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Greece - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Greece.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and luggage theft, is common in tourist areas and on public transportation. This includes the trains to and from Athens International Airport.
In Athens, do not walk in the Monastiraki and Omonia districts or, after dark, around the Larissa and Peloponissos railway/bus stations.
Avoid secluded areas, parks and down-market bars and restaurants. Remain vigilant at all times.
Demonstrations and strikes
Demonstrations and strikes in Athens are a common occurrence due to austerity measures imposed by the government. Demonstrations and marches occur primarily in the centre of Athens, in Syntagma Square and in front of the Parliament building. There is heightened potential for demonstrations due to Greece's financial situation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings and stay away from areas where they can occur, as they may turn violent without notice. Monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Demonstrations and strikes affecting public health services and transportation services, such as flights, trains, buses, taxi, metro, ferries and cruise ships, are usually announced in advance through local media. However, road closures may occur with short notice, particularly in Athens. Strike action could disrupt airport, ferry and rail operations and may make access to airports and seaports difficult. Contact your travel provider to check the status of your departure and allow plenty of time to make your way to the airport or seaport.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities and further attacks are likely.
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
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
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 patrol subway stations, bus terminals and other public places. There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Greece. Exercise normal security precautions.
To avoid being a victim of fraud, use automated banking machines (ABMs) located in well-lit 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 and check any unauthorized transactions on your account statements.
See Overseas Fraud for more information on scams abroad.
Women should not accept rides from strangers or casual acquaintances. There have been reports of sexual assaults against foreigners, particularly on the islands.
See Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information for Canadian women.
The traffic fatality rate in Greece is among the highest in the European Union (EU). Poor driving standards, aggressive drivers, difficult terrain and heavy traffic create hazards.
Driving motorbikes, scooters and mopeds is particularly dangerous, especially on the islands.
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 for police to arrive; an accident insurance claim may not be valid without a police report.
Public transportation and ferries
Public transportation is reliable. Metered taxis are widely available; however, there are fixed rates for transportation to and from Athens International Airport.
Accidents have occurred due to poor safety standards on regional buses and ferries. Use reputable bus and ferry operators.
Ferries between mainland Greece and its islands meet European safety standards.
Consult the Greek National Tourism Organisation’s Visit Greece by sea for additional information on travel by ferry.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General safety information
Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that your travel documents are up to date and that your personal belongings, including your passport 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.
Tourist facilities are widely available.
Some border areas are militarily sensitive and should be avoided, including the north-northwest zone.
Migrants and refugees
There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering Europe through Greece. The situation may cause:
- disruptions to transportation services, including at ferry ports and railway stations
- major delays at border crossings
The situation also heightens the potential for demonstrations that could turn violent without warning. Demonstrations could occur particularly:
- at railway stations and other transportation hubs
- in regions in Greece, including some islands in the North Eastern Aegean where temporary migrant camps are located
If you are in Greece, monitor local news and follow the instructions of local authorities. Contact your transportation carrier to determine whether the situation could disrupt your travel.
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 foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Canadians of Macedonian ancestry have encountered difficulties when travelling to or through Greece. Any such difficulty should be reported to the Embassy of Canada to Greece in Athens.
Greek border officials will not place an entry stamp on a Canadian passport if the birth place of the bearer is indicated as Macedonia. If this applies to you, you will be required to fill out a separate form, which will be stamped for entry. This form must be kept along with your passport for the duration of your stay, including if travelling to other countries within the Schengen area.
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.
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 diplomatic mission for your destination.
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-day period begins upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country within any 180-day period.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to remain in Greece for more than 90 days. Contact the Embassy of Greece in Canada prior to travel to obtain the necessary visas. In cases where an over stay becomes necessary (for example, for a serious medical reason), you may be granted an extension of stay from the Greek aliens police; apply at least 15 days before your three-month visa has expired.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Measles in Europe - April 24, 2018
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.
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.
Outbreaks of measles are ongoing.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious complications for some people.
You are at increased risk of measles infection if you have not had the illness or if you are not up to date on your vaccinations.
- 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)?
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.
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 a limited risk of malaria in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
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
Healthcare 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 in Patras, Heraklio and Ioannina.
If you’re travelling to smaller islands or to remote areas of Greece, you may need 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
Laws & 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.
Canada and Greece are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (Council of Europe). 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.
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.
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 Greece prior to travel.
You must carry adequate photo identification, such as a passport or residency permit, at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it is lost or seized.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Local authorities will impose severe penalties 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 have their 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. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.24 percent. Impaired drivers could face immediate detention and convicted offenders can expect fines and jail sentences.
Carrying an illegal alien in your vehicle, even without your knowledge, is a criminal offence. It is not advisable to travel with a hitchhiker.
Drivers must obtain insurance coverage.
A helmet is a legal requirement for the operator and passenger on a motorcycle or scooter. Non-compliance could result in stiff fines.
Additional information regarding road safety can be found on the European Commission’s Mobility and Transport website.
Exporting antiquities and archaeological items from Greece is subject to strict customs regulations. Contact the Embassy of Greece to Canada 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 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. 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, 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 country sites, visit the European Commission’s cash controls website.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Greece is located in an active seismic zone. In the event of an earthquake-related emergency, follow the instructions of local authorities.
Floods may occur during the spring and winter months throughout the country. Exercise caution, monitor media and follow the instructions 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. From Greece, 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.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Athens - Embassy of Canada
Thessaloniki - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular 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 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, express 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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