Travel to Greece

15/07/2013 -- Mary Simpson
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Retsina, island hopping, sailing, snorkelling, feta cheese, The Acropolis, beaches, ouzo, Faliraki, clubbing, Crete, tavernas, trekking, Santorini, Rhodes old town, Athens, Plaka, museums, diving, windsurfing, olives trees, yachting, mythology, mountains, Paleokastritsa,churches, sea sponges, Elgin Marbles, seafood, Greek salad, Knossos, icons, bouzouki, baklava, yogurt, deep fried squid (calamari) ...

Medical and Health

Documents needed:  EHIC and passport

Doctors and Dentists

Doctors:  With the EU Health Insurance Card (EHIC), consultation is free from state registered doctors (IKA – ETAM). Private doctors usually charge 30 – 50 Euros for an appointment. 

Doctors in private clinics can also be registered with the state system.  They’ll accept the EU medical card, formerly the E111 form) but expect you to pay all charges up front, so keep receipts and claim back later.

Dentists:  Apart from emergencies, only limited care is available under the Greek national health service.  Most dentists are private. Essential dental treatment is usually free with the EHIC (not dentures).

Hospital Treatment and Ambulance Costs

Greek hospitals are struggling in the financial crisis, so you need to provide proof that you can cover medical costs – EHIC or credit card or travel insurance. If you have the EHIC, you don't need to give them your credit card or travel insurance details. (EU Medical Card Alert)

If referred to a public hospital by an IKA-ETAM doctor, you’ll be issued with a ‘ticket’ ie proof of entitlement. If not, show your EHIC on admission and ask the hospital to contact the IKA office. 

There are usually charges for things like X-rays and blood tests.

Nursing care can be patchy and patients without family/friends can hire a private nurse (apoklistikia).

Ambulance:  Emergency ambulance services are generally free.  You might be asked to pay towards routine transport costs.


Medicines prescribed by an IKA-ETAM doctor are valid for 5 days from issue date from any pharmacy. You pay 25% of costs, but this can vary depending on the prescription. Specialist drugs may be harder to find.

The EHIC card isn’t travel insurance.  See What Can Go Wrong if in doubt about whether you need travel insurance for Greece.


NHS Choices

Foreign Office Travel Advice