Off to Greece? Travel insurance can protect you if your trip doesn't go exactly as planned.
Getting excited about your Greece trip? Before you head off, make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance in place. A good policy will protect you in case your flight gets delayed en route to Mykonos, you get pickpocketed in Athens or you're injured and need medical evacuation from Santorini.
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*Based on a 15-day trip to Greece for a 25-year-old traveller getting a basic travel insurance policy.
- Theft: Always take care with your belongings, but be particularly aware of the risk of petty crimes, including pickpocketing, bag snatching and luggage theft. Your passport is a valuable document and may also be targeted by thieves who are after your identity. Exercise caution and familiarise yourself with the theft-prevention requirements of your travel insurance policy. Be particularly aware of the risks after dark in isolated areas and tourist spots.
- Civil unrest and radicalism: Larger Greek cities, including Athens and Thessaloniki, can be subject to civil unrest or demonstrations with little warning. Demonstrations have been known to turn violent, and travellers are advised to steer clear of any large gathering.
- Assault: Tourists in Greece have been victims of assault, and travellers on the Greek Islands, including the popular destinations of Mykonos, Santorini and Ios, are advised to keep a close eye on their drinks in case of spiking. You should also exercise caution, and responsibility, when drinking in Greece.
- Driver and pedestrian hazards: You will need an international driving permit to drive in Greece, even for quad bikes, motorcycles and other vehicles. Australians are also advised that the roads in Greece may be hazardous due to aggressive local driving practices, and poorly maintained roads or vehicles. Pedestrians should take care with the narrow, crowded sidewalks of Athens and should understand that pedestrian crossings and traffic signals are frequently not obeyed. Should you find yourself at an intersection with both traffic lights and a traffic control officer, remember that the officer’s instructions take priority over the lights.
- Illness: Outbreaks of food-borne illnesses occur from time to time, and you should avoid raw or undercooked foods to be on the safe side. Other than this, ensure you’re up to date on all immunisations and have travel insurance that can pay up-front for medical costs, as is expected in Greece.
The cost of travel insurance depends largely on age and policy type. The table below shows the average prices of basic and comprehensive travel insurance policies, by age, for one month of cover in Greece.
The standard of medical facilities in Greece ranges from very basic to world class. Currently there is a severe shortage of medical supplies, including essential medications.
You are expected to pay up-front for medical expenses, even in an emergency situation, and you should look for a travel insurance policy that accommodates this. The right travel insurance will allow you to access the private hospital system as well, which is highly recommended.
- Public hospital ambulance services can vary and may be slow to respond. Private hospitals have their own ambulances and tend to provide better quality service.
- In the event of a medical emergency in a remote area or while on one of the islands, you may need medical evacuation to Athens, another major city, or even all the way back to Australia. Travel insurance can cover these potentially enormous costs.
- At least eight weeks before departure, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a health check-up and information on pre-existing conditions if needed, as well as any vaccinations you might require.
- If you are determined to find the cheapest travel insurance for Greece, consider a medical-only travel insurance policy for essential cover at an affordable price.
Depending on the situation, your best option may be to get in touch with family, friends or travel companions, your airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or your travel insurance provider.
- In the event of an emergency, call 112. Make sure you get a police report if reporting a theft so you can claim the loss on your travel insurance, assuming you have a policy which covers it.
- Your travel insurance provider should have a 24-hour helpline. You should have your insurer’s contact information available while travelling.
You can visit or contact the Australian Embassy in Athens for help with missing passports, visa issues or other miscellaneous assistance. The services the consulate can provide are limited, but they may be able to point you in the right direction.
Australian Embassy, Athens
Thon Building, Level 6, on the corner of Kifisias and Alexandras Ave
Ambelokipi, Athens 115 23
Phone: +30 210 870 4000
Fax: +30 210 870 4055
Australians do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. If you’re planning to stay longer, you can apply for a visa from a Greek embassy or consulate in Australia.
Take note, however, that Greece is a Schengen country, which means there may be additional entry requirements. Depending on which other countries you’re visiting, travel insurance may be mandatory.
- Seventy-five per cent of all visits occur between May and September, to take advantage of holiday periods and bright, warm weather. This might be when Greece is at its most stunning, but also means more crowds and can lead to inflated prices.
- Visit Greece in winter to take advantage of the skiing and other snow sports, but consider double-checking your travel insurance policy for snow-sports cover.