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Greece

If you’re travelling to Greece, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

Security Status

High Degree of Caution

Security Status Last Updated: 22 October 2020 

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 is still a threat, but with continued public health measures, vaccination and testing, it will be possible to travel internationally. You will need to plan your travel carefully and there are risks.

Travel to Greece from Ireland

Persons travelling from Ireland may enter Greece without having to undergo a seven-day period of self-isolation after arrival if they can produce one of the following:

  • negative PCR result taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival or a negative antigen (rapid) result taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. Children under the age of 12 do not require a negative PCR or antigen test.
  • Proof of vaccination (i.e. 14 days have elapsed since the last required dose) and hold a vaccination certificate. A vaccination certificate must include the name of the person as on their passport, the type of vaccine administered, the number of doses and the date on which they were carried out.

Acceptable vaccines are: Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Oxford, Novavax, Johnson + Johnson/Janssen, Sinovac Biotech, Gamaleya (Sputnik), Cansino Biologics, Sinopharm among others.

  • A positive COVID-19 test taken no less than 30 days prior to the date of travel and no more than 180 days. This can be proved either by presenting a positive PCR molecular or an antigen test result performed by an authorized laboratory no less than 30 days prior to the date of travel and no more than 180 days, or a medical certificate confirming that the holder tested positive with SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. The certificate is issued 30 days after the day of the first positive COVID-19 test and is valid for 180 days after it.

These conditions can also be evidenced by the EU-Digital Covid Certificate.

In addition, completing a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours (Greek time) prior to arrival continues to be a requirement prior to entry.

Failure to complete the PLF is an offence, and you will not be permitted to enter Greece without it. On the basis of the PLF, the Greek authorities will decide if you need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival in Greece. For full information on this process, see here.

When travelling by ferry or plane within Greece, unvaccinated passengers must take a COVID rapid test and complete a form before travelling. Travel operators will issue information and instructions with your booking.

Upon arrival in Greece

Random antigen testing on arrival applies to every arrival to Greece, regardless of the certificate in their possession. If you are selected, please keep in mind that the screening is mandatory and in case of refusal, authorities reserve the right to refuse entry into the country.

If you are selected for a test and test positive, you will be subject to mandatory quarantine, for which you may be required by the Greek authorities to move to a designated quarantine facility.

If you have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days and test positive, you will need to quarantine for 7 days. If you are not fully vaccinated, or have not been so for 14 days, you will need to quarantine for 10 days.

If you are not fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you will need to quarantine for 14 days.

This period cannot be shortened if your planned flight departs before the end of your quarantine, even if you obtain a follow up PCR test and the result is negative.

If you test positive for COVID-19 while in Greece, you are required to quarantine for the periods outlined above. The Greek Civil Protection authorities may move you to a designated quarantine hotel or allow you to remain in your current accommodation, depending on the circumstances. The cost of accommodation in designated quarantine hotels is covered by the Greek State. If you test positive while in Greece, and do not follow the guidance of the Civil Protection authorities, you risk a fine of €5,000, and possible arrest. 

All visitors must abide by all COVID-19 health protocols in place by the Greek Government without exception. The Embassy cannot intervene in the mandatory isolation procedures or request an exception on your behalf. The General Secretariat for Civil Protection can be contacted directly at +30 213-15100 or by email at generalsecretary@civilprotection.gr.

Additional advice and information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

Greek Ministry for Health

Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Greek Ministry for Civil Protection

Protocols for arrival in Greece

Embassy of Ireland in Greece 

Travel to Ireland

Up to date information on travelling to Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on gov.ie and Re-open EU.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Social unrest

The political situation in Greece is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest. Strikes and demonstrations which can affect visitors travel plans are a common occurrence in Greece.

If a demonstration is in progress it is best to avoid central areas of Athens, particularly areas around Syntagma Square (Constitution Square), where the Parliament Building is located and where most demonstrations terminate.

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

Crime

Crime is relatively low in Greece as a whole but pickpocketing is common in central Athens. Always take sensible precautions:

  • Be aware that the tourist season attracts an increase in incidents of theft of passports, wallets, handbags etc. - particularly in areas and at events where crowds gather. You should leave valuables in safe custody at your hotel or apartment.
  • Be particularly vigilant when using public transport. In Athens, we recommend visitors take extra care of their personal belongings when using buses or the metro; especially when travelling to and from the airport or the port of Piraeus. Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. Consider wearing your rucksack on your front, and do not leave valuables in accessible pockets.
  • Don't carry your passport unless absolutely necessary. Leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home, and consider keeping a photo of important documents on your phone or in your emails.

Personal attacks, including sexual assaults and rape, are infrequent in Greece. However, there is a higher incidence of sexual assault and rape on some Greek Islands. We advise that you do not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended when in bars or nightclubs. We also recommend that you avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Greece, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Athens if you need help or guidance.

Forest Fires

Greece regularly experiences forest fires in the warmer months. While most of these fires do not affect residential areas, you should heed risk warnings and be vigilant if travelling in forested areas during the summer. If there is a forest fire near where you are staying, you should keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of the Greek authorities. See here for official information and advice on forest fires in Greece.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Greece, you should take extreme caution due to the very high incidence of road traffic accidents and different driving customs.

Vehicle hire

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and quadbikes

Every year, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and quadbikes are associated with many serious accidents in Greece, often resulting in very serious or even fatal injury.

Failure to wear a crash helmet or to have the necessary driving license may invalidate your insurance if you are involved in an accident. Greek law requires you to wear a crash helmet on a scooter, moped or motorcycle. Quad bike riders require a full-face helmet (or non-full-face helmet plus goggles) under Greek law.

You should check that your travel insurance covers you for the relevant activity. Road insurance and a motorcycle license are also mandatory.

Pedestrians

Pedestrians should also be vigilant and aware that traffic will be coming from the opposite direction to Ireland. They should also take particular care when using pedestrian crossings at intersections; vehicles won’t necessarily stop when the signal indicates that pedestrians may cross the road.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Alcohol

Visitors should be aware that alcoholic spirits are sold in significantly larger measures in Greek bars and restaurants than in Ireland.

Public behaviour

High standards of public behaviour are the norm in Greece. While there’s greater tolerance in tourist resorts, Greek courts impose heavy fines or prison sentences on people who behave indecently in public.

Additional Information

Additional information

West Nile Virus 

There were increased numbers of reports of West Nile Virus in Greece in 2018. West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause serious illness. The majority of people infected (approx. 80%) do not experience any symptoms. While there have not been any major incidents so far in 2019, it is best to try to avoid getting bitten – use insect repellent, wear long clothes at dawn and dusk, and try to keep mosquitoes out of bedrooms. More information can be found at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website.

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Holders of valid Irish passports do not require an entry visa for Greece.

We recommend you take a number of photocopies of your passport, as this will assist in the event that your passport is lost or stolen. We also recommend that you carry photo ID or a copy of your passport with you at all times.

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

European Health Insurance Card

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.

Apply for your EHIC and find out more information.

The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.

Vaccinations

Irish citizens don’t require any vaccinations when travelling to Greece.

Medical facilities

Citizens should be aware that the level of nursing care provided in most Greek public hospitals, particularly on the islands, is not as high as that provided in Ireland. Nurses deal solely with medical issues and do not provide assistance with cleaning and feeding.

In Greek society it generally falls on the family to provide for all non-essential care to the patient or, when needed, a privately paid nursing assistant. Citizens should ensure that their medical insurance cover will provide for private nursing care if required.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Where emergency consular assistance is required for Irish citizens outside of opening hours, please leave a message at: +30 210 7232771.

This mailbox is monitored regularly.

Embassy of Ireland
7 Leoforas Vasileos
Konstantinou
106 74 Athens
Greece

Tel: +30 210 723 2771
Fax: +30 210 729 3383

Monday to Friday 09:00 - 13:00

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Ioannis Xenikakis
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Xenikakis S.A.
Leoforos Knosou 278
71409 Heraklion
Crete
Greece

Tel: +30 2810 215 060
Fax: + 30 2810 326 200

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Skevos Mougros
Honorary Consul of Ireland
111 Amerikis Street
85100 Rhodes
Greece

Tel: +30 22410 75655
Fax: +30 22410 22354

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Theodoros Mavroudis
Honorary Consul of Ireland
5 Aristotelous Square
54624 Thessaloniki
Greece

Tel: +30 2310 465177
Fax: + 30 2310 477293

Contact us