Greece - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
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Business Customs

Face-to-face contact is very important in Greece and a physical business presence in the country is often essential to building relationships. Physical presence often is an indicator of commitment whether the presence be through a representative or through one’s own office.

Travel Advisory

Current travel advisory information is available on several websites including: the Embassy website, the State Department website, and CDC website among other government sites.

Strikes and demonstrations are common throughout Greece. They are usually peaceful but can escalate quickly. U.S. travelers are cautioned to avoid these types of gatherings and to check the U.S. Embassy’s website for Alerts and Messages.

Visa requirements: U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s):  State Department Visa Website. For U.S. citizens, a visa is required for stays in Greece over 90 days or if you are traveling on an official or diplomatic passport.  Passports must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. Greek nationals seeking visas to enter the United States should review guidelines from the following websites to determine the appropriate visa category based on their nature of travel. Based on the visa category, the waiting time and requirements will vary. Visa applicants should go to the following link: Consular Section – U.S. Embassy Athens, Greece


The unit of currency is the Euro (€). ATMs exist in most parts of the city. It is advisable to use the main banks ATMs and not non-brand ones.

Telecommunications/Electronics:  OTE/Cosmote is the primary service provider throughout Greece, but other major providers include Vodafone and Nova. The country code for Greece is 30. Most travelers opt for pre-paid sim cards or use roaming plans after confirming charges with their U.S. based providers. International calls can be made by calling cards, and other data-based services. The cellular network throughout Greece is excellent. Many U.S. cell phones do not work in Greece, but a tri-band cell phone GSM cell phones may be rented or purchased.  There are three mobile operators - Cosmote, Vodafone, and Nova - that offer cellular services in Greece. Internet use in Greece is steadily growing. In larger cities, high-speed Internet access is available, and an increasing number of businesses have wireless Internet service. There are few Internet Cafés in large cities, and most cafeterias and central areas in large cities offer wireless Internet service free of charge.


Air:  The Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (AIA) is approximately 28 km outside of Athens and is modern and efficient. Over 75 airlines use AIA. Transportation to and from AIA is excellent. The airport is easily accessible by auto, taxi, and public transportation (Metro, bus, and train). In regular traffic, it is about a 40-minute ride from AIA to central Athens by vehicle or taxi.

Automobiles:  There are many car rental agencies at the airport and throughout Athens. Driving in Athens can be difficult due to crowded streets and traffic. Parking can also be difficult to find. Road accident death rates in Greece are among the highest in the EU. Main streets and highways throughout Greece are paved, while secondary roads are generally not. Most roads are two-lanes, except the Attiki Odos and parts of the Ethniki Odos, which have four lanes. The road network is decent with access throughout the country.

Taxis: Taxis and ride-sharing platforms are plentiful throughout Athens. Taxi drivers are required to use a meter and provide a printed receipt. In the recent days, taxi apps have become popular and include FreeNow (the most popular in Athens) and Taxiplon. Many prefer the apps as the price is displayed at the time of booking, and you can pay in cash or by credit card.

Rail:  The Hellenic Railway Organization (HRO) is reliable, but slow compared to other forms of travel.  Check information regarding passenger transportation services and for on-line booking.

Bus/Tram/Trolley: These are common and inexpensive means of transportation in larger cities in Greece.  The network, especially in Athens, is extensive and the service is generally good. For more information, please visit OASA’s website.

Athens Metro:  The Athens Metro is a reliable, safe, and inexpensive transportation method to use within Athens or to and from the Athens Airport.  Check information of fares, time schedules, and maps at

Ferries:  Ferries are the most common means of transportation to the islands.  Fares vary, and one may take a fast or slow ferry.

Ships:  The largest ports are Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Patras, Chania, and Volos.  Cargo services from the United States are provided by Zim Lines, Maersk Lines, MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company), Hapag-Lloyd, and CMA CGM.

Language: Greek is the official language spoken.  However, language is not a barrier to conducting business because a high percentage of Greek businesspersons and government officials speak English.


: Medical facilities are adequate, and some, particularly the private clinics and hospitals in Athens and Thessaloniki, are quite good.  Some private hospitals have affiliations with U.S. facilities, and generally their staff doctors have been trained in the United States or Europe. Public medical clinics, especially on the islands, may lack resources.  Care can be inadequate by U.S. standards, and often, little English is spoken.  Many patients - Greeks and visitors alike - are transferred from the provinces and islands to Athens’ hospitals for more sophisticated care.  Others may choose to transfer from a public to a private hospital within Athens or Thessaloniki.  U.S. citizens choosing to do so would arrange for an ambulance belonging to the private hospital to transport them from the public hospital to the private one.  The cost of the ambulance for this transfer, as well as all expenses in a private hospital, must be borne by the patient.  Private hospitals will usually demand proof of adequate insurance or cash before admitting a patient. Please ensure that you have an adequate supply of your prescription medications when travelling to Greece as you may not be able to find a local equivalent in the pharmacies.

Local time, business hours, and holidays

The time in Athens is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.  Greece is a member of the EU and observes Daylight Savings Time. Greek business hours vary, and the following listing approximates business hours in major urban areas:

Private sector office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (with a one-hour lunch).

Manufacturing establishments operate from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Banking hours are 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays.  Several of the larger banks (mainly located at Syntagma Square and in The Mall Athens), are open on Saturday mornings. Government hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Nevertheless, many businesses, especially small and medium-sized stores, keep more traditional Greek office hours and are generally open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday through Saturday and again, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.  Many shops keep late shopping hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Additionally, there are supermarket chains, like OK Market and 362 that are open 7 days a week from 08:00 through 12:00 a.m.


New Year’s Day               January 1

Epiphany                          January 6

Kathari Deftera                February 27

Independence Day           March    25

Good Friday                     April      14

Holy Saturday                  April      15

Easter Sunday                  April      16

Easter Monday                 April    17

May Day                           May       1            

Holy Spirit                        June       5            

Assumption Day              August   15

OXI Day                           October 28

Christmas Eve                  December 24

Christmas Day                 December 25

Boxing Day                       December 26

New Year’s Eve                December 31

The Greek business community traditionally observes a long, uninterrupted summer hiatus in August. Gathering even basic business information and arranging appointments are difficult during this period. U.S. business visitors are advised to avoid Greece for business purposes during the summer, particularly during August.

Two other periods in which U.S. business visitors may face challenges would be the Christmas holidays from December 20 through January 6 and the Easter Holidays, starting with Holy Week and ending the week after Easter, i.e., April 10 - 21, 2023. This is because Greeks usually travel to their villages to celebrate Easter with families and friends.

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings

If you enter Greece by air and/or sea, items valued at euro €430 or less are duty-free.  The monetary threshold for travelers of all other transport means has decreased to euro €300. The duty-free amount is reduced to euro €150 for travelers under 15 years of age, regardless of the mode of transportation they are using. The quantitative limits of tax-exempted tobacco products include as many as 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250 grams of smoking tobacco, or a proportional combination of these different products. The quantitative limits of tax-exempted alcoholic beverages include 4L of wine, 16L of beer, 1L of spirits over 22% volume (i.e., whisky, vodka, etc.), or 2L of alcoholic beverages less than 22% volume (i.e., sparkling wines, liqueur wines, aperitifs, etc.). Medications for the personal needs of the traveler are also tax-exempt.  One each of the following articles may also be brought in duty-free for the traveler’s personal use, provided that the articles are re-exported upon departure: still and movie cameras, with suitable film; binoculars; portable radios; record players; typewriters; CD players; and computer laptops.

Travelers must obtain special permission from Greek police authorities before bringing firearms and ammunition into the country. Also travelers are prohibited from bringing flower bulbs, plants, and fresh fruit into Greece.  Foreigners residing permanently in Greece may import used personal effects duty-free.

Foreign currency in any amount may be imported into Greece freely. However, in accordance with 1889/2005 (L 309/9/25.11.2005) any person entering or leaving the EU and carrying cash of a value equal to or greater than Euro €10,000 must state this sum to the competent authorities of the Member States. So, travelers carrying bank notes exceeding the equivalent of euro €10,000 must make a declaration upon entry at the Greek customs office.  For more information and/or questions please refer to Q&As on EU’s rules on cash controls. Though the export of foreign exchange was liberalized in May 1994, Greek and foreign travelers must declare any amount exceeding the equivalent of euro €2,000 upon departure. Check for more information on temporary entry.