Get travel and medical insurance
- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:
In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.
Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:
Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.
If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:
Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).
The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.
Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling. Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.
What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:
The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.
Where to go for more information:
We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.
Take normal precautions.
Security Status Last Updated: 21 July 2020
Latest Travel Alert
Cases of novel coronavirus (COVID 19) have been reported in Greece. See the World Health Organisation (WHO) website for Greece and WHO Situation Dashboard for Europe for further details.
If you are in Greece, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. Links to the relevant websites are:
There are special measures in place in Greece to try to contain COVID-19. In particular, all passengers arriving into Greece from any place of origin must complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before entering the country. Failure to complete the PLF is an offence, and you will not be permitted to enter Greece without it.
International flights can land in all airports in Greece since 1 July. Arrivals by sea are allowed at Patras, Corfu and Igoumenitsa. Land borders with Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey are closed except for essential travel. Land border arrivals from Bulgaria are allowed through Promachonas border station for non-essential travel (i.e. holidays) with special conditions; entry through all other Bulgarian land borders is for essential travel only.
On the basis of the PLF, the Greek authorities will decide if you need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival in Greece. For full information on this process, see here.
In addition to the PLF requirements, some additional measures remain in place. Wearing facemasks is mandatory on public transport, in taxis, in all medical facilities and in lifts. Facemasks are strongly recommended in other indoor areas. You must carry ID at all times. Those who do not follow the measures may be fined or arrested.
Some shops, services, hotels and tourism attractions remain closed. If you are travelling to Greece for a particular activity or experience, you should confirm in advance that it can go ahead.
Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms. The emergency line for suspected cases in Greece is 1135 (also works for foreign mobiles).
HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
There were incidents of unrest and violence on the island of Lesvos following protests at the beginning of the year. If you are on the island, you should avoid any demonstrations, protests or related large gatherings, as well as monitoring news reports, and following the advice and directions of the local authorities. If you are involved in humanitarian activity on the island, you should be particularly vigilant.
As with other places in Europe, severe, localised weather extremes can sometimes affect parts of Greece e.g. forest fires and thunder storms in the summer, and rainstorms, flooding and heavy snowfall (mainly in Northern Greece) in the winter. At times, this can lead to road closures and transport cancellations. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Greek Meteorological Service, the European Meteorological Services, or your preferred weather forecaster. Be sure to follow the advice of local authorities at all times. You can find advice in English on dealing with severe weather phenomena in Greece on the website of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection.
Forest fires are a common occurrence during the summer season. We recommend that visitors exercise vigilance if travelling in areas that are affected by fires, and follow the advice of the local authorities. You can find advice in English on dealing with forest fires in Greece on the website of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection.
Theft of personal belongings, in particular passports, wallets and mobile phones, is unfortunately common in central Athens, especially on the metro and in crowded places. Take extra care of personal belongings, especially on the metro. Only carry your passport when absolutely necessary, and always leave a copy at home or take a photo before you travel.
When travelling outside of Ireland, travellers should take more than one means of payment (cash, debit card, credit card). Visitors to Greece should be aware that most ATM machines charge a fee for non-Greek credit and debit cards (an average of about €3), and on the islands or in remote areas, ATM machines are not always regularly replenished and may run out of money. Credit/debit cards are not always acceptable as a form of payment on some Greek islands or remote areas. Visitors should therefore have enough money in cash to cover the duration of their stay, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays, alongside appropriate security precautions against theft.
Given recent terrorist attacks in European cities, Irish citizens are advised to follow the advice of police and local authorities and to exercise increased vigilance, especially if attending large public gatherings or other crowded locations. Attacks could occur at any time and could target tourist attractions, restaurants, transport hubs or other public areas.
Visitors should be aware that there are occasionally shortages of some essential supplies in Greece, particularly medical supplies. Make sure you have sufficient medical supplies (including prescription medicines) for the duration of your stay and any unforeseen delays.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
You can contact the emergency services in Greece by dialling 112. Specific emergency numbers are:
- Police: 100
- Ambulance: 166
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
- Get a European Health Insurance Card
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us on the Citizens Register so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
The political situation in Greece is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest. Strikes and demonstrations which can affect visitors travel plans are a common occurrence in Greece.
If a demonstration is in progress it is best to avoid central areas of Athens, particularly areas around Syntagma Square (Constitution Square), where the Parliament Building is located and where most demonstrations terminate.
Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
Crime is relatively low in Greece as a whole but pickpocketing is common in central Athens. Always take sensible precautions:
- Be aware that the tourist season attracts an increase in incidents of theft of passports, wallets, handbags etc. - particularly in areas and at events where crowds gather. You should leave valuables in safe custody at your hotel or apartment.
- Be particularly vigilant when using public transport. In Athens, we recommend visitors take extra care of their personal belongings when using buses or the metro; especially when travelling to and from the airport or the port of Piraeus. Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. Consider wearing your rucksack on your front, and do not leave valuables in accessible pockets.
- Don't carry your passport unless absolutely necessary. Leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home, and consider keeping a photo of important documents on your phone or in your emails.
Personal attacks, including sexual assaults and rape, are infrequent in Greece. However, there is a higher incidence of sexual assault and rape on some Greek Islands. We advise that you do not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended when in bars or nightclubs. We also recommend that you avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Greece, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Athens if you need help or guidance.
Greece regularly experiences forest fires in the warmer months. While most of these fires do not affect residential areas, you should heed risk warnings and be vigilant if travelling in forested areas during the summer. If there is a forest fire near where you are staying, you should keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of the Greek authorities. See here for official information and advice on forest fires in Greece.
If you’re planning to drive in Greece, you should take extreme caution due to the very high incidence of road traffic accidents and different driving customs.
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and quadbikes
Every year, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and quadbikes are associated with many serious accidents in Greece, often resulting in very serious or even fatal injury.
Failure to wear a crash helmet or to have the necessary driving license may invalidate your insurance if you are involved in an accident. Greek law requires you to wear a crash helmet on a scooter, moped or motorcycle. Quad bike riders require a full-face helmet (or non-full-face helmet plus goggles) under Greek law.
You should check that your travel insurance covers you for the relevant activity. Road insurance and a motorcycle license are also mandatory.
Pedestrians should also be vigilant and aware that traffic will be coming from the opposite direction to Ireland. They should also take particular care when using pedestrian crossings at intersections; vehicles won’t necessarily stop when the signal indicates that pedestrians may cross the road.
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
Visitors should be aware that alcoholic spirits are sold in significantly larger measures in Greek bars and restaurants than in Ireland.
High standards of public behaviour are the norm in Greece. While there’s greater tolerance in tourist resorts, Greek courts impose heavy fines or prison sentences on people who behave indecently in public.
West Nile Virus
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
Holders of valid Irish passports do not require an entry visa for Greece.
We recommend you take a number of photocopies of your passport, as this will assist in the event that your passport is lost or stolen. We also recommend that you carry photo ID or a copy of your passport with you at all times.
We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.
Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.
Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.
Your policy should cover:
- All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
- Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.
- 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
- Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
- Lost and stolen possessions.
- Cancellation and curtailment.
- Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).
Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.
European Health Insurance Card
As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.
The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.
Irish citizens don’t require any vaccinations when travelling to Greece.
Citizens should be aware that the level of nursing care provided in most Greek public hospitals, particularly on the islands, is not as high as that provided in Ireland. Nurses deal solely with medical issues and do not provide assistance with cleaning and feeding.
In Greek society it generally falls on the family to provide for all non-essential care to the patient or, when needed, a privately paid nursing assistant. Citizens should ensure that their medical insurance cover will provide for private nursing care if required.
Where emergency consular assistance is required for Irish citizens outside of opening hours, please leave a message at: +30 210 7232771.
This mailbox is monitored regularly.
Embassy of Ireland
7 Leoforas Vasileos
106 74 Athens
Monday to Friday 09:00 - 13:00
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr. Ioannis Xenikakis
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Leoforos Knosou 278
Email: Email us
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr. Skevos Mougros
Honorary Consul of Ireland
111 Amerikis Street
Email: Email us
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr. Theodoros Mavroudis
Honorary Consul of Ireland
5 Aristotelous Square
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.