Greece travel guide
A flavourful melting pot of sparkling nightspots, fresh seafood, sizzling Mediterranean passion and mythical legend, Greece is a fascinating and enchanting destination.
The country has long held appeal for travellers who flock to its shores to lounge on beaches, explore ancient relics and take advantage of the legendary Grecian hospitality.
Yet despite its popularity, there is still an undiscovered feel to parts of Greece with Mount Olympus, the Peloponnese coast and some of the more remote islands slipping, for now at least, under the radar of mass tourism.
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. The ancient Greeks also brought the world democracy, which locals cheerfully remind visitors about, and a pantheon of deities, who are celebrated through statues and local folklore.
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.
Though the glory days of the Ancient Greeks have passed, the country remains one of Europe's leading holiday destinations, thanks largely to its gorgeous collection of islands, which are scattered like confetti across the Mediterranean Sea.
Greece boasts 6,000 islands and islets in all, all of which only 277 are inhabited. Among them is Rhodes, which was home to the ancient Minoan culture and, legend has it, the terrifying Minotaur. Today it is better known for its stunning beaches, charming seaside towns and lively nightlife.
The islands of Corfu, Crete and Santorini are also established hangouts for sun-seekers and merrymakers, while Kos has begun to attract deities of a very modern kind – the world’s rich and famous. Ultimately, though, in democratic Greece, everyone is welcome.
131,957 sq km (50,949 sq miles).
10,473,455 (UN estimate 2019).
81.7 per sq km.
President Katerina Sakellaropoulou since 2020.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis since 2019.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Greece on the TravelHealthPro website.
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commercial flights to and from Greece and the Greek Islands are operating. Check with your travel company for the latest information.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do in order to enter Greece.
Wearing a mask
At present, it is mandatory to wear a mask in all public places (both indoors and outdoors), in all areas of Greece.
All restrictions remain under regular review. In Regional Units (περιφερειακές ενότητες) where the spread of COVID-19 is particularly high and hospital capacity is limited, restrictions may be tighter or re-imposed with limited notice.
Only the most relevant measures to travellers are included below. You should keep up-to-date by checking this page regularly, and following local announcements.
As restrictions may vary, you should check the latest local guidance (in Greek).
- you must use a facemask in all indoor and outdoor public and communal spaces, including work-places and on public transport;
- a curfew is in place from 12:30am to 5am;
- restricted numbers are in place for churches and religious services;
- Unless all passengers are members of the same family, a maximum of 3 persons are permitted to travel in a taxi or other private vehicle with up to 7 seats, or 4 persons in a private vehicle with up to 9 seats;
- Cross-regional travel is allowed for mainland Greece and the islands of Lefkada, Evia and Salamina (use of self-tests ahead of travel is strongly recommended but is not mandatory).
Cross-regional travel to the rest of the islands is permitted but only with either:
- proof of vaccination and 14 days since second dose (see Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status), or
- a negative result from a PCR test carried out up to 72 hours prior to travel; or
- a negative result from a rapid test or self-test conducted up to 24 hours before travel; or
- documentary proof of having recovered from Covid-19 (at least 2 months since infection, and no more than 9 months)
Travel in Greece
Travel within Greece between Regional Units is permitted subject to adherence to public health measures as outlined above. You must wear a mask at all times on all public transport.
If you are travelling via ferry, you will need to complete a health questionnaire and hand it to the ferry operator before boarding. The necessary forms will be provided by the operator: you should contact them directly if you need further information. Temperature checks may also be carried out before boarding.
If you are travelling by internal (domestic) flights, specific measures relating to check-in, baggage allowances and other details are in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus. You should check with your operator directly for further detail.
All hotels are permitted to open, and other types of accommodation, including e.g. Airbnb, private rentals and hostels, are also available. However, you should note that many operators are likely to reduce their offer and close some accommodation during the winter months, particularly in light of measures put in place by the Greek authorities to fight the spread of COVID-19. You should check directly with your accommodation provider in case of related concerns.
Healthcare in Greece
If you think you have symptoms, including a fever or respiratory difficulties such as shortness of breath or a cough, you should avoid visiting local health facilities, but contact a doctor remotely to see whether a test is recommended. There is likely to be a cost associated with this, for call out, examination and testing, which you will have to pay.
If you are staying in a hotel or resort, your accommodation provider will have a list of private doctors that they will call to assess your symptoms and conduct a COVID-19 test.
If you have arranged your own accommodation you can find details of English speaking, private doctors on our list of healthcare providers.
If you are tested and the result is positive, the Greek authorities will ask you to quarantine until advised otherwise. You may be able to remain in your existing accommodation, or be required to transfer into a state hospital or other government-provided accommodation. Costs related to transfer to alternative accommodation and treatment at state healthcare facilities will be covered by the Greek Government. The nature of your accommodation may differ from the specifications of your pre-booked hotel, villa or other place of stay. Depending on local arrangements, travellers in groups may be required to stay in separate accommodation (e.g. if a sufficient number of rooms is not available in one venue, your group may be spread across different accommodation locations).
For more information, consult the Greek National Public Health Organisation (NPHO) online or via telephone (dial 1135, or 210 521 2054, from within Greece).
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.
View Health for further details on healthcare in Greece.
COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Greece
Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications.
The national vaccine programme in Greece has started. The Greek authorities have confirmed that the programme includes British Nationals resident in Greece. You can get more information on the Greek vaccination programme on https://emvolio.gov.gr/en. You can register online through the website or get help registering at any pharmacy in Greece. The Greek authorities are aware of issues registering for those who don’t hold AMKA numbers, and are currently working to implement a solution. You should continue to check https://emvolio.gov.gr/en/pamka (available in Greek and in English) for the latest information.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.
British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
Returning to the UK
When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.
You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
Strikes and demonstrations
Demonstrations take place regularly around major squares in central Athens, in particular Syntagma Square. Nationwide strikes and protests can occur at any time and may disrupt road/air/sea travel and cause delays/diversions at border crossings. You should follow local media reports and check with your travel operator. You should avoid large crowds and demonstrations. Some demonstrations in the past have turned violent.
Road closures are common in Athens and are not always announced in advance. Demonstrations can be called at short notice, but there are certain dates on which demonstrations traditionally occur: 1 May, 17 November, and 6 December.
Most visits to Greece are trouble-free, but theft of passports, wallets and handbags are common on the metro and in crowded tourist places, particularly in central Athens. Leave valuables in a safe place at your hotel or apartment and carry a photocopy of your passport with you. You should maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as in the UK.
When driving on holiday, keep your valuables out of sight and lock your vehicle at all times. Always park in a well-lit area or secure car park. Be alert to car crime.
Personal attacks, including sexual assault and rape, are generally rare in Greece. There have been incidents involving British nationals in some holiday resorts frequented by large numbers of youth tourists. In some cases the alleged attackers were also British nationals. In many cases excessive drinking by either the victim or the offender preceded the incident. There have been some racially motivated attacks, mostly but not restricted to inner-city areas.
Alcohol, drugs and use of nitrous oxide can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. We recommended only purchasing branded and labelled drinks.
In 2019 there were 696 road deaths in Greece (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 6.5 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.7 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.
Licences and documents
You can drive in Greece with a UK driving licence.
Make sure any vehicle you hire is in good condition and check that you’re insured. When renting mopeds or quad bikes, insurance sold by the hire company usually only provides third party insurance, which only covers the cost of damage to another vehicle. Any damage sustained to the rental vehicle in many cases may need to be paid for by you, or you may face arrest if you do not pay and the hire company decide to press charges.
Quad biking is considered an extreme sport and carries the risk of serious injury or death. Specific travel insurance to cover quad bike rental is essential to avoid you having to pay the costs of private health care and/or repatriation to the UK. Always take care to read the details of your insurance cover before you travel on holiday, paying particular attention to the small print and exclusions on your insurance policy.
If you do rent a quad bike, choose a category in accordance with your driving licence and age. Drivers and passengers must wear helmets. Failure to do so may invalidate your insurance and if stopped, you will be fined and your licence taken from you. If you intend to hire a moped you will need a valid driving licence with at least category A1 - ‘light motorcycle’. Category P, which is valid in the UK for driving mopeds up to 50cc, is not valid in Greece.
You shouldn’t approach or take photos or videos of military installations, vehicles or buildings at any time. The Greek authorities will arrest and possibly prosecute anyone doing so. Certain border areas are also militarily sensitive. Although you can visit these areas, you should avoid taking photos or video footage.
Water sports and swimming
Follow local advice if jellyfish are present.
If you are considering taking part in water sports activities, do so through a licensed water sports centre and make sure paperwork is completed before starting the activity. Check the Safe Water Sports website for more information.
However inviting the blue waters may be, make sure you follow any warning signs, adhere to instructions from lifeguards and observe the flag indicators on beaches.
Since 1974, Greece has been a stable parliamentary democracy, with its head of state elected by the Parliament. It joined the European Union in 1981. Greece is recovering from a long-running economic crisis and its financial system is fragile. Greece has made positive steps in reducing its debts. Following the latest economic review, international creditors have released funds, but there remains a risk of further economic difficulties and related demonstrations.
Since 2015, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greek islands, including Lesvos, Kos and Samos, and seeking to continue their journey via Greece to other EU countries. The flows have recently reduced significantly. At present there are no reports of any specific risks to British nationals visiting these islands or at border crossing points.
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Greece. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners.
High profile British interests in Greece should be vigilant and regularly review their security measures.
There have been several attacks involving explosives and automatic weapons against Greek institutions, shopping malls, banks, media offices, diplomatic premises and the police.
British nationals aren’t normally considered a specific target, but attacks could happen in places visited by foreigners.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Carry a copy of your passport or other photographic ID which confirms British nationality at all times.
Indecent behaviour, including mooning, is not tolerated. The police will make arrests and the courts are likely to impose heavy fines or prison sentences on people who behave indecently. Some fancy dress costumes may be regarded as offensive and therefore against decency laws.
Drugs and alcohol
Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind, and don’t bring drugs - including ‘class C’ drugs - from the UK. Possession of even small quantities can lead to a long prison sentence.
Alcohol, drugs and use of nitrous oxide can make you less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment.
The Greek authorities are clamping down on the sale of nitrous oxide as it is illegal to buy or sell for recreational use in Greece. You will be liable for arrest as well as a possible fine. You should also be aware of the health risks associated with its use.
Driving any vehicle while over the legal drinking limit can result in a heavy fine and/or imprisonment.
Taking food and drink into the EU
You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
It’s sometimes necessary to time stamp or validate your ticket on public transport for it to be valid. Check with local providers.
Purchasing goods or services
Make sure you get a receipt for any goods or services you buy.
Don’t buy any offensive items like pepper spray, knuckledusters or knives with a blade length of 10cm or above. These items are listed as weapons in Greece and fall under the current weapon possession law. You need to have a special licence from the local police authority to carry any weapon otherwise you might face arrest and legal charges. The same applies for knives; you need to have a special licence to carry any knife that is not made for domestic, professional, artistic or hunting use.
Same-sex sexual relations are legal in Greece and civil unions between same-sex couples have been legal since 2015. The age of consent of 15 is the same as for partners of the opposite sex. Transgender people are able to change their legal gender. Anti-discrimination and hate speech laws apply to gender identity.
Public attitudes towards homosexuality vary throughout the country; public displays of affection by same-sex couples may be frowned upon, especially in rural areas.
Attitudes are generally much more welcoming in Athens and on many Greek islands, particularly on Lesvos, Mykonos and Skiathos, which are well known for their gay and lesbian scenes. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
It’s illegal to smoke in all indoor public places. The penalty for violating this law is a fine of up to €500.
Military Service obligations
Men, aged 19 and above, born to a Greek national parent may have military service obligations, regardless of any other nationality they hold. Authorities can prevent you leaving Greece until you complete military service obligations.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
UK nationals are permitted to enter Greece if they are a permanent resident in the UK, Greece, another EU/EFTA state, or in one of the following countries; Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Russian Federation, United States, Serbia, Israel, North Macedonia, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, Qatar, China, Kuwait, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia or Bosnia-Herzegovina. If you’re a British national who resides in another country, not listed above, you may be refused entry to Greece due to measures put in place by the Greek authorities to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Anyone travelling to Greece must comply with the Greek authorities’ requirements, including completion of a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before you travel (both into and out of Greece). Read this section of the travel advice in full and check Greek authorities’ advice to understand how these requirements apply to you.
You must wear a face mask at all times when on an aeroplane, bus, train or ferry travelling to or from Greece; and whilst at airports.
The following measures are in place with respect to travel to Greece:
- Travellers must fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) no later than 11:59pm of the day before arriving in Greece. Please see below for further guidance on the Passenger Locator Form.
- Arrivals from the UK must provide either; proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, undertaken within the 72 hour period before arrival into Greece, or proof of two COVID-19 vaccinations completed at least 14 days before travel (see Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status). Travellers with proof of either are exempted from the need to self-isolate on arrival to Greece.
- Failure to provide proof of either may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel and will likely result in the Greek authorities refusing you permission to enter Greece.
- The exemption from self-isolation detailed above also applies to arrivals from the EU/EFTA states, or one of the following countries; Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Russian Federation, United States, Serbia, Israel, North Macedonia, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, Qatar, China, Kuwait, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- In addition, arrivals into Greece may be required to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test on arrival.
- If you test positive on arrival in Greece, you (and those you are travelling with) will have to self-isolate in quarantine hotels provided by the Greek state for at least 10 days. The expenses of the accommodation in quarantine hotels are covered by the Greek state. Local authorities will be able to offer further advice on self-isolation requirements.
You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.
You must comply with all instructions given by the Greek authorities. Failure to do so may result in you being refused permission to enter Greece and/or legal enforcement.
You should also be aware that if other passengers on your flight, bus, train or ferry later test positive, you may be subject to further quarantine/self isolation requirements. These will be mandatory and you should comply with the Greek authorities’ requirements.
Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status
If you live in England, Greece will accept the NHS app or your NHS letter to demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status. You should not use your NHS vaccine appointment card to demonstrate your vaccine status.
Passenger Locator Form
You must complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before your arrival in Greece. The form is in English, and is required whichever way you travel to Greece (including by ferry, road, rail or air). Failure to do so in advance may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel, a 500 Euro fine on arrival or the Greek authorities not allowing you to enter or re-enter the country.
Every traveller, including children, must have their details included on a PLF. If you’re travelling with others outside of your household, you should all complete your own form. If you’re travelling together as a household, the Greek authorities ask for you to complete one form with all adults and children included. You can add additional members of your household at the top of the form before you submit.
Some airlines may require individual PLFs for every traveller over the age of 18 within the same household. Check directly with your airline what you will need to show to be allowed boarding. Remember that you will need to complete PLFs at least 24 hours before your flight.
Once you have completed the form, you will receive an email with a QR code. When you receive your code, make sure you either print it, or can show it on your mobile phone.
If you are travelling by air to Greece, your airline will ask you to prove that you have completed the PLF form. You should print or show (e.g. on your phone) your email with the QR code you have received. Failure to do so could result in you being refused boarding to the flight.
If you are travelling by ferry to or from Greece, the ferry operator will ask you to complete an additional form (‘Pre Boarding Information’), alongside your PLF. This additional form will be provided by the ferry operator, either via their website, or at booking offices: you should contact them directly if you need further information. Temperature checks may also be carried out before boarding; and it is obligatory to wear masks on all ferries, where capacity is limited to allow for social distancing.
On arrival in Greece, you will need to show your QR code to the Greek authorities. Make sure you have either a printed copy of the code, or can show it on your phone. Failure to provide your PLF form/ QR code will result in a fine or you may be refused entry to Greece.
Additional restrictions on entry by air
Air connections with Greece are liable to suspension or amendment, sometimes at short notice. If you are due to fly to or from Greece, you should contact your airline or operator for the latest information.
Additional restrictions on entry by land borders
Greece’s land borders (including those with Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey) are subject to restrictions at present. As well as checking the below information, you should refer to the ‘Coronavirus’ pages for details of how local or national measures may affect travel across land borders. The following general restrictions are in place;
entrants into Greece via land borders are likely to be asked to undergo rapid testing for coronavirus. This is in addition to the requirement to show a negative result from a coronavirus test undertaken within the 72-hour period before their arrival into Greece;
- travellers will require a rapid COVID test on arrival. If the result is positive, the Greek authorities will ask you to quarantine until advised otherwise. This is in addition to the requirement to show a negative result from a coronavirus PCR test undertaken within the 72-hour period before their arrival into Greece;
- the land border with Bulgaria is open at the Promachonas crossing point, without additional restrictions or timed closures;
- the Krystallopigi border crossing with Albania is closed, as part of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus; the Kakavia border crossing is limited to a maximum of 400 persons permitted to cross into Greece per day (not including freight and goods vehicles); and the Nimfea border crossing is open only to freight and goods vehicles, such as lorries;
- all other border crossings are open (for travel permitted within the framework set out by local and national restrictions, as detailed in the ‘Coronavirus’ pages); but operating with reduced hours. They are shut down each night between 11pm and 7am. Outside these hours, you may cross into Greece via these border points only for essential reasons;
Anyone arriving at any of the above entry points must prove they have completed a Passenger Locator Form prior to arrival in Greece; and will also require proof of a negative COVID PCR test result. The test must have been undertaken within the 72 hour period before your time of arrival into Greece. The exemption from requiring proof of a negative COVID PCR test for individuals with valid proof of full vaccination applies for nationals from qualifying states under the same terms as outlined above.
Monitor official information from the Greek authorities on any changes to border arrangements.
Regular entry requirements
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
- you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to Greece and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
- to stay longer, to work or study, for business or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Greek government’s entry requirements. Check with the Greek Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit, if any, you may need.
- if you are in Greece with a visa or permit, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit
Any time you spent in Greece or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
At Greek border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Greece. If you are resident in Greece, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in Greece guide.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.
You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Travelling with medication
According to Greek law, a visitor can bring up to 5 different prescribed medicines for personal use, with a maximum of 2 boxes of each medicine.
Some prescribed and over-the-counter medicines available in the UK, including medication containing codeine, are considered controlled substances in Greece. A doctor’s prescription is required in all cases, which should mention your details, the types of medicine and the condition treated. On arrival, Greek Customs may in some cases require you to obtain permission from the Greek National Organisation of Medicines - if you need to carry more than the permitted number of boxes, for example. The National Organisation of Medicines examines these requests on a case by case basis.
For more information on controlled medicines, contact the Greek National Organisation of Medicines (telephone: 0030 213 2040 285 / 307 / 225, open Monday to Friday, 12pm to 3pm Greece time, or email: email@example.com).
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are valid for entry, airside transit and exit from Greece.
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Greece on the TravelHealthPro website.
See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Greece.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For more information on regulations in Greece, see Travelling with medication
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.
The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Greek nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
If you’re living in Greece, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Greece guide.
Treatment and facilities are generally good on the mainland, but may be limited on the islands. The standards of nursing and after care, particularly in the public health sector lag behind what is normally acceptable in the UK. The public ambulance service, which will normally respond to any accident, is basic. There are severe shortages of ambulances on some islands.
While pharmacies across the country stock a good supply of medicines, you should make sure you have sufficient medical supplies (including prescription medicines) for the duration of your stay and any unforeseen delays, adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 or 166 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
There is a risk of West Nile virus in Greece. You should consider preventative measures to minimise exposure to mosquitoes. Visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website for more information about the transmission season and advice for travellers.
Greece can experience earthquakes and earth tremors. You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake and follow advice given by the local authorities. The Greek General Secretariat for Civil Protection website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, and issues announcements about ongoing incidents.
Forest fires often occur during the summer months across Greece due to the dry/hot weather.
Forest fires are highly dangerous and unpredictable. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas. Make sure cigarette ends are properly extinguished, and don’t light barbecues. Causing a forest fire is treated as a criminal offence in Greece even if unintentional. If you see a forest fire, call the emergency services on 112.
Forest fires can also cause travel disruption in wider areas. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Greek Meteorological Service or European Meteorological Services, follow the advice of local authorities at all times and check with your travel provider for travel updates.
You can register on the Greek government’s Emergency Communication Service to receive emergency alerts.
Localised or severe weather extremes can affect areas of Greece over the extended summer period and this can at times cause travel disruption. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Greek Meteorological Service or European Meteorological Services website and check with your travel provider if necessary. You should follow the advice of local authorities at all times.
You can withdraw cash using a UK card up to the daily limit imposed by the Greek banking system (usually €600) or the daily limit imposed by your UK card issuer - whichever is the lower amount.
You should be able to pay for retail transactions with debit and credit cards as you would elsewhere, but always check beforehand as not all business hold a machine for processing card payments.
When travelling outside the UK you should take more than one means of payment with you (cash, debit card, credit card).
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send us a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.