Travelling to Greece for IVF Treatment
Receiving IVF treatment can be a difficult process. It requires financial and emotional investment and can be very stressful. For those reasons it’s vital to find out as much as possible about the clinics you may be considering. The information we provide will help you to make the choice which is perfect for you.
Travelling to another country in order to access IVF treatment is an increasingly popular option. Should you opt to do so, it’s vital that you learn as much you can about your country of choice. The more information you arm yourself with, the more carefully you’ll be able to plan and budget for your trip. On top of this, you might even get the chance to enjoy some local sites and amenities once you arrive. Although travelling to Greece for IVF is clearly different from taking a holiday there, your chances of success are likely to be increased if you’re able to relax and concentrate on the treatment.
That’s why we’ve gathered some useful information on the following:
- the Greek cities in which featured IVF clinics are based
- travelling to and around Greece
- the option of putting your entire booking in the hands of a dedicated travel and tourism specialist.
Airports in Greece
Fifteen international airports are located in Greece, serving both the mainland and the larger Greek Islands. The range of airlines using them means it should be easy to find a location perfectly suited to your needs. Travellers keen on keeping costs down should also note that many of the airports are served by several of the leading budget airlines. The busiest airport is Athens International, which handled more than 18 million passengers in 2015. Other large airports include Heraklion International, Thessaloniki Airport and Rhodes International. By selecting the right airport and using the local road and rail network, travel to the clinic of your choice should be simple to arrange.
Greece by Road
The Motorway network throughout Greece has been extensively modernised in the last 15 years or so, and work on some roads is still ongoing. The 10 main motorways link the larger cities on mainland Greece and the island of Crete. The motorways are designated by the letter A followed by a number (i.e. the A1) and motorway signs are white on a green background. It should be noted that the better quality roads in Greece are toll roads, charging varying fees depending upon the distance travelled. Tolls are generally collected in cash at toll gates and, although some do accept credit cards, it would be advisable to have the cash needed for the tolls to hand.
Drivers from countries beyond the EU must have international vehicle insurance in the form of a Green card, whilst all vehicle insurance within the EU includes EU-wide third party cover. If you rent a hire car, insurance should be covered within the rental, although it’s imperative that you check specific details with the vendor providing the car.
Unless stated otherwise, the speed limits in Greece are:
- 50 km/h on residential streets
- 90 km/h outside city limits
- 110-120 km/h on motorways
- Other laws governing driving in Greece include the following:
- Cars must carry a warning triangle to use in the event of a breakdown
- Cars must also carry a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher
- Horns must not be sounded unless needed to avoid an accident
- Right-hand drive cars require headlamp converters for driving at night throughout Europe
- Front and rear seatbelts must be worn at all times
- If you’re driving your own vehicle, proof of ownership must be carried
Greece by Rail
The Greek rail system serves the mainland and is a convenient means of getting around, particularly between the larger cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki. The national Greek railway company is known as TrainOSE and runs all of the rail services within the country. Types of train running in Greece include:
The high speed and very modern Inter City and Inter City Express trains
The slower Suburban trains, which connect city centres to the suburbs.
Reservations are required on the Inter City trains, but not the Suburban, and all trains offer first and second class seats.
It is possible to book a seat by telephone in Greece, by dialling 1110, a number which also offers English language information on routes and prices. Note that you’ll need to have your passport details when you make the booking, and that the ticket will have to be paid for at the station more than 48 hours before you travel.
At A Glance
There are no major health risks associated with travelling to Greece. Visitors who may spend time walking through forests should consider being vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis. Some doctors may also suggest Hepatitis A vaccination if you’re likely to spend a lot of time in rural areas.
Medical facilities in the major Greek cities are excellent, but some of the islands may be a distance from the nearest hospital. If you’re already taking medication then it should be carried in its packaging, accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor explaining what it is and why it is needed. If you’re unsure, then contact your IVF clinic in Greece. They will know exactly what is and isn’t needed and will be able to advise you. Before travelling to Greece from elsewhere in the EU, you should get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This is part of an agreement which means you are entitled to the same treatment as Greek nationals. EHIC does not cover medical repatriation, ongoing treatment or non-urgent treatment, however, so it is vital that you also take out full travel insurance. The fact that you are in Greece for medical treatment makes it even more important that your travel insurance covers all eventualities. If you have any doubt, consult an expert.
Although food and drink in Greece is generally safe, those visiting for a shorter period may find it simpler to stick to drinking bottled water. In the event of a medical emergency, dial 112 or 166 and ask for an ambulance.
The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, allowing the holder to travel freely within their borders.
Visitors travelling to Greece from outside the EU must be able to show that they have enough funds to cover their stay. This currently means at least €50 per day. Non-EU travellers should also be able to show tickets/reservations for return or onward travel and the documents needed for their next destination. If you are not able to produce return tickets, you might be asked to show that you have enough funds to cover the return journey. Those visitors who need a visa to enter Greece must also have medical insurance for the duration of their stay.
Passports endorsed ‘British Citizen’ must be valid on arrival; British passports with other endorsements must be valid at least three months beyond the period which you intend to stay. Exemptions apply to holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar, and endorsed ‘Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom’, as well as to holders of emergency passports issued to nationals of the United Kingdom. A visa is not required for passports endorsed British Citizen. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days for holders of passports endorsed British National (overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizen (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and British Subject (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom).
United States citizens require a passport valid for at least three months beyond the period during which they intend to stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
Canadian citizens require a passport valid for at least three months beyond the period during which they intend to stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
Australian citizens require a passport valid for at least three months beyond the period during which they intend to stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
South African citizens require a passport valid for at least three months beyond the period during which they intend to stay. A visa is required.
Irish nationals require a valid passport, but a visa is not necessary.
New Zealand citizens require a passport valid for at least three months beyond the period during which they intend to stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
Greece is seen as a very safe destination, and most visitors will enjoy a trouble-free stay. At the height of the holiday season, however, there may be an increase in petty theft from visitors in more crowded areas. It is advised that you carry your money in a money belt or wrist pouch, which will be harder to steal than a purse or wallet. You should also try to avoid carrying large amounts of cash or other valuables on your person. Most thefts of this kind take the form of pick-pocketing, so it is wise to be on the lookout for anyone trying to distract you whilst an accomplice takes your items. Although violent crime is rare, recent years have seen a rise in political demonstrations. Watch the local media for news of any demonstrations planned in places such as the major central Athens squares. The 1st May, 17th November and 6th December are dates upon which demonstrations traditionally take place.
UK British Embassy, Athens +30 210 7272 600
USA – United States Embassy, Athens +30-210-721-2951
Canada – Canadian Embassy, Athens +30 210 727-3400
Australia – Australian Embassy, Athens +30 210 870 4000
South Africa – South African Embassy, Athens +30 (1) 610 6645
Eire – Irish Embassy Athens +30 210 72 32 771/2
New Zealand – New Zealand Embassy, Athens +30-210-6924-136
SPECIALIST TRAVEL HELP for your treatment abroad
You may like the idea of someone else dealing with the stress of organising flights, hotels and transport within Greece for your IVF treatment, in which case Travel Counsellors represent the ideal solution. Travel Counsellors are one of the biggest travel agencies in the World. They have an award winning global network of friendly travel agents with one simple aim – to take away the stress involved in planning travel abroad.
Fertility Clinics Abroad have provided the details below of a UK representative who can assist, should you wish, with helping you organise your trip abroad.
Andy Gilhooly is a Gold Travel Counsellor with many years of experience in the industry.
I am available to talk whenever you are – daytime, evenings or weekends. I really care about your individual needs and desires and will do everything I can to help you realise them. It’s what keeps my hundreds of customers coming back to me year after year.
Get in touch today on the details below and I will give you options and advice for all your travel requirements.
Gold Travel Counsellor
0131 657 3581 or 07817 860408