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21 February 2005

Internet for Visitors in Greece

So you come here and you want to connect to the *Internet*?

When you come to Greece for a visit and you want to connect to the Internet, there might be a few usefull informations I could share. This is not yet a country of cheap and readily available Internet connections, not to mention broadcast. Getting some hints may get you ahead though...

Updated: As of 2008/2009, a lot of information in this article is outdated. Please read the Update: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009 too!

Come here with your own laptop computer? Your options are basically to connect with a modem over the landline phone system, use GPRS over your mobile phone, or leech a wifi connection somewhere. Don't count on an easy quest.

Getting a cable to the world

For the landline you will need access to some telephone jack. These are standard RJ-11 connectors most of the times, but there are older jacks with two contacts. Adapters are available at electricians outlets, most of the times you can get by with yanking the cable out of a standard phone device. So much for the hardware connection.

Dial in

If your "ISP from home" does not offer some international dial-in partner ISP here in Greece, you will also need an ISP login. No need to get something with monthly payments: At normal phone shops (and at the post office) you can buy "cards" for 5, 10, or 20 hours of Internet access. Examples are the "Forthnet Netkey", "Smile & Web", "UrNet" carads. On top of that cost (would be around 5 to 10 Euro depending on "size") you will also be charged connection cost on the phone bill. These are quite low, even lower than a local phone call, but the dual system makes it difficult for guests to take all the cost on themselves. There are also some numbers for "no advance cost" internet access. You don't have to pay for a card or monthly connection there, but the connection cost on the phone bill is quite high (something like 1.20 Euro per hour). This may be an option if you really want to connect just once. Hellas On Line is an example of a provider offering such a dial in number.

GPRS: Mobile, expensive and available

The next option is using your mobile phone, your providers Roaming plan, and a lot of money. Find out how your provider sets you up for GPRS access, find out how you hook up your Laptop and your mobile phone, and off you go. Charges are often high. But it's a connection that will work without having to get help from anyone, without borrowing someones connection. This may be the right thing if you really, really need to check mails and you are in your far out cabin on a far out island (like I was on Limnos in the Summer of 2004). Proper setup to keep download size low suggested. BTW: My initial thought was to get a "card phone" prepaid number in Greece to do this. Forget it. None of the Greek mobile providers offeres GPRS on their prepaid numbers.

Wifi and broadband?

As for leeching a broadband connection: My initial journey was trying to find an internet cafe that would let me get access to an Ethernet connector. No luck so far. Those kids don't have a clue, so they are affraid that you are doing some harm. Next I tryed to find an "open" hotspot. Again, no luck. At least at the time of this writing technology is way behind in Greece, so since the kids don't have broadband and wireless routers to leave open. You may get a chance for broadband if you come here to study at some university, or if you come here to work at a company. At least in Athens you have another option: Starbucks has started to conquer Greece and (at least some) of their Coffeeshops offer wifi access, charging 3 Euro for 2 hours.

Internet Cafes

Which compares somehow with a typical Internet cafe. These ask around 2-3 Euro per hour, and you can't work in the comfort of your own machine. But it's the option you have when you come to Greece with or without a laptop. For bringing stuff over to my laptop I carry a USB stick and a CD-RW rewritable CD. Some Internet Cafes have really crappy Windoze 98 machines, no USB of course. Sometimes there are CD writers though. For logging in to my server I use putty and S/key one-time passwords. You might consider packing a short list of S/key passwords, even if you don't plan on using Internet cafe connections.

Internet Cafes in Athens are not everywhere. There are some hidden close to the central Syntagma square, but most are nearer to Akadimia, Omonia and Patision Street (where the Polytechnicum and some Universities are). Outside Athens the Internet Cafes are found reliably in Tourist locations. I spent many an hour in Myrina on Limnos in a regular Cafe that had 2 hours of free Internet Access with buying 2 beverages.

Operating systems and things that look like them

Now, once you have gotten your own laptop almost ready to connect somewhere, don't expect any help, especially when you run anything but Windoze. Greeks might have heard that Linux exists, they might have heard someone mention that there is a company called Apple (but both possibilities are unlikely outside their user bases). OpenBSD is unheard off for sure. This is a country of Windoze and stolen software. Since not even Windows administrators actually know their own OS, this means that you are pretty much out of luck if you need help. Have fun, this might be a chance to learn some new skill!

Update 2007-03-06: See also Greece on Wireless: Come In We're Open

Updated: As of 2008/2009, a lot of information in this article is outdated. Please read the Update: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009 too!

Posted by betabug at 21:06 | Comments (15) | Trackbacks (3)
ch athens
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Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

I can see some similarities where I live (Madeira, Portugal).
First prices are around the same: GPRS is expensive, internet cafes are 2 EUR hour.
With WIFI I know at least one public place in a mall. I'm sure there open hotstops, but I don't have any suitable hardware so I can test it.
"Windoze and stolen software" well, they are everywhere!

Posted by: Rodolfo Gouveia at February 23,2005 09:32
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

Salut, wie geht´s dir ?

Habe eine Seite zu diesem alten Problem gefunden

falls du mal wieder dahin kommst, wir kommen am 19.05.06, zum Grand Prix

Grüße Toni

Posted by: Toni at April 15,2006 23:28
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

Hey Toni! Yupp, solche Netze gibt's, zum Beispiel auch das AWMN, zu dem ich schonmal was geschrieben habe. Noch keine Ahnung was zu Zeiten vom Grand Prix hier laufen wird, es ist auch noch Besuch aus der Schweiz für die Zeit angekündigt. Ansonsten habe ich aus der Schweiz noch Schokolade für Haralambos geschickt bekommen, die auf Ablieferung wartet... also vielleicht doch nochmal ein Besuch in Patras :-)

Posted by: betabug at April 16,2006 21:09
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

Things have changed. There are at least 2 options for prepaid GPRS (and faster!) in Greece.

COSMOTE offers i-mode data usage for COSMOKAPTA users at rates ranging from € 0.0071/KB to € 0.0036/KB depending on volume.

Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G Prepaid is conveniently hidden in the "For the professional - Business" section of The SIM connection pack costs 43 € and comes with 43 € worth of usage at 0,0042€/Kb. Renewals are via scratch cards.

Posted by: Darrell Frappier at January 30,2007 19:15
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

Darrel, thanks for the information, good to know! Things have also changed with respect to some other things in this post. ADSL has become not really widespread yet, but at least common enough for me to know several people who have it (including myself).

Also Macs seem to get ever more popular, even though the user base isn't that big either.

Posted by: betabug at January 31,2007 12:02
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

This thread is about GSM access, particularly "Wind Plus Non-Stop":

Posted by: DaveR at July 05,2007 08:17
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

Hi! I was in Athens last week and had my laptop stolen on the 13th of August 2007, it was a Sony VAIO VGN-T370P. I am not really concerned about the laptop, but it had all the pictures of my trip and family that lives in Greece, they were for my grandmother who is greek and cannot travel anymore because she is 91. Can anyone help me?

Posted by: Leticia at August 21,2007 21:08
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

es gibt aber noch andere Tuecken in Griechenland.
Ich bin hier in Rodos und dort gibt es ein Freizeichen, das wie ein selsames Besetztzeichen klingt. Ist die angerufene Nummer besetzt, so gibts einen durchgehenden Ton (vergleichbar mit dem deutschen Freizeichen).
Beim Modem sollte ein ATX3 helfen :-)
Viele Gruesse aus einem griechischen Internetcafe

Posted by: MaBuSE at September 29,2007 21:14
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

hi there
This was really useful.
I plan to be in Greece (serres, northern part of greece) from 21 Dec 07 to 13 jan 07 and need internet for work.
I have been looking at the different options and what I need to do!
I will have light usage, that is I ahve my work laptop and i need to connect for 10 minutes at the start of the day to download my work emails (size might be large depending on attachment size) and 10 minutes at the end of the day to send my responses.
I am staying at a friends house but they do not have a home phone.

I do not know what to do to get internet access?
All i can think of is installing a phone and having pre-paid dial up.
Surely there is something better.

Can anyone help!
Thanks a million in advance,

Posted by: Gina kats at December 03,2007 13:37
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

Gina, please read carefully through this page and list up your options.

I'd say asking the neighbours of the people where you will stay if someone has ADSL would be the best option. If someone has ADSL, maybe they let you use it for a little while. Second I'd say would be to get a prepaid mobile card with 3G data or GPRS - or even use one from your country (assuming they have roaming and you're from some euroean country where roaming prices could be acceptable). Amount of data might be a problem, dunno what you need there.

Having them install a phone line might not happen in time... we're talking about Greece here. If you're lucky this can happen within 1 week, if there are problems it might take a couple of months. At least the weather is nice.

Posted by: betabug at December 03,2007 15:54
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

As of December 2008, Wind Hellas Telecommunications offers mobile internet to major areas in Greece.

Posted by: Roger at December 26,2008 14:14
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

Roger, so do all the other mobile providers. Please have a look at the date of this article. Lot's of things have changed in the last 4 years.

Posted by: betabug at December 26,2008 15:00
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

I have never had a problem connecting in Greece. Most hotels have wifi and many cafes and bars have wifi. In fact I am sending this from a bar in a small, actually tiny village on Crete. Greece has really woke up on Internet standards.

Posted by: will at April 03,2009 21:57
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

Does anyone know how i can get internet access in greece for a month's stay this summer? I typically hit the internet cafe's but would prefer to be more mobile. I am looking for a wireless aircard (much like Verizon's) that doesn't require me to install high speed in the condo we are staying...any thoughts? The last comments i see are from 2007 and am thinking that things have changed a bit since then. i am also noticing that this note reads 2005 so date stamping is off..It is May 2009 now.Thanks!

Posted by: Diamond at May 23,2009 23:00
Re: Internet for Visitors in Greece

Diamond, please see the update post: Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009 which has right the information you want.

Posted by: betabug at May 24,2009 16:56
You can trackback to:
Mobile Internet in Greece

I have written before about Internet in Greece, ADSL-Preise in Griechenland (in German) and
SMTP on the Go with CosmOTE, and the result is that sometimes people email me with further
questions. Dave from England wrote me asking about getting online f...

Read the linking post here: ch-athens at October 11,2006 23:30
Greece on Wireless

Another big Yay! to my boss, I got a new MacBook [1]. Armed with this one and it's built in Airport
card, I checked the wifi nets both at my old and new place... wow, has Greece changed in respect
to the Internet...

Read the linking post here: ch-athens at March 08,2007 11:19
Mobile Internet for Visitors in Greece 2009

Things have changed a lot since my often read post `Internet for Visitors in Greece`_. That
post was from February 2005. In the meantime we have mobile Internet solutions from all three
Greek mobile phone providers. Only two of them have solutions for prepaid customers though.
Also much more available are wifi connections, both in the form of accidentally left open
wireless networks (use according to your own ethical standards), and in the form of "free
wifi" in cafes and hotels. Read on for some more information especially about the prepaid
mobile solutions.

Read the linking post here: ch-athens at May 24,2009 16:48