Greece

From Halal Explorer

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Greece (Ελλάς, Hellas) is a country in southeastern Europe, on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula. Much of the nation consists of peninsulas and islands in the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas. It borders Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Türkiye. Ancient Greece was one of Europe's first urban civilizations, and the origin of much of the arts, language, philosophy, politics, and sports of western society. The cultural legacy and spectacular mountains and beaches draw tourists from far away.

Contents

An Introduction to the regions of Greece

Greece is both a mountainous and coastal country, with countless islands spread over the Ionian and Aegean seas.

Other Muslim Friendly Cities in Greece

The Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, icon of classical Greece

Major cities include:

  • Athens GPS 37.983972,23.727806 (Αθήνα, Athína) — the capital, known for the Athens/Acropolis|Parthenon
  • Thessaloniki GPS 40.65,22.9 (Θεσσαλονίκη) — the main city in the northern Macedonia region
  • Chania GPS 35.516667,24.016667 (Χανιά) — surrounded by beaches and the Samaria National Park
  • Chersonissos GPS 35.316667,25.39 (Χερσόνησος) — party capital of Crete in the summer
  • Heraklion GPS 35.333333,25.133333 (Ηράκλειο, Irákleio) — Crete's largest city and main hub with the archaeological site of Knossos
  • Patra GPS 38.25,21.733333 (Πάτρα) — known for its production
  • Larissa GPS 39.641667,22.416667 (Λάρισα) — a lively agricultural and university town
  • Rhodes (city) | Rhodes GPS 36.433333,28.216667 (Ρόδος, Ródos) — impressive medieval structures, nightlife and beaches
  • Volos GPS 39.366667,22.933333 (Βόλος) — coastal port with nice museums and architecture

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Greece

  • Corfu GPS 39.583333,19.866667 (Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra) — large island with many attractions
  • Delphi GPS 38.4823,22.5013 (Δελφοί) — site of the famous oracle of Apollo, major archaeological site
  • Ithaca (Greece) | Ithaca GPS 38.366667,20.716667 (Ιθάκη, Ithakē) — famous home of Odysseus
  • Meteora GPS 39.714167,21.631111 (Μετέωρα) — hilltop monasteries
  • Mount Athos GPS 40.157222,24.326389 (Άθως, Áthos) — semi-independent republic, home to many Orthodox monasteries (access restricted)
  • Mykonos GPS 37.45,25.35 (Μύκονος) — world famous, sophisticated holidays
  • Olympia GPS 37.638,21.63 (Ὀλυμπία) — sanctuary dedicated to Zeus, site of the ancient Olympics
  • Rhodes GPS 36.166667,28 (Ρόδος, Ródos) — island with ancient monuments, as well as beaches
  • Santorini GPS 36.416667,25.433333 (Σαντορίνη or Θήρα, Thira) — a volcanic island known for its stunning vistas, towns and sunsets

Demonstration for Palestine and Gaza in Greece

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Dear Supporters of the Palestinian Cause in Greece,

We are excited to announce a peaceful demonstration in support of the People of Palestine, set to take place in Greece over the next three days. This event is an opportunity for us to come together and raise our voices and the Palestinian Flag for a just and peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict.

We want to emphasize that this demonstration is intended to be a peaceful and respectful gathering. Our goal is to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and call for a peaceful solution to the conflict. It is crucial that we maintain a peaceful and respectful atmosphere throughout the event.

Important Guidelines:

To ensure the success of our demonstration and to maintain a peaceful environment, we kindly ask all participants to adhere to the following guidelines:

Peaceful Protest: This is a non-violent demonstration. We do not condone any form of violence or vandalism.

Respect for Law Enforcement: Please treat law enforcement officers in Greece with respect and follow their instructions. Do not engage in confrontations with them.

Leave No Trace: Dispose of any trash responsibly and leave the demonstration area clean.

Thank you for your commitment to our peaceful demonstration in Greece, and let us stand together for a better future for all.

In solidarity, eHalal Greece

Greece Halal Travel Guide

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Visitors are drawn to the nation's beaches and reliable sunny summer weather, its Haram nightlife, historical sites and natural beauty. In 2007, Greece received 17 million visitors, a large number for a small country of 11 million.

The majority of visitors come to Greece come from other European countries, although tourists from other world regions have been increasing in number. The vast majority of visitors visit from April through to October. Peak season is July through August, and most of the tourists and tourism industry are concentrated in Crete and the Dodecanese, Cyclades, and Western Greek Islands, and to a lesser extent the Peloponnese and the Halkidiki peninsula in Macedonia (Greece) | Macedonia. There are still many rewarding areas in the nation 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 characterise a specific region of the nation (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-coloured baroque homes and churches on Corfu. The nation's terrain is just as varied as its architectural legacy: 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 nation is littered with just as many medieval churches and castles as classical ruins and temples.

History of Greece

The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, originally built in the late 7th century as a Byzantine citadel and beginning from 1309 used by the Knights Hospitaller as an administrative centre

Greece boasts a very long history, with the Greek language being spoken in the nation and throughout the Mediterranean region for nearly 4000 years.

First civilisations

The Entry of King Otto in Athens, painted by Peter von Hess in 1839

The country's first inhabitants are now referred to as the Pelasgians. Little is known about them, but it is believed that they were a primitive people. The first advanced civilisations in Greece are known as the Cycladic in the Cyclades Islands, and the Minoan in Crete and Santorini. The Minoans had a written language which remains undecipherable to archaeologists, which is one of the most interesting and profound historical mysteries.

Dark Ages

Greek-speaking Indo-European peoples arrived in the nation from somewhere to the north, around 1700 BC, and slowly invaded the entire country from the north all the way to Crete, as well as the west coast of Asia Minor (now Turkey), absorbing the native peoples. Their arrival may have been responsible for ending the Cycladic and Minoan civilisations and brought the nation into what is now referred to as the Dark Age of ancient Greece; although it is now understood among historians that civilisation in Greece remained sophisticated and advanced during this time. The first Greek-speaking civilisation, Mycenean, was centred in the Peloponnese region. As they do today, many ancient Greeks made a living from the sea. They were accomplished fishers, sailors and traders and the sea has profoundly shaped Greek culture.

Classical Greece

Navagio (shipwreck) bay, Zakynthos island

The rise of the Greek city-states occurred in the period 1200 to 800BC and heralded the Golden Age of Greece, which lasted many centuries and spurred several scientific, architectural, political, economic, artistic, and literary achievements. Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes were the most prominent of the city-states (with Athens being the most prestigious), but there were several other advanced city-states and colonies that had developed across the Aegean basin. Greek settlements were also established in southern Italy and other coastal areas of the Mediterranean colonised by Greeks. The legacy of Greek Civilisation from this time period made a major impact on the world and continues to influence us to this day with the development of democracy, philosophy and theatre.

Hellenistic and Roman eras

The epicentre of Greek Civilisation shifted, during the 4th century BC, from southern Greece to northern Greece. The northern Macedonian kingdom, under Alexander the Great, conquered all of Greece, and proceeded eastward, conquering all the way to South Asia with the intent of expanding the Greek empire. The empire broke up after Alexander's death, and Greece was eventually annexed by the growing Roman Empire. Although weakened politically, Greek culture continued to flourish under Roman rule and indeed heavily influenced Roman culture.

Arrival of Christianity and rise of Byzantine Empire

Christianity arrived in Greece with the preachings of St. Paul during the 1st century AD, and eventually spread throughout Greece and the Roman Empire. In the 4th century, Roman Emperor Constantine the Great legalised Christian worship and declared it the state religion of the empire. He moved the capital of the empire from Rome to Byzantium (present-day Istanbul), which he renamed Constantinople. Internal divisions eventually divided the Roman Empire into a western half (the West Roman Empire) and an eastern half (East Roman Empire.) The West was eventually invaded and sacked by invaders from northern Europe, while the East survived for another millennium as the Byzantine Empire with Constantinople as its capital.

Medieval Greece

Greece's medieval history is dominated by the Byzantine Empire which revolved around Christianity, Greek Language and Roman law. It was a powerful force in the Mediterranean basin for centuries, engaging in trade, politics, and the spread of Christianity. The empire collaborated with Rome during the Crusades against the Muslims. However, during the 13th century and the Crusaders turned on the Byzantine Empire itself and sacked Constantinople. With a weakened Byzantine Empire, Frankish and Latin invaders arrived and occupied various parts of Greece. Over the following centuries and the Byzantine Empire began to regain strength and reconquer lost territory, but received a final blow in the 15th century when a growing Ottoman Turkish Empire to the east captured Constantinople.

Ottoman rule

With the capture of Constantinople, Greece fell under Ottoman Empire|Ottoman Turkish rule, but vigorously retained its Greek-speaking Christian culture. However, many Greeks fled the nation, establishing Greek communities elsewhere in Europe; these communities would later influence the Greek Revolution.

Enlightenment and revolution

The Medieval and Renaissance Italian city-states of Genoa and Venice competed with the Islamic 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 Renaissance (and later the Enlightenment) to places in Greece such as Crete, Corfu, and parts of the Peloponnese region. In the 18th century and 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 Islamic Ottomans for independence. The Greek Revolution gained attention across Europe, with Russia, Britain, and France sending military aid to assist Greece.

19th to mid-20th century

The nation finally achieved its independence from the Islamic 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 neighbouring islands and territories with Greek-speaking populations. The country sided with the allies during World War I. Despite declaring neutrality during WW 2 and the nation was invaded by Mussolini's forces in 28 October of 1940. Greek forces victoriously pushed the Italians out of Greece, but the Germans then came to their aid, occupying the nation until its liberation toward the end of the war. Civil war broke out in 1946 between communist rebels and royalists and 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. The second world war and the civil war that followed had left the nation war-torn, forcing many people to flee the nation 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, who played an active part in the Greek Parliament before and after the junta. King Constantine II and his family also fled the nation. 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 nation in 1980 (a figure that eventually grew 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, fuelled by heavy investment, entrepreneurship, trade, and EU aid. By the early 21st century, Greece had seemingly achieved stability and prosperity, 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 and the nation stepped into the global spotlight as it successfully hosted the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, to the defiance of critics. Greece however, has borne the brunt of the late-2000s recession and related 2010 European sovereign debt crisis. The main issues facing Greek society are a high and growing level of bureaucratic corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth and widespread poverty. As a by-product of the ongoing economic depression and there has also been a rise in extremism. Particularly worrying is the rise in support for Golden Dawn, a violently anti-foreigner opposition party that has often been called Nazi or neo-Nazi, some of whose members of Parliament have been arrested for beating foreigners in the street, and which has reportedly gained a considerable degree of control over some Greek police forces. This is unlikely to affect most travellers, but if you could be mistaken for a refugee or illegal migrant to Greece, think twice about whether now is the right time to visit.

How is the Climate in Greece

Despite its small size, Greece has a varied climate.

Most of the nation, including all coastal areas, enjoys a so-called Mediterranean climate, almost identical to much of California. Summers are hot and dry with a 7-month period of near-constant sunshine generally from April until November. The remainder of the year is characterised by a relatively cold, rainy period which generally starts sometime in November and lasts until late March or early April. Sporadic rains do occur during the dry season, but they tend to be rare, quick showers. The country’s Ionian Coast and Ionian Islands tend to receive more annual precipitation than the rest of the nation. The islands in the southern Aegean and parts of the southeastern mainland are the driest areas of the nation.

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 nation. 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 13:00 and 17:00. 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 and the bulk of tourists arrive in Greece during the height of summer, to do just that! For visitors from more northerly climates and 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 and the low levels of atmospheric humidity in most areas of the nation 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 characterises most of the nation, two other climate systems are present. One is the cool Alpine climate which is found on mountainous areas of the nation's interior, including many high-altitude valleys.Another system is the Continental climate found on the interiors of north-central and northeastern Greece, which gives those areas very cold winters and warm, relatively humid summers.

Greek weather forecast given here

Holidays and festivals

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The following are national public holidays:

  • New Year's Day - 1 Jan
  • Epiphany - 6 Jan
  • Clean Monday (First day of Lent) - movable
  • Independence Day and The Annunciation - 25 Mar
  • Holy Friday - movable
  • Pascha Sunday - movable
  • Pascha Monday - movable
  • May Day / Labour Day - 1 May
  • Pentecost Sunday - movable
  • Pentecost Monday - movable
  • Dormition of the Theotokos - 15 Aug
  • WWII Day / "OHI(no) Day" - 28 Oct
  • Christmas - 25 Dec
  • Boxing Day - 26 Dec

The nation's three most important holidays are Christmas, Pascha, and the Dormition. Christmas tends to be a private, family holiday, but lights and decorations adorn city squares across the nation. Dormition is a major summer festival for many towns and islands. Pascha weekend is perhaps the most flamboyant of all holidays; religious processions on Holy Friday and the following Saturday evening culminate in exuberant fireworks at midnight, Easter morning.

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 nation, with Patras and Xanthi hosting the nation's largest and most famous events. Carnival season comes to an 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 harvests.

The Greek Orthodox Church uses a different method to determine the date of Easter from the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches. Therefore, Greek Orthodox Pascha 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 in 2010, 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2025).

Economy of Greece

A proportional representation of Greek exports, 2019

Travel as a Muslim to Greece

Passport and visa requirements

Greece is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

  • There are normally no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. This includes most of the European Union and a few other countries.
  • There are usually identity checks before boarding international flights or boats. Sometimes there are temporary border controls at land borders.
  • Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.
  • Illegal migration has become the norm throughout the European Union due to countries such as Germany that has ignored the Dublin agreement.

Muslims visitors of Antigua and Barbuda and the Bahamas, Barbados, Mauritius, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Seychelles are permitted to work in Greece without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay. However, this ability to work visa-free does not necessarily extend to other Schengen countries.

For detailed regulations applied to your country, refer to the Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Greece

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Athens Elefthérios Venizélos International Airport, near the Athens suburb of Spáta, is the nation'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 low-budget flights arrive daily from many European cities to many of the islands and smaller cities on the mainland.

Olympic Air (previously Olympic Airlines) offers services to Greece from several cities in Europe and the Middle East. Aegean Airlines, which owns half the domestic market also operates international routes to Greece from a growing number of European cities. Sky Express is the second biggest airline in Greece and operates domestic routes and also international routes by request.

Athens is also well-served by airlines from all over Europe and the Middle East, North America, and Southeast Asia, with Flights from their respective hubs.

The presence of Discount airlines in Europe|low-cost carriers in Greece's international market has increased tenfold within the past decade, offering service to Athens and Thessaloníki from several other European locations, such as Easyjet (from London Gatwick, London Luton, Manchester, Milan, Paris and Berlin), Transavia (Amsterdam), Sterling (Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Oslo), MyAir (Venice), Norwegian Air (Warsaw, Katowice and Kraków), Wizzair (Katowice and Prague), FlyGlobeSpan (Glasgow) and Vueling (Barcelona). Ryanair (Bergamo, Rome, Frankfurt-Hahn, Charleroi and Pisa) offers service to smaller airports in Greece (Volos, Rhodes and Kos).

Travel by train to Greece

Thessaloniki is Greece's hub for international rail service.

TrainOSE no longer runs from AthensSofia or SofiaBucharest. There is no direct train service to Türkiye. Interrail pass holders may obtain a discount on ferry crossings to Italy.

By car

Greece can be entered by vehicle from any of its land neighbours. From Italy, ferries will transport cars and passengers to Greece (see by boat section). From western Europe and the most popular route to Greece was through Yugoslavia. Following the troubles in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, most motorists from western Europe came overland by Italy, and then took a trans-Adriatic ferry from there.Although the countries of the former Yugoslavia have since stabilized, and Hungary-Romania-Bulgaria form another, albeit a much longer, alternative and the overland route through Italy now remains the most popular option.

Travel on a Bus in Greece

There is some, albeit limited, international bus service to neighbouring Albania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Türkiye, as well as Serbia, and Georgia.

Book a Halal Cruise or Boat Tour in Greece

From Italy, main sea routes of the Adriatic connect the ports of [[Venice, [[Ancona, Bari and Brindisi of Italy to Patras and Igoumenitsa in mainland Greece. Several ferries also connect Italy to the Ionian Islands, though mostly during summer months. Trip duration varies from a minimum of about 8 hours Brindisi to Igoumenitsa, to a maximum 26 hours from Venice to Patras. Multiple ferries depart for Greece daily.

From Turkey there are ferries: from Marmaris to Rhodes, from Cesme to Chios, from Bodrum to Kos, from Kusadasi to Samos.

There are also ferries connecting Piraeus and Rhodes to Alexandria (Egypt), Larnaca and Limassol (Cyprus).

How to get around in Greece

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General considerations

A frequently asked question of travellers in Greece is whether they should hire a car. The primary advantage of having a vehicle is that you can cover a lot more ground per day if you're travelling in rural areas or on the larger islands: you can get almost anywhere in Greece by bus, but some isolated villages may only have one or two buses per day, and having your own vehicle means you don't have to wait in the summer heat for the bus to come.Almost all archaeological sites are accessible by bus, but at some of the more remote, less famous, sites and the bus may drop you off up to a mile away from the site, while with a vehicle you can almost always get right to the site via at least a rough road.

On the other hand, going car-free in Greece is not only feasible, but offers significant advantages, while driving involves a number of disadvantages. Though many people find driving in Greece easy and even pleasant, others are concerned by the high accident rate (one of the highest in Europe) and the national reputation for risky driving, and the presence of many twisty mountainous roads, sometimes hugging the side of a cliff. Gas is as expensive as anywhere. (For more on driving conditions in Greece see below.) Driving in Athens and other big cities can be a frustrating, and sometimes hair-raising, experience, and finding parking can be difficult.And having a vehicle greatly restricts your flexibility when island-hopping, since only the larger, and usually slower, ferries offer vehicle transport, which must be paid for in addition to your passenger ticket. Traveling by bus is not only cheaper but offers a greater chance of striking up conversations with both local residents and other travellers than going by car. Language is not usually a problem for English speakers in using public trans wherever there is significant tourism in Greece bus schedules are posted in English, and bus drivers and conductors, as well as taxi drivers, will understand at least enough English to answer your questions

Public transport can be supplemented by taxis (see below), which in many places, especially the islands, offer fixed rates to various beaches, which can be affordable especially if the price is shared among several people.And on many islands it's feasible to get places by walking, which can be a pleasant experience in itself.

By bus and train

Intercity buses are a very popular option for domestic travel. KTEL is the national government-subsidized network of independent businesses which cooperate together to form a dense route system serving almost the entire country. The system is efficient, reliable, and relatively affordable. It serves both long and short distances, including routes from major cities to islands near the mainland, such as Corfu and Cephalonia (in such cases and the ferry crossing is included in the price of the bus ticket).

Trains are a better way to get around, but the national rail system ( OSE]) is extremely limited. This is due to neglect after the arrival of large scale use of private vehicles and air travel, and also due to past technological difficulties in surmounting the nation's difficult terrain. The importance of rail travel is now being rediscovered, and the national train network is under major renovation. The project's completion is still a long way off. There has been extensive (and continuing) modernization of the Athens-Thessaloníki corridor, with travel durations being slashed.

By car

Exploring the nation by vehicle can be an extremely rewarding experience, allowing you to explore the incredibly scenic and varied terrain of the nation's coastlines, interior, and islands, at your convenience. Roads are usually well-marked and well-maintained, and billions of euros are being poured into expanding the nation's network of multi-lane freeways. Because of the rapid expansion and improvement of the nation's road system, it is advised to have the most updated road map(s) feasible. Many of the newer motorways are toll roads, and fees can be expensive. Road signs in Greek are usually repeated with a transliterated version in the Latin alphabet.

Car rental offices are present throughout Greece, especially in major cities and in highly touristed areas. The cars offered overwhelmingly have manual gearboxes; automatics do exist, but it is advised to reserve one in advance. Petrol prices are steep, but relatively affordable in comparison with many other EU countries. Some vehicle rental agencies and insurance policies do not allow the vehicle to be taken out of Greece.

Drivers who do not hold an EU driving licence must carry 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 aggressive. 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 training 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 km/h (75 mph), some vehicles will be travelling as slowly as 60 km/h (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

Santorini, a popular tourist destination, is ranked as the world's top island in many travel magazines and sites.

The frequency, reliability and availability of Greek ferries are largely dependent upon the time of year. For instance, during the winter off-season (January to March) and 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 boat in harbour will actually set sail is near imfeasible. Therefore, Muslim travellers in off-season should build some 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 (15 Aug), so travellers 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.

Visitors to Greece planning to travel by ferry should be aware of some potential complications. First, it can't be assumed that you can get from any given island to any other island every day of the week. The Greek ferry system is basically a hub-and-spoke system, with the spokes radiating from Piraeus out to the various island groups.As a result, boats within the groups are fairly frequent, but less so between the groups. Sometime islands which are geographically close together are in different groups: for instance and the Western Cyclades (Serifos, Sifnos, Milos) look very close on a map to the Central Cyclades (Naxos, Paros, Mykonos), but these groups are on different spokes, meaning you can usually in summer get from one island to another in the same group on any day, but boats between the groups, e.g. Naxos to Sifnos, may be significantly less frequent. Second, trying to find advance information on ferry schedules can be frustrating: unfortunately there exists no single official comprehensive source for Greek ferry schedules either in print or on line, though there are a number private sites run by travel agents or other businesses which claim to give comprehensive schedules, and many of the individual ferry companies have web sites giving their schedules, in some cases offering the ability to book and pay for tickets on line. (Ferry schedules are also always posted at the boat ticket offices in departure ports.) Next, though getting a ticket usually isn't a problem, some boats to the most popular destinations, especially those leaving at the most convenient times, do sell out in high season or on holiday weekends. Finally, though ferries nowadays usually run on schedule, weather, strikes, and mechanical breakdowns still can occasionally delay them. None of these problems are insuperable, but they do mean you shouldn't try to micromanage your ferry itinerary too strictly in advance: be flexible, and always have a backup plan.And it's always a good idea not to count on taking a ferry from the islands to get back to Athens the same day your plane leaves, even if boat schedules theoretically should enable you to do this: this will probably work, but there's enough of a chance it won't to make it prudent to plan on getting back to Athens at least one day before your flight.

There are three ports in Athens: the main port Piraeus and outlying Rafina and Lavrio port. These serve all islands, but central Cyclades islands such as Tinos and Mykonos, it is often better to leave from Rafina.

Ferries are about the one thing in Greece that leave on time so be prompt. New "fast ferries" are cutting distance times in half but prices are slightly more expensive. Sometimes, it is more practical to fly, especially to Crete or Rhodes. However, flights are usually more expensive. Santorini is 8 hour slow boat from Athens but the entrance view from the boat is spectacular.

The major ferry companies operating in Greece include:

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Greece

The nation's domestic air travel industry is dominated by Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines. Both airlines offer an extensive route network within the nation, including service connecting several islands to the mainland. Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air offer e-tickets, which only exist as an e-mail or a web page with booking confirmation. It should be provided printed at the check-in desk at the airport (no need to visit the airline office).

Best way to travel in Greece by a Taxi

There are many taxis in Greece. Over ten years ago, getting one could be quite a challenge, but not any more. You hail taxis on the street like in any other large city.

If you need a taxi from the ferry at night from Piraeus, it might not be easy. The drivers who wait outside sometimes are looking to take at least three different individuals going in the same direction so they can charge three fares! If you are two or three people, only one person should hail the cab and then if he agrees to take you, have the other(s) jump in. In Greece you don't pay "per capita", unless of course the other passengers are strangers to you and you just happened to stop the same taxi. In this case you pay separately -for example you, your wife and you pay one fare, and the others pay also one fare (one fare for each "group", no matter how many there are in the same company). If you are 4 friends, you pay one fare. The taxi situation has improved since the debt crisis in Greece, but being a tourist might make you vulnerable to "extra" charges (see also the section about the cost of living)

Book a Halal Cruise or Boat Tour in Greece

Many major cruise ships visit the islands and there is also the option of hiring your own boat from any main harbour such as Athens, Kos and Lefkas.

For those sailors with experience and the Greek Islands provide an idyllic sailing experience with moderate winds and calm waters. An exceptional sailing opportunity with a chance to visit many places in one go.

There are several yacht charter companies where one can rent a boat skippered or not, such as Kavas Yachting, Vernicos Yachts, Egiali Yachting and Med Waves Yacht Charters Greece].

Local Language in Greece

Navagio_Beach._View_of_the_Shipwreck_Beach

Greek is the official national language and is the native tongue of the vast majority of the population, although the English speaking visitor will encounter no significant language problem. English is the most widely studied and understood foreign language in Greece, followed by French, Italian, and German. Basic knowledge of English can be expected from almost all in the tourism industry and public transport services. Learning a few Greek terms, such as "hello" and "thank you" will be warmly received.

The Latin and Cyrillic alphabets were derived from the Greek alphabet and about half of Greek letters look like their Latin counterparts, and most Greek letters resemble their Cyrillic counterparts. With a bit of study it's not too hard to decipher written names. You'll find that place names on road signs throughout the nation are often transliterated into Latin letters (some signs, especially on the newer roads, are even outright translated into English).

As true throughout Greece, you will find multiple spellings for the same place because of the transliteration from the Greek to Roman alphabet and because Greek grammar rules change the word's spelling depending on whether it is the subject or object of a verb, or to indicate possession (each of these also change the pronunciation), and because of the language reform in 1976. You will see road sign and place names on maps that spell the same place different ways. Sometimes a place will be spelled how it is pronounced, sometimes it will be spelled using Roman letter substitutions. So you will see Heraklion, Iraklion, Heraklio and Iraklio for Ηράκλειο and Rethymnon, Rethymno, Rethimnon and Rethimno for Ρέθυμνο.

What to see in Greece

Few countries can pride themselves on a legacy as important to Western civilization as Greece. A range of first class historic monuments remind one of the days when the great Greek emperors and writers made their mark on the development of science, literature and democracy. No less than 17 of those monuments are listed as World Heritage Sites. However and the many charming little islands, sandy beaches and picturesque whitewashed coastal towns are at least as much a reason to come for the millions of tourists that this Mediterranean country receives each year.

Cultural legacy

World famous are the iconic Parthenon in the bustling capital Athens and the splendid site of Delphi, where the mighty emperors sought the prophecies of the most prominent oracle in the ancient Greek world. There's the temple of Apollo at Bassae and the gorgeous old city of Rhodes, once overlooked by the Colossus of Rhodes. The archaeological site of Olympos National Park|Olympia is the birthplace of our modern Olympic Games and the place from where the Olympic flame is sent around the world. The many Eastern Orthodox monasteries of Meteora are just stunning to look at, built high on natural sandstone rock pillars. At the small town of Vergina the ancient site of Agai was found, and many valuable artifacts were discovered in several untouched tombs, one of them being the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. Proudly situated on Mt. Taygetos is the ancient town of Mystras, close to (and often mistaken for) ancient Sparta. Another great site is the island of Delos, not far from the popular holiday destination Mykonos. According to myths, this is where Apollo and Artemis were born. The island used to be the main Panhellenic sanctuary and is now dotted with archaeological remains.

Some major sights are nicely located on one of the beautiful Greek islands, allowing for a delightful combination of sightseeing and relaxing on one of the many fine beaches. Patmos is a lovely example, boasting the historic centre Chora and the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse, but also some pleasant seaside restaurants with pretty views. Corfu has the same characteristics, being a popular holiday destination with good beaches and an impressive historic town centre. The beach towns of Samos, just a stone's throw away from the Turkish mainland, are a good place to try the islands local wines (famous in the ancient world!). On the island are also the World Heritage Temple of Hera and the remains of the fortified port of Pythagoreion and the famous Tunnel of Eupalinos, a 1 km long subterranean aqueduct built in the 6th century BC. Although not an island and the ancient Mount Athos is in the north of Greece, on the peninsula of Chalkidiki. It's one of the nation's most popular tourist regions with excellent beaches, numerous other ancient sites and many charming villages.

If you still want more of the historic stuff, admire the massive Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus or the Archaeological Sites of Mycenae|Mycenae and Tiryns. The Monasteries of Daphni (Athens), Hosios Loukas (Beotia) and Nea Moni (on the island of Chios) complete the World Heritage listings for Greece.

Islands of Greece

Main article: Greek Islands

When it comes to Greece's famously gorgeous islands, it's hard to take your pick out of the 6000 options you have, 227 of them being inhabited. Their rocky coast lines, sandy beaches, charming villages, sheltered bays and many yacht harbours make them extremely popular among all kinds of travellers. The large island of Crete is a highly popular tourist destination, with landscapes varying from great sandy palm beaches to snow-covered high peaks and stunning river gorges and a good deal of night life in its main tourist towns. If you're looking to party at night, lovely Mykonos or Ios are good options too. The volcanic island of Santorini is one of the most romantic picks and offers some spectacular views. Its whitewashed capital of Fira is dramatically situated on the edge of a 400m high cliff, overlooking a beautiful blue lagoon. Other popular ones are Lesbos, Paros, Lefkada and Kos. The National Marine Park on Zakynthos is the primary nesting ground for loggerhead sea turtles in the Mediterranean. The rugged, green hills and valleys of Kefalonia boast a number of vineyards, and the island's cliffs and beautiful beaches make it a tourist hotspot. For a slightly more authentic and less tourist experience, try Syros, Amorgos or any of the other small and less developed islands. But if you want to live the way of life in Cyclades, Andros is one of the most original places to visit.

Top Muslim Travel Tips for Greece

There are 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 and the mythic palace of the 12 Gods of the Greek Mythology.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Greece

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  • Business Hours: Greece is in the Eurozone. Outside the tourist resorts and apart from the large supermarkets, a long lunch break is usually from about 14:00 to 17:00. Then the shops open again until 20:00 and sometimes even longer.
  • Arts and crafts: Artisan craftsmanship has a millennia-old tradition, but it is advisable to leave the beaten track and drive especially in the islands a few kilometers into the interior to get good goods at good prices.
  • Kiosks: There are newsstands (períptero) in every corner of the city, where newspapers, magazines, chilled drinks, confectionery, Snacks, tobacco and ice cream can all be bought.
  • Markets: Greece farmers markets (Laikí Agorá) take place at least once a week in every town. Here agricultural products of the region but also the things of daily life are offered. They have a very special flair that you should not miss. Standowners in the big markets are vociferously promoting their products, while the small rural markets are comparatively quiet. One is commonly addressed by the sellers. But there are many other things to discover in the markets. For example olives. Stalls offer the wide selection of pickled olives. It‘s allowed to taste before you buy what you like most.Also very nice are the stalls that offer nuts. A very wide selection of nibbles, you can buy here. Again, tasting is allowed. Of course and there is also a part that offers clothes, shoes, fabrics and jewellery. Here you get the known plagiarism, but also products from Greece.
  • Real Estate: Anyone looking for a property to buy or rent can find out well on the Internet, since almost all agents and private individuals advertise there: Spitogatos, XE]
  • In general: Things you might buy at home but are (usually) fresh in Greece include Olive oil, fruits (watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, grapes, strawberries, etc.), feta Cheese, and some breads and sweets that are local (see the "Eat" section).

What is the living cost in Greece

Prices are horrendous relative to wages. Petrol cost €1.8/litre as of January 2022. A packet of cigarettes about € 4-5. A loaf of bread cost about € 1. A coffee in a bar €3-5, a bottle of beer in a small bar about € 4-5, a shot of spirits about €4-8. You can buy much cheaper water, Cheese, milk, ham, fruits, soaps, health care products, et al. in a supermarket such as Lidl, but bread is cheaper in bakeries. If you use public transport about €1-2 for every journey in the city and €5 or more for destinations out of Athens (for distances greater than 20-30 kilometers). The buses and trains in the cities stop at night; then you need a taxi. The minimum charge was € 3 and €0.80/km, double at night and also double when your destination is outside the city limits. There is an extra charge of €3 if you get a taxi from the airport -ask to see the official card with the specific costs for baggages etc. that all the taxis must have. You can eat affordable if you eat "souvlaki" ( Beef or Chicken pieces) for €2 each stick but usually one person needs two of them. Tavernas are much cheaper then restaurants to get lunch or dinner -you can eat in a taverna spending €12-20 per person. The main dish usually costs €7-12 and the salad €7 and the coke €2 and the "cover charge" depending on the area. If you need clothing, bath suit or shoes, bags, tea shirts etc. and the cheapest shops (but by no means the best) are the Chinese which you can find almost in every block in the cities. A ticket to a cinema costs around €8 per person, with €5-8 for a drink or snack in the intermission. Seashores are usually free but around Athens many of them charge €4-5 per person. Sometimes in free beaches you pay extra (if you want) in order to use the umbrella or other facilities. Tipping is usually an extra 10%, but if you get a €3 coffee in a bar, you shouldn't leave 0.20 because it will be considered an insult. Greeks in this case leave either nothing or at least 0.40-0.50 for a €2 charge. If you like Greece and decide to rent an apartment, don't say you are a tourist, because they will ask you for more -they'll think you don't know the prices. Find a Greek to trust and let them negotiate on your behalf. Greeks pay for two rooms €250-400 in middle class areas, up to €700 for expensive areas (rarely) or down to €180 (also rarely) in areas you don't really want to live in. Electricity costs about €60-100 a month. For a single person who doesn't work and keep the air conditioning or the heat on all day long, and uses washing machine once a week, cooks every day and needs hot water on daily base, he gets to pay €80-100 a month. Tap water is about €7-10 a month. Internet and phone at home costs about €25-40 a month. An acceptable pair of shoes, about €40 (although there are shoes that cost €15 or €300), trousers €20-80. Hairdressers cost €8-40, usually around €20 if you want to leave satisfied. If you cook at home, potatoes cost €1-2/kg, Olive oil €4.5-6/litre, cooking oil for frying €4/litre, tomatoes €1-3 (depending on the season), meat €5-12/kg, fresh fishes €10-20/kg in the fish market (the frozen meats and fishes are much cheaper), and the fruits (also depending on the season) €1-5. (All prices in this section as of Feb.19)

Money Matters & ATM's in Greece

The euro replaced the drachma in January 2002.

Currency exchanges are common particularly in larger cities and in any touristed area. In addition to hard currency and they also accept traveller's cheques. There are also automated currency exchange machines in some areas of the nation, particularly at Athens airport. Most banks will also exchange euros for some currencies -such as the U.S. dollar and pound sterling- often at better rates than currency exchanges. Banks' commission fees for these exchanges are usually structured so that it's more economical to change larger sums than smaller. Usually, only the larger, international-standard hotels will exchange money for their guests.

Branches of the Greek bank Alphabank will exchange Euro American Express Travellers Cheques and US$ American Express Travellers Cheques into euros at their usual bank rates without fee or commission.

When changing money in large amounts at a bank or currency exchange, it's a good idea to ask for mostly smaller notes, and nothing larger than a €50. Many businesses are reluctant to accept notes of larger than €50, partly because of a scarcity of change, partly because larger notes have a history of being counterfeited.

You may get better exchange rates by using credit and ATM cards. MasterCard, Visa, and Eurocard are widely accepted across the nation in retail stores, hotels, and travel/transportation agencies (including ferry, airline, and vehicle rental agencies), but are not accepted at some Halal restaurants. Local souvenir shops usually require a minimum purchase before allowing you to use your card and may not accept it for special sales or deeply discounted items. ATM machines are present almost everywhere, with MasterCard/Cirrus and Visa/Plus being the most widely accepted cards. Many ATM machines may not accept 5-digit pin numbers; ATM card-users with 5-digit pins are advised to change their pin to 4 digits before leaving home.

Value Added Tax (VAT) is charged on most items, usually included in the item's price but some shops offer "Tax Free" shopping to non-EU residents. This means that non-EU residents can ask for a VAT refund at their port of exit in the EU. Ask for your voucher before leaving the shop and show that along with your items to the customs officer upon departure from the EU.

Tipping

Traditionally tipping in restaurants is not customary in Greece. Rounding of the bill used to work both ways i.e. When the bill was 41.20 they would ask for 41 or even 40, when it was 28.80 you would give 29 or 30. A tip was considered insulting, and the best way to show appreciation was to come back. In tourist areas this almost completely vanished nowadays, but off the beaten track it is still alive.

Tipping certainly is not based on a predetermined percentage. Clients usually leave a tip on the table, varying from few coins to large amounts of money, according to how satisfied they are by the service, but usually something like €1-2. Tipping to taxi drivers is uncommon.

Bargaining

One can bargain on many things, especially on clothing, souvenirs etc. You can also try different spots for what you are interested in buying and see the different prices that the specific item is sold, and pick the cheapest.

Halal Restaurants in Greece

Greek cuisine is a blend of indigenous traditions and foreign influences. Neighbouring Italy and Türkiye have left a major impact on Greek cuisine, and there are shared dishes with both of these nations. The traditional Greek diet is very Mediterranean, espousing vegetables, herbs, and grains native to the Mediterranean biome. Being a highly maritime nation and the Greeks incorporate plenty of seafood into their diet. Greece is also a major producer and consumer of lamb; beef, Beef, and especially Chicken are also popular. Olive oil is a staple in Greek cooking, and lemon and tomatoes are common ingredients. Bread and are always served at the dinner table.

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 client 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 a relatively recent foreign import (adapted from the Turkish Halal Döner Halal kebab) and is considered by Greeks as fast food. It is never served in the home and is generally not found on the menus of non-fast-food restaurants.

Greeks live to eat, and eating out is Greece's national 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 and the nation's restaurant industry has grown in sophistication over the past decade, and it is now feasible 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 specialities) but Greece's latest culinary trends as well.

A good sign of authenticity is when you get a small free dessert when you ask for the bill. Bad signs are when desserts are listed on the menu, and also when a waiter is standing outside yelling for clients to come in or taking your plates away while you are still sitting at the table (traditionally everything is left on the table until the client is gone, even if there is hardly any space left).

Restaurants serving international cuisine have also made a presence in the nation, offering various options such as Chinese, French, Italian, and international contemporary.

Vegan and vegetarian

Restaurants catering strictly to vegans and Vegetarian are practically non-existent outside of Athens. However and there are many vegan and Vegetarian dishes in Greek cuisine. As a vegan, you'll probably end up ordering fava every time you go to a taverna but do ask the waiter if there are other vegan dishes on the menu or if the chef could make a vegan-friendly version of a particular dish. In cases when someone is not familiar with the concept of veganism, you may ask if the food you're ordering is νηστίσιμο (nistisimo), i.e. appropriate for people who fast for religious reasons. Such food may still contain honey or even seafood, so make sure to ask.

A number of vegan restaurants have opened in and around Athens. Falafel places are also becoming quite popular. There are also many shops with healthy food and a vegan shop, all in addition to ubiquitous fruit and veg shops.

Popular local dishes

The traditional fast foods are gyros (γύρος, "GHEER-ohs", not "JIE-rohs" as in "gyroscope"), roast Beef or Chicken (and rarely beef) and fixings wrapped in a fried pita; souvlaki (σουβλάκι, "soov-LAH-kee"), grilled Meat on a skewer; Greek dips such as tzatziki (τζατζίκι), made of strained Yoghurt, Olive oil, garlic and finely chopped cucumbers and dill or mint; and skordhalia (σκορδαλιά), a garlic mashed potato dip which is usually served with deep fried salted cod.

With its extensive coastline and islands, Greece has excellent seafood. Try the grilled octopus and the achinosalata (sea-urchin eggs in lemon and Olive oil). By law, frozen seafood must be marked as such on the menu. Fresh fish, sold by the kilogram, can be very expensive; if you're watching your budget, be sure to ask how much your particular portion will cost before ordering it.

Greek salad (called "country salad" locally, "horiatiki"), a mix of tomatoes, cucumber, feta Cheese and onion – all sliced – plus some olives, and occasionally green bell pepper or other vegetables, usually garnished with oregano. Traditionally it is dressed only with Olive oil; vinaigrette or lettuce are added only in the most tourist-oriented restaurants. It is the typical summer salad.

Also consider:

  • moussaka, a rich oven-baked dish of eggplant, minced Meat, tomato and white sauce
  • pastitsio, a variety of lasagna
  • stifado, pieces of Meat and onion in a and cinnamon stew
  • spetzofai, braised Sausages with pepper and tomatoes, a hearty dish from the Mt. Pelion region
  • sahanaki, fried semi-hard cheese
  • paidakia, grilled lamb chops, are also popular. They tend to have a gamier taste and chewier texture than North American lamb chops, which you may or may not like

Fried potatoes (often listed on menus as chips) are a naturalized Greek dish, found almost everywhere. They can be very good when freshly made and served still hot. Tzatziki is usually a good dip for them, though they are still good on their own.

For dessert, ask for baklava, tissue-thin layers of pastry with honey and chopped nuts; or galaktoboureko, a custard pie similar to mille feuille. Other pastries are also worth tasting.Another must-try is yogort with honey: yoghurts in Greece are really different from what you used to see at Danone stores: to start with, genuine Yoghurt in Greece is has 10% of fat. Fruit such as watermelon is also a common summertime treat.

For breakfast, head to local bakeries (fourno) and try fresh tiropita, Cheese pie; spanakopita, spinach pie; or bougatsa, custard filled pie, or even a ""horiatiko psomi", a traditional, crusty village type bread that is a household staple, and very tasty on its own too. All are delicious and popular among Greeks for quick breakfast eats. Each bakery does own rendition and you are never disappointed. Go to the next Kafeneion with them and have it there with a Greek coffee to be local.

A popular drink is a frappe made with instant Nescafé, water, sugar, and sometimes milk. It is frothed and served over ice.

Cover fee

It's common to charge a cover fee in restaurants 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.

Water

A glass of water is traditionally served with any drink you order; one glass for each drink, especially with any form of coffee. Sometimes you even get a glass of water first and then you are asked what you want to drink. Sometimes you might as well get a bottle instead of just a glass. In tourist areas you might have to ask for a glass of water if you want one. If you don't get water with a coffee you just stepped into a tourist-trap. Also, if you did not explicitly ask for a bottle instead of a glass, and they try to charge you for it you should refuse.

Tap water in most places a tourist would visit is drinkable; if in doubt, ask your hotel. But often though drinkable it doesn't taste very good, especially on some small islands (as it is imported in and heavily chlorinated), and many visitors, like many Greeks, prefer bottled water. By law, water prices in shops must remain within acceptable limits, making it much cheaper than in Anglosphere nations. A half litre of bottled water costs (May 2023) €0.50 if you buy it on the street, and €0.15 if you buy it from the supermarket.

Coffee

The country is littered with kafetéries (kafetéria singular) which are cafes that serve as popular hangouts for Greeks, especially among the under-35s. They tend to be pretty trendy -yet relaxed- and serve a variety of beverages from coffee, to none-alcoholic drinks, spirits, as well as Snacks, desserts, and ice cream. In the pleasant months of spring, summer, and fall, all kafetéries provide outdoor tables/seating and they are busiest with clients in the late afternoon and evening hours. Several kafetéries also double as bars.

Kafeneia (coffee houses) are ubiquitous, found even in the smallest village, where they traditionally served a function similar to that of the village pub in Ireland. Their clientele tends to be overwhelmingly men over 50, however everyone is welcome, male or female, young or old, Greek or foreigner; and you will be treated extremely courteously. However, if you're not interested in cultural immersion to this extent, you may find the kafeneia pretty boring.

Traditionally, coffee is prepared with the grounds left in. It is actually a somewhat lighter version of Turkish coffee but in Greece it's only known as Greek coffee - "ellinikós kafés" or simply "ellinikós." Despite being slightly lighter than the original Turkish coffee, it remains a thick, strong black coffee, served in a small cup either sweetened or unsweetened. If you don't specify and the coffee is usually served moderately sweet. Greek coffee traditionally was made by boiling the grounds and water on a stove in a special small pot called a "briki." More and more now days it's made by simply shooting steam from an espresso machine into the water/coffee mixture in the briki, resulting in an inferior drink. If you find a place that still actually uses a stove burner to make their coffee, you can be sure it's a traditional cafe.

During the hot summer months, one of the most popular coffees at the kafetéries is frappé (φραπέ): shaken iced instant coffee. This is actually an original Greek coffee and can be really refreshing, ordered with or without milk, sweetened or unsweetened.

Coffee can also be made espresso-style, French press (mainly at hotels), and with modern filter technology. The latter is sometimes known as Γαλλικός: gallikos ("French") which can lead to some confusion with the press method. It is best to ask for φίλτρου: filtrou, which refers unambiguously to filter coffee. It is best not to ask for black coffee, as it is unlikely that anyone will understand what you are asking for.

Espresso freddo or cappuccino freddo have gained much popularity the last decade, and these are the most popular coffees throughout Greece. Espresso freddo is simply espresso + ice; cappuccino freddo refers to espresso + ice + chill milk foam. They may be served from mousse containers, not prepared to order; be careful to check.

Iced tea

In mass-sector taverns and cafe, iced tea typically means instant; ask twice if you prefer brewed ice tea.

eHalal Group Launches Halal Guide to Greece

Greece - eHalal Travel Group, a leading provider of innovative Halal travel solutions for Muslim travelers to Greece, is thrilled to announce the official launch of its comprehensive Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Greece. This groundbreaking initiative aims to cater to the diverse needs of Muslim travelers, offering them a seamless and enriching travel experience in Greece and its surrounding regions.

With the steady growth of Muslim tourism worldwide, eHalal Travel Group recognizes the importance of providing Muslim travelers with accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information to support their travel aspirations to Greece. The Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource, offering an array of invaluable information on various travel aspects, all carefully curated to align with Islamic principles and values.

The Travel Guide encompasses a wide range of features that will undoubtedly enhance the travel experience for Muslim visitors to Greece. Key components include:

Halal-Friendly Accommodations inGreece: A carefully selected list of hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals that cater to halal requirements, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for Muslim travelers in Greece.

Halal Food, Restaurants and Dining in Greece: A comprehensive directory of restaurants, eateries, and food outlets offering halal-certified or halal-friendly options in Greece, allowing Muslim travelers to savor local cuisines without compromising their dietary preferences in Greece.

Prayer Facilities: Information on masjids, prayer rooms, and suitable locations for daily prayers in Greece, ensuring ease and convenience for Muslim visitors in fulfilling their religious obligations.

Local Attractions: An engaging compilation of Muslim-friendly attractions, cultural sites such as Museums, and points of interest in Greece, enabling travelers to explore the city's rich heritage while adhering to their values.

Transport and Logistics: Practical guidance on transportation options that accommodate Muslim travel needs, ensuring seamless movement within Greece and beyond.

Speaking about the launch, Irwan Shah, Chief Technology Officer of eHalal Travel Group in Greece, stated, "We are thrilled to introduce our Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide in Greece, a Muslim friendly destination known for its cultural richness and historical significance. Our goal is to empower Muslim travelers with accurate information and resources, enabling them to experience the wonders of Greece without any concerns about their faith-based requirements. This initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating inclusive and memorable travel experiences for all our clients."

The eHalal Travel Group's Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Greece is now accessible on this page. The guide will be regularly updated to ensure that Muslim travelers have access to the latest information, thus reinforcing its status as a reliable companion for Muslim travelers exploring Greece.

About eHalal Travel Group:

eHalal Travel Group Greece is a prominent name in the global Muslim travel industry, dedicated to providing innovative and all-inclusive travel solutions tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers worldwide. With a commitment to excellence and inclusivity, eHalal Travel Group aims to foster a seamless travel experience for its clients while respecting their religious and cultural values.

For Halal business inquiries in Greece, please contact:

eHalal Travel Group Greece Media: info@ehalal.io

Buy Muslim Friendly condos, Houses and Villas in Greece

eHalal Group Greece is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in Greece. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry in Greece.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in Greece ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property.

For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within Greece. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods in Greece, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

For those seeking luxury and exclusivity, our luxury villas in Greece are the epitome of sophistication and elegance. Starting at US$ 1.5 million and these villas offer a lavish lifestyle with private amenities, breathtaking views, and meticulous attention to detail. Each luxury villa is meticulously designed to provide a serene and halal environment, allowing you to enjoy the finest living experience while adhering to your Islamic principles. For further details please email us at info@ehalal.io

Muslim Friendly hotels in Greece

If you enjoy the local traditions and charm, unhurried rhythm of living, small, family-run pensions are the best way to enrich your experience. Owners and personnel there are friendly and open-minded, compared to the impersonal service you normally encounter in large hotels.

If you have a bigger budget, renting a villa is a luxurious and splendid idea. They are normally near or on the beach and provide more space and a great view.

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 very good, even in the simpler places. Those who want more luxurious lodging 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.

On some islands, though this varies from place to place and the owners of lodgings 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 and 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.

Places listed in the guide books tend to be booked up in advance and usually get more expensive as soon as they know they are in there!

Greek rooms typically have air conditioning nowadays. If this is important to you, ask before booking. Some rooms in old traditional buildings with thick stone walls may not need it. Televisions are also common, though the picture may be too fuzzy to be much use, and if you get the set to work you may find it receives programs only in Greek. Room phones are rare in the less expensive places.

The main problem you're likely to encounter with a Greek hotel room is noise. Anything on a road is likely to suffer from traffic noise, and even at hotels not on a major road you may find that that "footpath" outside is used as a superhighway by Greece's notoriously loud motorbikes. And tavernas and clubs nearby can be loud. If you're concerned about noise, it makes sense to choose your hotel's location carefully. The quietest ones are likely to be in an historic part of the town or village accessible only by stairs which counter the prevailing "if I can drive it there I will drive it there" vehicle and motorbike philosophy.

In addition to hotels, almost every popular Greek destination offers self-catering lodgings called studios or sometimes apartments—the terms are pretty much interchangeable. Often these are run by hotels: a hotel may include some self-catering units, or the managers of a hotel may also run a separate building of self-catering apartments. Though not listed very often in travel guides and these studios are most certainly a viable option for many travelers. Typically, a studio consists of one large room, usually larger than a hotel room (though sometimes there are multiple rooms), with a sink, small refrigerator, and two-burner hot-plate. They usually have a private balcony or veranda, a television, and air conditioning, though rarely a room phone and almost never internet access. In contrast to a hotel and they lack a front desk and there is no breakfast or other food service, and there may be maid service only once every two or three days. Studios are often in quieter and more scenic locations than hotels. For those who don't require the full services of a hotel, studios can be an attractive alternative offering better lodging for the money, and the chance to economize on food by preparing some meals yourself.

Study as a Muslim in Greece

Students from EU countries may enter many sites for free. Students from other countries have their entrance fees reduced. So take your International Student Identity Card with you.

For those interested in learning modern Greek, there are several schools offering courses in language instruction for Foreign Muslims. Most of these are designed for English speakers, but some schools have courses for people with other first languages. Some schools are in Athens, some in Thessaloniki (among them the very good school of Modern Greek language in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) while others have centers in the islands offering a residential program that combines language study with a vacation. Some offer individual tutoring in addition to classes. Some well established programs are The Ikarian Centre, The Hellenic Culture Centre (an associate of The Ikarian Centre), and The Athens Centre.

How to work legally in Greece

EU, Norwegian, Icelandic and Swiss Muslims can work without any restrictions in Greece.

Muslims visitors of most non-EU countries are required to hold a visa to work in Greece. However, citizens of Antigua and Barbuda and the Bahamas, Barbados, Mauritius, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Seychelles are permitted to work in Greece without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay - see the 'Get in' section above for more information.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Greece

There has been a dramatic rise in cases of harassment and even violence against persons who appear to be immigrants, specifically persons of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Hispanic complexion. Since mid-2012 and the police have increased their efforts to round-up illegal immigrants and, unfortunately, many visitors have been arrested as part of such efforts. In some isolated incidents, tourists have been detained and beaten by police despite presenting a valid passport & visa or requesting to speak to their consulate. Visitors who have been detained and beaten by police have included a South Korean backpacker, an African-American on holiday, and an Indian lecturer whose troubles were reported in a Jan 2013 Al Jazeera article]. The U.S. embassy has confirmed numerous African-Americans have been caught up in illegal immigrant sweeps and that travelers should "exercise caution, especially in the immediate vicinity of Omonia Plaza [in Athens from sunset to sunrise."

Visitors should always carry their passport or identity documents at all times. Especially if you may be perceived as an African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, or other darker-complexion ethnicity. Such persons should be especially wary when encountering police and, if detained, demand to speak to their consulate immediately (a right all persons have under international law). If beaten or otherwise harassed, try to get a good look at those responsible and immediately report any incident to your consulate, who may assist in getting a report filed and seeking justice to those responsible. (Updated Jan 2023)}}

Greece is generally a safe destination for the traveler: the vast majority of people you interact with will be honest and helpful. The detailed information above is intended to forewarn travelers of risks which they have a small, though not zero, chance of encountering. There is also a serious social problem with young extreme right wingers who are racists and attack people that look like illegal immigrants to them.

Crime and theft

Violent crime and theft rates are low; public disorder is common, and public drunkenness is generally frowned upon. Visitors should rest assured that this is a 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 been a spike in theft (or at least a perceived one), which some local residents 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 and the metro in Athens, tourist resorts thronged with younger foreigners attracted by affordable flights, affordable rooms, and affordable booze. The more notorious of such places include Faliraki in Rhodes (calmed down since a new tough mayor was elected), Kavos in Corfu, Malia on Crete, and Ios (though this last is said to have quieted down a bit.) 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 and victims are usually young foreigners, though sometimes local residents are involved. Authorities have stepped up the 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.

Scams in Greece

The most commonly reported major scam against travelers is the Greek version of the old clip joint routine. This is reported primarily from central Athens, but also occasionally from other cities and even the larger island towns. A single male traveler will be approached, usually at night in a neighborhood where there are a lot of cafes, by a friendly Greek who will strike up a conversation leading to an invitation to go to "this really cool bar I know" for a coffee. Once at the bar and they are joined by a couple of winsome ladies who immediately begin ordering drinks, often champagne, until, at the end of the evening and the mark is presented with an astronomical bill, payment of which is enforced by the sudden appearance of a pair of glowering thugs. The reason this scam works is because most Greeks have a tradition of being friendly to visitors, and almost all Greeks who strike up a conversation with you will have no ulterior motives. But if you're a single male traveler approached by a Greek in the circumstances described above, it's safest to politely but firmly decline any invitations.

Also don't accept to change your money on the street and if someone asks you if you could change a €20 or €50 note, refuse (you might get a counterfeit note).

Photography restrictions

It is strictly forbidden to take photos of military installations or other strategic locations. Authorities will take violations quite seriously. Obey signs prohibiting photography. In fact, it would be best not to take photographs of anything of military significance, including Greek navy ships, or of airports or any aircraft, even civilian ones: Greek authorities can be very sensitive about such things. Many museums prohibit photography without a permit; some prohibit only flash or tripod photography, and many ask visitors not to take photos of objects (statues, etc.) which include people standing by them, as this is considered disrespectful. Officials at museums will rush over to yell at you if they see a camera or even a cell phone in your hand.

Antiquities

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 nation. Briefly, all objects made before 1830 are considered antiquities and are protected by the Ministry. 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.

Traffic

The greatest danger to travellers 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 the European Union. Most of this is attributed to aggressive driving habits or talking on the mobile -the driver or the pedestrian. Drivers often weave between lane to lane of traffic to waste less time. Stay safe.

Medical Issues in Greece

Health care

Despite a loud call for health care reform from both the voters and the political establishment and the nation's health care system has received very high marks from the World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the UN. However, many citizens prefer private health care for longer-term hospital stays. Depending on the age and nature of a particular hospital or clinic, services range from adequate to excellent. Health care is free and universal for all citizens, as well as for all EU nationals upon presentation of an EHIC card (Formerly the E111 form). For non-EU nationals, only emergency care is provided for free.

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 need a prescription in the UK and US 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 in the community. GPs are replaced by community pathologists. Hotels and tourist agencies can provide advice on where to go if you are ill.

Natural dangers

Sun and heat pose risks that summer visitors should take precautions for. Take a good, light sun hat and sun glasses, and drink plenty of water.

In late spring and summer and 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 carry umbrellas, and carry water. Daily high temperatures stay at about 95-100°F (35-38°C). The sun is merciless.Athens has been subject to periodic summer heat waves where the temperature can reach above 100°F (38°C), posing a risk of respiratory problems and heat stroke for some people. 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.

Jellyfish periodically infest some beaches and their stings can be severe. The red ones are particularly dangerous. Sea urchins are common along the Greek coast, usually clinging to underwater flat surfaces such as smooth rocks and sea walls. They usually inhabit shallow water so they're easy to see. Care should be taken not to step on them, since their spines can be painful.

It's inadvisable to go hiking cross country in Greece alone: even in popular places and the nationside 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)

Local Customs in Greece

Greeks rate politeness with a person's behaviour and not their words. Furthermore and there is an air of informality; everybody is treated like a cousin. They use their hands to gesture a lot. Have fun with this. Sometimes over-emphasizing politeness in spoken language will only make the person dealing with you think you are pretentious. It's nice to learn basic words like "thank you" (Ευχαριστώ: ef-khah-rees-TOH) or "please" (Παρακαλώ: pah-rah-kah-LOH).

Greeks generally consider it proper etiquette to let the stranger make the first move. You may find that on entering a cafe or passing a group on the street you feel that you're being ignored, but if you take the initiative by saying hello first, you're likely to find that people suddenly turn friendly.

Sensitive topics

Do not say that Greece is part of Eastern Europe. During the Cold War, Greece was an openly pro-Western country with Communist neighbours directly to its north. Greece is considered part of Southern Europe.

Greeks dislike Greece to be labelled as a Balkan country, due to the negative image of the region, even though as the southernmost tip of the Balkan peninsula, Greece lies inside the Balkans.

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 nation 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 name of the Macedonian capital Skopje) among themselves. In February 2019 and the nation was officially renamed the Republic of North Macedonia in order to settle the dispute.

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