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Greece is situated in the Southern part of the Balkan Peninsula (85% of the territory) and on numerous islands of the Mediterranean Sea. It surrounded by three seas: Mediterranean sea, Ionian and Aegean.
Greece has over three thousand islands, inhabited by 20% of the population.
Greece is a mixed market economy country. The main income comes from tourism. Employment of the population on sectors: service and tourism 59%, industry 21%, agrarian sector 20%.
The official language is Greek. English and German are widely used in shops, restaurants and hotels. Currency: The national currency is the EURO, which re- placed one of the oldest monetary units in Europe, the Drachma (1 Euro = 340, 75 Drachmas).
Cash can be ex-changed only in banks or exchange o ces. A 1% or 2% commission is charged for the procedure.
Most hotels, shops and restaurants in the big cities (not the small towns, and villages) accept all the main credit cards and circular checks. Circular checks can be exchanged in banks.
Most big hotels and shops accept: VISA,
AMERICAIN EXPRESS, EUROCARD. Nevertheless, be- fore coming to Greece you should consult the custom- er support department of your bank, on whether your card will be accepted as means of payment abroad.
You may call any other country from Greece from your hotel room. Calls from public phones using telephone cards are considerably cheaper. National code is +30 for anyone who calls you from other coun- try.
Useful phone numbers:
Tourist police 171 (Greece has a tourist police service which helps tourists on all the territory of the country. In the airport, in the arrival room is one of its o ces). O ces of this kind are almost everywhere. There you can get a free consul- tation regarding the staying of tourists in Greece: schedule of transport, map etc. Police 100
Drivers’ Help 104
Banks are open from 8:00 until 14:30 (on Fridays till 14:00). Shops are open on Monday, Wensday and Saturday from 9:00 till 15:00 (during the summer from 8:30), on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 till 15:00 (dur- ing the summer from 8:30) and from 17:30 till 20:30 (during the summer till 21:00). Supermarkets are open from Monday till Saturday from 8:00 till 20:00. Shops can work longer in the tourist zones.
Car rent: For drivers elder than 25 a driving experience of not less than 1 year is required; for drivers younger than 25 a valid driving license and driving experience of not less than 3 years are required.