So you’re headed to Greece for a vacation and want to bring your drone along to capture epic aerial footage of ancient ruins, gorgeous beaches, and picturesque islands. But before packing your gear, it’s important to understand Greece’s drone laws.
Flying a drone in a foreign country without knowing the local regulations can land you in legal trouble, with fines or even jail time. Drones are treated very differently across the globe, so don’t assume the rules will be the same as back home.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to legally and safely fly your drone in Greece. You’ll learn about:
- Brief overview of drone laws in Greece
- General rules for flying a drone in the EU
- Specific regulations for operating drones in Greece
- How to register as a drone pilot in Greece
- Potential penalties for violating Greek drone laws
Understanding these guidelines is crucial to avoiding fines, drone confiscation, or accidental injuries during your trip. Let’s get started!
Why You Must Know Drone Laws Before Flying in Greece
Some travelers make the mistake of assuming basic drone rules are similar worldwide. Maybe they figure as long as they fly safely and courteously, there won’t be any issues. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case.
Each country has their own unique drone regulations based on factors like privacy, security, noise, and safety. For instance, in the U.S. you can fly recreationally without any permit or registration. But in Greece, there are much stricter requirements.
Before packing your drone, take a few minutes to research the local laws. Drone regulations are constantly evolving, so check for updates even if you’ve flown in that country before. Consequences for breaking drone rules can really ruin your vacation.
In Greece, violating drone laws could involve:
- Large fines up to €30,000
- Temporary confiscation of your drone
- Permanent confiscation if multiple offenses
- Criminal prosecution in severe cases
Fines and legal hassles aren’t how you want to remember your trip. You’ve got plenty of amazing sights to see in Greece without needing an aerial perspective. Leave the drone at home unless you’re certain you can operate legally.
Overview of Drone Regulations in the European Union
Since Greece is part of the EU, it’s good to first understand the overarching drone rules across Europe. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has established baseline drone regulations that each member country builds upon.
Some key EU-wide drone rules include:
Maximum Flight Altitude of 120 Meters
Drones cannot be flown higher than 120 meters (400 feet) above ground level across the EU. This helps maintain separation between drones and manned aircraft.
Keep the Drone Within Visual Line of Sight
Pilots must maintain a direct, unaided visual line of sight with the drone at all times. First-person view goggles don’t count as maintaining line of sight.
Avoid Flying Near Airports and Helipads
There are restrictions on operating drones within 5-15 km of an airport or helipad. This helps prevent collisions with manned aircraft.
No Carrying Dangerous Goods or Materials
Transporting hazardous, explosive, or flammable materials via drone is prohibited. This includes things like fireworks, chemicals, gases, etc.
Night Flights Require Special Approval
Regular visual line of sight rules don’t work at night. Night drone flights typically require advanced authorization and special lighting.
These EU-wide rules provide the general framework. But each country has specific regulations about things like registration, pilot licenses, and flight restrictions. That’s where understanding Greece’s drone laws becomes crucial.
General Rules for Flying a Drones in Greece
Greece has aviation laws that are more restrictive than the EU’s baseline requirements. Here are some key things you need to know:
No Flying Over People or Populated Areas
Greek law prohibits operating drones over any assemblies of people, including beaches, parks, festivals, sporting events, or busy sidewalks.
No Flight Near Government Facilities, Prisons, Hospitals, etc.
There are strict restrictions on operating drones near potentially sensitive sites like government buildings, military installations, prisons, hospitals, power plants, and archaeological sites.
Don’t Fly Near Private Property Without Permission
Greece considers the airspace up to 200 feet above any private property like homes, businesses, or farms to be under the owner’s control. You need permission first.
Drone Registration and Pilot License Required
Unlike some countries, Greece requires drones and pilots to be registered with the aviation authority for identification purposes (more details below).
Insurance Requirements For Drones Over 2 Kilograms
If your drone weighs over 2 kg, you must have adequate civil liability insurance to cover any injuries or property damage caused during flight.
Authorization Needed For Each Flight
Before each drone flight in Greece, you must request operational authorization from the aviation authority online, with details about timing, location, and purpose.
As you can see, there are quite a few extra hoops to jump through to fly your drone legally in Greece. Make sure you understand and follow all these rules to avoid huge fines or legal problems on your trip.
How to Register as a Drone Operator in Greece
To legally fly drones in Greece, foreign visitors must register as remote pilots with the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA). Here’s a step-by-step look at the registration process:
Contact the HCAA
Get in touch with the HCAA to begin the registration procedure. Reach them online at www.hcaa.gr or by phone at +30 210 9961200. Inform them you will be visiting Greece and want to fly your drone recreationally.
Submit Your Documentation
The HCAA will request supporting documents including your passport, remote pilot certificates from your home country, your drone user manual, maintenance logs, and insurance paperwork (if required).
Complete an Application Form
You must fill out an application form with personal details, your travel dates, drone specifications like weight and max altitude, and your home address.
Pay the Registration Fee
A small registration fee is required, around €30-50. This can be paid via credit card online. Once paid, you will be issued a unique flight authorization code.
Display Your Registration Number
Your registration number or authorization code must be clearly displayed on the exterior of your drone. This allows authorities to identify it.
Request Flight Authorizations
Remember that each flight requires advance authorization from the HCAA with details about where and when you want to fly.
By following this registration procedure, your remote pilot credentials and drone will be recognized by Greek authorities. Just be sure to abide by all the other flight rules too!
Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in Greece
Greek authorities take drone regulations extremely seriously. Violations can lead to very steep fines, confiscation of your equipment, and even jail time. Some examples of penalties include:
- Flying without registration – Up to €20,000 fine
- Flying without insurance (if required) – Up to €20,000 fine
- Flying without flight authorization – Up to €20,000 fine
- Flying in prohibited areas – Up to €30,000 fine
- Multiple offenses – Possible drone confiscation
- Severe violations – Criminal prosecution
Fines are levied per illegal flight, so costs can quickly multiply if you repeatedly break the rules. Having your new drone confiscated is also a huge blow.
Some travelers have lost their drones permanently or faced criminal charges for things like filming near military bases without permission. Exercise caution and fly only in approved areas.
While drone laws in Greece are quite strict, that doesn’t mean you have to leave your quadcopter or camera drone at home. By taking the time to register properly, get insurance, and follow all the flight rules, you can safely enjoy Greece’s incredible scenery from above.
Just be sure to check the regulations carefully and get authorization for each flight location to avoid fines. If you have any doubts, talk to the aviation authority to make sure you understand the laws.
With stunning ancient sites, picturesque whitewashed villages, intriguing rock formations and heavenly beaches, Greece offers no shortage of spectacular drone filming opportunities. Bring your drone but also bring your respect for the local laws.
Safe travels and happy flying! Let us know if you capture any amazing aerial footage in Greece to inspire fellow travelers. Just remember to fly responsibly!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it legal to fly a drone in Greece?
A: Yes, flying a drone is legal in Greece.
Q: What are the general rules for flying a drone in the European Union?
A: The general rules include a maximum flight altitude of 120 meters, visual line of sight, and no-fly zones.
Q: What are the general rules for flying a drone in Greece?
A: The general rules include no flying over people, prisons, hospitals, government and military facilities, and other sensitive areas, and no flying over private property without permission from the property owner.
Q: Do I need insurance to fly a drone in Greece?
A: Yes, you need insurance for your drone in Greece if you use it for business purposes and also for personal purposes if it weighs 4 kg or more.
Q: How do I register as a drone operator in Greece?
A: You can register as a drone operator in Greece by contacting the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) and submitting an authorization request for each flight.
Q: What are the penalties for violating drone laws in Greece?
A: Violating drone laws in Greece can result in fines and confiscation of the drone.
Q: Can I fly my drone over private property in Greece?
A: No, you cannot fly your drone over private property in Greece without permission from the property owner.
Q: Are there any no-fly zones in Greece?
A: Yes, there are no-fly zones in Greece, including over people, prisons, hospitals, government and military facilities, and other sensitive areas.
Q: Do I need an EU drone certificate to fly a drone in Greece?
A: If you want to fly a drone over 250g in Greece, you are required by the drone laws in Greece to obtain an EU drone certificate.
Q: Can I bring my drone to Greece?
A: Yes, you can bring your drone to Greece, but you must register as a drone operator with the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) and submit an Authorization Request for each flight.