Greece

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Flag of Greece Greece
Information
Language: Greek
Capital: Athens
Population: 11,216,708
Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
Hitchability: <rating country='gr' />
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<map lat='39.8' lng='21.47' zoom='6' view='0' float='right' />

Greece is a country in Southern Europe, bordering Albania, FYRoM, Bulgaria, and Turkey. It is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement.

Hitchhiker Jason thumbing in Greece, June 2008. His hips have seemingly turned inside out.

Hitchhiking in Greece can be a little slow because many Greeks seem to be afraid of immigrants. It's best not to ask too much about it as something close to racism and prejudice comes out. However, if you are patient enough, you will get a ride. Greeks who have lived abroad or have travelled around seem to be much more open to picking up hitch-hikers, as are foreign tourists.

Because there are few motorways in Greece, the national roads become great havens of locals and long distance drivers pouring in from the south east to west and vice versa, up into the north. Also, tolls have increased as of recently, making motorways less attractive for long distance drivers. Greek drivers will never directly ask for money. In very few cases, some might say they don't have enough to pay the tolls, or that they have not enough petrol to arrive to their destination and no money to buy more.

It is generally hard to hitchhike using mainly petrol stations – it can cause long waits since they are a little off the motorway and quite small by Western standards. Besides, you can barely find any in the northern parts of Greece. The best way to get lifts is to hitch right on the road (if it is not a motorway).

You can cross the border by foot! EDIT- If you´re crossing border to Turkey between Alexandroupoli and Tekirdag it´s not possible to go by foot. Between greek and turkish border there is a bridge and soldiers will tell you that you have to go by car on this bridge of course because of national security. (Checked in Semptember 2016)

It is forbidden to thumb on the motorways, and if the police passes, they will tell you to move out. If you walk on a motorway and a camera sees you (bridges, tunnels), they will send a vehicle and ask you to move away, and will stay with you until you comply. Toll stations are also considered "motorway". The best legal place to hitch-hike is the ramp just before the "motorway" sign.

It would be smart not to mention "Macedonia" as a country. Greeks call "Macedonia" the northern part of Greece. If you're going to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and want to avoid the political conversation, just say that you're going to "FYROM" or Skopje

Map of licence plates.

In summer it can get very hot in Greece, so be careful that you don't get sunburned and carry plenty of water with you. It is also wise to have a large cardboard sign which you can use as makeshift umbrella while you're waiting for cars.

Number plates

The number plates of Greece consist of 3 letters and 4 digits. The first 1 or 2 letters represent a state. The plates are valid for the whole life of the vehicle even if its owner moves to an other town, so you can not be absolutely sure about where the vehicle is from.

Wild camping

Wild camping in Greece is forbidden by law. If you camp next to hotels, organized campgrounds or other kind of tourist accommodation, their owner can call the police. Police may fine you (150 euro) during the summer months (July and August especially), so it's best to ask other wild campers when you arrive at a beach.

Compared with the other Mediterranean EU countries, there are still a lot of of beaches where you can camp for free and without police problems. You can camp freely anywhere in the mountains, valleys, hills, river beds etc. Nobody is going to chase you off.

Cities

Getting away

You can get a ferries from Igoumenitsa or Patra. A lot of trucks going through Igoumenitsa. Ferries are expensive and time consuming, but there is a shower and you can sleep on the deck. Crossing in the truck cab - dangerous and illegal. There are discounts for students. If you are under 25 - ask for a discount!


Personal Experiences

" I was just crossing Greece from Bulgaria to Turkey and I expected easy way but it was totally different. I spent there about 4 days hitch-hiking full of depressions. Greeks just didn't stop and waiting time about 3 hours wasn't anything special. For me it was the worst hitch-hiking country ever. For me Greece was even worse than Italy or Spain!" (August 2016) => Local's answer : There's a big wave of refugees since the war in Syria and people are scared. A driver could be detained for trafficking, if he's carrying passengers who entered Greece illegally. If you try NOT to look like a refugee and speak to people in gas stations, East Macedonia + Thraki could be crossed in less than 48h.

Not looking like a refugee is easily the worst advice I've heard, I look like what most people would consider a hipster and still a very nice and helpful worker at a petrol station thought that I'm an Algerian for an hour even though I've said that I'm Hungarian in Greek, just because of my Mediterranean complexion. However, I didn't have absurd waiting times but the existence of highways without good possibilities for hitchhikers to use them makes Greece easily the worst Balkans country to hitchhike.

Links

  • 14 hours of autostop – the hitchhiking adventures of Georgi Kalendarov and Diljan Vulev, of Bulgaria, in Greece


Countries of Europe


trash:Greece

wikipedia:Greece