For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
12 January 2021
There's a ban on overseas travel from Australia. You can’t leave Australia unless you get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs.
All our 177 travel advisories on Smartraveller are set at 'Do not travel' due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel. Some destinations were already set at Do Not Travel prior to COVID-19 due to the extreme risk to your safety.
If you’re overseas and wish to return to Australia, be prepared for delays and read our advice on trying to get home.
When you arrive in Australia you must quarantine for 14 days at designated facilities in your port of arrival, unless you have an exemption. At this time, vaccination against COVID-19 does not change this quarantine requirement. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. View State and Territory Government COVID-19 information for information about quarantine and domestic borders.
If you're staying overseas, make plans to stay for an extended period. Follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Stay in touch with family and friends so they know you're safe.
Our network of embassies and consular posts around the world will provide you with up-to-date local advice and support throughout this difficult period. Be aware consular services may be limited due to local measures.
Do you or someone you know need help?
For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
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:
Racially motivated and homophobic attacks have been reported.
To protect yourself, don't walk alone in isolated areas at night, especially:
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:
European security services have disrupted some planned attacks in recent years.
Radical groups have staged attacks, mainly in Athens. Attackers have previously used bombs or guns. People have been injured but rarely killed. Substantial damage to buildings and vehicles can occur.
Terrorist targets have included:
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:
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:
To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
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:
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:
If you choose to travel despite our advice, get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. A ban on overseas travel from Australia remains in place. You can’t leave Australia unless you get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs.
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 thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Consider whether you may be in a vulnerable category for COVID-19.
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:
COVID-19 remains a risk in Greece. If you develop fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or cough 14 days after you enter Greece, it is recommended that you stay indoors and immediately seek medical attention. You can also call the 24 hour information hotline 1135 for more information. The initial information will be in Greek, please wait for an operator to ask your question in English.
For information on Greece's COVID−19 vaccination program, refer to the Greek Ministry of Health. You should consult your local health professional for advice on vaccine options, including assistance that may be available locally. The Australian Government cannot provide advice on the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines that have been approved for use outside of Australia's regulatory process.
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:
Outbreaks of foodborne diseases, including brucellosis, sometimes happen.
To protect yourself from illness, avoid:
See a doctor straight away if you suspect food poisoning, or if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
All non-urgent surgeries and other medical treatments at public hospitals are postponed until further notice. All outpatient visits in the evening to hospital clinics are cancelled. These apply to all areas of Greece.
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. You may be asked to pay a minor fee to receive medical treatment at a hospital or medical centre. 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:
It's also illegal to take photos of:
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:
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.
Visa rules may have changed since COVID-19. Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. Check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. If you don't meet the conditions, the Australian Government can't help you.
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.
A nationwide lockdown is in place and restrictions apply to all travellers entering by air and land.
You'll need to complete an online Passenger Location Form (PLF) 24 hours before your arrival in Greece by air, sea or land. It's best to complete the form on your smart device. You'll receive a QR code by email that must be presented for scanning at the airport. Authorities prefer to scan an electronic version of the QR code. However you may produce a paper copy if you don't have a smart device. For further advice and FAQs see Protocols for arriving in Greece (Greek Government).
You must have a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test result taken no more than 72 hours before you arrive. You may be asked to undertake a rapid COVID-19 (PCR) test on arrival at the airport. You'll need to self-isolate at the address listed on your PLF for seven days
You'll need to self-isolate for seven days if you've arrived from the UK. In addition to the rapid COVID-19 test at the airport, you'll need to take another test before the end of the isolation period. If the second test comes back positive, the period of isolation will be extended to 14 days.
Passengers departing Greece must also now complete the PLF before check-in.
For enquiries relating to your ability to enter, contact the nearest Greek Embassy or Consulate.
A pre-boarding health declaration questionnaire is mandatory to travel by ferry. This will be provided by travel agent or at the port of departure.
Authorities may announce additional health and hygiene measures at short notice. An online platform that provides a map shows the latest safety restrictions by region (only in Greek).
Face masks are mandatory in all outdoor and indoor areas outside of your residence or accommodation.
Cafes, bars, night clubs, museums, exhibition halls and other recreation venues remain closed. Restaurants can only provide take away, drive through or home delivery services. Most retail shops are closed while supermarkets, pharmacies, opticians and shops providing mobile telephone services remain open, with some restrictions.
Leaving home is limited to remaining in your municipality or not exceeding a distance of 2km from your primary residence for activities other than work. For the period 5am to 9pm, leaving home will only be permitted for going to work (as long as you hold a Type A employer’s certificate) and an identity document.
For activities such as going to the doctor or to a pharmacy or to a supermarket or shopping at a retail business, you must send a text message (SMS) to 13033 and select the relevant option from 1-6.
1 - go to a pharmacy or attending an appointment with a doctor, or vaccination appointment
2 - go to the supermarket if it is not possible for groceries to be delivered
3 - go to a public service office with a scheduled appointment and to the bank only if online transactions are not possible
4 - provide assistance to people in need or to accompany young students (minors) to/from school
5 – go to a funeral under the conditions provided by law or if divorced/separated parents need to go outdoors for reasons concerning their child/children
6 - to exercise outdoors (jogging) or walk a pet, solitary or strictly in pairs and observing the necessary distance of 1.5 meters from others
Shopping activities must be completed within two hours of sending the text message and you must be back home within that time. Authorities have advised the public not to loiter in parks, marinas or open sports areas.
Further options can be found in the Greek Government's instructions to individuals on lockdown movement permits. The format for sending a SMS message is: Option number [space] full name [space] address in Greece and then send to 13033 (eg 6 SaraCitizen HatziyianniMexi5Athens11528). An automated response granting approval will then be received shortly thereafter. Besides sending the text message, those leaving home should always have an identity document with them.
For the night curfew period of 9pm to 5am, you can only leave home to go to work, medical reasons or walking a pet within the immediate area of your residence. SMS messages will also need to be sent to 13033 for movements during the night curfew. Those going to work at night will need to hold a Type A employer’s certificate and an identity document.
In red or dark red areas, the following emergency lockdown measures apply:
Travel from one region or province of the country to another is banned.
All passengers and staff travelling on planes, trains, ferries and ships must wear masks. This includes all indoor areas of airports, train stations and ports. Individuals not complying with this measure could be fined. The use of mobile apps is encouraged to conduct contactless payments such as ticket bookings and check-in. Social distancing of 1.5 metres between passenger groups must be maintained.
Ferries are not permitted to carry their maximum capacity in passengers. You must fill out a health declaration questionnaire before boarding. The questionnaires are available from travel agents and at Greek ports. Passengers may also be subject to thermal scanning. Social distancing of 1.5 metres between passenger groups must be maintained. Authorities have issued a leaflet available in Greek and English with important tips for protection from the spread of COVID-19.
Health regulations apply when visiting shops, beaches and public spaces, including limits on the number of persons per square metre, and use of hand sanitisers. Social distancing rules of 1.5m to 2m remain in place. Authorities require the use of masks where social distancing of 1.5m is not possible in outdoor public spaces.
Extension of stays in Greece beyond the allowed 90 days are not automatic. Requests for extension with the relevant local authority should be lodged at least four weeks prior to expiry date.
If staying in Greece:
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:
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:
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:
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
Facebook: Australia in Greece
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.