Greece travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
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- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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Greece - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Greece.
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.
These could include:
- curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
- mandatory mask use
- required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces
Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and luggage theft occurs. Tourists are frequently targeted.
Organized groups of thieves often use distraction techniques and are particularly active:
- at tourist sites and attractions
- in restaurants, patios and bars
- in hotel lobbies
- on public transportation, including metro and trains to and from Athens International Airport
- at airports, bus and railway stations including Larissa and Peloponnese stations in Athens
- on beaches
While you’re in Greece:
- ensure that your belongings, including your passport, are secure at all times
- don’t keep your passport and other types of ID at the same place and carry a photocopy rather than the original
- avoid showing signs of affluence
- avoid carrying large sums of cash or unnecessary valuables
- pay attention to your surroundings, particularly in crowded and tourist areas
- be wary of unsolicited offers or advice from strangers
- avoid isolated areas, parks and down-market bars and restaurants, especially after dark
Violent crime, such as attacks committed by far-right extremists against individuals belonging to ethnic, religious or political minorities are uncommon, but do occur.
Always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Victims of crime
If you are a victim of a crime, go to the nearest police station to report it. Keep a copy of your report, as you may need it to make a claim to your insurance provider.
If you are a victim of sexual assault:
- seek medical assistance, whether or not you appear to have been physically harmed
- contact the local police immediately and ensure they file a report
- inform consular officials at the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate
The Greek police has a dedicated unit to assist foreign tourists and offers services in English and other languages.
You can contact the tourism police 24/7 anywhere in Greece by dialling the 1571 or the regular police at 100.
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs.
When using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Be particularly vigilant if attending:
- sporting events
- religious holidays
- other public celebrations
Terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
Extremist groups and organizations have used improvised explosive devices, bombs and arson attacks in urban areas to target:
- the Greek State and its institutions
- foreign commercial and diplomatic interests
- ethnic, religious and migrants’ centers and organizations
While tourists are not specifically targeted, you could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
Demonstrations and strikes
Demonstrations take place regularly, particularly in Athens and Thessaloniki. They are usually held on days of social or historical significance, such as:
- Workers' Day on May 1
- the commemoration of the Athens Polytechnic uprising of 1973 on November 17
- the commemoration of the riots of 2008 on December 6
In Athens, demonstrations and marches occur primarily in areas around:
- Syntagma Square, in front of the Greek Parliament
- Omonia Square
- the National Technical University complex on Patision Avenue
- Exarchia neighbourhood
In Thessaloniki, they occur primarily in areas around:
- Aristotelous Square
- Egnatia Street
- the Arch of Galerius
- the campus of the Aristotle University
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. Demonstrations and strikes can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Strikes and pressure tactics occur regularly, particularly in key sectors such as transport and public health services. These strikes can disrupt travel and public services.
- Consult local media to be aware of strikes that may affect your stay or travel plans
- In the event of a transport strike, plan extra time to get to your destination
Foreigners have been sexually assaulted, most often on the islands.
Don’t accept rides from strangers or casual acquaintances.
Many beaches in Greece are supervised and enforce excellent safety procedures.
However, tidal changes and strong winds can cause hazardous currents and riptides.
Coral, urchin, jellyfish and other aquatic life found along reefs can poison, sting or cause infection if touched or stepped on.
- Always obey warning flags at beaches
- Ask local authorities about the presence of dangerous species and immediately seek medical assistance if you get hurt
- Wear reef shoes to protect yourself against stone and coral cuts or urchin stings
- Keep a safe distance from boats and restricted areas
- Avoid visiting beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings
- Look out for signs warning of cliff erosion and falling rocks
- Don’t dive into unknown waters, as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death
- Exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities
If you are planning to go boating:
- know the capacity of your boat and don’t exceed it
- know and respect the navigation rules
- follow safe practices for all activities on the water
- keep a safe distance from areas reserved for certain activities such as snorkeling
- carry a VHF marine radio that will generate your position in case of emergency
- be prepared for emergencies
Outdoor activities, such as hiking, can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly, even in summer.
If you intend to go hiking or mountaineering:
- never do so alone, and do not part with your hiking companions
- obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be before setting out
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- avoid venturing off marked trails
- ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water
- stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- be aware of the presence of dangerous species such as snakes
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
- dial 112 from a cellphone for any emergency
Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country.
Severe traffic congestion and difficult terrain may lead to hazardous driving conditions.
Accidents causing fatalities are common. Drivers often drive at excessive speeds and are reckless.
Drivers and speeding motorbikes don’t always yield to pedestrians or bicycles. Exercise caution when walking, crossing streets or biking.
Accidents involving tourists renting motorbikes, scooters or mopeds are common, especially on the islands.
Small, unlicensed rental agencies do not always offer vehicles that comply with up-to-date safety standards.
- Read the rental contract carefully
- Inspect the equipment before renting it
- Never drink and drive
- Reduce your speed on rough and uneven terrain
- In the event of an accident, wait for police to arrive
You may not be able to file an insurance claim without a police report.
Public transportation is generally safe and reliable. The bus network is extensive, and train services connect certain major cities. Athens has a modern metro system. Strikes may sometimes affect transportation services.
Taxis are generally safe. Metered taxis are widely available.
There are fixed rates for transportation to and from Athens International Airport. Confirm the rate before departure.
Ferries between mainland Greece and its islands meet European safety standards.
Weather conditions and strong winds can lead to cancellations or significant delays. Rough sea conditions may cause motion sickness, particularly on high-speed ferries.
- Pay attention to pre-departure notices from your carrier
- Always reconfirm departure schedule before heading to the port
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:
- entry or exit bans
- mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
- suspensions or reductions of international transportation options
Certain European Union countries might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories for entry or to be exempt from quarantine requirements. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.
- verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
- consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
- monitor the media for the latest information
- reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator
The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Greek authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Greece is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.
If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Business visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Work visa: required
Student visa: required
If you must stay in Greece longer than 90 days due to serious and unforeseen events, such as a medical emergency, you may be able to seek an extension of your stay as a visitor.
Present your request to the office of the Greek police on aliens’ issues at least 15 days before your 90-day, visa-free period expires.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* 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.
Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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.
- There is a limited risk of malaria in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
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.
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.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
COVID-19 - Testing
Contact local health authorities, or the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test.
Health care is adequate, but varies throughout the country.
Facilities are generally good in cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki and in towns that have large hospitals, such as Heraklion, Ioannina and Patras.
If you’re travelling to smaller islands or to remote areas, you may need a medical evacuation to a central hospital, in the event of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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 and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons
Canada and Greece are signatories to the 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. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect prison sentences and heavy fines.
Local police may ask to see your identification at any time.
- Carry adequate identification at all times, such as your passport or residence permit
- Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it is lost or stolen
There are restrictions on photographing and filming:
- military installations and military personnel
- border areas
- harbours, airports and other transportation hubs
- churches, monasteries and monks
In and around these areas, you should always:
- verify if photography is allowed or if a special permit is required
- request permission if individuals are involved
- refrain from photographing or filming if in doubt
- comply with all requests from local authorities
Recreational and commercial flying of drones is regulated.
You must register your drone to use it across the European Union. If you don’t comply, you may be fined and your drone confiscated.
- Information to visitors concerning drones - Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA)
- Civil drones - European Union Aviation Safety Agency
Greece has strict laws regarding the possession and use of weapons and items that may be used as weapons, such as:
- pepper spray
Do not buy or travel with these items.
Cultural heritage and antiquities
There are strict laws regarding:
- purchase and exportation of antiquities and objects of special significance to the country's cultural heritage
- excavation and on-site archaeological research
- access to underwater archaeological sites
- filming and photography of archaeological sites for commercial purposes
- protection of archaeological sites and monuments
To avoid any difficulties, make sure you:
- have the proper permit to conduct activities related to cultural heritage and archaeological sites
- obtain and carry the required legal paperwork to purchase or export antiquities
While visiting archaeological sites and monuments:
- don’t film or photograph unless it is clearly allowed
- stay on the dedicated paths and respect off-limits areas
- don’t touch statues and monuments
- don’t pick up rocks or any other artifacts found on site
Greek Cultural Heritage law - Hellenic Society for Law and Archaeology
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Greece.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Greece, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Greece, or are eligible for Greek citizenship, you may be subject to compulsory military service and other aspects of Greek law.
Obtain a document certifying your status from the Embassy of Greece prior to travel.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Greece.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Greece, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Greek court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Greece to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If you plan on entering Greece by sea on your boat or a rented boat of a total length of over 7 metres, you must pay the Recreational and Daily Tour Cruise Ships fee (TEPAI). This must be done online prior to arrival.
Recreational and Daily Tour Cruise Ships fee - Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) (in Greek)
As a tourist or temporary resident, you can drive with a valid Canadian driver’s licence.
You must have valid insurance coverage.
You must wear a helmet when driving or as a passenger of a motorcycle, a scooter or a moped. You may be fined if you fail to comply.
Carrying an individual in an irregular migration situation in your vehicle, even without your knowledge, is a criminal offence. Don’t pick up hitchhikers.
Driving in Greece - European Commission
The currency of Greece is the euro (EUR).
ATMs may not be easily available in remote areas or may be out of cash. Make sure to carry some money if you plan on visiting small islands and remote regions.
If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the European Union. It includes sums in:
- banknotes and coins
- bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders
- bonds, shares
- gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
- gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %
- any other convertible asset
This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.
EU cash controls - European Commission
Natural disasters and climate
Greece is located in an active seismic zone. Major earthquakes could occur and can cause significant damage.
Santorini and Nisyros islands have active volcanoes.
If you’re travelling near an active volcano or are practising volcano tourism:
- closely monitor volcanic activity levels through local media and official sources
- ensure that you’re well informed about conditions that may pose a hazard
- follow the advice of local authorities
- Earthquakes - What to Do?
- Latest earthquakes - National Observatory of Athens
- Volcanic eruptions - Ministry for climate crisis and civil protections
Seasonal storms and flooding
Seasonal storms and heavy rains can cause severe flooding and landslides particularly during the spring and winter months. Roads may become impassable and infrastructure damaged.
- Stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- Follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation orders
Weather forecast and alerts - Hellenic National Meteorological Service
The Meltemi or Etesian is a strong wind that regularly sweeps the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean seas from May to September. It can blow uninterruptedly for several days. This wind may bring high waves, strong currents and may disrupt transportation.
If you travel to Greece during this period:
- expect possible transportation delays or cancellations
- be very cautious if sailing or boating
- avoid swimming during rough sea conditions
- monitor the latest regional weather forecasts
Forest and maquis fires
Forest and maquis fires are common between July and August, particularly in the Peloponnese, Central Greece and the northern areas of Athens.
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
In case of a major fire:
- stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- follow the advice of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
Latest information on fires - General Secretariat for Civil Protection
- 112 for emergency assistance
- 1571 for tourist police
- 100 for police
Athens - Embassy of Canada
Thessaloniki - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Greece, in Athens, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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