BodyGuard / Medical Courses from the SOS GROUP

Click on the Logo !

STREIT Armored Cars


Global Leader in Armored Transportation !!!

ADT Home Security
The Security Website : ADT Alarm Systems

For Specialised ADT

Home Security Solutions

Please Click HERE



Close Protection Courses from the SIRAS ACADEMY

Click on the Logo !

University of St Andrews


Terrorism Studies Course from The University of St Andrews ENROLLING NOW !!




Aviation Security Directory from TTF

Click on the Logo !

Travel Security Advice

Sub Menu

Travel Security Advice for Greece




Greece is a developed and stable democracy with a modern economy. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Greece for additional information.


Greece is a party to the Schengen agreement. As such, U.S. citizens may enter Greece for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet. For other entry requirements, travelers should contact the Embassy of Greece at 2221 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-5800, or Greek consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Tampa, New York, and San Francisco, and Greek embassies and consulates around the world.

Holders of official or diplomatic passports visiting Greece as tourists must obtain visas prior to arrival. Visit the Embassy of Greece web site for the most current visa information

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information Sheet.


The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. Like other countries that are members of the Schengen Agreement for free cross-border movement, Greece’s open borders with its European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity. As the first entry point into Schengen from points south and east, Greece’s long coastline and many islands also heighten the possibility that foreign-based terrorists might try to exploit Greece’s borders.

Domestic terrorist organizations such as Revolutionary Struggle and “Sect of Revolutionaries” have become increasingly active against both domestic and foreign targets in Greece. Recent attacks and attempted attacks have included the use of Molotov cocktails (gasoline bombs), small arms and rifle fire, and improvised explosive devices, the largest being a 50-kilo car bomb which failed to detonate before the police arrived. The Greek police forces, other Greek governmental agencies, private American and Greek businesses, and the United States Embassy have been attacked in the last three years. Recent actions indicate that the perpetrators are indiscriminate. The risk of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time” in the event of a terrorist action is a concern for residents and visitors. U.S. tourists or residents in Greece should remain vigilant, exercise caution, and monitor local developments.

Some current terrorist organizations are aligned with the ideology of the older Marxist terrorist group November 17 (N17) which targeted Greek businessmen and officials, as well as officials from NATO countries in Greece, from the mid-1970s until the early part of this decade. N17 terrorists murdered 23 people, including five U.S. Government employees.

Strikes and demonstrations are a regular occurrence. Greece is a stable democracy and these activities for the most part are orderly and lawful. However, a wave of incidents started when a teenager was shot and killed in an encounter with the police in December 2008. Incidents occurred throughout Greece, but the primary sources of violence were in Athens and Thessaloniki, Protestors there engaged in violent confrontations with the police and carried out destructive vandalism and rioting in localized areas, some of which are areas frequented by tourists, injuring numerous police officers. Riot control procedures often include the use of tear gas. Visitors should keep abreast of news about demonstrations from local news sources and hotel security. When there are demonstrations, visitors should be aware of and avoid places where demonstrators frequently congregate, such as the Polytechnic University area, Exarchia, Omonia, and Syntagma Squares in Athens, and Aristotle Square in Thessaloniki. The Omonia and Exharchia areas of Athens are at particular risk for crime and politically-motivated violence; U.S. Embassy personnel and their families have been urged strongly to avoid these areas between 9 pm and dawn.

University campuses are exploited as refuges by anarchists and those involved in crime and Greek police are generally prohibited from entering their premises. Information regarding demonstrations which have been brought to the attention of the U.S. Embassy can be found on the Embassy web site. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s
A Safe Trip Abroad.


Crimes against tourists (such as purse-snatching and pick-pocketing) have occurred at popular tourist sites and on crowded public transportation. Pick-pocketing is especially common on the Athens metro and in some shopping areas in and around Thessaloniki. Reports of date or acquaintance rape also occasionally occur. The majority of these offenses take place on the islands. The usual safety precautions practiced in any urban or tourist area should be practiced during a visit to Greece.
In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. More information on this serious problem is available from the U.S. Department of Justice.


The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line Greece is: 100 for Police. 166 for Ambulance, and 199 for Fire Brigade.

Please see our information on Victims of Crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.


While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Greek laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Greece are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.


Greek customs authorities have strict regulations concerning the export from Greece of antiquities, including rocks from archaeological sites. Penalties range from large fines to prison terms. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Greece in Washington, or one of Greece's consulates in the United States, for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our Customs Information.

In addition to being subject to all Greek laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Greek citizens. Greek males between the ages of 20 and 45 are required by Greek law to perform military service. This applies to any individual whom the Greek authorities consider to be Greek, regardless of whether or not the individual considers himself Greek, has a foreign citizenship and passport, or was born or lives outside of Greece. If remaining in Greece for more than the 90-day period permitted for tourism or business, men of Greek descent may be prevented from leaving Greece until they complete their military obligations. Generally, obligatory non-voluntary military service in Greece will not affect US citizenship. Specific questions on this subject should be addressed to the citizenship section of the US Embassy in Athens. For additional information, see our information on Citizenship and Nationality. For additional information regarding military service requirements, contact the nearest Greek embassy or consulate as listed above.

Labor strikes in the transportation sector (national airline, city bus lines, and taxis) occur frequently. Most are announced in advance and are of short duration. Reconfirmation of domestic and international flight reservations is highly recommended.

Users of public transportation in Athens should be sure to buy the appropriate ticket and to validate it correctly, mindful that service to the airport is more expensive than other bus and metro services and that ticket inspectors circulate among passengers assuring compliance with ticketing regulations. Fines are heavy for passengers without tickets or with the wrong ticket.

The Greek islands are extremely popular tourist destinations in the summer months. With overall tourist numbers markedly up since the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and with an increased emphasis on ferryboat safety reducing the total number of vessels in daily inter-island service, airline tickets and ferryboat berths to the Aegean Greek islands can be hard to come by in July and August without prior arrangements. Visitors to Greece are urged to book their island travel in these months as early as possible. There are numerous local travel agencies that can provide such bookings; the agents usually speak English and the costs are no higher than if dealing with the carriers directly.

The Government of Greece does not permit the photographing of military installations. In 2001, several foreigners who photograph military aircraft as a hobby were arrested while taking photograps.


Medical facilities are adequate, and some, particularly the private clinics and hospitals in Athens and Thessaloniki, are quite good. Some private hospitals have affiliations with U.S. facilities, and generally their staff doctors have been trained in U.S. or other international teaching institutions.

Public medical clinics, especially on the islands, may lack resources; care there can be inadequate by American standards, and often, little English is spoken. Many patients, Greeks and visitors alike, are transferred from the provinces and islands to Athens hospitals for more sophisticated care. Others may choose to transfer from a public to a private hospital within Athens or Thessaloniki. Americans choosing to do so would arrange for an ambulance belonging to the private hospital to transport them from the public hospital to the private one. The cost of the ambulance for this transfer, as well as all expenses in a private hospital, must be borne by the patient.

Nursing care, particularly in public hospitals, may be less than adequate. For special or through-the-night nursing care, it is suggested that a private nurse be hired or a family member or friend be available to assist. One parent or a private nurse should always plan to stay with a hospitalized child on a 24-hour basis, as even the best hospitals generally maintain only a minimal nursing staff from midnight to dawn on non-emergency floors or wards.

For information on avian influenza (bird flu), please refer to the Department of State's Avian Influenza Fact Sheet.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) web site. Further health information for travelers is available from the WHO.


The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas, and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.


While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Greece is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Drivers and pedestrians alike should exercise extreme caution when operating motor vehicles or when walking along roadways or crossing streets. Visitors to Greece must be prepared to drive defensively. Heavy traffic and poor highways pose hazards, especially at night or in inclement weather. Extreme care is warranted in operating a motorbike. Moreover, tourists who rent motorbikes either on the Greek mainland or its islands must wear helmets and take special precautions on local roads that are typically poorly maintained and frequently pothole-ridden. There are a number of nationwide auto-service clubs and plans similar to those in the U.S., that provide towing and roadside service, which a tourist can call and pay for per service. The largest, quite similar to AAA, is ELPA, nation-wide phone number 10400.

Tourists and temporary residents who will stay in Greece less than 185 days must carry a valid U.S. license as well as an international driver's permit (IDP). Failure to have both documents may result in police detention or other problems. The U.S. Department of State has designated two organizations to issue IDPs to those who hold valid U.S. driver's licenses: AAA and the American Automobile Touring Alliance. Issuance of an IDP is quick, easy, and inexpensive, but must generally be done before a traveler leaves the United States. Vehicles may not properly be rented without the IDP, although sometimes they are. A driver without one, however, will be penalized for failure to have one in the event of an accident, and may be open to civil suit as well. Fines are high. Small motorbike rental firms frequently do not insure their vehicles; customers are responsible for damages and should review their coverage before renting. Individuals who expect to spend more than 185 days in Greece should either obtain a Greek license or convert their valid U.S. license for use in Greece through their local Nomarchy’s Office of Transportation and Communications.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Greece’s air carrier operations.


Greece experienced serious forest fires during the summer of 2007; during the summer months, travelers should be particularly mindful of the risk of fires, taking care not to inadvertently spark one through carelessness. Barbecue and camp fires are restricted in many areas during the dry summer season.

Greece experiences frequent seismic activity; tremors are common and serious earthquakes have occurred. Detailed information on Greece's earthquake fault lines is available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

In 2006, the H5N1 Avian Influenza was found in migratory birds in Greece; no human infections or deaths were reported. For more information on avian influenza, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site.
Disaster preparedness information and specific suggestions to help mitigate the impact of wildfires, floods, earthquakes, and landslides is available from the U.S. Federal Management Agency (FEMA). In any natural disaster, follow the instructions of local authorities. The General Secretariat for Civil Protection, which responds to emergencies, can be reached at 210-3359932/33.


For information see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.


Americans living or traveling in Greece are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration web site and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Greece. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Athens is located at 91 Vasilissis Sophias Boulevard, tel: (30) (210) 721-2951. The U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki is located at Plateia Commercial Center, 43 Tsimiski Street, 7th floor, tel: (30) (2310) 242-905. You may e-mail the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens. You may also email the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Greece dated February 3, 2009, to update sections on Safety and Security and Special Circumstance.


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Travel to Greece HERE....


Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassy Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)...........


The SW Team....


Direct Gov Travel News and Alerts