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International dialling code: +30

Driving on the right

European Emergency Dial: 112 (or 999). Ambulance 166. 

Border Crossing

Entry: Kakavia from Albania

Additional information: The Kakavia or Kakavijë border crossing (Greek: Κακαβιά) is a major road border crossing between southern Albania and northwestern Greece. On the Albanian side lies the village of Kakavijë, located in the Gjirokastër CountyDropull region. On the Greek side lies the village of Ktismata, in the Delvinaki municipality, Ioannina regional unit.

The main road from Sarandë and Gjirokastër to Ioannina passes through this border crossing. The Greek National Road 22 (GR-22, European route E853) connects Kakavia with the GR-20 at Kalpaki

Approximate time to clear:​ Estimate 30-45 mins with stops and searches both sides of the border. Lane queuing system with traffic lights controls traffic flow. 

Exit: Piraeus Port - Sea Freight to Alexandria Egypt and / or Athens International Airport to Cairo (possibly via London). 

Additional information: In April 2019 the Hellenic Police began implementing systematic passport control checks for all European citizens travelling to/from destinations outside the Schengen area (including the UK). This is in line with the 2017 Schengen Borders Code regulation EU 2017/458, which will eventually be applied by all Schengen member states according to the individual timescales. Waiting times at passport control may be affected on departure from and arrival into Greece.

Approximate time to clear:​ Not known. You should ensure you arrive at the airport in good time, at least 2 hours before your flight. .

Documentation

Passport: For British Citizens Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

VISA's: Not required for British Citizens. EU & Schengen member.

EHIC: You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired. If you have lost or misplaced it contact UK Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) for a replacement. 

Driving licence: Visitors can drive using a valid UK or other EU/EEA driving licence. Driving in Greece requires you hold a European Union drivers license, or a USA drivers license, which should be accompanied by an International Driver’s Permit. An IDP will be required after Brexit.

Insurance / 'Green Card': You will need to carry a motor insurance green card when driving in the EUand EEA.

Contact your vehicle insurance provider 1 month before you travel to get green cards for your vehicle, caravan or trailer.

You’ll need multiple green cards if your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan - you’ll need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer / caravan (you need separate trailer insurance in some countries)​

Vehicle Registration Document: Driving in the EU you will need the Vehicle Registration Document (V5C) or a VE 103 if you have hired the vehicle and are driving it abroad. 

Trailer registration: ​Non commercial trailers over 3500kgs gross weight have to be registered and need to display their own registration plate (separate to the vehicle) and be able to show the Trailer Registration Certificate to authorities on request. Some countries require a separate Green Card for the Trailer but this does not mean you need separate insurance for your trailer. You can register your trailer here 

GB Stickers and Number Plates:  You should display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle and trailer, even if you currently have a number plate which includes the GB identifier.

Logistics

Roads: The roads in Greece vary widely in their quality and state of repair. Most major cities are connected by new wide, multi-lane highways (toll roads), while smaller cities are served by aging, narrow one-lane per direction roads. To navigate to the most spectacular and remote locations you have to negotiate through very narrow roads, that sometimes turn into gravel patches that can double the estimated time of arrival to your destination. Greece is a mountainous country and driving in its roads can yield spectacular views, but on smaller roads, it can also cause motion sickness. If you are driving in Greece with passengers prone to motion sickness, or with small children plan to make frequent stops along the way. The newly built highways are a joy to drive on, while the older road network that includes the so-called national roads will be a source of considerable stress. The old “national road” network and rural roads connect smaller towns and villages, while narrow paved paths, and dirt roads provide access to more remote parts of Greece. 

Road closures are common in Athens and are not always announced in advance. 

Toll Roads. A network of newly built, European standards toll roads, will allow you travel comfortably and safely. The Ionia Odos will get you from Igoumenitsa in Epirus to Patra or border with Turkey in Thrace via the Egnatia Odos.  These roads will be the backbone of any trip that requires driving in Greece. They have rest stops and toilets at regular intervals, while their exits serve most major cities along the way. The flat rate tolls are exceptionally high, so if you are on a budget expect to pay about €35-45 for a 300 km trip.

The old interstate system.  Connects most of Greece with paved roads that were built to meet the driving needs more than 50 years ago. They are in disparaging states of repair, and in general you will find them inadequate for today’s cars and density of traffic.

These roads consist of one lane per direction, with only the painted line in the middle to separates cars moving in opposite directions. 

Driving on such roads is a real challenge and very demanding for the drivers. The emergency lane on these old roads is used by Greek drivers as a driving lane, and they expect you do the same. Don’t be surprised if a tailgating car flashes their headlights frantically at you, expecting that you will move over to the emergency lane so they can pass you. The old interstate system cuts through small towns and villages where you have the speed limit drops from 80 or 90 Km/hr to 50. This is where you will encounter the majority of police speed traps.

 

Rural Roads. When traffic is heavy, rural roads are very treacherous, but when you are the only one on the road, driving is a joy. Very often such roads will take you through some of the most spectacular scenery of Greece. Rural roads are usually in poor condition, with fainted lines and unreliable signage. Even though they are in constant repair by the local municipalities which they serve, they remain too narrow for today’s driving needs. You will need to be extra careful as these roads host fast moving vehicles, tractors, and even livestock.

In remote areas the roads are so narrow cars have to stop to let the oncoming traffic pass. Rail guards are usually not present and such roads often climb impossible passages through steep mountains.

Small Town Streets. Driving through towns in Greece could be one of the most stressful part of your trip.

Small town (Argos, Larissa, Ioannina, Edessa, etc.)  streets were built way before cars began inundating them. So, if you drive into the heart of them after 9:00 am when business are open, you can reasonably expect to be stuck in major gridlock.

You will also find that locals are usually very aggressive drivers, intersections tend to be chaotic, and parking on the streets can be impossible to find. The best approach is to avoid driving into the heart of small towns. Instead, park on a municipal or paid parking lot at the edge of town, and then proceed on foot. If your map app gives you an option to choose a route that avoids such towns, take it even if it adds a few extra minutes to your trip.

Fines: If you do get a ticket driving, you must pay it at the local tax office, which can be a major hastle.

Tyres: It is likely that tyres will need to be replaced in Greece during service. Off road tyres will be fitted in preparation for Africa.  

Weather: Spring is pleasant and sunny in most of Greece. The days with some rainfall become less and less frequent. However, by the month of May, in northern areas and in the mountain ranges, thunderstorms can erupt in afternoon. In addition, in the Aegean Sea, a wind that blows from the north or north-east, called Meltemi (or Etesian), begins to blow on sunny days in May, and continues especially during summer (see below). 
Summer in Greece is hot and sunny. Although the country is not protected by the Azores High, the weather is consistently sunny. 
Only in the north and in mountainous areas, where the sun usually shines anyway, at times there can be showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon, especially in June (in July and August they become a bit rarer). Of course, in mountainous areas, the temperature decreases with altitude, especially at night. While on the islands and along the coasts the heat is tempered by sea breezes, in the continent, especially in inland areas and in the biggest cities, the heat is intense. In the Aegean Sea the Meltemi, a northerly wind typical of the warmest months (July and August), often blows, and even if the sky is clear, it can make the sea dangerous. This wind can blow for periods of two to four days, but sometimes even for weeks. The Meltemi is caused by the difference in atmospheric pressure between the western part of the Mediterranean, where the Azores High dwells in summer, and the eastern part, which is affected by a low-pressure area that forms because the Iranian plateau and the deserts of the Middle East heat up a lot. For this reason, these winds can not be considered as mere breezes, and can be persistent and annoying. Weather forecasts are available from the Hellenic National Meteorological Service

Fuel: The majority of gas stations in Greece are “full service”. Pull up to the pump, and within a few minutes someone will come to fill your tank with gas. Hand them the keys if the gas tank is locked, and tell them how much fuel you wish to purchase. Petrol is called benzine. 

Gas stations in Greece are efficient and plentiful, save for the most remote areas of Greece. They offer a variety of services to travelers, albeit, clean bathrooms is not often on the list of offerings. All gas stations offer unleaded gas, and diesel and close around 7:00 PM on weekdays, and for the whole day on Sundays. By law, at least one gas station must remain open in each area at night and on Sundays. If you are driving in a town desperate for gas during a night or in the weekend, ask the locals to point you towards the one gas station that is open in the town.Fuel in Greece is expensive and you should factor it into your budget because even with moderate driving it can be a major part of it. 

Very rarely the gas station attendant will provide more service than filling your tank (and rarely, washing our windshield), and you are not expected to leave a tip.  Every gas station offers a free air pump and water for your use.The great majority of gas stations are attached to a mini market where you can buy auto accessories, water, food, drinks, and snacks. In large urban centers it is possible to find some self-service gas stations, but they are far and few in between.

 

Diesel is typically cheaper than petrol. 

Water: Readily available at most campsites and garages

Food: Cost of living is approximately 14% cheaper than in the UK. Fresh food is available in village markets and supermarkets in cities. 

Vehicle / trailer repairs: Main cities. Athens / Piraeus. Discuss with Land Rover Athens.

Bottle Gas or Refills: See website www.myLPG.eu  

LPG: In addition to cooking gas for those with tanks, LPG is also used to power vehicles. Details of LPG gas stations and connectors can be found on the website www.myLPG.eu. A list of Points of Interest (POI's), a list of stations, can also be downloaded in other applications and on other devices like Garmin, TomTom, Google Earth and iGO primo. Links can be found here.

Gas adapters: A Dish adapter is used here. 

Currency: Euro

Health

Standard of healthcare: Treatment and facilities are generally good on the mainland, but may be limited on the islands. The standards of nursing and after care, particularly in the public health sector lag behind what is normally acceptable in the UK. The public ambulance service, which will normally respond to any accident, is basic. There are severe shortages of ambulances on some islands.

While pharmacies across the country stock a good supply of medicines, you should make sure you have sufficient medical supplies (including prescription medicines) for the duration of your stay and any unforeseen delays, adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.

Travelling with medication: According to Greek law, a visitor can bring up to 5 different prescribed medicines for personal use, with a maximum of 2 boxes of each medicine. Some prescribed and over-the-counter medicines available in the UK, including medication containing codeine, are considered controlled substances in Greece. A doctor’s prescription is required in all cases, which should mention your details, the types of medicine and the condition treated. On arrival, Greek Customs may in some cases require you to obtain permission from the Greek National Organisation of Medicines - if you need to carry more than the permitted number of boxes, for example. The National Organisation of Medicines examines these requests on a case by case basis. For more information on controlled medicines, contact the Greek National Organisation of Medicines (telephone: 0030 213 2040 285 / 307 / 225, open Monday to Friday, 12pm to 3pm Greece time, or email: relation@eof.gr).

West Nile Virus. There were a number of cases of West Nile virus in Greece in 2018. You should consider preventative measures to minimise exposure to mosquitoes, for example using mosquito repellent when outdoors and closing doors or windows or using screens. 

Pets

 

Traveling with pets in Greece is generally easier if you come from an EU country. As an EU national, you can freely travel by your car with a dog (or ferret) if it has a European pet passport. This passport can be obtained from any authorized veterinarian and must contain details of anti-rabies vaccination.

Places to stay 

 

Still exploring this and waiting for suggestions. Where available the following will be included for each location:

  • Name / Point of contact / Email / Tel No / Website / Price per night

  • Hotels

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Campsites

 

Campsites including places (like hotels) that allow camping within their grounds

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Wild Camping

Wild camping is illegal in Greece. 

Things to do and places to see

Archealogical sites:

Any other suggestions / Information: 

Localised or severe weather extremes, including wildfires, can affect areas of Greece over the extended summer period. Greece is prone to earthquakes. 

Local Media

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