Travelling to Greece on business or to invest in a property? Get some information and tips on doing business in Greece.
Travelling Around Greece for Business
There is an extensive public transportation system in Greece. Within Athens, there is a brand new metro, tram and buses web, which became available after the Olympic games in 2004. This system of transportation covers all Attica, i.e. Athens, Piraeus [Athens’ closest port just 15 min away] and also all the surrounding area. There is also a very extensive web of buses, trains and airplanes connecting all the mainland of Greece, in addition to one of the best boats and ferries web in Europe, connecting the mainland of Greece to Italy, Turkey etc. Timetables for buses, trains and ferries can be found on the internet, where an extensive list of hotels could also be found. If you wish to drive in Greece, you should keep in mind the following points:
- In Greece, as in all European countries except UK and Cyprus, left-hand drive cars are used.
- There is heavy traffic, especially at rush hours.
- Beware of wet roads, as they can be vary slippery!
- Almost all signs are posed in both Greek and English.
- There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
- In summertime (May-September) there is an increased amount of visitors in Greece, so buses and ferries can be very crowded. If you are planning to do business in Greece and especially in the islands, avoid, if possible, these months.
- Greek people are very inpatient as drivers.
Important Business Tips for Greece
- Keep in mind that bureaucratic procedures can be complex and lengthy in Greece.
- MRS or MR are the only titles used nowadays in Greece. You will call a woman Mrs. X, regardless of whether she is married or not.
- Women no longer change their family name after marriage.
- Business transactions are expressed in Euros.
- Book for appointments, tickets, restaurants well in advance.
- Credit cards are widely used but paying by cheque is not normally accepted.
- You should not expect to be refunded for a purchase.
- It is common to shake hands when you are meeting someone for the first time and when you are saying “goodbye”.
- Most Greek people speak English.
- Most Greeks are Christian Orthodox in religion, but there are also small minorities of Catholics, Muslims and Jews.
Investing in Greece
Investing in property is rather a good option in Greece. There are lots of real estate agencies and you will find a lot of advertisements in the local newspapers. Make sure that you find yourself a good lawyer before taking any action towards the property that interests you. He or she will be able to help you with everything you might need to ask, and in addition, he or she will be able to do all the paperwork that is needed. You should also ask for Ministry approvals, and make sure you check tax rates, capital gains tax laws and any other relevant laws.
Wining and Dining
- Greeks tend to have diner rather late (21.00-22.00pm).
- Table manners and dress code is rather important when you are doing business in Greece.
- When someone makes a toast, people chink their glasses with everyone on the table, while looking them directly in the eyes.
- Raki, or tsikoudia, refers to a very fine home-made liqueur made out of grapes in different parts of Greece. It is digestive, offered in shoots and can be very strong.
- There is an extensive Greek production of wine as well. There are lots of different brands, but most restaurants make also good wine of their own.
- Ouzo is also a very traditional liqueur, usually served on the rocks. It is also very strong, which is why most people mix it with water. It is usually served with sea food.
- “Pitas”, ”mezedes”, feta cheese, sausages usually accompany alcoholic treats.
- If you don’t eat sea food, you should inform your hosts in advance, since some restaurants specialize in sea food.
If you wish to do some sightseeing while you are doing business in Greece you really have lots of options. If you are in Athens, don’t forget to visit the “Acropolis” right in the heart of the city where you will see the well-known Parthenon, ancient temple of Athena, as well as well the Erechthium and the museum. Herodes ancient theater is also on the same location.The ancient “Agora” in Theseum is also a popular sight.The National Archeological Musem is located in Patision road, also in central Athens. The temple of Poseidon in cape Sounio also worth’s seeing where you will admire one of the best sunsets in Europe. If you are located in Thessalonica, the Vergina’s museum- that hosts a large amount of findings that are associated with Alexander the Grate- is defiantly a must.
Other popular sights are the Knossos and Festus palaces in Crete, the Mycenaean palace in Peloponnesus, the “Manteo” in Delphi, the ancient monuments of secret Delos, etc.
However, combining business with vacation in Greece, if possible, is highly recommended. Travel around the Aegean or the Ionian, enjoy the Greek sun, the dream beaches, and you will simply love doing business in Greece.