Greece, Europe - Wontra Travels

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Welcome to Greece

Greece

Greece
Continent: Europe
Capital: Athens
Population: 11m (2015) 
Dialing Code: +30
Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
Time zone: EET (UTC+2) , Summer EEST (UTC+3)
Official language: Greek

 

 

Officially known as the Hellenic Republic Greece is a country in Southern Europe on the Southernmost tip of the Balkan Peninsula. It is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe Asia and Africa and is considered by many as the cradle of Western civilization because of Its roots as the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Olympic games, literature, and major scientific and mathematical principles.

Its geographical appeal can simply not be overlooked with its eclectic mix of mountainours mainland and idyllic island beaches. A flourful melting pot of some of the worlds best nightspots, fresh seafood and mythical history, Greece is a fascinating and  enchanting destination

Greece boasts of about 1400islands in all, amongst them Rhodes, whichwas home to the ancient Minoan culture and its legend the terrifying Minotaur. The Islands of Courfu and Santorini are also established hangout spots for travelers from all over the world.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Greece has long held appeal for travelers, who visit to get a taste of its shores, ancient relics and an opportunity to experience the legendary Grecian hospitality. In spite of its popularity, Most parts of the sprawling country feels undiscovered. Mount Olympus, the Peloponnese coast and some of the remote islands slip beyond the reach of touristsTourism is a key element of the activity in the country and is one of the nmost important sectors. It is home to a staggering  18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and well known for its alluring coastlines.

The first port of call for most visitors is Athens, the country’s stunning capital, which combines a modern centre with the stark ancient beauty of the Parthenon and a position overlooking a cerulean stretch of the Saronic Gulf.Like the rest of the country, Athens was built on a classical civilisation that produced some of the world’s greatest thinkers, philosophers and poets. Everywhere has its own legend; from the tiny island of Ithaca, home to the wanderer Odysseus, to the rugged stretch of the Peloponnese, the onetime playground of divine beings.

Greece, birthplace of the Olympic Games, is ideal for participating in a sport or taking part in events or games (sports tourism). Traditional market areas in which famous fashion labels are offered for shopping, wellness and spa centers for luxury time, traditional restaurants “tavernas” or café by the sea or in the mountain, cinemas and theaters, are able to satisfy all trends and desires either you are in the city or in the island.

Combining age-old history and modern development, each city’s monuments, suburban landscapes, the events it hosts throughout the year, their totally distinctive customs provide an enchanting, multicoloured ‘canvas’ that waits for each traveller to add his own colours.
 

Business

According to World Bank statistics for the year 2013, the economy of Greece is the 43rd largest by nominal gross domestic product. However, recent economic crisis, an increase in its debt profile and a failed bailout plan in 2012 and 2013 forced the country to adopt harsh austerity measures. Greece has since returned to the steady growth

Most Greek companies close completely through August for their annual summer holidays. Punctuality is expected for meetings, although a Greek host may keep a business visitor waiting for a short time. French, German and English are often spoken as well as Greek. More casual wear is sometimes acceptable during the summer but local businesspeople tend to dress conservatively.

Regardless of Greece's current financial situation, since the 1980s tourism has played an increasingly important part in the economy and it now accounts for 16% the country's GDP.
Greece has many convention centres and hotels with conference facilities. It also has ships equipped for 'floating conferences', sailing between the islands. For further enquiries, contact the Greek National Tourism Organisation

Climate

Despite its small size Greece has a varied climate. Most parts of the country enjoy Mediterranean climate with Hot & dry summers and Icy winters. Rains tend to be a rare occurrence in the summer but there is plenty of sunshine to go around.

The most pleasant weather occurs in May-June and September-October. The warmest time of the year starts in mid-July and generally lasts until mid-August, when the annual meltémi winds from the north cool the country. Mid-July to mid-August is the height of summer, and the midday sun tends to get very strong; during this time, most Greeks avoid heavy physical activity outdoors between 1:00 and 5:00 PM

Lightweight clothes (cotton is best) during summer months, including protection from the midday sun and sunglasses. Light sweaters are needed for evenings, especially on the islands. Waterproofs are advised for spring and autumn. Winter months can be quite cold, especially in the northern mainland, so normal winter wear will be required.

Communications

The best way to call home is from a call centre or internet café – public telephones are scarce and those that exist tend be on noisy street corners. Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is excellent on the mainland and islands, but occasionally disappears in more rural locations.

Wi-Fi is widely available in Greece and in most establishments it is free to customers. Internet cafes in the cities and on the main islands of Crete, Kos, Mykonos and Rhodes, also offer Internet access.All letters, postcards, newspapers and periodicals will automatically be sent by airmail. Airmail to the rest of Europe takes five days; six to North America; seven to Australia.
In Athens, the main post office on Syntagma Square is open Mon-Fri 0730-2000, Sat 0730-1400 and Sun 0900-1330. Most smaller offices work Mon-Fri 0730-1400 only.

Customs

About 98% of Greeks belong to the Greek Orthodox church, with Muslim, Roman Catholic and Jewish minorities. Greeks are very aware of their strong historical and cultural heritage. Traditions and customs differ throughout Greece, but overall a strong sense of unity prevails. The Greek Orthodox Church has a strong traditional influence on the Greek way of life, especially in more rural areas. The throwing back of the head is a negative gesture.

Greeks rate politeness with a person's behavior and not their words. Furthermore, there is an air of informality; everybody is treated like a cousin. They use their hands to gesture a lot. Have fun with this. Sometimes over-emphasizing politeness in spoken language will only make the person dealing with you think you are pretentious. It's nice to learn basic words like "thank you" .

Duty Free

If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:
• 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 400 cigarillos or 1kg of tobacco.
• 10L of spirits (over 22%), 20L of spirits (under 22%), 90L of wine and 110L of beer.
If you're arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Greece by travellers over 17 years of age:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco (if arriving by air).
• 40 cigarettes or 20 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50g of tobacco (if arriving by other means).
• 1L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of spirits up to 22% volume.
• 4L of wine.
• 16 L of beer.
• Gifts up to a value of €430 if arriving by sea or air or €300 if arriving by other means (reduced to €150 for children under 15).

Banned imports:
The import of soil (as well as plants) and certain animals is restricted. The import of meat, meat products, milk and milk products from outside the EU is also restricted. Firearms, explosive and drugs are very tightly controlled.
Banned exports:
The export of antiquities is prohibited without the express permission of the Archaeological Service in Athens; those who ignore this will be prosecuted.

Electricity

You can use your electric appliances in Greece, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 - 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa).

Getting Around

One can travel to Greece in many different ways: by road, plane, train or sea. Major roads link Greece with Europe and Asia. The country’s airports provide top-notch services. Rail connections with Europe allow for a lovely nostalgic journey. And last but not least, Greek ports welcome ocean-going ships and local ferries all year round.By plane, ship, train or car, or even a combination of transportation means, traveling to Greece is relatively simple and quick, even though it is situated at the southernmost corner of Europe and the Balkan Peninsula!

Athens has an extensive tram system  which cuts through the city from Syntagma Square right through to the coast and runs a pleasant route from Peace and Friendship Stadium (in Neo Faliro) all the way to the most southern point of Glyfada. Trams connect with the Metro at Syntagma, Neos Kosmos and Neo Faliro. It is both cheap and easy to travel around the islands. There are ferry services on many routes, with services most frequent during the summer. The main ports in Attica are Piraeus and Rafina, although there are regular services to the islands from the smaller ports of Alexandroupolis, Igoumenitsa, Kavala, Kyllini, Patras, Thessaloniki and Volos.

Health

Visitors from outside the EU are strongly advised to take out travel medical insurance before visiting Greece. Respective consulates and Athens-based embassies can help visitors find hospitals and doctors in Greece, should the need arise. Tap water is drinkable in Athens and other cities.Despite a loud call for health care reform from both the voters and the political establishment, the nation's health care system has received very high marks from the World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the UN

Many  people drown in Greece, including tourists. Do not overestimate your swimming ability, always supervise children when in the sea or pool, swim with a buddy, select swimming sites with a lifeguard when possible and in general read and follow the rules for safety during swimming. Take note of Jellyfish periodically infest some beaches and their stings can be severe.

In case of emergency call:
Ambulance Service: 166
SOS Doctors : 1016
Duty Hospitals and Clinics: 1434
Pharmacies: 1434
Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 3617089
Poisoning First Aid: 210 7793777
Police: 100
Tourist Police: 1571

Language

Greek (Ellenika) is the official language. Most people connected with tourism, and younger generations generally speak some English, French, German or Italian.

Money

The official currency is the Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2, 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Passport Visa

Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and has ratified the Schengen Agreement. Visas are not required by citizens of Member-States of the Schengen Agreement. However, tourists from non- EU countries require a valid passport for entry into the country.

During their stay in Greece, visitors with a visa must also have suitable insurance coverage for emergency medical or other needs

ADDRESS Greek Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria

24 Agadez Street, Wuse II

Abuja

Nigeria

TELEPHONE(+234) 80 9926 4095

(+234) 80 3535 4548

FAX(+234) 7 8314 0129

Safety

Greece is one of the safest destinations for a traveler, the vast majority of people you will meet and interact. Ensure to take the necessary precautions when travelling. The most commonly reported major scam against travelers is the Greek version of the old clip joint routine. This is reported primarily from central Athens, but also occasionally from other cities and even the larger island towns.

It is strictly forbidden to take photos of military installations or other strategic locations. Authorities will take violations quite seriously. Caution should be exercised by pedestrians, even when crossing with a walk lightGreece is one of the safest destinations for a traveler, the vast majority of people you will meet and interact. Ensure to take the necessary precautions when travelling. The most commonly reported major scam against travelers is the Greek version of the old clip joint routine. This is reported primarily from central Athens, but also occasionally from other cities and even the larger island towns.

 

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