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Greece - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Greece. Exercise normal security precautions.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Strikes and Demonstrations
Strikes and demonstrations in Athens are a common occurrence due to austerity measures imposed by the government. Demonstrations and marches occur largely in the centre of Athens in Syntagma Square and in front of the Parliament building. There is currently a heightened potential for demonstrations due to recent developments in Greece's financial situation. Avoid all public gatherings and demonstrations and stay away from areas where they can occur as they may turn violent without notice. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Strikes and demonstrations affecting public health services and transportation, such as trains, buses, taxi, metro, ferries and cruise ships, are usually announced in advance. Road closures may occur at short notice, particularly in Athens. Flights may be disrupted and access to airports and ports may be difficult. Contact your airline to check the status of your flight and allow plenty of time to make your way to the airport.
There have been periodic bomb attacks by anarchists and ultra-leftist militant groups against the Greek state, Greek institutions, and Western commercial and diplomatic interests on the mainland, including in Athens and Thessaloniki. Several bomb and arson attacks have occurred in urban areas. To enhance public safety, police officers conduct patrols in subway stations, bus terminals and other public places.
Several attacks occurred in Athens in January 2013 in response to the latest round of austerity measures, as well as measures dealing with crime and corruption that were imposed by the Greek government.
Petty crime (pickpocketing, purse snatching, luggage theft, muggings) occurs in tourist areas and on public transport. Do not walk in the Athens districts of Monastiraki and Omonia, or around the two railway stations of Larissa and Peloponissos after dark. Avoid secluded areas, parks, and down-market bars and restaurants. Remain vigilant at all times.
Women should not accept rides from strangers or casual acquaintances. Sexual assaults have occurred, particularly on the islands.
Attacks against non-Caucasians have been reported in Athens and condemned by local authorities.
The traffic fatality rate in Greece is among the highest in the European Union. Poor driving standards, aggressive drivers, difficult terrain and heavy traffic create hazards.
Driving motorbikes, scooters and mopeds is particularly dangerous, especially on the islands. Travellers must obtain insurance coverage. A helmet is a legal requirement. Stiff fines can be imposed for non-compliance.
Small, unlicensed rental agencies (especially on the islands) do not always offer vehicles that comply with up-to-date safety standards. Read the rental contract carefully.
In the event of an accident, wait until the police arrive; otherwise the insurance may not be valid.
Accidents have occurred due to poor safety standards on regional buses and ferries. Use reputable bus and ferry operators.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
General safety information
Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that your travel documents are up to date and that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not show signs of affluence and avoid carrying large sums of cash on your person.
Shortages of essential supplies, including medical supplies, have been reported.
Tourist facilities are widely available.
Some border areas are militarily sensitive and should be avoided, including the north-northwest zone.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Greek authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Greece, which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Canadians of Macedonian ancestry have encountered difficulties when travelling to or through Greece. Any such difficulty should be reported to the Embassy of Canada in Athens.
Consult our Laws and culture for more information.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Work visa: Required
Student visa: Required
* The 90 days begin upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to remain in Greece for more than 90 days. Contact the Greek consulate in Canada to obtain the necessary visas. In cases where an overstay becomes necessary (for example, for a serious medical reason), you may be granted an extension of stay from the Greek Aliens Police 10 to 15 days before the three months have expired.
The following 26 countries comprise the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The Schengen area has common rules regarding visas and controls at external borders.
You do not need visas for short-term visits of up to 90 days within a six-month period. Your stays are cumulative, and include visits to any country within the Schengen area. Some countries require that you register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.
It is important to get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen area. The absence of an entry stamp from the initial Schengen port of entry could create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities throughout the Schengen area.
After 90 days of stay in the Schengen area, you must leave for another 90 days before you can re-enter.
If you overstay the permitted 90 days in the Schengen area, you may be fined or deported. To visit for longer than 90 days, you must obtain a long-stay national visa.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
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Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks (e.g., those participating in outdoor activities in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Medical care is usually adequate but varies widely, and facilities are generally much better on the mainland than on the islands. Medical evacuation to a mainland hospital, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury. Make sure you have travel health insurance that covers all medical expenses for illness or injury (including hospitalization abroad and medical evacuation).
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Canada and Greece are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Greece to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Greek authorities.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Greece. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Greek citizen. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Canadians with dual citizenship or who are eligible for Greek citizenship may be subject to compulsory military service and other aspects of Greek law. Canadians should obtain a document certifying their status from the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic or one of its consulates prior to travel.
You must carry adequate identification at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Severe penalties are imposed on individuals who engage in indecent behaviour, such as indecent exposure, especially when excessive alcohol consumption is involved.
Photography of military installations and personnel is prohibited. Offenders could be arrested and equipment confiscated. Ask permission before photographing individuals.
You must carry a valid Canadian driver’s licence and an International Driving Permit. Failure to carry these permits will result in heavy fines in the event of an accident.
Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. Convicted offenders can expect fines and jail sentences.
Carrying an illegal passenger in your vehicle, even without your knowledge, is a criminal offence. It is not advisable to travel with a hitchhiker.
Exporting of antiquities and archaeological items from Greece is subject to strict customs regulations. Contact the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic in Ottawa for specific information.
The currency of Greece is the euro (EUR).
Credit cards and traveller’s cheques in U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are widely available. Carry cash at all times as it remains the preferred method of payment in many establishments.
For information regarding the developing financial situation in Greece, visit the Greek Ministry of Finance website (updates in Greek only) or monitor local and international news. Capital controls have been imposed until further notice, foreigners holding debit and credit cards issued by banks in countries other than Greece may be affected. Expect long lines at ABMs and a shortage of hard currency throughout the country. Plan to have more than one means of payment (cash, debit cards, credit cards) and ensure that you have enough cash to cover travel expenses.
When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
Greece is located in an active seismic zone. Follow the advice of local authorities in the event of an emergency.
Floods may occur during the spring and winter months throughout the country. Exercise caution, monitor media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Bush and forest fires are common from June to September. In case of a major fire, stay away from affected areas, follow the advice of local emergency services personnel and monitor local media. Dial (210) 324-8098 to get updates on the situation. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke and affect travellers with respiratory ailments. For assistance, contact the Embassy of Canada in Athens.
Athens - Embassy of Canada
Thessaloniki - Consulate of Canada
For emergency assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Athens and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre located in Ottawa.
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