Greece is one of the world’s most popular destinations with ancient and modern attractions such as museums of the ancient and Byzantine eras and archaeological sites and cities, all of them historical monuments which have inspired modern education and culture around the world.
Geography: Greece, officially known as The Hellenic Republic, is the southernmost country on the European mainland. With an area of 131.940 square kilometres, Greece is about the same size as England or New York state. Greece’s longest border is with the sea. Over 3,000 Greek islands are scattered about the eastern Mediterranean, roughly 200 of them inhabited. The Greek mainland shares land borders with Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bulgaria and Turkey.
Population: 10.964.020 (2001 – census)
Greece’s capital city, Athens, (Population: 3,072,922) is also its largest, and is served by Piraeus, which is the country’s main port. Although more than half the population is classified as urban, rural life retains a powerful influence. A strong sense of community and family ties prevail even in the busiest of metropolitan centres.
Sex distribution: Male 49,49% , female: 50,51% (2001).
Religion: Most Greeks belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, which is governed by a synod of metropolitan bishops, presided over by the Archbishop of Athens. The largest religious minority is the concentration of Greek Muslims in northeastern Thrace. Some islands in the Ionian and Aegean have a significant number of Catholics. Greece’s once vibrant Jewish community was nearly vanished in World War II.
Government: The Hellenic Republic is a parliamentary democracy with a 300 member house, the Vouli or Parliament, headed by the Prime Minister. Parliamentary sessions normally last for four years, followed by elections held on the basis of direct, secret, and universal ballot. The head of the Greek State is the President, who is elected by Parliament. The President, who has limited political powers, may hold office for a maximum of two five-year terms . Greece has been a member of the European Union since 1981. The elements that most clearly define the Greece of today are: political stability under a moderate social democratic government.
The Greek Government
Presidency of the Hellenic Republic, www.presidency.gr
Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, www.primeminister.gr
ATMs: They are widely available in Greece for Master or Visa cardholders.
Banks: Banks are open from Monday to Thursday, 8:00-14:30 hrs and on Friday, 8:00-14:00 hrs; on Saturdays and Sundays they are closed. Central branches of some banks may be found open until 20.00 daily and from 10.00 to 16.30 on Saturdays. For further details while in Athens please consult your hotel concierge.
Climate: The climate in Greece is mostly dry and temperate. In Athens, Southern Greece and the islands, the climate is typical Mediterranean with warm and dry summers and mild winters.
Credit cards: All major credit cards are accepted in almost all hotels, shops and restaurants. Stickers in the front windows will advise you as to which cards are accepted.
Currency: EURO is the official currency.
Electricity: Electricity is 220 V/50 Hz. Plugs are the standard continental (DIN) type with two round pins.
Healthcare: Emergency treatment is free to all in public hospitals. Public and private hospitals can be found in big cities. Small and large islands usually have hospitals and health centres.
Language: Greek is the official language. Most Greeks speak English as a foreign language.
Restaurants: Restaurants and Taverns are normally open for lunch from 12:30 to 16:00, for dinner from 19:00 to midnight. Fast food and souvlaki shops usually serve food all day long, and some of them stay open till late at night. Cafes and bars are open all day from about 8:00 until late at night.
Telecommunications: The international access code for Greece is +30. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the USA or Canada, 0044 for the United Kingdom). Public payphones are available all over Greece and use phone cards, which can be purchased from kiosks. For information concerning mobile phone use in Greece (telephone transmissions are based on GSM technology), please ask your provider.
Time: Greece is GMT+2
Greece 12:00 – London 10:00 – New York 05:00 – Sydney 20:00.
Tipping: Tipping is not compulsory but is quite usual in Greece.
The Athens International Airport is connected daily with over 50 cities around the world.
The link below provides a list of International Airlines which fly to and from Athens International Airport. Clicking on a variety of the listed airlines will guide you to their homepage, assisting you in finding the best route to Athens. List of Athens International Airport Airlines
For information on flight details arriving and departing from Athens International Airport please see the link below. Real Time Flight Information