Foreign travel advice

Greece

Summary

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.7 occurred off the coast of Kos on 21 July 2017.

Following the earthquake, Kos Airport is now fully operational. Repair works continues at Kos port. Passenger ferry services are now docking as normal, although cruise ships continue to dock outside of the main harbour.

During the summer months, Greece is prone to forests fires. Forest fires are highly dangerous and unpredictable. Check with local authorities if you’re considering travelling to affected areas. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas and report fires to the emergency services on 112. See Natural disasters.

There are regular strikes, sometimes called at short notice that can cause disruption to public transport (including air travel and ports), as well as road networks and borders.

Demonstrations take place regularly in central Athens, and have also taken place in other towns and cities. You should avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities. See Major pre-planned strikes and demonstrations

The currency of Greece is the euro. When travelling outside the UK you should take more than one means of payment with you (cash, debit card, credit card).

Greece imposed capital controls on 28 June 2015 and there are still restrictions on some banking services in Greece. The Greek government continues to limit cash withdrawals using cards issued by Greek banks to €60 per day. These daily amounts can be withdrawn cumulatively on a weekly (€420) or fortnightly (€840) basis.

You can withdraw cash using your UK card up to the daily limit imposed by the Greek banking system (usually €600), or the daily limit imposed by your card issuer - whichever is the lower amount. The system for paying with debit and credit cards for retail transactions continues to function.

There are no restrictions on taking unspent euros out of Greece at the end of your stay.

In 2015 and 2016, there was 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 British Embassy is keeping the situation under review, but at present there are no reports of any specific risks to British nationals visiting these islands or at border crossing points.

The Greek authorities have enhanced border security. Anyone attempting to facilitate or transport an illegal migrant or anyone inciting disorder or violence will be arrested and dealt with by the authorities.

Terrorist attacks in Greece can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism

The emergency services number in Greece is 112. Calling 999 from a UK mobile in Greece will automatically transfer you to the Greek emergency services.

British nationals make around 2.7 million visits to Greece every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but you should take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. See Crime

You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired. Some medical costs aren’t covered by the EHIC, so you should also take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

There have been reports of an increase in holidaymakers being encouraged to submit a claim for personal injury if they have experienced gastric illness during their stay. You can find more information about the action you can take if you have suffered a personal injury on the Citizens Advice website. You should only consider pursuing a complaint or claim if you have genuinely suffered from injury or illness. If you make a false or fraudulent claim, you may face legal proceedings in the UK or Greece.

Carry a copy of your passport or other photographic ID which confirms British nationality at all times.

The Greek police won’t accept rowdy or indecent behaviour, especially where excessive drinking is involved. Greek courts impose heavy fines or prison sentences on people who behave indecently. Your travel insurance may not cover you after drinking. See Local laws and customs.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.