Country: Greece, the land of volcanoes, ancient ruins, ouzo, feta, and sparkling blue seas, is officially known as the Hellenic Republic. It has been called Hellas since ancient times.
Greece is in southern Europe and is bordered by Turkey to the northeast, Albania to the northwest, and the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north. The remainder of Greece is surrounded by the waters of the Ionian Sea to the west, the Aegean Sea to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.
Greece is both mainland and islands and is home to 11 million people. Athens is the largest city and the country’s capital. The official language of Greece is Greek.
To access emergency services: Dial 112
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Recommended immunizations and vaccines for travelers: Before traveling to Greece, ask your doctor what vaccines are recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are excellent resources as well.
Insurance: Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
It is also worth ensuring your travel insurance will cover ambulances or transport either home or to more advanced medical facilities, if needed. Not all insurance covers emergency medical evacuation home or to a hospital in a major city, which may be the only way to receive medical attention in a serious emergency.
Source: International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers.
What to expect in a Greek hospital: Hospitals in Greece vary greatly from public to private. In private hospitals in larger cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, care is good. Here visitors will find that most doctors speak English. Private hospitals will require proof of the ability to pay prior to admission to the facility.
Though there is a doctor on most islands and larger islands will also have hospitals, the care in public facilities is often below western standards. Resources may be limited, hospitals crowded, and hygiene lacking. Payment will likely be expected in cash when services are rendered on the islands and in public hospitals.
In public hospitals, relatives are expected to bring food for patients. Hospital nursing care during the night is minimal, so it is also wise to have a friend or relative stay if the patient will need overnight assistance. Patients with serious or life-threatening conditions should seek evacuation to a private hospital in Athens or Thessaloniki for optimal care.
Contact your embassy/consulate: When in doubt, your country’s embassy is a good resource to turn to for medical assistance guidance.
JCI-accredited hospitals/clinics in Greece: To read about specific facilities which are JCI-accredited, visit the Hospital Search section.
Greece-specific helpful health resources:
Travel health notices: Visit the CDC or WHO for up-to-date travel notices.