Our Greek office

Inter Relocation Group
Matrix Relocations

26, Skoufa Street
106 73 Athens
Greece(Group Member)

Sergios Michos – Operations Manager
Tel.: +30 211 800 0660
Mobile: +30 694 808 5903
Email: [email protected]
Responsible for: Operations in Greece

Greece Relocation Guide

Official Name: Hellenic Republic
Government type: Presidential Parliamentary Democracy
Capital: Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Larissa, Volos, Rhodes, Ioannina, Chania
Total Area: 131,990 km²
Population: 11,127,669 (current year 2015)
GDP Per Capita (PPP): US$ 22,886 (2015 estimate)

Official languages: Greek 100%
Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Country code: The international calling code of Greece +30
Currency: EURO (€)
Voltage: 220 -240 Volts, 50 HZ, plugs are the standard continental (DIN) type with two round pins
Member of EU: Yes
Member of NATO: Yes
Climate: Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers
Time: Greece is in the GMT+2 time zone

Official Name: Hellenic Republic
Government type: Presidential Parliamentary Democracy
Capital: Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Larissa, Volos, Rhodes, Ioannina, Chania
Total Area: 131,990 km²
Population: 11,127,669 (current year 2015)
GDP Per Capita (PPP): US$ 22,886 (2015 estimate)

Official languages: Greek 100%
Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Country code: The international calling code of Greece +30
Currency: EURO (€)
Voltage: 220 -240 Volts, 50 HZ, plugs are the standard continental (DIN) type with two round pins
Member of EU: Yes
Member of NATO: Yes
Climate: Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers
Time: Greece is in the GMT+2 time zone

Greece also known as Hellas and officially the Hellenic Republic is a country in southeastern Europe.
Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of ancient Greece, generally considered the cradle of Western civilization. As such, it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, university education, coinage, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. This legacy is partly reflected in the seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Greece, ranking Greece 7th in Europe and 13th in the world. The Modern Greek state was established in 1830, following the Greek War of Independence.

A developed country with an advanced high-income economy and very high standards of living, Greece has been a member of what is now the European Union since 1981 and the eurozone since 2001, NATO since 1952, and the European Space Agency since 2005. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
Athens is the capital and the largest city in the country (its urban area also including Piraeus).

Greece has land borders with Albania, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the twelfth longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km (8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands (approximately 1,400, of which 227 are inhabited), including Crete, the Dodecanese, the Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands among others. Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest at 2,917 m (9,570 ft).

Greece consists of a mountainous, peninsular mainland jutting out into the sea at the southern end of the Balkans, ending at the Peloponnese peninsula (separated from the mainland by the canal of the Isthmus of Corinth). Due to its highly indented coastline and numerous islands, Greece has the twelfth-longest coastline in the world with13,676 km (8,498 mi), its land boundary is 1,160 km (721 mi). Greece features a vast number of islands, between 1,200 and 6,000, depending on the definition, 227 of which are inhabited.

The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters: The Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens, the Cyclades, a large but dense collection occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea, the North Aegean islands, a loose grouping off the west coast of Turkey, the Dodecanese, another loose collection in the southeast between Crete and Turkey, the Sporades, a small tight group off the coast of Euboea, and the Ionian Islands, located to the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea.

Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains or hills, making the country one of the most mountainous in Europe. Mount Olympus, the mythical abode of the Greek Gods, culminates at Mytikas peak 2,917 m (9,570 ft), the highest in the country. Western Greece contains a number of lakes and wetlands and is dominated by the Pindus mountain range. The Pindus, a continuation of the Dinaric Alps, reaches a maximum elevation of 2,637 m (8,652 ft) at Mt. Smolikas (the second-highest in Greece) and historically has been a significant barrier to east-west travel.

Phytogeographically, Greece belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the East Mediterranean province of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and the European Environment Agency, the territory of Greece can be subdivided into six ecoregions: the Illyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed forests, Balkan mixed forests, Rhodope montane mixed forests, Aegean and Western Turkey sclerophyllous and mixed forests and Crete Mediterranean forests.

The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, with its beginnings in the Mycenaean and Minoan Civilizations, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, the Hellenistic Period, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its Greek Eastern successor the Byzantine Empire. The Ottoman Empire too had a significant influence on Greek culture, but the Greek War of Independence is credited with revitalizing Greece and giving birth to a single entity of its multi-faceted culture throughout the ages.

Most western philosophical traditions began in ancient Greece in the 6th century BC. The first philosophers are called “Presocratics” which designates that they came before Socrates. The Presocratics were from the western or the eastern colonies of Greece and only fragments of the original writings of the presocratics survive, in some cases merely a single sentence.

A new period of philosophy started with Socrates. Like the Sophists, he rejected entirely the physical speculations in which his predecessors had indulged, and made the thoughts and opinions of people his starting-point. Aspects of Socrates were first united from Plato, who also combined with them many of the principles established by earlier philosophers, and developed the whole of this material into the unity of a comprehensive system.

Aristotle of Stagira, the most important disciple of Plato, shared with his teacher the title of the greatest philosopher of antiquity but while Plato had sought to elucidate and explain things from the supra-sensual standpoint of the forms, his pupil preferred to start from the facts given us by experience. Except from these three most significant Greek philosophers other known schools of Greek philosophy from other founders during ancient times were Stoicism, epicureanism, Skepticism and Neoplatonism.

The timeline of the Greek literature can be separated into three big periods: the ancient, the Byzantine and the modern Greek literature.
At the beginning of Greek literature stand the two monumental works of Homer: the Iliad and the Odyssey. Though dates of composition vary, these works were fixed around 800 BC or after. In the classical period many of the genres of western literature became more prominent. Lyrical poetry, odes, pastorals, elegies, epigrams; dramatic presentations of comedy and tragedy; historiography, rhetorical treatises, philosophical dialectics, and philosophical treatises all arose in this period. The two major lyrical poets were Sappho and Pindar. The Classical era also saw the dawn of drama.

Of the hundreds of tragedies written and performed during the classical age, only a limited number of plays by three authors have survived: those of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The surviving plays by Aristophanes are also a treasure trove of comic presentation, while Herodotus and Thucydides are two of the most influential historians in this period. The greatest prose achievement of the 4th century was in philosophy with the works of the three great philosophers.
Byzantine literature refers to literature of the Byzantine Empire written in Atticizing, Medieval and early Modern Greek, and it is the expression of the intellectual life of the Byzantine Greeks during the Christian Middle Ages.

Modern Greek literature refers to literature written in common Modern Greek, emerging from late Byzantine times in the 11th century AD. The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is undoubtedly the masterpiece of this period of Greek literature. It is a verse romance written around 1600 by Vitsentzos Kornaros(1553–1613). Later, during the period of Greek enlightenment (Diafotismos), writers such as Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios will prepare with their works the Greek Revolution (1821–1830). Many writers, poets and novelists represent contemporary Greek literature.

Greek cuisine is as an example of the healthy Mediterranean diet (Cretan diet). Greek cuisine incorporates fresh ingredients into a variety of local dishes such as moussaka, stifado, Greek Salad and the world famous Souvlaki. Some dishes can be traced back to ancient Greece likes skordalia and pasteli (candy bar with sesame seeds baked with honey). Throughout Greece people often enjoy eating from small dishes such as meze with various dips such as tzatziki, grilled octopus and small fish, feta cheese, dolmades(rice, currants and pine kernels wrapped in vine leaves), various pulses, olives and cheese. Olive oil is added to almost every dish.

Sweet desserts such as galaktoboureko, and drinks such as ouzo, metaxa and a variety of wines including retsina. Greek cuisine differs widely from different parts of the mainland and from island to island. It uses some flavorings more often than other Mediterranean cuisines: oregano, mint, garlic, onion, dill and bay laurel leaves.

Greek vocal music extends far back into Ancient times where mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual reasons. Instruments during that period included the double-reed aulos and the plucked string instrument, the lyre, especially the special kind called a kithara. Music played an important role in the education system during ancient times. Boys were taught music from the age of six. Later influences from the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe, and the Byzantine Empire changed Greek music.

EU nationals, Schengen Area nationals, USA and Canadian nationals enter the country without a visa. For other countries please, check the current travel regime that applies to you with the Greek embassy/consulate in your country.

Foreigners must obtain a work permit and a residence permit. They must also be registered with the tax office.

The currency in Greece is the Euro. A Euro consists of 100 cents. Exchange bureaus and banks are plentiful and generally offer fair rates. Banking hours are 8:00 AM to 14:30 PM on Mondays to Thursdays, and from 8.00 AM TO 14.00 PM on Fridays, although hours may vary between areas.

Cashpoints, or ATMs, are widely available in most areas of Greece. Many of them, especially in larger cities, have options available for doing one’s transactions in English. In more remote areas, however, ATMs are more likely to only use Greek. Given that the Greek alphabet is used, expats would use numeric, four digit PIN numbers in Greece.

Paying with credit cards is fairly easy, and most of the stores accept them. The most commonly accepted cards are MasterCard and Visa, while Diner’s Club and American Express are less likely to be accepted.  For the most part, there should be no issues when using cards with either chip or a magnetic strip.

Accommodation is mostly in apartment buildings. Detached and semi-detached houses are also available, mainly in the suburbs. Commuting means 25 – 30 kilometers from suburbia to downtown. Rents are moderate, but increasing. The highest are in the capital city of Athens and surrounding suburbs, especially the northern and south-eastern. Furnished and unfurnished flats are available both for short and long term. Bear in mind that legal proceedings and liabilities may differ from those at home. You should take independent legal advice when signing contracts and buying real estate.

Standard Tenancy: Minimum 24 months
Security Deposit: Yes, usually equivalent to 2 months
Holding Deposit: Usually not required
Real Estate Commission: Commission is paid by the landlord and the tenant to the letting agent
Utilities: Tenants responsibility, usually not included within rent

Traffic drives 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.

The Greek healthcare system is universal and is ranked as one of the best in the world. In a 2000 World Health Organization report it was ranked 14th in the overall assessment and 11th at quality of service, surpassing countries such as the United Kingdom (18th) and Germany (25th). In 2010, there were 138 hospitals with 31,000 beds in the country, but on 1 July 2011, the Ministry for Health and Social Solidarity announced its plans to shorten the number to 77 hospitals with 36,035 beds, as a necessary reform to reduce expenses and further enhance healthcare standards. Greece’s healthcare expenditures as a percentage of GDP were 9.6% in 2007 according to a 2011 OECD report, just above the OECD average of 9.5%. The country has the largest number of doctors-to-population ratio of any OECD country.

Life expectancy in Greece is 80.3 years, above the OECD average of 79.5 and among the highest in the world. The country’s obesity rate is 18.1%, which is above the OECD average of 15.1% but considerably below the American rate of 27.7%. In 2008, Greece had the highest rate of perceived good health in the OECD, at 98.5%. Infant mortality is one of the lowest in the developed world with a rate of 3.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Compulsory education in Greece comprises primary schools and gymnasium. Nursery schools are popular but not compulsory. Kindergartens are now compulsory for any child above 4 years of age. Children start primary school aged 6 and remain there for six years. Attendance at gymnasia starts at age 12 and last for three years.

Greece’s post-compulsory secondary education consists of two school types: unified upper secondary schools and technical–vocational educational schools. Post-compulsory secondary education also includes vocational training institutes, which provide a formal but unclassified level of education. As they can accept both Gymnasio (lower secondary school) and Lykeio (upper secondary school) graduates, these institutes are not classified as offering a particular level of education.

Business hours are generally 09:00 to 21:00, Mondays to Fridays. On Saturdays most shops are open until 16.00. In major cities there are several non-stop retailers, shops, department stores and drugstores. Most towns have dedicated streets with all kinds of shops. Food and drink is generally purchased from supermarkets, but there is also a wide variety of smaller shops and delicatessen. In general all major megastores and international brands, as well as well known Greek brands are found in the major cities.

  • New Years Day: 1st of January
  • Epiphany: 6th of January. Sea water is consecrated in the area of Piraeus. The priests throw the Cross into the sea and young men dive to catch it.
  • Ash Monday: 41 days before Easter. It is the day people begin the Lent. On Ash Monday Greeks fly kites, eat meatless food and celebrate Koulouma. Athenians gather on Philopappou Hill.
  • Independence Day & Celebration of Evaggelismos: 25th of March. Military parade.
  • Easter: From Holy Friday until Easter Monday. On Holy Friday evening every church decorates the Epitaph (Bier of Christ). During the procession of the Epitaph the streets of every city or village in the country are full of people. It is a religious procession where everybody holds lit candles in their hands and sings hymns.
  • Night of the Resurrection: It is celebrated in midnight before Easter Sunday with fireworks and candles.
  • Easter Sunday: On Easter Sunday Greeks eat barbecue lamb. The celebrations include singing and dancing all day long.
  • Labor Day: 1st of May. Flower feasts all around Athens.
  • Pentecost: It is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
  • Assumption of the Virgin Mary: 15th of August.
  • 28th of October: National Celebration. Military parade.
  • Christmas: 25th-26th of December.

Police: 100
Fire Service: 199
Ambulance Service: 166
Medical Service: 112
SOS Doctors: 1016
Duty Hospitals and Clinics: 1434
Pharmacies: 1434
Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 36 17 089
Poisoning First Aid: 210 77 93 777
Tourist Police: 1571

Countries we serve