Greece Basic Information
Want to live it up in paradise for only a few clams? Head to the island of Crete. This island is a mishmash of pink, white and black sandy beaches, rocky landscapes and historic wonders with a past that dates back 3,000 years. It’s even said Crete was once home to the Minoan civilisation. Holy Minotaurs! And that’s just the start of the amazing country that’s Greece. Want to know more? Read on.
Just like 25 other European countries, Greece supports the Schengen Convention, which means Aussies can holiday in the country for up to 90 days within an 180-day period without a visa. You can also stay longer for a fee by applying at a local Kentro Allodapon (Aliens Centre). You’ll also need to ensure you have at least 6 months’ validity on your passport before your planned date of return to Australia. Please be aware that this information is only a guide. For up-to-the minute visa information, contact your local Greek Consulate or Embassy before you leave.
Greece is part of the European Union and uses the Euro as currency. The exchange rate between the Euro and the Australian Dollar is constantly changing, so keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase Euros when the rate is at its optimum. For safe spending while travelling, consider using a credit card or travel money card.
You’ve heard of ambrosia? The mythological food and drink of the gods? Well, Greece is said to be the land of the gods, so technically what you eat here is ambrosia. That’s no joke. The Greeks are pretty proud of their cuisine and they’re also very hospitable, so you’ll always be well-fed. Some basic ingredients in most dishes are feta, olive oil, fresh vegetables and lamb. Greeks love their lamb - lamb kofta, lamb souvlaki and whole slow-roasted Greek lamb legs. Both the style of cooking and ingredients will vary region to region. There’s Turkish and Italian influences in many dishes and some islands or towns have dishes with distinct flavours and ingredients. Greek cuisine also has many unique varieties of cheeses and herbs that complement vegetarian, meat and seafood dishes. A few well-known dishes you must try while you’re in Greece include homemade tzatziki dip, fresh grilled octopus, gyros (or doner kebabs), moussaka, baklava (for sweet tooths) and spanakopita (spinach pie).
Raise your glass of ouzo - the spirits are high in Greek nightclubs! There are 3 major cities that are known for their epic nightlife; Athens, Thessaloníki and Patras. Head to downtown Athens for bars and clubs open to the wee hours even on weeknights, restaurants that open past midnight, and international and traditional music. There are plenty of open-air concerts, international shows and theatre events in Athens too. Gázi is the city’s hotspot with mezé tavernas (restaurants with ‘middle’ dishes instead of individual mains), fringe theatres, galleries and all sorts of bars and clubs including rock, pop, retro, swing, gay and lesbian. Partying in Thessaloníki is an elegant affair. There’s sophisticated clubs, bars and restaurants all set in a city steeped in rich history. You can also meet locals at traditional music halls and if you’re lucky, rock along to a student party. Patras hosts an incredible street carnival and has loads of clubs, bars, music halls and good times. Ayíou Nikoláou Street is the most popular nightlife destination with stylish bars and restaurants set in Neoclassical surrounds. The nightlife on the islands deserves a special mention; Ios and Mykonos in particular. You’ll start partying here in the early afternoon and kick on well into the evening. Ios is tops for students – it’s budget friendly and full of cool kids like you.