Going on a Greece vacation can be a fun and
exciting experience. But tourists should be expecting something
different in terms of stepping into a foreign country. In terms of
culture, customs and other aspects, Greece has an entirely unique
experience to offer. Here are some of the important things that
tourists should know about and expect when traveling to Greece.
Greece is a country located in Southern Europe and shares its borders
with Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. Its coastlines and
islands stretch from the Aegean, Ionian and the Mediterranean Seas.
Greece has been part of the European Union since 1992. The country runs
under a parliamentary system of government. Greece is considered as a
popular tourist destination in Europe. It welcomes over 15 million
tourists each year.
Because Greece is a member of the European Union, citizens of other EU
member countries may freely enter with their national ID card in tow.
For those tourists who belong to non-EU countries, a visa and passport
is required. But there are selected countries such as Argentina,
Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, South
Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States that are
provided by a 90-day visa-free stay in the country.
Greece is also a signatory to the Schengen agreement along with
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Italy, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and
Sweden. Traveling between Schengen countries by a non-Schengen citizen
may be able to do so by getting only a single visa from any of the
member countries. This may be used for multiple entries on other
Schengen member countries.
Greek is the country's official language and mother tongue. It is being
spoken by the vast majority of the population. But English is also a
widely spoken language in many parts of the country. And since tourism
has become an important industry in Greece many of its destinations
already have an increasing number of personnel that can speak and
understand English well. Communication with most Greeks does not
usually pose a problem for many tourists who visit the country.
The official currency in Greece is the Euro, having replaced the local
drachma since January of 2002. Foreign exchanges are also now common in
most major cities and other dense tourist areas in Greece. Most banks
in the country also offer currency exchanges for tourists. When
exchanging currency, it is important to note of getting only notes
below 50 Euros. Most Greek businesses are usually reluctant to receive
notes larger than 50 Euros, mainly because of a scarcity of change as
well as the risk of larger notes being fakes.
Greek cuisine is an interesting blend of traditional as well as foreign
influences. A major part of Greek cuisine is influenced by neighboring
Turkey. It is common for both countries to have shared dishes. The
traditional Greek diet is predominantly Mediterranean which makes heavy
use of vegetables, herbs and grains native to the area. And because
Greece is largely a maritime country, seafood is an important part of
the country's cuisine.
Other important Greek dishes also make use of pork, lamb, beef and
chicken as primary ingredients. Olive oil is also a major staple in
Greek cuisine and largely used for many of its most popular dishes.
Other common ingredients also include the use of lemon and tomato
paste. Bread as well as wine is also a common fixture on every Greek