging from small boutiques and international designers to traditional shops and markets selling local produce and craft goods. Throughout the mainland and islands there are many independent stores and stalls that sell artisanal souvenirs including ceramics and pottery, handmade textiles and natural coral sponges. For produce, local markets are the best option where you can pick up typical products such as honey, olive oil, wine, ouzo and herbs, or you may wish to try a ‘spoon sweet’ which is preserved fruit in jars of syrup.

Suggested reading

Rough Guides, Lonely Planet and DK Eyewitness have excellent guidebooks on Greece and also offer city, island or regional variations. If you are looking for a Greek classic, try ‘The Iliad’ by Homer, ‘The Histories’ by Herodotus, ‘Antigone’ by Sophocles or ‘Medea’ by Euripides.
There are numerous books on the history of Greece; ‘A Concise History of Greece’ by Richard Clogg or ‘Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation’ by Roderick Beaton are both great options on general Greek history. ‘Tales of Greek Heroes’ by Roger Lancelyn Green offers an excellent exploration of Greek mythology and legend. There are also a number of excellent fictional reads set in Greece including:

‘The Flight of Ikaros’ by Kevin Andrews

‘The Magus’ by John Fowles

‘A Thousand Ships’ by Natalie Haynes

‘The Last of the Wine’ by Mary Renault

‘Zorba the Greek’ by Nikos Kazantzakis

‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ by Louis de Bernieres

‘Little Infamies’ by Panos Karnezis

‘The Island’ by Victoria Hislop

Health

Your doctor is the best person to advise you on staying healthy whilst abroad and precautions necessary for your itinerary and relevant to your personal circumstances.

Travel advice

For current information on Ireland the best resource is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice) which is a comprehensive resource and updated regularly. We would also recommend visiting the Safer Tourism Foundation website (https://safertourism.org.uk/) before you travel and will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.