Greece



Location: Southeastern Europe
Capital: Athens
Time zone: GMT/UTC plus 2 hours
Daylight savings time: during northern hemisphere summer
Current time: 13:04
Population: 10,846,979
Currency: euro
Dialling code: +30
Internet suffix: .gr

Greece is a Mediterranean country which has made extensive and long-lasting contributions to world history, culture and philosophy. Its picturesque scenery, pleasant climate and cuisine also make it a very popular traveller destination, although it suffers from a risk of natural disasters and a degree of social instability.


Overall security situation: mostly secure
Crime rate: very low
Murder rate: very low
Gun ownership levels: very high
Kidnapping hotspot: no
Maritime piracy hotspot: no
Do landmines/unexploded munitions pose a significant risk in parts of the country: yes

While the country has a high firearms ownership ratio in comparison to the world, the crime rate is very low, with limited petty crime, infrequent violent crime and generally good police coverage.

Elements of society have grievances with the status quo, particularly unemployment and related economic difficulties over the past few years. As such, civil unrest poses a moderate risk, particularly in urban centres. Protests and demonstrations are frequent and often disruptive with sporadic violence, but usually limited casualties.

There is a moderate risk posed by terrorism, including left-wing violence directed at commercial, political or otherwise symbolic interests, but casualties are normally very limited.

Note that some parts of the country still harbour landmines, although related casualties remain rare.


Aviation safety levels: standard
Annual road fatality rates: moderate
Vehicles drive on the: right
Infrastructure quality: good
Urban ATM availability: good
Electricity supply: 230V 50Hz
Electricity supply reliability: consistent
Plug types: C and F

Plug type C (2 round pins, not grounded/earthed)

Plug type F (2 round pins, grounded/earthed, socket compatible with plug types C and E)


 


Is tap water drinkable: yes but some travellers may experience an upset stomach
Healthcare quality: among the best healthcare provision in the world
Infectious disease prevalence: extremely low

Vaccinations

Travellers should consult a medical practitioner prior to their trip but the following vaccines may be considered before travelling to the country, depending on factors such as specific destination, planned activities, intended time and length of stay as well as personal medical conditions (in some cases no additional vaccines may be required at all):

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B (not always needed)
  • Rabies (usually only for long-term stays in at-risk areas, or for those spending time in isolated parts of the country or coming into contact with animals)
  • Tick-borne encephalitis (usually only for those spending time in at-risk forested areas)
  • Standard vaccinations (ie those commonly used in the developed world, such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tuberculosis and tetanus)

Disease presence

Malaria risk: none
Yellow fever presence: no
Dengue fever prevalence: rare/non-existent
Rabies prevalence: low risk (in the north of the country only)
HIV prevalence in society: low
Hepatitis A prevalence: intermediate
Hepatitis B prevalence: intermediate
Hepatitis E prevalence: not highly endemic
Cholera status: low risk
Chikungunya virus presence: not present

Zika virus presence: not recently reported
Japanese encephalitis presence: no
Cutaneous leishmaniasis presence: endemic
Visceral leishmaniasis presence: endemic
Onchocerciasis presence: non-endemic
Schistosomiasis presence: none
Tick-borne encephalitis status: present but low risk
Chagas disease presence: none

Typhoid fever presence: endemic
African trypanosomiasis presence: none
Plague status: not thought to be present
Rift Valley fever status: not present
Lassa fever status: not present
Polio status: not endemic
Ebola outbreaks: no
Meningococcal meningitis hotspot: no


Climate: temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers
Terrain: mountainous with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands
Natural disaster risk: high
Natural hazards: severe earthquakes, flooding, storms, wildfires, extreme temperatures
Tropical storms: few/none
Volcanic activity: Santorini (elev. 367 m) has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; although there have been very few eruptions in recent centuries, Methana and Nisyros in the Aegean are classified as historically active
Previous earthquake(s) with over 1,000 fatalities: not since pre-biblical times


Government type: parliamentary republic
Socio-economic development score: 9/10 (very high levels of socio-economic development)
Adult literacy rate: 97.7%
Unemployment rate: very high
Civil liberties: some restrictions, usually mild
Investment rating: sub-investment grade / speculative grade / junk status
Corruption levels: moderate
Same-sex sexual activity: legal
Death penalty: abolished
Languages: Greek (official) 99%, other (includes English and French) 1%
Ethnic groups: Greek 93%, other (foreign citizens) 7%
Beliefs: Greek Orthodox (official) 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%

General guidelines

  • The following advice has been compiled by travel safety specialists and ex-special forces personnel.
  • However, please note that it is of a general nature only and may not reflect the reality of your circumstances.
  • Ensure you have proper insurance cover in place.
  • Select good quality accommodation and properly prepare for any tasks, excursions or other activities you have to undertake.
  • Be mindful of local laws and cultural norms, bearing in mind that they might be different to what you are accustomed to.

Seismic activity

  • Be prepared to respond at short notice to any seismic activity.
  • Create an emergency plan to follow in the event of an incident that involves a communications breakdown, so you can meet colleagues at a designated meeting point if you are separated and cannot get in contact with one another.
  • Practise drills such as “drop, seek cover and hold on” procedure so that you can take shelter as soon as an incident occurs.
  • Know the location of your nearest medical kit and medically trained personnel.
  • Knowledge of basic first aid will also be very useful.
  • Get away from glass or anything that could fall if shaking starts.
  • Consider carrying a whistle that can be used to alert first responders in the event that you are trapped after an earthquake – although bear in mind that in some circumstances and/or locations there may not be much in the way of first response capabilities, particularly following a damaging earthquake.
  • In the event of an incident, avoid damaged buildings that might still be at risk of collapse.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Note that earthquakes can trigger tsunamis and landslides so be prepared to move out of harm’s way once the shaking has stopped.
  • You may need to move very quickly and with limited time.

Civil unrest

  • Civil unrest can lead to road closures and even curfews, which can affect your travel plans.
  • Be prepared for delays and route alterations.
  • Avoid demonstrations as they can turn violent.
  • If demonstrations take place on a frequent basis, research the trends which tend to accompany them.
  • Where do they tend to take place? Do they tend to turn violent? Do attendees target specific types of building or representative interests associated with a specific nationality, industry, political group (such as party political offices, state buildings or foreign-owned businesses)?
  • Once you have identified the sorts of risks, trends and areas of higher risk to be avoided you can start planning to minimise your exposure.

Terrorism

  • Terrorism can pose a risk, even in otherwise mostly safe countries.
  • Assess the trends and tactics of any relevant terrorist organisations with the potential for targeting your location and identify potential targets.
  • Be vigilant in and around these areas, which could include crowded places, symbolic or sensitive political sites, or busy restaurant, nightlife or tourist spots.
  • Use your judgement on the frequency of incidents taking place. Just because an incident has taken place in a certain city does not mean that the city will regularly be hit again – use rational judgement to decide whether or not there is a likelihood that you will be caught up in any future incidents.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to react at short notice in the event of an incident.
  • In the event of an incident, get out of the area quickly if it is safe to do so.
  • Alternatively hide and try to keep out of harm’s way.
  • In most cases you should only try to help other people if it is safe for you to do so.
  • Keep quiet and notify the relevant authorities, colleagues or loved ones only when you are out of danger.

Unexploded ordnance

  • Find out where the at-risk areas are in a country and consider avoiding them, particularly if any minefields are poorly demarcated.
  • If you have to go to an at-risk area, consider undergoing minefield awareness training first.
  • Seek local knowledge on the whereabouts of potential unexploded ordnance as residents will often have the most up-to-date information.
  • Stick to well used roads, routes and paths.
  • Don’t touch or approach suspicious items.
  • If in doubt when travelling, especially on foot, turn back and retrace your steps.
  • If driving in an at-risk area, avoid leaving the vehicle as far as possible.
  • Take particular care after heavy rainfall as flooding can wash away warning signs or even displace unexploded ordnance and move it into new areas.

Weather

  • If rainfall, flooding, extreme temperatures or other types of severe weather are a concern, check the local weather patterns to find out if there are times of the year where the risk is much higher.
  • Consider avoiding travel to at-risk destinations during these times.
  • Try to stay in good quality accommodation.
  • Take appropriate clothing and footwear.
  • Take appropriate protection for any sensitive equipment you wish to bring.
  • Note that storms, flooding and other types of harsh weather can overload infrastructure, lead to traffic jams and power cuts.
  • Flooding and heavy rainfall can also raise the risk of landslides, as well as insect- and water-borne diseases in some parts of the world.
  • As such, be prepared to delay, alter or even cancel travel plans to affected or high-risk areas.