Greece: All OK in the Short Term for Travellers?
In summary, disaster in the short term has been averted and if you are visiting Greece over the next few weeks you should be OK if you ensure that you stock up with euros before you arrive in Greece. ATMs in Greece should be paying out without restrictions for non-Greek cards but it’s best not to rely on them in the current circumstances
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued the following guidance on travel to Greece.
When travelling, you should take more than one means of payment with you (cash, debit card, credit card). Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services – including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice.
The government of Greece announced on 15 July that banks will remain closed until at least midnight on 16 July. The Greek government is limiting withdrawals using cards issued by Greek banks to €60 per day. At this time, you can continue to withdraw cash using your card as normal, up to the daily limit imposed by the Greek banking system (usually €600), or the daily limit imposed by your card issuer – whichever is the lower amount, as long as the ATM has been replenished. The system for paying with debit and credit cards for retail transactions continues to function.
While banks are closed in Greece and some withdrawals are limited, make sure you take sufficient euros in cash to cover the duration of your stay, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays. There is currently no guarantee that visitors will be able to exchange sterling for euros in Greece. Visitors must therefore bring euros with them. You should take appropriate security precautions against theft. There are currently no restrictions on taking unspent euros out of Greece at the end of your stay.
There have been some media reports of a shortage of medical supplies in Greece. While pharmacies across the country appear to be functioning relatively normally, you should make sure you have sufficient medical supplies (including prescription medicines) for the duration of your stay and any unforeseen delays.
There are regular strikes. These are sometimes called at short notice and can cause disruption to public transport in and out of Greece (including air travel and ports). Demonstrations take place regularly in central Athens, and have also taken place in other towns and cities. There may also be demonstrations around the vote expected in parliament on 15 July and any subsequent votes related to the terms of Greece’s bailout agreement with its international creditors. You should avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities