Greece

   Greece More than 

      Sun, sea & sand


Today’s visitors to Greece have the opportunity to trace the “fingerprints” of Greek history from the Paleolithic Era to the Roman Period in the hundreds of archaeological sites, as well as in the archaeological museums and collections that are scattered throughout the country. 
The first traces of human habitation in Greece appeared during the Paleolithic Age (approx. 120000 - 10000 B.C.). During the Neolithic Age that followed (approx. 7000 - 3000 B.C.), a plethora of Neolithic buildings spread throughout the country. Buildings and cemeteries have been discovered in Thessaly (Sesklo, Dimini), Macedonia, the Peloponnese, etc.

Tourism in Greece Remains Steady During Debt Crisis

With Greece reeling over fears of default and the weeklong closure of its major banks and stock market, travelers are likely wondering how these major financial disruptions will affect their ability to use currency throughout the country. While native Greeks are currently limited to daily A.T.M. withdrawals of 60 euros per account, tourists do not face similar restrictions. (However, many A.T.M.s have been running out of money, forcing people to try other machines, which have been plagued by long lines.)
Credit and debit cards issued by foreign banks are being accepted throughout the country without any additional regulations.

The Ministry for Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism, a Greek governmental department, released a statement on Monday saying, “The Ministry does not anticipate any disruptions in visitors’ everyday holiday experience, neither in the islands nor in mainland Greece, as there are adequate fuel supplies, products and services.” Menelaos Karvounidis, an American Express Travel destination expert who specializes in Greek tourism, said the country’s cash flow problems have not deterred tourists who are there or decreased interest in the country. Source: http:www.nytimes.com

The beginning of the Bronze Age (approx. 3000-1100 B.C.) is marked by the appearance of the first urban centers in the Aegean region (Poliochni on Limnos). Flourishing settlements were found on Crete, Mainland Greece, the Cyclades and the Northeastern Aegean, regions where characteristic cultural patterns developed. At the beginning of the 2nd Millennium B.C., organized palatial societies appeared on Minoan Crete, resulting in the development of the first systematic scripts. The Minoans, with Knossos Palace as their epicenter, developed a communications network with races from the Eastern Mediterranean region, adopted certain elements and in turn decisively influenced cultures on the Greek mainland and the islands of the Aegean. 

On Mainland Greece, the Mycenean Greeks –taking advantage of the destruction caused on Crete by the volcanic eruption on Santorini (around 1500 B.C.)- became the dominant force in the Aegean during the last centuries of the 2nd Millennium B.C.. The Mycenean acropolises (citadels) in Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, Thiva, Glas, Athens and Iolcus, then comprised the centers of the bureaucratically organized kingdoms. 

Useful information for preparing  your trip to Greece.
Practical tips on documentation, safety, healthcare, what clothes to pack, currency, tourist cards, public holidays… so you're all set when you arrive. You'll find the whole list below. Enjoy!

Capital of Greece : Athens
Official language: Greek
The currency : Euro(€)
Climate: Mediterranean
Population: 11.306.183 (2010 estimate)
The country is a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy  Calling code: The international calling code of Greece is +30  

Exchange Currencies

Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and uses its uniform currency – the Euro. Greece, as is the case with the other Member-States of the E.U. uses eight coins as follows: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents (lepta in Greek) and 1 and 2 Euros. The banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros. Currency exchange rates are clearly displayed in every bank that accepts currency exchange, while credit card holders may acquire money from the ATMs of the collaborating banks. Greek banks are open for the public from 8:00 to 14:30 Mondays to Thursdays and from 8:00 to 13:30 on Fridays. They are closed on Public Holidays.  Euros can also be exchanged for notes of other foreign currencies at exchange offices that are situated at the airport and certain main ports, in the larger cities, as well as at many tourist destinations.

A passport is required when exchanging currencies.
Time Zone & Local Holidays Time Greece: GMT +2 National celebrations and Holidays 
-New Years Day: 1st of January -
Epiphany: 6th of January. Sea water is consecrated in the area of Piraeus. The priests throw the Cross into the sea and young men dive to catch it.

-Ash Monday: 41 days before Easter. It is the day people begin the Lent. On Ash Monday Greeks fly kites, eat meatless food and celebrate Koulouma. Athenians gather on Philopappou Hill. -Independence Day & Celebration of Evaggelismos: 25th of March. Military parade. -Easter: From Holy Friday until Easter Monday. On Holy Friday evening every church decorates the Epitaph (Bier of Christ). During the procession of the Epitaph the streets of every city or village in the country are full of people. It is a religious procession where everybody holds lit candles in their hands and sings hymns.
-Night of the Resurrection: It is celebrated in midnight before Easter Sunday with fireworks and candles.
-Easter Sunday: On Easter Sunday Greeks eat barbecue lamb. The celebrations include singing and dancing all day long.
-Labor Day: 1st of May. Flower feasts all around Athens.
-Pentecost: It is celebrated 50 days after Easter. -Assumption of the Virgin Mary: 15th of August. -28th of October: National Celebration. Military parade.
-Christmas: 25th-26th of December.  
Health & Safety In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from member states of the European Union (EU) wishing to visit Greece must be holders of the European Health Card (EHIC) or any other legal Community document issued by their competent social security agency. You can find more information about the EHIC.
In these cases, the necessary treatment in Greece is provided by:  -Social Security Institute Health Units (polyclinics) or doctor’s offices in the region;  -Regional clinics (former rural clinics) or the Health Centres of the National Health System; and -the outpatients’ departments of the hospitals on contract In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from countries other than the member states of the European Union wishing to visit Greece must consult their social security agency for information before travelling.
In emergency call: -Ambulance Service: 166; 
-SOS Doctors : 1016
-Duty Hospitals and Clinics: 1434
-Pharmacies: 1434
-Line for alcohol drug Addiction
: 210 36 17 089
-Poisoning First Aid
: 210 77 93 777
-Police: 100
-Tourist Police: 1571

Source: http://www.visitgreece.gr