Greece: island hopping at the birthplace of democracy

Greece: island hopping at the birthplace of democracy

When you speak of the West or Western culture, keep in mind that Greece was where that culture was born. While archaeological ruins permeate this nation on the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula and encompassing islands throughout the surrounding seas, the evidence of antiquity isn’t the only reason why Greece is one of the most favored travel destinations throughout the world. Sandy beaches interspersed with rocky coasts, a mountainous inland, the quintessential Mediterranean climate (think southern California, if you’ve never been abroad), and a laid back, friendly population make Greece a fabulous locale for adventure, relaxation, or a contemplation of a glorious past.   Getting in, out, and about Greece   Like most of the rest of Europe, Greece is a member of the Schengen Agreement. For US travelers, this means that with a mere passport that has at least three months continued validity on it, you can travel anywhere in the Schengen area, including Greece, for up to 90 days within a 180 day period.   If you are a US citizen who was born in Macedonia, however, you may face additional requirements for getting out, and you should consult the US State Department’s website for additional information: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/greece.html. One possible consequence is that if you are male, you may be pressed into the country’s mandatory military service, so check with the State Department and plan accordingly.   Like most of the rest of Europe, you do not need any special vaccinations for your travel, although some travelers will get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B, and for rabies. In the case of the latter, it is uncommon for dogs to be carriers, and this is largely a precaution against exposure to bats. Check with your local physician about your travel plans to see if any of these vaccinations would be appropriate for you.   While there are no currency requirements, you may be asked to furnish proof of a return ticket or an onward travel destination, as well as enough money to get by in the country. In addition to this, you should be aware that unlike in the US, it is illegal to carry mace or pepper spray. Drug laws are rigidly enforced in Greece, and the society is sufficiently anti-drug oriented that you may risk being reported to the police by an average citizen if caught. Penalties for possession of even the smallest amounts...

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