Fire and rescue services
Petty crime and theft are serious issues in tourist areas and on buses and trains. Pickpocketing, bag snatching and slashing luggage to steal belongings are common.
Physical and sexual assaults occur, particularly on the islands during summer. Don't walk alone in isolated areas at night.
Drink spiking is a risk. Don't accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
Terrorists have attacked popular tourist areas in central Athens. Always be alert. Take official warnings seriously.
Protests mainly take place in central Athens. Rioting can break out with little warning. Avoid affected areas. Take care on days of national significance.
Bush and forest fires are common from June to September. Earthquakes can happen. Monitor the media for updates.
Full travel advice: Safety
Medications such as codeine are subject to special rules. Carry a prescription and a letter from your doctor.
Measles is common in Greece. Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date.
West Nile virus (WNV) can occur. There's no vaccine to prevent it. Use insect repellent. Make sure your accommodation is insect-proof.
Foodborne diseases such as brucellosis occur. Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.
The standard of medical care varies. Public hospitals are short on medical supplies and provide limited nursing care. Family or friends usually provide care.
Private hospitals are expensive. If you're seriously ill or injured on an island, you might be evacuated to Athens. Make sure your travel insurance covers this.
Full travel advice: Health
Don't use or carry illegal drugs. Even small amounts can lead to heavy fines and prison sentences.
Always carry ID, such as a photocopy of your passport.
It's illegal to take photos of military sites and personnel. It's also illegal to smoke indoors.
If you're a male dual national, you may have to do military service. If you're of Greek descent born outside of Greece, get advice from the nearest Greek embassy or consulate before you travel.
Same-sex relationships are legal in Greece, attitudes vary throughout the country. Avoid public displays of affection, especially in rural areas. Attitudes are generally more accepting on many Greek islands such as Mykonos and Ios.
Full travel advice: Local laws
Greece is a part of the Schengen area. You can enter Greece without a visa in some cases. In other situations, you'll need a visa.
You may have problems entering Greece if you were born in Greece at a place no longer recognised by Greece. You may also have problems if you're entering Greece from the Republic of North Macedonia. Australian officials won't be able to help.
Driving in Greece is hazardous. Take care when crossing the road, even at pedestrian crossings.
Quad bike accidents cause a lot of serious injuries and deaths. Always wear a helmet.
Full travel advice: Travel
Petty crime is a serious issue in tourist areas, including Monastiraki and Syntagma Square in central Athens. It also occurs on public transport.
Theft is common on buses and trains to and from the Athens airport. This includes pickpocketing, bag snatching and slashing luggage to steal belongings.
To reduce the risk of theft:
look after your belongings, particularly on public transport and on buses and trains to and from the airport
be alert at tourist spots in central Athens and on the islands
monitor local media for crime news
Racially motivated and homophobic attacks have been reported.
To protect yourself, don't walk alone in isolated areas at night, especially:
in the Athens suburb of Omonia
at the railway and bus stations of Larissa and Peloponissos
There's a risk of drink spiking on major tourist islands and on cruises. Be alert to this risk on the islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Ios. Don't accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
Terrorism occurs in Europe. Terrorists have attacked some European cities.
Targets across Europe have included:
public places popular with foreigners
European security services have disrupted some planned attacks in recent years.
Radical groups have staged attacks, mainly in Athens. Attackers usually use bombs or guns. People have been injured but rarely killed. Substantial damage to buildings and vehicles can occur.
Terrorist targets have included:
former government ministers
the offices of members of parliament
foreign diplomatic missions
Terrorists haven't targeted tourists. But some attacks have happened near popular tourist areas in central Athens, such as Syntagma Square.
To protect yourself from terrorism:
be alert to possible threats, especially in public places
take care around places terrorists tend to target
monitor the media for new threats
take official warnings seriously
follow the advice of local authorities
Report suspicious activity or items to police.
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Protests occur regularly, mainly in central Athens, in areas around Syntagma Square, Omonia Square and Exarchia. These actions can disrupt public transport and roads. These happen at short notice.
Take precautions in Exarchia at night because of the risk of civil unrest.
Rioting can also break out with little warning in Athens and other cities, including Thessaloniki.
Civil unrest is more likely on days of national or commemorative significance. This includes:
1 May — Labour Day
17 November — anniversary of the 1973 student riots
6 December — anniversary of the 2008 riots
To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
avoid public protests
monitor local media for possible unrest or strikes
keep a low profile
plan to avoid unrest on days of national significance
change your travel plans if disruptions arise
follow the advice of local authorities
Road closures are common in Athens. Officials don't always announce them in advance.
Contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for help with transport disruptions.
Monitor the media for news on strikes that may cause road closures.
Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards.
If you plan to do an adventure activity:
check if your travel insurance policy covers it
ask about and insist on minimum safety requirements
always use available safety gear, such as life jackets or seatbelts
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Bush and forest fires often occur during the summer months from June to September. They're most common in heavily forested regions.
Forest fires are highly dangerous and unpredictable.
Get updates from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
If a natural disaster or severe weather happens:
monitor local media and other sources
keep informed about possible safety risks
follow the advice of local authorities
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra. Call +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline counsellor.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Greece. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Codeine and other prescription opiates are controlled.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating:
what the medicine is
how much you'll take
that it's for personal use
Measles is common in Greece, the country is experiencing an increase in measles cases.
Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel.
Cases of West Nile virus (WNV) are reported in Greece. There's no vaccine to prevent it.
To protect yourself from disease:
make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
use insect repellent
wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
Outbreaks of foodborne diseases, including brucellosis, sometimes happen.
To protect yourself from illness, avoid:
uncooked and under-cooked food
unpasteurised dairy products
See a doctor straight away if you suspect food poisoning, or if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
The standard of medical facilities and care varies in quality. Public hospitals in Greece are below the standard in Australia.
Public hospitals have shortages of medical supplies, including essential medication. They also have limited nursing care. Friends and relatives are usually required to give around the clock care.
Private hospital costs are high.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need evacuation. This is more likely if you're in a remote area or on a Greek island. You might be moved to Athens or another place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
Public ambulances can be slow to respond to emergencies and vary in quality. Private hospitals operate their own ambulances and provide better quality service.
You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of drugs, even small amounts, include heavy fines and prison sentences.
In Greece, it's illegal to:
not carry photo ID, such as a clear photocopy of your passport
carry offensive weapons
smoke in indoor public places
engage in sexual conduct with a person aged under 18
breach customs rules about the export of Greek antiquities
It's also illegal to take photos of:
places with signs banning photography
Driving offences may also attract heavy penalties.
Breaching laws can lead to severe penalties, large fines and jail.
Ask the Tourist Police about laws that affect tourists:
43-45 Veikou Street, Koukaki 11742
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Dual citizenship is legally recognised in Greece.
Greek males aged 19 and above have military service obligations. If you're a male Australian-Greek dual national, you may have to do military service. This applies even if you are of Greek descent and born outside of Greece.
There are penalties if you don't comply and you may be prevented from leaving Greece.
Get advice from the nearest Greek embassy or consulate before you travel if you:
have Greek citizenship
may be eligible for Greek citizenship
Dress codes are relaxed in tourist areas and resorts. Dress modestly in places, such as churches and religious buildings.
Take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Avoid public displays of affection, especially in rural areas.
Same-sex sexual activity is legal but isn't widely accepted.
Greece is a part of the Schengen area. This allows you to enter without a visa in some cases. Get an entry stamp in your passport from border control when you first enter the Schengen area.
Always carry a valid passport, even if you're travelling from another Schengen country.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice and in some situations you will need a visa. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
If you were born in Greece, you may have problems entering Greece if the place of birth stated on your Australian passport is no longer officially recognised by Greece.
Officials may deny you entry, especially if you're entering Greece from the Republic of North Macedonia.
We can't intervene on your behalf if Greek officials refuse you entry to Greece.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Always carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The official currency of Greece is the Euro.
You need to declare amounts over 10,000 euros or equivalent if you're travelling between Greece and any non-European Union (EU) country. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
You don't need to declare it if you're travelling to or from another EU country.
Officials will fine you if you don't declare it or declare the wrong amount when entering or leaving Greece.
Greece has daily ATM withdrawal limits. However, they don't apply to most major foreign debit and credit cards.
If you have Greek citizenship, you can only take up to 10,000 euros when leaving Greece.
In the past few years, there's been an increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering Greece. This is particularly so on islands close to the Turkish coast, such as Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos.
Expect large crowds and possible delays in these areas.
Monitor border conditions by checking local news sources, and asking transport and tour providers.
To drive any type of vehicle in Greece, you'll need both:
a valid International Driving Permit (IDP)
your current Australian driver's licence
Your licence must be valid for the type of vehicle you'll drive. This includes quad bikes, motorbikes, mopeds, motor scooters and other similar vehicles.
If you don't have the right licence, you could face a large fine. Your insurance won't cover you if you have an accident.
Get an IDP before you leave Australia.
Driving is hazardous. This is due to aggressive driving and poor quality roads and vehicles.
Traffic police may direct traffic at major intersections even though the traffic lights continue to work. This can cause confusion when the traffic lights conflict with police directions.
Always follow the directions of the traffic police.
Drivers and motorcyclists often ignore traffic signals. They rarely give way to pedestrians, even when the pedestrian has a green signal to cross.
Take care when crossing the road, including at pedestrian crossings, controlled intersections and on footpaths.
Footpaths in Athens are very narrow and often blocked.
Check your insurance covers things like car hire and use of quad bikes, motorbikes or jet skis. Get advice on any gaps or conditions. For example, some insurers require you to have an Australian licence for those vehicles.
Insurers won't cover accidents when drivers are under the influence of alcohol.
Quad bike accidents cause a lot of serious injuries and deaths every summer on the Greek islands.
Always wear a helmet. It's illegal not to wear one. It may also invalidate your travel insurance if you have an accident.
Only use licensed taxis. Always ensure the driver uses the meter.
Ferries and large catamarans carry the bulk of visitors to the Greek islands.
During tourist season, from May to October, be prepared for high temperatures and large crowds at popular seaports.
Usually there are only one or two brief announcements on ferries before arrival or departure.
In most cases, you'll need to carry your luggage up and down stairs. Help with luggage is usually unavailable unless you've booked a private cabin in advance.
On some Greek islands, such as Santorini, smaller boats or tenders transport cruise ship passengers to and from shore. Passengers using tenders may have difficulty getting up and down stairs.
Arrange for a coach or taxi to collect you in advance or you may find it difficult to get transport.
Make sure your insurance covers:
any existing health condition
your planned activities
travel on ferry and cruise ships
Australian-flagged sailboats or yachts sailing in the Mediterranean may be subject to Greek and EU taxes and duties. Seek advice from the Hellenic Coast Guard or the nearest embassy or consulate of Greece before you travel.
To find out about flight delays, contact Athens International Airport on (+30 210) 353 0000.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Greece's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
For non-urgent criminal issues, contact local police at the nearest police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
The Tourist Police helps with non-serious crimes. It can provide police reports and certificates for theft of personal items and lost travel documents.
The office is at 4 Dragatsaniou Street, Klafthmonos Square in Central Athens and is open all year. Call (+30 210) 322 2230 or (+30 210) 322 2232.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular help, contact:
5 Hatziyianni Mexi Street
Athens 115 28, Greece
Phone: (+30 210) 870 4000
Fax: (+30 210) 870 4111
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
You can also get some limited consular help from Australia's Honorary Consul in Thessaloniki. The Honorary Consul can't issue Australian passports.
Fragon Street 13, Suite 709-710
Thessaloniki 546 26, Greece
Phone: (+30 2310) 55 3355 ext 6
Fax: (+30 2310) 54 5235
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.