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Safety in and around Athens

Hello everyone. My wife and I are well seasoned travelers. With that in mind are there safety concerns with the immigrant influx into Greece? Basically, is it safe?

I get the petty crimes and the scams. That's not what I'm directing my question to.

Thanks

Posted by
2910 posts

I was solo in Greece this spring. I had a wonderful time. I never felt unsafe. I found the Greeks outgoing and friendly. Unfortunately, I only had 4 days in total in that city. I did not go to Omonia so I don't know about that district, but I might hit it next time, and I did not see other outlying areas. Chances are you will be in the tourist bits anyway...I tend to wander. Besides, immigrants are not dangerous. There was some begging, but I don't know who there were and I didn't find it any different than any US city that I've visited.

Posted by
2864 posts

Greece is coping amazingly well with the immigrant challenge (despite the shameful lack of support from the major European countries whose open invitation to migration started the surge) ... virtually all the immigrants (from the war-torn near east, and others fleeing wars in Aftrican nations) are being housed in camps up by the northern borders, on an eastern island, and -- on the mainland -- in a former airport an hour or more outside of Athens. In parts of Athens, (mainly fringes, outside of the central tourist areas) one may see some beggars, and other people selling items laid out on sidewalks -- these would be illegal Albanian immigrants (a longtime component in Greece) and some Romani (gypsies). These would be the source of pickpocketing (chiefly on the Metro from airport or seaport) and "scams" -- petty crime is not a a common thread in Greek culture (as may be the case in Southern Italy, for example).

As for general safety in Athens, all I can tell you is that I've lived most of my life in America's big cities -- New York, Chicago, and now Philadelphia, and have stayed in most of Europe's major capitals. I have never, repeat never felt as safe in those as when walking around central Athens ... early or late evening, alone or with a friend -- and in my 12 trips I've stayed in Athens at least 17 times. And as for the islands ... nothing to report! In fact, my island hoteliers tell me that any petty crime in the summers almost always can be traced to young vacationers (who don't seem to have the same respect for personal property that you & I grew up with).

Posted by
2933 posts

The area around Omonia Square has long been known for attracting junkies and prostitutes at night, so be aware and plan accordingly. Daytime is no problem.

Posted by
2328 posts

I have spent the past few days in Greece, and am actually enjoying a fine lunch right now in a garden taverna in Kalabaka. I have stayed at the Athinas Street Inn steps away from Omonia Square, and will be returning there this evening. I was warned about Omonia Square on this forum a while ago, so I have specifically gone there morning, mid-day and late at night. Never spotted anyone or anything remotely suspect. Actually I was kind of disappointed that these days it seems to be a quite ordinary big city square, lots of traffic at peak times, but other than that, kind of boring.

Posted by
2910 posts

Exarchia is actually a rather interesting area. Good graffiti.

Posted by
2933 posts

Sounds like the "dark side" of Omonia has mellowed significantly!

Posted by
1304 posts

Yes, as Lee suggests, the whole area under Athinas and across to Omonia has changed significantly.

Two years ago I'd started avoiding it entirely. In Sokratous you'd literally see people shooting up and what looked to me like dead bodies. (I didn't stop to investigate!)

About 18 months ago the government made a big effort to clear the area. Now I'd have no qualms about going through the area, although I'd obviously advise taking the usual precautions you'd take in any city.

And I agree with Wray. Exarhia is an interesting area, despite the rather overdone reputation. There's quite a good restaurant scene developing there again, as well as the student bars and graffiti.

Posted by
949 posts

We have been going to Greece every year in October since 2010. We stay at least 2 nights in Athens and have never had any issues with safety, violence, demonstrations, protests and have been fortunate not to have been taken by scammers or pick pocketers. Not to say it doesn't happen but Athens is one of the safest cities in the world. I feel safe regardless of time or day, even some of the more "iffy" parts of Athens.

In fact most Greeks are kind, courteous and helpful. Obviously nowhere or no one is perfect, but don't let the media who like to sensationalize everything scare you away.

Use common sense like you would anywhere and enjoy Athens!

Posted by
37 posts

I have the same questions. I was viewing hotels on bookings.com when a sale hit and I got a great price for the Wyndham Grand in Athens and booked it before I lost that price. Now I maybe kicking myself. Is that in a safe area ? We are visiting September 10-14 .

Thanks

Posted by
2933 posts

As long as the current reports of Omonia Square having been "tamed" are true, and it appears they are, you should have no problems coming and going. Please take the time to report back to us so we can know the ongoing situation.

Posted by
1117 posts

@dsep402: I don't think you have any reason to start kicking yourself. You'll be fine.

Use the same common sense you would in any large city, that is: Don't carry your valuables ostentatiously, especially in places like the crowded evening markets.

If you really are concerned about politics and demonstrations etc., watch the news and avoid those places where demonstrations are taking place. To the best of my knowledge, they are usually within a pretty limited area.

I don't have any statistics to prove it, but I am pretty sure Athens is one of the safest cities of all, compared to other cities of the same size.

Posted by
25 posts

I just came safely back from Greece on June 5. I stayed in Athens for three days. While I was there I walked everywhere and felt always safe. I went to the parliament building through the famous Ermou street, climbed up to the Acropolis, walked to the National Archaeological museum on a rainy day. I did not fall victim to any crimes.

I feel now that Greece is one of the safest countries I've ever visited.

Posted by
2864 posts

Glad you were reassured, Ken although I always wondered, why in the heck were you so worried in the first place??? You need to get out more!! Next time, Hawaii! It's part of the USA.

Posted by
1117 posts

Now that we praised Athens enough for being such a safe place to visit, you should in fact read this thread.

Actually though, it's just the old common sense rule: Where there are crowds AND tourists, there are pickpockets.

Posted by
2 posts

Okay, thanks everyone. Just back from our trip and I'm the original poster of this thread. Spent one night in Athens then 2 nights each in, Delfi, Nafplio, Hydra, and then Athens again.

We felt very safe for the entire trip. The first day as we arrived early our hotel room wasn't ready so we dropped off our bags and took the subway to Monistiraki station. We had lunch and then walked through Omonia Square to the National Archaeological Museum. After that we walked back. While we didn't feel unsafe, other than the museum I can't see spending any time there.

The rest of the trip was fantastic.

I'm an International Airline Pilot and get to go to quite a few cities in Europe, Deep South America, and Asia. Of all the places that I feel safe in going to Greece and South Korea are at the top of the list.

Enjoy.