Greece is a country filled with wonder, riches and vibrant culture. It’s the birthplace of democracy and the Olympics, home to spectacular ancient ruins and hosts pristine beaches and idyllic islands.
Whether you’re heading to Greece to experience the food and culture, embark on a historical factfinding mission or to relax on one of the Greek islands, you no doubt want peace of mind and a stress-free trip. So, when organising your Greek getaway, travel insurance should be high on your list of things to organise.
It’s a good idea to take out travel insurance no matter which country you’re travelling to – including Australia. You can never predict when an injury, illness or other incidents will disrupt your everyday life, let alone your holidays when you’re supposed to be relaxing with your guard down.
If you’re wondering whether travel insurance is worth it, ask yourself a few questions.
You’ll need to have both your Australian driving licence and an International Driving Permit to be able to drive in Greece1 – but that’s not the only thing you need to be aware of.
Greek roads can be hazardous due to poor conditions and the drivers themselves.1 Pedestrians aren’t often given right of way, and vehicles will sometimes ignore traffic signals. Some intersections will have traffic police directing the flow of cars and pedestrians, and their instructions may contradict the lights. When this happens, always follow the directions of the officer.
Greece’s tourist season is May to October each year, and you can expect to encounter huge crowds in tourist places as well as at the ferry ports to the islands.1
Temperatures can also soar during this season,1 since the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing summer during this time. Unfortunately, this also means that bush and forest fires are also a common occurrence during the June-September period.
All this is just to say that you should be vigilant when surrounded by crowds, take care of your health on hot days and stay safe should an emergency unfold. The emergencies services phone number in Greece is 112, and the Tourist Police (for non-serious incidents) can be contacted on 1571.1
The Euro is Greece’s official currency, and you’ll need to declare amounts of more than €10,000 (in all forms of money) when travelling between Greece and a non-European Union country.1
Tourists using most major international credit and debit cards aren’t subject to the same daily ATM withdrawal limits as Greek citizens. However, some places (like smaller hotels, restaurants and shops) don’t accept credit cards,2 so you should always keep some cash on you, just in case!
As we mentioned before, the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website issues travel warnings and advice for nearly every country. Since some travel insurance providers don’t cover travel to countries with specified levels of warning (e.g. level three warning or above), you should keep an eye on the Greece Smartraveller page in the weeks leading up to your departure. That way, you won’t be caught unawares if the situation changes.
If you’re travelling to multiple countries – say you’re touring around Europe – make sure you check the advice for each country.
As of 23 September 2020, travel insurance is not mandatory for Australians to enter Greece, and neither is a visa (in some cases).1 Since Greece is part of the Schengen Area, Australians can enjoy visa-free travel to Greece for 90 days; however, if you leave the Schengen Area and return within 180 days, you won’t get another 90 visa-free days.3
You may need a visa if you’re travelling for purposes other than tourism or business, and you will still need a valid passport to enter Greece. Greece’s entry requirements can change, though, so be sure to check with the Embassy of Greece in Australia before you go.
There are different levels of travel insurance to choose from; it will depend on your provider, but you can generally expect to choose between basic, standard and comprehensive levels of cover.
Depending on the level you choose, travel insurance can cover:
Furthermore, your provider may also offer optional extras you can add to your policy to extend your cover to things not normally included. Some common ones include cover for rental vehicle excess, cruises, adventure activities and snow sports.
Be sure to thoroughly check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of any policy before purchase. The PDS will outline the limits, terms, conditions, inclusions and exclusions of the policy.
1 Smartraveller – Greece. Last updated August 2020. Accessed September 2020.
2 AXA Assistance – What travel insurance do I need when visiting Greece? Accessed September 2020.
3 Smartraveller – Visas and entry requirements in Europe and the Schengen area. Accessed September 2020.