A fairly recent wrinkle in Greek telecommunications is the card phone booth all over Athens and in the middle of nowhere Greece that doesn't take change. You trudge down to what appears to be at first glance a pay phone, only to discover that it wont accept coins and you don't have a pre-paid telephone card which you could of and should of bought at the last kiosk or periptero you passed but which is now closed.
Why cant they have public phones that do both? Accept coins and pre-paid cards? Because Grasshopper, they are run by different competing companies each with considerations of maximizing shareholder value and putting the other guy out of business! That you are inconvenienced doesn't matter to them in the least!
The plus side to pre paid calling cards in Greece is that they are the cheapest way to call internationally and domestically and are highly recommended.
Imagine finding yourself in a remote rustic Greek island village, where they hardly even have running water, but they do have one of these phone booths. It wouldn't be so bad if they took change, but no... I finally broke down and tried one. It worked like a charm ....Unbelievable for Greece! Then I promptly lost the card. There used to be 4 denominations of cards from 3 EU to 25 EU. Now there are 44 types of cards you can buy for international and domestic calls and most do both. You can buy them everywhere, post offices and periptero's (kiosks) mostly.
Last summer on the islands I ran into problems with these kind of phones that did not work. They were the only kind of phones near the beach where I was camping too! Fortunately my friend let me borrow his cell phone which was also running low on credits and batteries.
These machines want you to hang up, leave the card in, and then let it re-write your magnetic strip and subtract from your available credit. The down side is you have no idea how much credit you have left unless you use a stop watch to time time your call. Buy a pre-paid calling card if you want to save money and be able to access these types of public phone!