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| image=[[Image:Ac acropolis3.jpg|250px300px]]
| location=[[Image:LocationGreece.png|noframe|250px]]
| flag=[[Image:gr-flag.png]]
| capital=[[Athens]]
| government=parliamentary republicParliamentary Republic | currency=euro Euro (EUR)| area=''total:'' 131,940 sq 957 km<sup>2</sup><br />''water:'' 1,310 km<sup>2</sup><br />''land:'' 130,647 km<sup>2</sup>
| population=10,688,058 (July 2006 est.)
| language=[[Greek]] 99% (official)
'''Greece''' ([[Greek phrasebook|Greek]]: Ελλάς, ''Hellas'') [] is a country in Southern Europe, on the southernmost tip of the Balkan peninsula, with extensive coastlines and islands in the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas. It shares borders in the north with [[Albania]], the [[Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia]] (FYROM), [[Bulgaria]], and [[Turkey]]. It has an ancient culture that has had a significant influence on the arts, language, philosophy, politics, and sports of western society, including the genres of comedy and drama, western alphabets, Platonic ideals and the Socratic method, democracies and republics, and the Olympics. Furthermore it's a geographically appealing place to visit, with a mountainous mainland and idyllic island beaches.
[[Image:Santorini1.JPG|thumb|260px|Backstreets of charming Firá, Santoríni]]
Over 90% of visitors who come to Greece come from '''other European countries,''' although in recent years there have been growing numbers of tourists from other world regions. The vast majority of visitors arrive during tourism the tourist season, which is April through October. ''Peak'' season is July through August, and most of the tourists and tourism industry are concentrated in [[Crete]], the [[Dodecanese]], [[Cyclades]], and [[Western Greek Islands]], and to a lesser extent: the [[Peloponnese]], and the [[Halkidiki]] peninsula in [[Macedonia]]. There are still many rewarding areas in the country free of large-scale tourism.
Many first-time visitors arrive in Greece with specific images in mind and are surprised to discover a country with such '''regional and architectural diversity.''' The famous whitewashed homes and charming blue-domed churches only characterize a specific region of the country (the [[Cyclades]] Islands). Architecture varies greatly from one region to the next depending on the local history. Visitors will find Neoclassical architecture in the cities of Ermoupolis and [[Nafplion]], Ottoman-influenced buildings in Grevená and Kozáni, whitewashed Cycladic homes on the island of [[Paros]], and pastel-colored baroque homes and churches on [[Corfu]]. The nation's '''terrain''' is just as varied as its architectural heritage: idyllic beaches, towering mountain ranges, wine-producing valleys, vast stretches of olive orchards in the south, and lush forests in the north. Greece's historical sights are just as varied; the country is littered with just as many medieval churches and castles as classical ruins and temples.
====Enlightenment and revolution====
The '''Italian city-states''' of [[Genoa]] and [[Venice]] competed with the Ottoman Turks for control of various areas of Greece and managed to conquer various islands and coastal areas, bringing '''pan-European movements''' such as the Rennaissance Renaissance (and later the Enlightenment) to places in Greece such as Crete, Corfu, and parts of the Peloponnese region. In the 18th century, the Enlightenment, both in Venetian/Genoese-occupied areas of Greece and from Greek communities abroad, led to an awakening among prominent Greeks and gave birth to the goal of an independent, unified, and sovereign Greek state. The Greek Revolution finally broke out on the 25th of March, 1821, and led to a long war against the Ottomans for independence. The Greek Revolution gained attention across Europe, with [[Russia]], [[Britain]], and [[France]] sending military aid to assist Greece.
[[Image:Plaka2.JPG|thumb|400px|Athens' Pláka district, with its 19th century character]]
====19th Century to Mid-20th====
The nation finally achieved its '''independence''' from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. The newly-independent Greek State was briefly a republic, before becoming a monarchy at the will of major European powers. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Greece gradually annexed neighboring islands and territories with Greek-speaking populations. The country sided with the allies during WWI. Despite declaring neutrality during WWII, the country was invaded by Mussolini's military in 1941. Greek forces victoriously pushed the Italians out of Greece, but the Germans then came to their aid, occupying the country until its liberation toward the end of the war. Civil war broke out in 1946 between communist rebels and royalists, the former supported by Yugoslavia (until the Tito-Stalin rift of 1948) and the latter by the West. The communist rebels were defeated by the royalists in 1949. WWII World War II and the civil war that followed had left the country war-torn, forcing many people to flee the country in search of a better life abroad.
Greece joined NATO in 1952; rapid economic growth and social change followed. A right-wing military dictatorship staged a coup in 1967, disbanding all political parties, suspending political liberties and forcing many prominent Greeks into exile, including Communists, which who played an active part in the Greek Parliament before and after the junta. King Constantine II and his family also fled the country. Democracy returned in 1974, and a national referendum abolished the monarchy, creating a parliamentary republic.
====Modern Greece====
Greece joined the '''European Community''' or EC in 1981, which later became the European Union (EU) in 1992. The country's tourism industry which had begun to take off during the 1960s, began to flourish, bringing 5 million annual visitors to the country in 1980 (a figure that will eventually grow to over 17 million by 2007). The country suffered serious economic stagnation in the 1980s, but began to experience remarkable economic growth in the 1990s, fueled by heavy investment, entrepreneurship, trade, and EU aid. By the early 21st century, the Greeks have achieved a stable and prosperous nation, with a high standard of living. An influx of immigrants began in the late 1980s, transforming Greece, once an immigrant-sender, into an immigrant-receiving country. Foreign-born residents, most of them undocumented and coming from various parts of the world (Eastern and Central Europe, Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa) are estimated to number at least 1 million, or equivalent to 10% of the population. In 2004, the nation stepped into the global spotlight as it successfully hosted the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, to the defiance of critics. More recently, it has borne the brunt of the late-2000s recession and related 2010 European sovereign debt crisis, but since it overcame far worse crises in its history, it will overcome this as well. The main issues facing Greek society are a high and growing level of bureaucratic corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth and widespread poverty.
The '''most pleasant weather''' occurs in May-June and September-October. The warmest time of the year starts in mid-July and generally lasts until mid-August, when the annual ''meltémi'' winds from the north cool the country. Mid-July to mid-August is the height of summer, and the midday sun tends to get very strong; during this time, most Greeks avoid heavy physical activity outdoors between 1PM and 5PM. It is best advised to get in tune with the local way of life by waking up early, doing all sightseeing and errands in the cool morning hours, and then spending the afternoon in the relaxing shade or at the beach. In fact, the bulk of tourists arrive in Greece during the height of summer, to do just that! For visitors from more northerly climates, the off season from November through February can be a rewarding time to see Greece. It will not be beach weather, but temperatures are mild. The much added bonus is that there will be very few other tourists and reduced prices.
'''Summer evenings''' tend to be ''very'' rewarding. As strong as the sun may get on a summer afternoon, the low levels of atmospheric humidity in most areas of the country prevent the air from trapping much heat, and temperatures tend to dip to very pleasant levels in the evenings. But even during midday, high temperatures actually tend to be quite comfortable as long as the time is not spent doing a lot of walking or other physical activity. (Athens, however, can still be uncomfortably warm during summer afternoons due to the predominance of concrete in the city, an effect similar to New York City.) Coastal areas near open waters (away from tightly-closed bays and gulfs) , especially on many of the islands, tend to be quite breezy, and can be quite cold at night.
While the Mediterranean climate characterizes most of the country, there are '''two other climate systems''' that are present. One is the cool Alpine climate which is found on mountainous areas of the country's interior, including many high-altitude valleys. Another system is the Continental climate found on the interiors of north-central and northeastern Greece, and gives those areas very cold winters and warm, relatively humid summers.
===Holidays and festivals===
Contrary to most national holidays in other countries, '''Independence Day''' in Greece is a very sober holiday. There is a school flag parade in every town and village and a big armed forces parade in Athens.
Although not an official holiday, pre-Lenten '''carnival''' -or ''apókries''- is a major celebration in cities throughout the country, with Patras hosting the country's largest and most famous events. Carnival season comes to an extravagent extravagant ending the weekend before Lent begins, with costumes, float parades, and various regional traditions.
In addition to nation-wide holidays and celebrations, many towns and regions have their own ''regional'' festivals commemorating various historical events, local patron saints, or wine harvests.
Note that the Greek Orthodox Church uses a different method to determine the date of Easter than from the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches. Therefore, Greek Orthodox Easter and - derived from that - Holy Week and Pentecost usually fall one or two weeks later than their Roman Catholic and Protestant counterparts, but they do sometimes coincide (as will be the case for 2010, 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2025).
* [[Corfu]] — large island with many attractions
* [[Delphi]] — site of the famous oracle of Apollo, major archeological site
* [[Meteora]] — hilltop breathtaking scenery of rocks and old byzantine monasteries
* [[Ithaca_(Greece)|Ithaca]] — famous home of Odysseus
* [[Mount Athos]] — semi-independent ecclesiastical republic
===By plane===
Athens' '''Elefthérios Venizélos International Airport''' [] located , near the Athens suburb of Spáta , is the country's largest, busiest airport and main hub, handling over 15 million passengers annually as of 2006. Other major international airports in terms of passenger traffic are, in order of passengers served per year, Heraklion (Nikos Kazantzákis Int'l), Thessaloniki (Makedonia Int'l), Rhodes (Diagóras), and Corfu (Ioánnis Kapodístrias).
Athens and Thessaloníki handle the bulk of scheduled international flights. However, during tourism season, several charter and planned low-budget flights arrive daily from many European cities to many of the islands and smaller cities on the mainland.
===By train===
'''Due to the bad economic situation Greek railways has suspended all international trains since 13th 13 February 2011.'''
The state train company is Trainose (Τραινοσέ) [].
Automobile rental agencies are present throughout the country, especially in major cities and in highly touristed areas. The automobiles offered are overwhelmingly manual transmission; automatics do exist, but it is advised to reserve one in advance. Gasoline/petrol prices are steep, but relatively inexpensive in comparison with many other EU countries. Some automobile rental agencies and insurance policies do not allow taking the car out of the country.
Drivers who do not hold an EU driver's certificate must carry a an international driver's permit obtained in their home country. This may not be required when renting a car, but will certainly be required if the driver is involved in an accident or pulled over by the police for a traffic citation. Insurance policies may be void if the driver is a non-EU driver without an international permit.
For those used to driving in North America, driving in Greece can be a challenge. To them Greek (and other European) drivers might appear agressiveaggressive. Also the nation's topographic reality poses challenges by forcing many narrow roads in mountainous regions to take several twists and turns. Roads in towns and villages can be surprisingly narrow as well. If cars meet on a narrow stretch of road it is customary for one driver to find a spot to pull over and let the other driver pass. At times, one driver will need to back up for the other. Adherence to this practice is expected and failure to do so will bring the ire of your fellow drivers. Drive slowly through villages and small towns, because there are often pedestrians in the roadway. Another major difference between driving in North America and Greece is the range of speeds at which vehicles travel, particularly on the highways. While speed limits are as high as 120 kph (75 mph), some vehicles will be traveling as slowly as 60 kph (40 mph). Other vehicles will travel at speeds well in excess of the posted limits and can come up from behind very quickly.
===By ferry===
The frequency, reliability and availability of Greek ferries [,,4530565,00.html]are largely dependent upon the time of year. For instance, during the winter off-season (January to March), the weather on the Aegean can be extremely rough and boats are often kept in port for days at a time. This type of delay is extremely unpredictable (it is not a decision of the ferry companies, but rather, that of the port authority) and determining when a harbored boat will actually set sail is near impossible. Therefore, travellers in off-season should build some flexibilty flexibility into their schedule and not plan on departing an island in the morning and catching a flight home in the afternoon. On the opposite end of the spectrum, ferries in August fill up due to the National Holiday (Aug 15), so travelers should plan ahead.
As for '''routes,''' during high-season there are extensive connections from Athens and quite a few in-between islands for "hopping." Again, in the winter, some of these ferries run once, maybe twice a week.
[[Greek phrasebook|Greek]] is the national official language and is the native tongue of the vast majority of the population, but the English speaking visitor will encounter no significant language problem. English is the most widely studied and understood of foreign languages language in Greece, followed by [[French phrasebook|French]], [[Italian phrasebook|Italian]], and [[German phrasebook|German]]. Basic knowledge of English can be expected from almost all personnel in the tourism industry and public transport services, as well as most Greeks under the age of 40. However, learning a few Greek terms, such as "hello" and "thank you" will be warmly received.
The Latin and Cyrillic alphabets were derived from the the Greek alphabet and about half of Greek letters look like their Latin counterparts, and most Greek letters resembles resemble their Cyrillic counterparts. With a bit of study it's not ''too'' hard to decipher written names, and common terms such as "hotel", "cafeteria", etc. And you'll find that place names on road signs throughout the country are often transliterated into Latin letters (some signs, especially on the newer roads, are even outright translated into English).
There is a variety of activities that someone can follow in Greece. One of the most unique that also started to become more and more well known is, during the trip from Athens to Thessaloniki, a stop for few days at '''Mount Olympus''', the mythic palace of the 12 Gods of the Greek Mythology.
If you travel on Greece's mainland then don't forget to visit[[ Meteora]]. This unique place offers exceptional connectivity and relative short distances to most of Greece’s major population centers, touristic places and transportation hubs. It’s the ideal place to be used as a point of origin for daily tours and excursions to ancient Macedonian sites, Olympus mountain, Pelion, [[Skiathos]], [[Delphi]] and many other places. All those sites are no more than 2 to 3 hours driving distance from Kalambaka town. Enjoy staying in Meteora, taste exceptional local cuisine and seize the chance to explore mainland Greece doing lot's of outdoor activities.
'''A list of things to do in Meteora, Greece:'''
* <do name="Advanced Rock Climbing" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
* <do name="Archery and Rappel" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
* <do name="Canoe-Kayak on Plastira Lake" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
* <do name="Rafting Adventure" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
* <do name="Hiking Tour of Aspropotamos" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
* <do name="Hiking Tour of Great Meteoro and Varlaam Monastery" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
* <do name="4x4 off Pindos Road Tour" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
* <do name="Skiathos Daily Cruise" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
* <do name="Meteora Half-Day Tour" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
* <do name="Delphi and Thermopilae Day Trip" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></do>
*<do name="Wildlife Sense" alt="" address="Kefalonia" directions="" phone="+30 26710 81285" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Wildlife Sense Kefalonia is a volunteer organization that collaborates with local authorities and environmental organizations to protect endangered plants and animals while promoting scientific research and raising public awareness. </do>
The cuisine in Greece can be radically different from what is offered in Greek restaurants around the world. Greek restaurants abroad tend to cater more to ''customer expectations'' rather than offer a truly authentic Greek dining experience. One example is the famous ''gyros'' (yee-ros), a common item on Greek menus outside Greece. While it ''is'' a popular fast-food item in Greece today, it is actually a relatively recent foreign import (adapted from the Turkish ''döner kebap'') and is considered by Greeks as junk food. It is never served in the home and is generally not found on the menus of non-fast-food restaurants.
Eating out is Greece's national passtime pastime and a rewarding experience for visitors; however, not knowing where to go or what to do can dampen the experience. In the past, restaurants that catered mostly to tourists were ''generally'' disappointing. Thankfully, the nation's restaurant industry has grown in sophistication over the past decade, and it is now possible to find excellent restaurants in highly-touristed areas, particularly areas that are popular with ''Greek'' tourists as well. Thus, it remains a good idea to dine where ''Greeks'' dine (Go search them at the times greeks dine: 21:00-23:00). The best restaurants will offer not only authentic traditional Greek cuisine (along with regional specialitiesspecialties) but Greece's latest culinary trends as well.A good sign for of authenticity is when you get a small free desert dessert when you ask for the bill. Bad signs are when deserts desserts are listed on the menue, and also when the waiter is taking your plates away while you are still sitting at the table (traditionally everything is left on the table until the customer is gone, even if there is hardly any space left).
Restaurants serving international cuisine have also made a presence in the country, offering various options such as Chinese, French, Italian, and international contemporary.
===Cover fee===
It's common to charge a cover fee in cafes officially (i.e. stating it in a receipt), such as €0.30 to €2 per person, but if it's tending towards €2 you should really consider eating somewhere else.
Those wishing to partake of alcoholic beverages in Greece would be well advised to stick to the traditional domestic Greek products discussed below, which are freely available, mostly cheap by European standards, and usually of good quality. Any imported (i.e. non-Greek) alcoholic beverages are likely to be very expensive if genuine, and if cheap may well be "bomba," a locally distilled alcohol with flavorings which sometimes, especially in island bars catering to young people, masquerades as whiskey, gin, etc. If you drink it, you'll be very sorry. Bomba does exist but in 30 years of drinking in Greece I have never been served any. Drink in respectable places where you can see the bartender mix your drink.
To be able to purchase alcohol in Greece you must be 17, but there is no legal drinking age. IDing is infrequent, especially in venues that sell food. (many independant independent fast food outlets will serve alcohol)
Greece, an ancient wine producing country, offer offers a wide variety of local wines, from indigenous and imported grape varieties, including fortified and even sparkling wines. Greek wines are generally not available on the international market, as production is relatively small, costs are quite high and little remains for export. However, in the past decade Greek wines have won many international prizes, with the rise of a new generation of wineries. Exports are rising as well.
Wine (''Krasi'': κρασι / ''oenos'': οίνος) is most Greeks' drink of choice.
Even if beer (''bira'': μπύρα) is consumed all around the country, don't come to Greece for the beer. The only local varieties widely available are Mythos and Alpha, but Greeks drink mostly Northern European beers produced under license in Greece like Heineken and Amstel. Heineken is affectionally affectionately known as "green"; order it by saying "Mia Prasini."
On the quality front, there is also a microbrewery/restaurant called Craft (2 litre jug also available in large supermarkets), and new organic beer producers like Piraiki Zythopoiia.
The most famous indigenous Greek liquor is '''ouzo''' (ούζο), an anise-flavored strong spirit (37.5%), which is transparent by itself but turns milky white when mixed with water. Mainlanders do not drink ouzo with ice, but tourists and Greek islanders generally do. A 200 mL bottle can be under &euro;2 in supermarkets and rarely goes above &euro;8 even in expensive restaurants. [[Mytilene]] (Lesbos) is particularly famous for its ouzo. A few to try are "Mini" and "Number 12," two of the most popular made in a middle-of-the-road style, "Sans Rival," one of the most strongly anise-flavored ones, "Arvanitis," much lighter, and the potent "Barba Yianni" and "Aphrodite," more expensive and much appreciated by connoisseurs.
'''Raki''' or '''tsikoudia''' is the Greek equivalent of the Italian ''grappa'', produced by boiling the remainings remains of the grapes after the wine has been squeezed off. It is quite strong (35-40% of alcohol) and in the summer months it is served cold. It costs very little when one buys it in supermarkets or village stores. The raki producing process has become a male event, as usually men are gathering to produce the raki and get drunk by constantly trying the raki as it comes out warm from the distillery. One raki distillery in working order is exhibited in Ippikos Omilos Irakleiou in [[Heraklion]], but they can be found in most large villages. In northern Greece it is also called ''tsipouro'' (τσίπουρο). In Crete, raki is traditionally considered an after-dinner drink and is often served with fruit as dessert.
It should be noted that in Greece hotels, especially in the islands but also even in Athens and other big cities, tend to be '''simple establishments.''' Rooms are typically small, and bathrooms smaller, with the shower often a hand-held sprayer; if there is a bath-tub, it's often a sit-bath. Sometimes in the most basic places shower curtains are lacking. Closets are often inadequate, and sometimes there is only a wardrobe. On the plus side, such hotels typically have a balcony (though sometimes tiny) or veranda, either private or a large one shared by all the rooms (but these are usually spacious enough not to feel cramped.) Standards of cleanliness are usually good, even in the simpler places. Those who want more luxurious accommodation can usually find it in cities and on the more popular islands but should check the hotel's quality in reliable sources to be sure of what they're getting.
Most Greek hotels now, even the smaller ones, have '''web siteswebsites''' and will take bookings by email, though sometimes fax is a more reliable way to communicate. There are also numerous Greek and international hotel booking services which will make bookings, and sometimes these are cheaper, or have rooms available when the hotel itself says it's sold out. If you're not really particular about choosing a hotel, you can usually find a place on a walk-in basis without too much trouble on all but the most crowded islands, where rooms can be difficult to find at the peak of the season, and even in the shoulder season on weekends and major holidays. If you do get stuck for a room, try a local travel agency (preferably one endorsed by a reputable guidebook) or alternatively, ask at a cafe whether the owner knows of any rooms for rent; often they do.
On some islands, though this varies from place to place, the owners of accommodations will '''meet arriving ferries''' to offer rooms. Often they'll have a van there to transport you from the port, and will have brochures to show you. These places are perfectly legitimate, they're sometimes among the best value places. You can negotiate prices, especially when there are a lot of them trying to fill their rooms, and prices in the range of 20-25 EUR for a room or even a studio is not uncommon in mid-season. BUT they could be anywhere from a few steps away from the port to a mile out of town, so before accepting such an offer it's best to be sure you get a good idea of its location.
Violent crime and theft rates are very low; public disorder is rare, and public drunkenness is generally frowned upon. Visitors should rest assured that this is an extremely safe and friendly destination, but it is always advisable for foreign tourists to exercise basic precautionary measures just as they would at home. There has recently been a spike in theft (at least a perceived one), which some locals will not hesitate to blame on the influx of immigrants.
The places where the visitor is most likely to encounter crime and theft are probably the handful of overcrowded, and overheated, tourist resorts thronged with younger foreigners attracted by cheap flights, cheap rooms, and cheap booze. The more notorious of such places include [[Faliraki]] in [[Rhodes]] (calmed down since a new tough mayor was elected), [[Kavos]] in [[Corfu]], [[Malia]] (currently the "hottest" such destination) on [[Crete]], and [[Ios]] (though this last is said to have quieted down a bit recently.) Most visitors to these places return home unmolested, but there have been increasing reports from them of theft, public indecency, sexual assault, and alcohol-fueled violence; both the perpetrators as well as the and victims are usually young foreigners, though sometimes locals are involved. Authorities have stepped up police presence in such areas to crack down on these activities. Still, visitors to these places would do well to avoid anything that looks like trouble, especially late at night, and to remember that their own overindulgence in alcohol increases their chance of attracting trouble themselves.
Greece also has very strict laws concerning the export of antiquities, which can include not only ancient objects but also coins, icons, folk art, and random pieces of stone from archeological sites. Before buying anything which could conceivably be considered an antiquity, you should become familiar with the current laws regarding what can be taken out of the country. ShortlyBriefly, antiquities are considered all objects made before 1830 are considered antiquities and all declared are protected by the Ministry thereafter. Do not ever think to export or buy any piece of archeological value because it will be either be a fake or you will be arrested promptly at the airport for trafficking of goods of archeological value.
The greatest danger to travelers in Greece is probably in the simple process of crossing the street: traffic can be bad even in smaller towns and horrendous in Athens and other Greek cities, and accident rates are high. Caution should be exercised by pedestrians, even when crossing with a walk light. Likewise, 1400 people are killed on Greek roads each year - a statistic that is one of the highest in both the European Union and the world. Most of this is attributed to aggressive driving habits. Drivers often weave between lane to lane of traffic to waste less time. Stay safe.
==Stay healthy==
A network of '''helicopter ambulances''' serves the islands, transporting patients who need immediate attention to the nearest island or city with a major hospital.
The country's '''pharmacies''' and '''medications''' are of top quality, and pharmacists are highly trained experts in their field. Many medications that can only be acquired by prescription in the US and UK, can be purchased without a prescription in Greece. When sick with a simple, common illness, a visit to the pharmacist will provide you with the medication you need. If you are looking for a specific medication, be sure to know its generic name, as brand names might be different. Most pharmacies close on Sundays, but a sign will be posted on the door indicating the nearest pharmacies that are open.
Healthcare provision is different to Anglosphere nations in that many specialists are located in the community. GPs are replaced by community pathologists. Hotels and tourist agencies can provide advise advice on where to go if you are ill.
===Sexually Transmitted Infections===
'''Sexually transmitted infections''' (STIs) exist in Greece as elsewhere, and travelers who may engage in sexual activity while visiting Greece should remember that even if one is on vacation and one's sexual partner is also a traveler, perhaps from one's own country, neither of these facts suspend the laws of biology. According to recent reports in the Greek and British media, unprotected sex among visitors to Greece, with a consequent rise in STIs and unplanned pregnancies, is especially common at the party resorts favored by younger people, such as [[Ios]], [[Laganas]], [[Malia]], [[Kavos]], and [[Faliraki]]. Condoms are available at any pharmacy and at many kiosks.
===Natural Dangers===
In late spring and summer, the government runs public service announcements on television reminding Greeks to wear their '''sunblock''' at the beach. The Mediterranean sun tends to get quite strong, and can burn skin that has not been exposed to the sun for a long time. Any ''excessive'' daily sun exposure can also cause long-term damage to skin. Sunblock and sunscreen are widely available throughout Greece at supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, and special stores selling beach-related items, though they tend to be expensive, and the higher SPF factor blocks can be hard to find.
During the hottest months, while visiting archaeological sites, wear tank tops, carry umbrellas, and carry water. Daily high temperatures stay at about 95-100 F100°F (35-38°C). The sun is merciless. Athens in In recent years Athens has been subject to periodic summer heat waves where the temperature can reach above 100 F.100°F (38°C), posing a risk of respiratory problems and heat stroke for some people. Be aware that many islands, especially in the [[Cyclades]], have very little shade to ameliorate the summer heat; if hiking around such islands, including going by foot to distant beaches, it's especially important in hot weather to wear a hat and sunscreen, to take water, and to avoid being caught walking during the hottest part of the day.
It's inadvisable to go '''hiking cross country''' in Greece alone: even in popular places, the countryside can be surprisingly deserted, and if you get in trouble while you're out of sight of any houses or roads, it could be a long time before anyone notices you.
'''Lifeguards''' are rare at Greek beaches, though most of them where people congregate to swim are locally considered safe. Some beaches have shallow water a long way from the shore, ; others suddenly shelve steeply. If in doubt about safe swimming conditions, ask locally.
There are no '''required inoculations''' for Greece and the '''water''' is almost everywhere safe (see above under Drink.) Look for 'Blue Flags' at beaches for the highest quality water (which tend to also have good sand and facilities)
As Greece is part of '''Southern Europe''', it is almost exclusively considered and described by Greeks and foreigners alike as a Southern European country anyway.
The '''Macedonian issue''' is considered a very sensitive topic: Greeks consider that the name "Macedonia" is stolen from them and used by Tito's partisans in southern Yugoslavia to address the country created after World War II as a new constituent republic within Yugoslavia by Tito. The Greeks refer to it as "FYRoM" or the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" when dealing with foreigners and as Skopia (The Greek version of the Macedonian capital Skopje) among themselves.
Also, be very careful when talking about '''Ancient Greece''' and the '''Byzantine Empire,''' which are the symbols of their national pride and splendor; however,most will say the polar opposite when talking about the military junta of the late 1960s-mid 1970s. Many Greeks-- not just Communists and other left-wing groups-- have suffered severe repression and view its leaders with utter resentment. Many Greeks take pride of their '''ancient history''', since '''Ancient Greece''' is a well known civilization to first develop the concept of democracy and western philosophy, as well as its art, architecture, literature, theater and sciences which is regarded as the cradle of European civilization.
===Rude gestures===
To "swear" at someone using their hands, Greeks put out their entire hand, palm open, five fingers extended out, like signalling someone to stop. This is called "''mountza''". Sometimes they will do this by saying "na" (''here'') as well. It is basically telling someone to screw off or that they did something totally ridiculous. "''Mountza''" is known to come from a gesture used in the Byzantine era, where the guilty person were applied with ash on his/her face by the judge's hand, in order to handto be ridiculed. Be careful when refusing something in Greece: when refusing the offer of a drink, it's best to put your palm over your glass (or any other refusing gesture that limits the showing of the palm). The ubiqutous ubiquitous middle finger salute will also be understood.
There is some regional variation on the use of the 'okay' sign (thumb and index finger in a circle, the 3 other fingers up), as is signalling to a waiter by miming signing a receipt.
The cheapest way to call someone abroad is – and this is really cheap - – is to use a pre-paid calling card and call from a land line anywhere (also from your hotel room). Pre-paid calling cards are sold in many shops and kiosks. The calling card is not much more than a phone number and a pin code, which you dial prior to dialing the usual phone number. If you want to call internationally , ask for a an ''international'' calling card. For one euro you can call for about 45 minutes, so buy a card in the cheapest value (which is about 3 euros). Calling someone for half an hour is cheaper than sending one email from an internet café. Cards expire usually 90 days after first use.You can also use this pre-paid calling card also at public phone boxes, which are widely available.
Internet access is widely available.

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