Population: The population in Greece is 10, 939, 771 according to the 2001 census. Major cities include: 3,192,606 in Athens, 788,551 in Thessaloniki, and 191,508 in Patra. More than 4 million Greeks are estimated to live abroad, including 2 million in America.
Government: Legislative powers are exercised by a single Chamber Parliament (the "Vouli") and executive powers are vested in the Government and the President. The Prime Minister, whose Government must enjoy the confidence of the Parliament, has extensive powers. The judiciary is independent. Civil, political and human rights are constitutionally guaranteed. General elections for the 300 parliamentary seats are held every four years. The President of the Republic is elected by the members of Parliament for a five-year term, renewable only once.
Religion: Eastern Orthodox Christian or Ultra Catholic
Time Zone: Greek time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, an hour ahead of Central European Time and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Along with the rest of continental Europe, the clock is advanced one hour during summer -from the end of March to the end of September- almost a month earlier than the UK, the US and Canada. Therefore keep in mind that the time difference with these countries is one hour greater for some weeks in April and October.
If you want to find out what is the exact time call 141 (recorded message in Greek).
Cuisine: Traditional Greek food has home cooked old world flavor- excellent yogurt, feta cheeses, and olives, fresh baked breads, stuffed peppers, lamb, and other grilled and roasted meats such as chicken and pork. Don't forget the Baklava for dessert!
Credit Cards: All major Credit Cards as well as Euro-cheques are recognized and accepted in most hotels, shops, travel and car rental agencies and restaurants. Stickers in the front windows will advise you as to which cards are acceptable.
TRAVELER'S CHEQUES: issued by all the major companies are widely recognized. You can cash your traveler's cheques in all Greek and foreign banks, exchange bureaus and big hotels, but do not forget to have your passport with you. Identification is necessary for the transaction.
Tap Water: You should feel perfectly safe to eat and drink everything and the tap water is safe. The health services are good and you will be able to find an English-speaking doctor easily.
Weather: The general condition of the weather in the Greek seas usually stabilizes in early summer, and is characterized by bright sunshine and very little rainfall. However, from April to October, the winds vary significantly from area to area, in terms of direction, strength and duration
Clothing: You are expected to dress in a respectable manner when visiting churches and monasteries: long trousers for men, sleeved dresses and no miniskirts for women.
Electricity: The standard in Greece is 220V AC (50Hz). Appliances from North America require a transformer and British ones an adaptor. We recommend that you pack one together with your electrical appliance, so that you do not have to spend valuable time looking for adaptors and transformers during your stay.
Tipping: A service charge of 15% is included on most tourist hotel and restaurant bills, but an additional 10% above the service charge is appreciated. For taxis, an approximated 10% tip is suggested. Refer to your group member terms and conditions for guidelines since they vary.