Last updated: 15 Jul 2020



Often regarded as the birthplace of European civilization, Greece offers a mix of ancient archaeological sites, modern hotels, rustic tavernas, family-orientated seaside resorts and lively night clubs.

Do not miss the Hellenic Festival in Jun-Sep, which sees music, dance and theatre performances held in the second-century AD Odeion of Herodes in Athens. There is a beach for every preference, for the family, for singles, for nudists, for sun worshippers. Sail Greece's myriad islands. Depending on experience, visitors can go bareboat (chartering just the boat), flotilla (as part of a group of yachts lead by an expert) or skippered. Several tour operators and independent companies offer all-inclusive sailing holidays in Greece.

The shallow, fast-flowing rivers of mainland Greece offer excellent facilities for water-based adventure sports such as rafting, kayaking and canoeing. Sea-kayaking is also becoming increasingly popular on the islands.
Formal Name: Hellenic Republic
Local Name: Ellás
Local Formal Name: Elliniki Dhimokratia
Capital:  Athens (ATH)
Currency:  Euro (EUR)
Language:  Greek. English, French, German and Italian may be spoken in the tourism industry. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 30
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sun in March to last Sun in Oct: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2020: 

Jan 1, 6; Mar 2, 25; Apr 17, 20; May 1; Jun 8; Aug 15; Oct 28; Dec 25, 26

Side of the Road: Right.
Best Time to Go: June – August. Late Spring (April – May) and Autumn (Late August – September) are good months to visit if you want to enjoy the warm weather but miss the crowds. 
Best for: Mediterranean Beaches, Historic Sightseeing, UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Plugs: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink. Outside of the main towns, and on the islands, water may be contaminated and bottled water should be used. 
Health: Healthcare facilities in Athens are good, but less so elsewhere. If visiting outside of Athens, and you require any medication on your travels, it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it. Visitors are required to pay for healthcare services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended, and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. Note that there are reports of underhanded dealings by healthcare professionals, particularly in public hospitals. 
Customs: Normal social courtesies. If visiting a church, dress should be conservative: men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms and legs covered. Attempts at speaking the language / greeting in the language will be appreciated. 
Local Offences / Laws: Indecent behaviour and public drunkenness is not tolerated and will be fined. Identification should be carried at all times. Smoking is prohibited in public areas. If you will be driving, be sure to know and follow the traffic regulations, as fines will be issued for disobeying them. Greece has very strict laws against drug use.
Travel Tips / Warnings: When travelling in Greece, you are protected by the Greek consumer protection law (read more). Strikes can inconvenience travellers, but are usually non-violent. However it is advisable to avoid areas where there are protests.  Some restaurants and stores may not accept credit cards, be sure to carry cash. Most street signs are in Greek and English. Public transport may be preferable to driving on Greek roads. 
Duty Free: If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:
• 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 400 cigarillos or 1kg of tobacco
• 10L of spirits (over 22%), 20L of spirits (under 22%), 90L of wine and 110L of beer

If you're arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Greece by travellers over 17 years of age:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco (if arriving by air)
• 40 cigarettes or 20 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50g of tobacco (if arriving by other means)
• 1L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of spirits up to 22% volume
• 4L of wine
• 16 L of beer
• 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de cologne
• Gifts up to a value of €430 if arriving by sea or air or €300 if arriving by other means (reduced to €150 for children under 15). 
Prohibited Imports: The import of soil (as well as plants) and certain animals is restricted. The import of meat, meat products, milk and milk products from outside the EU is also restricted. Firearms, explosive and drugs are very tightly controlled.

Travel Alerts

COVID-19 Travel Advisory:

  • As of July 1st, flights have resumed to all Greek airports from all countries, except from those seriously affected by Covid-19, as per EU guidelines. (for a list of countries refer:
  • After July 1st, foreign liners, ferry boats, and cruisers are allowed to dock in Greek ports; the same applies to private and professional yachts / sailboats. To the north, land borders are open only with Bulgaria. Please note that, as of July 6th (until July 15th), Serbian citizens are not allowed to enter Greece. Border crossing will be allowed only for essential reasons.
  • From July 15th to July 29th, foreign travellers will have to produce a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Greece.
  • Twenty four hours before entering Greece, visitors will have to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) where they will provide their contact details in the country. Targeted and random testing will take place to aid the epidemiological research. Please, download the PLF here.

REFER (Source:


This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

a) Greek Consulate-General,
Fortune Kunene House,
261 Oxford Road,
Illovo, 2196
PO Box 2405, HOUGHTON, 2041.
Tel: (011) 214-2300
Fax: (011) 214-2304
O/hrs: Mon - Fri: 09h00 - 13h30
Wed. closed for visa applications & collections.
E-mail: /
O/hrs: Mon - Fri: 09h00 - 13h30
Wed. closed for visa applications & collections

b) Greek Consulate,

9th Fl., Reserve Bank Building
30 Hout St., Cape Town, 8001
PO Box 3232 Cape Town 8000.
Tel: 021 424-8160
Fax: 021 424-9421.
E-mail.:  / 
O/hrs: Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 0900 - 1200 Visas
Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 0900 - 1330 Consular Matters
Wed: Closed

Visa Requirements

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Visa Processing Time

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Visa Cost

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SA Representative

South African Embassy,
60 Kiffisias Ave.,15125, Athens, Greece
Tel: 0030 210 617 8020

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Polio