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Internet Cafes, E-mail and Phones in Athens

Internet in Greece
"We are having so much fun in Greece"

Internet Cafes and Access in Greece

Seriously? Do I really need a page that tells people how to get on line and stay in contact with their friends and family at home when everyone in the world has a cell phone that is better than the best computers were when I first wrote this article? I think not....

Anyway.... Here is my edited version of the original page.

There are internet cafes all over Athens, in just about every neighborhood since many young people don't own computers themselves and this is the only way they can play computer games. You can also find internet cafes on probably every island and every village by now. Many hotels now have a computer you can use, and advertise free high-speed wifi. 

Even the fast food chains like Everest have internet access as does Starbucks of course. The entire port area of Pireaus has free wireless internet too so you can check and answer your mail while you wait for your ferry. Some ferries have internet but you have to pay by the hour and usually it does not even work. Syntagma square is wireless. I know on Kea you can sit within 100 feet of the town hall and get free wireless and I assume this is the case in other islands too.

Actually you don't need any of the above info because every cafe in Athens and maybe all of Greece by now has free wireless. All you have to do is ask for the name and the password when you sit down and order a coffee.

Laptops and Converters

Greece is on  220. Most laptops convert automatically or with a switch, but you will need a small plug adapter. If you want to buy one it is called the standard European and you can buy it in Radio-shack or any electronics shop in the USA or in Greece. Make sure that the holes will fit your plug because sometimes one is larger than the other. Most of the computer shops are located in Exarchia near the Polytechnic but there are others scattered throughout the city. There is a giant computer-media store called Public, right in Syntagma Square if you need to buy adapters, wireless cards or whatever. They sell these cards that you can use for the internet. My daughter bought them for about 10 euros each and they seemed to last forever. I think they only work on dial-up but if you are just receiving and sending e-mail that may be all you need. You can buy them almost anywhere.

Computer Service and Computer Repair

laptop_service.jpg There is nothing worse than traveling in a foreign country and having your laptop stop working. Or your phone. And if you are an Apple person it can be more difficult, though PUBLIC, the giant media store in Syntagma sells Macs and was able to fix my iphone. If you are traveling with a laptop and it breaks then just google emergency laptop repair in Athens on your phone and you will find lots of places and all you need to do is find the one closest to you on Google Maps.

Mobile Laptop Connect

A few years ago I bought a media card for my laptop which enabled me to use the internet through the GSM cell phone lines. In most places it was painfully slow. Even slower than dial-up. Plus not only did it cost $120 a month, I also had to pay a per megabyte fee which was not too bad depending on where I was. The problem was that I did not know where it was expensive until I got back to the USA and got my bill. Not only that but because I was in Lesvos my device was grabbing the signal from Turkey which charged about 100 euros an hour. When I came back to the USA, the company (AT&T if you must know) agreed to take off some of the charges since I could prove that I had not gone to Turkey. But they told me that I had signed up for a years contract (which I had not) and I had to pay $180 to break it. The point of this story is to tell you that there are options out there and you should check them out and make sure that there are not extra charges for use in Greece. (If you find something good, like wireless highspeed satellite or GSM that costs about 50 euros a month please let me know.) For those of you traveling with your blackberries they seem to work OK, though you may have to get on some international plan, temporary if they allow you. Wind, Vodefone and Cosmote all have mobile-laptop devices but they make you sign a one-year contract and you need a Greek AFM (Tax number). Oh yes, someone I know went to Greece with a plan paid for by his company and got a bill for $8000 for the first month. Apparently he was using it to skype his girlfriend in the USA using video and was paying by the megabyte! Ouch. So make sure you read all the fine-print if you get an international wireless plan for your laptop.

When you get right down to it the best thing to do is stay in hotels with free wireless internet. Personally I think all hotels should offer free wireless. It seems a little chintzy to me that you stay in a 4 or 5 star hotel and they have to charge you 10 euros a day to go on-line? In this day and age that is like charging you for each time you flush the toilet. The Hotel Attalos has free wireless for those with laptops and iphones and free use of computers for those who don't.

Telephones in Greece

Pay Phones in Athens

telephones in GreeceMaking a phone call from anywhere in Greece has always been a pain. Most people used to buy the phone cards that are usable in some of the phones some of the time if you don't mind waiting in line. The problem is that now there are more cell-phones in circulation then there are people. Everyone has their own cell phones. Even little children. So since nobody is using the phone cards or the phone card phones, the Greek phone company does not bother to fix them and in some places they have removed them.

Lately there have been a number of international phone cards that have hit the market and these you can use at any phone and you can get really good rates. They advertise them all over and you need to check to see which is the best for you. What brought the Greek Phone card system crashing down is the Be-Free system. You buy a cell phone and you buy a phone card with a scratch surface and a code number underneath. You dial the number and punch in the code and you get from 10 to 30 euros worth of calls. Sounds great right? So I bought one. They handed me a box and I paid them and went home to figure it out. It took me a month to really figure out how to use it. The instructions were in Greek. I had to charge it for 24 hours before I could even use it. I never got my answer service working. I probably would have taken it back to the store but I was too embarrassed.

My friend Alex from Maine says "Although I have a Greek phone these days along with my usa iphone, the best set up I found was an unlocked US smartphone with a Greek SIM card ; I can use majicjack, FaceTime, Viber and Skype on a 10 Euro card for the duration of my trip

I forward my US number to my magic jack and it rings on my Greek SIM card for free.  Same for calls back to the usa all while having a local Greek number as well "

I am not sure what it all means but you may. Anyway probably this entire section does not matter anymore though I still have friends with flip-phones so who knows?

Mail from Greece

For the few people who still write letters and postcards there is a main post office on the corner of Metropolis and Syntagma square. There are others scattered around and some temporary trailers that they use in the summer. Mail can take from 4 days to a couple weeks, depending on who happens to be working, I guess. You can change money in the post office too. Some of the periptero's (kiosks) may have stamps. The word for stamps is gram-ah-tow-see-ma. There are postcards for sale in many different places. I like the Toubis brand just because the photos are so dramatic but all the postcards are pretty good. Even if you are not normally a postcard writer, take the time to buy some and send them. They are really beautiful and they will make your friends back home envious and may even inspire them to come. Plus postcard writing is a lost art and we should all do our part to keep it alive. If you have nobody to write to then send me one.

A word of caution: Many people in Athens pay their bills at the post office so if you get there and there is a line don't assume it will go quickly. Buy enough stamps to get you through the holiday or at least until you get to an island so you don't have to make the post office one of your daily excursions. There are mailboxes all over town. They are yellow.....or is that the trash cans? Anyway you should be able to tell them apart and if not just remember it is the thought that counts.

Questions about connecting in Athens or Greece? You can e-mail me at

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