Travelling to Greece

Travelling to Greece
Updated 2017-09-18 09:02

As a member of both the EU and the Schengen group of countries, travelling to Greece is hassle-free for many different nationals. And once you ascertain the proper paperwork that applies to your situation, you'll find that scheduling your trip or move to Greece is straight-forward: due to its strategic position, Greece is easily accessible by air, land and sea from both Africa, Asia and, of course, the rest of Europe.

Determine whether you need a visa

If you're a citizen of the EU or Switzerland, you do not need a visa for Greece, and can enter with just a valid passport and/or identity card (as long as your identity card contains Latin characters). You are advised to always keep your passport or ID card with you in case you are asked to present it (to the police, or at the airport) and you also need to be aware that your driver's license or credit card cannot substitute your ID or passport like they do in some countries.

Greece is also a party to the Schengen Agreement, which means that citizens of the 26 Schengen countries can also cross the borders without the need for a visa. Furthermore, citizens of Canada, the U.S., Australia and several countries in Latin America and Asia, are allowed to stay for up to 90 days (in any 6-month period). For a comprehensive list of what applies for each country, click here. If you do indeed need a visa, you can follow the steps of gathering all the necessary papers or visit the Greek embassy or consulate in your country. There are several types of visas depending on the reason for your visit (business, medical, for members of official delegations or for cultural/sports/religious purposes) so make sure to consult our relevant article for more detailed information.

Plan your journey to Greece

Travelling to Greece is relatively simple -- be it by car, train, ship, plane, or a combination of the above. There are many major roads connecting the country with the rest of Europe and Asia, and, if you're an EU citizen, you can simply drive there without having to suffer through any lengthy border checks. Be aware, though, that this changes if you're passing through from Turkey, as these two countries have always had an uneasy relationship (there have been cases of the authorities, especially the Turkish ones, conducting body searches). Apart from driving, there's also the option of taking the train: Greece's railway network covers the greater part of the mainland, stretching at approximately 2,500 kilometers. You can pass through Sofia, Skopje and Belgrade to Thessaloniki (Greece's second largest city), and from there navigate your way onwards.

If being earthbound is not your favourite way of travelling, you'll be pleased to know that Greece has 15 International Airports, situated in most key cities and big islands (with its crown jewel being Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos), as well as 20 national ones that are used to connect the smaller or more remote islands. You can also travel by boat from Italy (without having to undergo passport control) or Turkey: due to its extensive coastline, there are numerous ports all over the country.

Useful links:

Schengen Visa info
Greek Embassies worldwide
Visit Greece

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