Letters and postcards take about five days to reach the United States by airmail, but it can take longer in August, when postal staff is reduced, and during Christmas and Easter holidays. If what you're mailing is important, send it registered, which costs about €3.40 in Greece (for a 20-gram envelope). Within Greece, for about €2.20 for a 20-gram envelope (with the cost increasing depending on the weight), you can send your letter "express"; this earns you a red sticker and faster local delivery. The ELTA post office also operates three courier-type services, domestic Porta-porta, international EMS Express, and SPM . Delivery to the continental United States takes about two to four days with EMS, and costs €29 for up to 0.5 kgr of weight (possible customs charges not included). Packages take three to five days, and cost depends on the weight. For guaranteed next-business-day delivery to principal destinations in Europe and in the United States (24-hour), use ELTA's SPM (Special Priority Mail). An envelope of up to 0.5 kgr of weight costs €27. Postcards can be sent on a priority basis for €0.80 each.
Post offices are open weekdays 7:30 to 2, although in city centers they may stay open in the evenings and on weekends. The main post offices in Athens, Thessaloniki, and Piraeus are open weekdays 7:30 am to 8:30 pm, Saturday 7:30 to 2:30, and Sunday 9 to 1:30 (only for the main post office in Athens, at Syntagma Square, and in Thessaloniki). The post offices at Athens International Airport and the Acropolis are open weekends, too. Throughout the country, mailboxes are yellow and sometimes divided into domestic and international containers; express boxes are red.
Airmail letters to destinations other than Europe and weighing up to 20 grams cost €0.90, and €1.45 for 50 grams (€0.90 and €1.30, respectively, to other European countries, including the United Kingdom).
Hellenic Post (ELTA). 800/118–2000; 210/335–3777; www.elta.gr.