English (and occasionally other international languages) is widely understood in ho-tels, restaurants, and shops in areas that see many foreign tourists such as Athens and the islands.
Greek is quite difficult for short time visitors to pick up more than a few words. However, just making the effort to speak will be greatly appreciated by Greeks as a sign of respect.
Even just using the following basic phrases, without worrying about the pronunciation, can make you instantly popular!
- Goodmorning: Kaliméra
- Hello: Yiasou
- Thank you: Efcharisto
- You are welcome/ Please: Parakaló
- Goodbye: Antio
- Yes: Né
- No: Oxi
- Can I have some water please? : Ligo nero parakaloó
- How much is this? : Poso kani?
- My name is… : Me léne …..
- What is your name? : Pos se léne?
Greece is 2 hours ahead of London (GMT/UTC +2) and 8 hours ahead of Chicago (CST/UTC -4). Daylight saving time (DST) changes do not necessarily occur on the same date every year. However, it is generally between March and October.
Pack light, natural fabrics and loose-fitting clothes, as well as a sweater or light jacket because it can get chilly at night, even in August. Bring comfortable walking shoes, as well as sandals for the beach. Sunscreen is a must due to the strong summer sun. A wide-brimmed hat is also a good idea, as well as an umbrella (for both sun and rain).
Tip for ladies: For shoes, flat sandals with an ankle strap are perfect. Avoid high heels on the islands’ cobblestone streets; it is better to choose a pair of comfy wedges.
Tipping is optional but is often done in Greece, especially in the tourist industry. In general, a 15% tip is sufficient. Please bear in mind that waiting staff are salaried, so tips are not a required part of the compensation package. Vat at 24% is currently charged on all food and drink. Usually, the prices indicated on menus include all applicable taxes unless stated otherwise.
Tipping guide for various services
- Transfers | Long drive: €40-50 | Short drive: €10-20
- Helicopter transfer: €200
- Tour Guides | Full day: €50 | Half day: €30
- Motor Yacht Cruises | Full day: €200 | Half day: €100
- Sailing Yacht Cruises | Private: €100 | Shared: €20
Standard voltage is 220 V (50 Hz AC). Plugs are continental type with two round pins. It is advisable to bring a USA/ European adaptor.
- Police: 100
- Fire Department: 199
- National Health Service: 166
- Port Police: 108
- Tourist Police: 171
- European Emergency Number: 112
- Food Poisoning Call Centre: 210 7793777