Fire and rescue services
Exercise normal safety precautions in Greece.
Exercise normal safety precautions in Greece.
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 and in accommodation, including short-term rentals.
Theft, including pickpocketing, bag snatching and slashing luggage, is common on buses and trains to and from the Athens airport.
Organised groups of thieves often use distraction techniques, such as crowding and pushing at metro stop exits.
To reduce the risk of theft:
Tourist scams exist in Greece, including taxis, hotels, restaurants, and vehicle hire services. If you've been the victim of a scam, report your claims to the nearest Police station and be prepared to support your claim with evidence.
Under Greek law, all suppliers of goods and services must issue you a receipt.
Physical and sexual assault
Racially motivated and homophobic attacks have occurred.
To protect yourself:
Before you travel, read our guidance on reducing the risk of sexual assault. We also have an advice page on what to do immediately after a sexual assault, reporting a sexual assault overseas, and available counselling.
You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you’re connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth.
Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions, or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.
Terrorism occurs in Europe. 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 the 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.
Protests and riots
Public protests, strikes, demonstrations and events that draw large groups of people occur regularly and often with little notice, mainly in central Athens around Syntagma Square, Omonia Square and Exarchia. They can also occur in major cities, including Thessaloniki around Aristotelous Square, Egnatia Street, the Arch of Galerius and the campus of Aristotle University. These protests can disrupt public transport and roads. Protesters and police could also clash. Sometimes petrol bombs and fireworks are thrown by protesters, and police deploy tear gas.
Civil unrest is more likely on days of national or commemorative significance, including:
Violent clashes can occur between supporters of rival football teams. Molotov cocktails and stones have been thrown and people have been killed.
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.
Information on national disaster incidents and severe weather is posted by local authorities and @112Greece (in Greek) on social media. Alert messages (in Greek) may be sent by local authorities to mobile numbers advising of critical incidents. For updated information on natural disasters, see civilprotection.gov.gr.
Heavy rainfall can lead to flooding in some regions, with road closures and interruptions to power and other services. Seek shelter, monitor the media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Bush and forest fires occur during the summer months, from June to September. Fires can start close to cities and tourist locations with little warning and travel quickly. Fatalities have occurred.
Expect travel disruptions if you're due to travel to an area that might be affected by wildfires. Monitor the media and contact your travel provider for the latest updates. The air quality during these periods may deteriorate due to heavy smoke. Forest fires are highly dangerous and unpredictable.
Earthquakes and volcanoes
Get updates from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
If a natural disaster or severe weather happens:
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 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.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.
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 in its original packaging. The name on the prescription should match the name on your passport.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating:
Codeine and other prescription opiates can only be issued with a prescription from an accredited Greek medical professional.
For more information, contact the Greek National Organization of Medicines:
· By telephone: 0030 213 2040 395 / 285 / 225 / 000
Heatwaves are becoming more frequent over the summer months. They can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Drink water, wear a hat and light clothing and stay in air conditioned buildings or shaded areas.
Many major tourist sites have little shade. At peak tourist periods, queues at major attractions can involve waiting over an hour in the sun. Plan your visit to these sites, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and follow the advice of local authorities.
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) have been 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 immediately if you suspect food poisoning or have a fever or diarrhoea.
Services provided by hospitals and medical centres aren't free, and payment is required before you leave the facility. Sometimes, the medical provider may ask you for payment before you receive treatment.
The standard of medical facilities and care vary in quality. Public hospitals in Greece are below the standard in Australia. Considerable delays may be encountered with non-urgent surgeries and other medical treatments at public hospitals.
Public hospitals can have shortages of medical supplies, including essential medication. They also have limited nursing care. You may be asked to pay a minor fee for medical treatment at a hospital or medical centre. Friends and relatives are usually required to give around-the-clock care.
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.
Private hospital costs are high.
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.
Breaking the law can lead to severe penalties, large fines and jail.
Penalties for drug possession, use or trafficking, even small amounts, include heavy fines and prison sentences.
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Greece.
In Greece, it's illegal to:
It's also illegal to take photos of:
Recreational and commercial flying of drones is regulated. Drones must be registered for use across the European Union.
Non-compliance may lead to fines and drone confiscation.
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. You may have to do military service if you're a male Australian-Greek dual national. This can apply if you are of Greek descent and were born outside of Greece, even if you don't think you have Greek citizenship.
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.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
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.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice, and you'll need a visa in some situations. Contact the nearest Greek Embassy or Consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
Entry into Greece
Contact the nearest Greek Embassy or Consulate for the latest entry requirements.
If you were born in Greece, you might have problems entering if the place of birth stated on your Australian passport is no longer officially recognised by Greece.
Officials may deny 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:
Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can’t guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers.
The official currency of Greece is the Euro.
You must 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.
You'll be fined 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.
Extension of stays
Extension of stays in Greece beyond the allowed 90 days isn't automatic. Requests for extension with the relevant local authority should be lodged at least 4 weeks before your visa-free period expires. Present your request to the office of the Greek police on aliens issues.
Australian driver's licences are officially recognised as valid for use in Greece. If you plan on driving in Greece, you may not need an International Driving Permit. Contact the Greek Embassy or Consulate for more information on your licence type.
Your licence must be valid for the type of vehicle you'll drive, including quad bikes, motorbikes, mopeds, motor scooters and other similar vehicles.
You could face a large fine if you don't have the correct licence. Your insurance won't cover you if you have an accident.
Driving is hazardous due to aggressive driving and poor-quality roads and vehicles.
Traffic police sometimes direct traffic at major intersections. If the traffic lights conflict with police directions, follow the directions of the traffic police.
During peak season, severe traffic congestion occurs in the main cities and on the islands.
Drivers and motorcyclists often ignore traffic signals. They rarely give way to pedestrians.
Take care when crossing the road, including at pedestrian crossings, controlled intersections, and footpaths. Drivers often don't stop at pedestrian crossings.
Footpaths in Greece are very narrow and often blocked.
Check your insurance covers car hire and the use of quad bikes, motorbikes or jet skis. Get advice on any gaps. Your insurance may have conditions such as holding the correct licence for vehicles. Make sure you're covered. Check what additional fees may apply for any damage to hire vehicles.
Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of any illegal substance is illegal. Insurers won't cover accidents when drivers are under the influence of alcohol.
Driving offences may also attract heavy penalties.
Quad bikes and motorcycles
Quad bike and motorcycle accidents cause serious injuries and deaths every summer on the Greek islands. Operating or riding quad bikes and motorcycles while intoxicated is illegal.
Always wear a helmet. It's illegal not to wear one. It may also invalidate your travel insurance if you have an accident.
If you experience any issues with the operation of the bike, it's recommended that you return the bike as soon as possible to the rental company.
Only use licensed taxis. Always ensure the driver uses the meter. Be careful when using credit cards to pay fares. Ask for and check your receipt.
Ferries and large catamarans carry the bulk of visitors to the Greek islands. Some services do not provide suitable access for people with disabilities.
During the 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 the following:
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. If you've been involved in a maritime accident, the Greek Coast Guard may request under its regulations to inspect your vessel to confirm it is seaworthy.
To find out about flight delays at Athens International Airport, check their website or phone (+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.
Are available 24/7 and can be contacted on 171.
The Tourist Police help with non-serious crimes and can provide police reports and certificates for theft of personal items and lost travel documents.
There are tourist police offices across Greece, including on major islands.
The main 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.
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
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:
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