Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Facts about Greece you should know…
The official language in Greece is Modern Greek, however in tourist areas English, French, Italian, and German are also spoken. In addition 2 out of 5 individuals in the major cities can speak primarily English and/or French. Studies have shown foreign languages spoken by Greeks as:
English 42% Italian 16% Other 3%
French 29% German 10%
Since January 1, 2002, the official currency of Greece is the Euro (€). Currency that exists as coins are in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Cents and 1 and 2 Euros. Currency that exists as bank notes are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros. *It is highly recommended that visitors should ONLY exchange their money at banks, foreign exchange bureaus, and hotels.
Major credit cards are honored at all hotels, restaurants, stores, travel agencies, car rental locations, etc. nationwide.
Public phones are widely available and operate only with a calling card. Calling cards may be obtained at newsstands, or kiosks (gr.--periptero) and at any OTE (National Telecommunications Organization) locations. Calling card values range from 3 to 20 €.
Stores and supermarkets are usually open from 9am to 10pm on weekdays and from 9am to 3:30pm on Saturdays. Except from bakery stores and some major supermarkets, all stores in the greater cities are closed on Sundays. The above statement does not apply to highly tourist areas. A "Periptero" newsstand or kiosk is a very small store that sells a very wide variety of products from candy bars and refreshments to newspapers and magazines. Such periptera are widely found on most street corners and squares, and usually all are open 24 hours a day.
Prices of common goods like milk, ice cream, bottled water, etc. may significantly vary from location to location, especially in tourist resorts where prices are usually higher than normal. By law and for the consumer's protection, factory prices of such products are required to be in clear display on the package. On the other hand, certain goods like cigarettes and various snacks (candy bars, potato chips) must be sold at the required retail price, or lower as set by the government.
The time in Greece is 2 (two) hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
Greece uses the Standard Metric System. Following, are some approximate conversions: 1in = 25mm; 1m = 1.6km; 1lb = 454gr
Temperature from degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius or Centigrade is: °C = 5/9 (°F - 32) and for example 32°F = 0°C or 212°F = 100°C
Temperature from degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit is: °F = 9/5 x °C + 32 and for example room temperature: 20°C = 68°F
Electricity in Greece is 220V - 50Hz, AC. Appliances that operate using 120V need to use a voltage adapter, or transformer.
Driving in Greece is on the right. The speed limit on the National Motorways is 120km/hr (75mi/hr), 80km/hr (50mi/hr) on civic highways, and 50km/hr (32mi/hr) within city limits. Visitors wishing to drive are required to use an International Driving Permit, along with their original driver's license. Mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles are very commonly used as means of transportation, especially on the islands. However they are the main cause of injury, since wearing helmets is not generally enforced.
There is no drinking age in Greece and alcoholic beverages can be found in any food store. Greece highly enforces very strict laws against the use of all narcotic substances.