Greece - the birthplace of western civilisation- is perhaps best known for the idyllic beaches and crystal clear waters all along its Mediterranean coastline and for the thousands of stunningly beautiful island locations, dotted throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. The city of Athens is still dominated by ancient and magnificent landmarks such as the Acropolis, Mount Lycabettus and the Roman Agora.
Located as it is on the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Greek culture has influenced and been influenced by cultures across the world- everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime. Greece’s natural beauty and diversity, modern culture and great cuisine make this an ideal holiday location.
For guests travelling from the UK please see the FCDO advice regarding entry requirements and the prevailing entry rules in response to coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece
For guests traveling from the US please see: https://gr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information and https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Greece.html for current advice.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay. Please be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport.
Greece is party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S., Canadian, Australian and UK citizens may enter Greece for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. All other nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before departure. Very rarely you may be asked to show that you have sufficient funds to cover your stay and a means of return travel.
• Consular Information
There are several major international embassies located in Athens, including those for the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Please check with your government for relevant contact details.
N.B. Please note, visa and entry requirements, regulations and restrictions may vary. Please ensure you check in good time before travel the current requirements applicable to you.
HEALTH, INSURANCE AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
• Travel Insurance
It is the Big Journey Company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance before travelling. This is to include (but is not limited) to health insurance and cancellation insurance. ALL members of the travelling party must be fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken for the specific type of holiday you are taking. The Big Journey Company must be advised of your insurance details at least 6 weeks before departure.
Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number and take this information with you on tour.
• General Health
Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel to receive any necessary health information for your requirements.
Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and taking care to avoid insect bites should keep you healthy on tour.
We recommend you carry a simple travellers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints.
If you do need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company Tour Director.
• Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility
The Greece tours are Activity Level 2 and require moderate physical activity and include various forms of transport. For further information, check our Activity Levels description on the website to ensure this tour is suitable for you. Contact us if you require further information.
If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability which may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.
• Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us before travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry medication with you where possible to ensure it is not lost.
- Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.
- Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.
Excluding Coivd 19 special measures, there are currently no other vaccination requirements for international travellers. Please consult your doctor before travelling for the latest immunisation information as well as advice according to your unique medical needs.
• Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Please inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or smaller cruise ships. Also,
- Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
- Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
- Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
- Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
- Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water if distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we can make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.
• Special Dietary Requirements
Please let us know in good time before travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We will make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.
• What to Pack and Wear
We would recommend comfortable clothes and shoes for this tour. A light, long-sleeved tops and long skirts or trousers will protect from the very hot mid-day sun. Feel free to include a smart-casual outfit for dinner if you wish. There is no formal dress code.
The weather should largely be warm and sunny throughout the journey. It is always sensible to come prepared for every eventuality- pack a light jacket in case of rain and something to cover your shoulders as it may feel cooler in the evenings.
Insect repellent, sun hat and sun cream are essential items. Don't forget your camera, with charger/spare batteries and memory cards.
• Luggage Allowances
International airlines have strict policies governing the size and weight of all luggage. Before your departure, please contact your airline or visit their website for specific luggage requirements, as size and weight limitations may vary according to the airline and destination.
Where your tour with the Big Journey Company includes flights, trains, cruises etc, please check your tour itinerary and ticket details for further information about luggage allowances.
Luggage handling is not included as part of this tour. Check your tour itinerary for further details. Porterage may be available at the hotel for a local charge.
Laundry services may available on the tour. Additional charges will apply.
The main language of Greece is Greek. English is often spoken in tourist centres.
The time zone in Greece is GMT+2, 2 hours ahead of London GMT.
Greece is a great destination to visit all year round. Weather forecasts for spring/autumn are usually very mild with warm and sunny days. In summer, temperatures can rise quite high with most days sunny and temperatures dropping only slightly in the evenings. Please make sure to check the weather forecast for Italy before you depart as this will give you a better idea of what clothing to pack and what weather to expect whilst on tour.
In Greece, the standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz. You will need a European plug adapter, and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you.
MOBILES & INTERNET COMMUNICATION
Greece has a fairly well-developed communications infrastructure. If you wish to use your mobile/cell phone while in Greece and you are not from an EU country, you need to either pick up a local SIM card or activate global roaming before you leave home. Internet is accessible in most urban areas but may be slower than you are used to in your home country. Most hotels provide free WIFI.
Please check data roaming charges with your service provider before leaving home as these can quickly become very expensive. UK phone contracts do not usually include EU data and calls after December 2021.
The currency of Greece is the Euro € (EUR). ATMs are available in cities and tourist centres but not in smaller villages. We do not recommend that you carry or display large sums of cash. Cash is preferred in Greece and it is advisable to carry cash for smaller transactions and if wanting to pay quickly.
All companies in Greece are now legally required to accept card payments. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards. Many places do not accept Diners Club or American Express. If you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst away, please make sure that you contact your bank. Informing them of your intention to travel should ensure you do not encounter problems using your cards whilst on the trip.
Important Note - European countries use chip-and-pin credit and debit cards. Cards that have a magnetic strip on the back (still commonly used in North America) and no chip may not work with automated machines. You may be asked to provide further ID if you cannot pay by chip and PIN in face-to-face transactions.
Prices in Greece are comparable to prices in other European countries, especially in tourist centres and popular locations. Greek cuisine in restaurants is usually straightforward and affordable, with local wine and beers being reasonably priced. Expect to pay more for things in busier tourist centres.
• Bank Opening
Banks are usually open Monday to Friday 8 am – 2 pm.
After feedback from previous guests, we offer a group tipping package for this tour. Look out for more information in your pre-tour emails.
Greek cuisine is very popular - bread, olives, red wine are the stables that accompany every dish. A healthy Mediterranean mix of meat, fresh vegetables, seafood and iconic dishes such as moussaka and taramasalata are the mainstay.
Some meals are included as part of your tour – please check your departure for the relevant meal inclusions.
The tap water in Athens is generally of good quality and safe to drink. Unless otherwise advised, it is better to drink filtered or bottled water, which is readily available to buy.
Food and wine will inevitably be on the list of things to bring home; olive oil, herbs and spices, ouzo. Basketmaking and glasswork are traditional crafts that often catch the eye of the traveller- just remember to make sure you have enough room to carry it all home!
• Opening Hours
In the cities and towns, shops generally open 9 am-2 pm and from 5.30 pm to 9 pm most evenings. Most things are closed on Sundays. Major shops in Athens or shops catering directly to tourists are often open throughout the day.
• VAT/Tax Refund:
Occasionally shops in Greece offer a VAT refund when leaving the country if making a high-end purchase. Please ask the salesperson whether tax-free shopping applies to the shop in question.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Though main crime levels in Greece are low, there’s a risk of petty theft, especially at airports in popular tourist attractions and on public transport. Please take sensible precautions to protect your belongings, particularly your passport, money and credit cards. Keep valuables locked away and don’t wear expensive watches or jewellery, nor flash expensive cameras. It is advisable not to walk in deserted areas or alone at night.
Forest fires often occur during the summer months across Greece due to the dry and hot weather. Please do not drop litter, lighted cigarettes etc. Greek police have zero tolerance for rowdy or drunken behaviour in public and Greek courts impose heavy fines or prison sentences on people who behave indecently.
Smoking is banned in indoor public places, but there are usually designated outdoor areas where people can smoke. Smoking is prohibited on all means of public transport.
Greece is officially a secular state. However, its religious and social landscape is deeply influenced by the Greek Orthodox Church. It is estimated that 98% of the population identifies with the Greek Orthodox Christian faith.
Greece offers photo opportunities one after another. You will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries and a spare memory card!
ARRIVAL IN GREECE
Please note, standard hotel check-in is 3 pm. If you arrive earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. If you inform The Big Journey Company of your arrival time, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.
If airport transfers are included with your tour, after collecting your luggage, proceed through to the arrivals hall. There will be a Big Journey Company representative to meet you and transfer you to your hotel.
Please advise your flight details no later than six weeks before travel.
TOUR HOTEL INFORMATION
Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information attaining to your tour departure.
OTHER COUNTRIES ON TOUR ITINERARY
If your tour includes travel to other countries, please check the relevant Travel Tips pages for information on these locations.
FLYING & TRAVEL HINTS
- Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.
- It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as a camera, toiletries, reading material etc.
- Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
- Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
- Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination, most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.
If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, the above information is intended as a guideline only. Every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, however, The Big Journey Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of the content on this website. The Big Journey Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained on this website.
Updated March 2023