Essential Info for Greece

Official name: the Hellenic Republic

Population: 11.03 million

Capital city: Athens (also the largest city)

Other major cities: Thessaloniki, Piraeus

Neighbouring countries: Greece consists of the mainland, a peninsula on the southern tip of the Balkans, and 227 inhabited islands. The mainland is bordered by Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. Across the Ionian Sea to the west is Italy and across the Aegean Sea to the east is Turkey. Across the Mediterranean Sea to the south are Libya and Egypt.

System of governance: Parliamentary republic, where most political power is held by the prime minister and the government. The president holds a ceremonial position.

Major religions: Christianity (Greek Orthodox)

Main languages: Greek, although English is also widely spoken.

Money: Greece uses the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. Expats are able to open a bank account in Greece provided they obtain a Greek tax number (AFM). Generally, ATMs are widely available, although some may not offer services in English.   

Tipping: For restaurants, if there isn't already a service charge, tips are normally 10 percent of the bill. Taxis also appreciate tips of around 10 percent. 

Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 between the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two pin plugs are most common. Adaptors are recommended for US appliances.

Internet domain: .gr

International dialling code: +30

Emergency contacts: As with other European countries, the general emergency number is 112. For local services, dial 100 (police), 166 (ambulance), or 199 (fire). The Hellenic Police are generally easy to deal with and effective. The biggest hospitals are in Athens and Thessaloniki and, in certain cases, medical emergencies requiring special care may be evacuated from more remote locations to these areas.

Transport and driving: Expats will find themselves driving on the right hand side. Travel between islands is usually done by ferry. Metro networks and intra-city bus systems are restricted to larger cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki. Inter-city transport can be done via buses and trains. Commercial taxis are often available, and defensive driving is highly recommended.