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Safety in Greece

Are there certain areas of Greece or within larger cities where I should be concerned with crime or getting tangled up in political unrest, protests etc? We will be traveling with our two young teens this May and are hoping to avoid areas that may be unsafe. Any advice on where to go and the best spots for family travel with teens would be appreciated!

Thank you,
Heather
Anchorage, AK USA

Posted by
159 posts

You will be pleasantly surprised how safe and family friendly Greece is. Especially at night. People come out at night and walk together. Whole families including young children and teenagers. Between 7-8pm the pedestrian areas fill up with babies in strollers and young kids on bikes. The playgrounds are busy. Many families eat dinner out between 8pm and 10pm. It’s safe.

Violent crime is small in Europe compared to the USA. There is some chance of pickpockets in cities especially around buses and metro stations. Be alert but don’t worry too much. Your teens will have a great time.

Posted by
348 posts

Greece is a safe country and Athens is also safe. I have been in Athens when there are demonstrations, which usually take place within the vicinity of the Parliament buildings; just avoid that area when a demo takes place. Usually notice is given of demos in advance so your hotel should be able to give you a heads up. By the way demos are usually just a lot of noise and shouting. Pickpocketing is a problem in Athens, especially on the Metro. For this reason, especially with kids, it’s easier to get a taxi or arrange for a car to pick you up and take you to your hotel (I have used Welcome Pickup for door to door service).

Posted by
1270 posts

When I read these type of questions I cringe for the potential of encountering the same circumstances are as great in the USA as throughout Europe. So I want to ask you to take the time to invest in learning about Greece by researching their current state of affairs so you can make an informed decision on "risks". Perhaps you may focus on the most likely destinations planned to be visited and research the history of your concerns at those locations.

With over 50 years of international travel experience, and a number of journeys to Greece, I have encountered civil unrest, wandered into some shady areas and never felt threaten.

Take your teens, we often traveled with out kids, and go visit with a mindset open to creating a wonderful memory making journey.

BTW: I absolutely fear Alaskan mesquito's for their size, bite and numbers! You live in a beautiful area.

Posted by
3383 posts

Some excellent feedback up thread. I agree with Greece being a safe place to travel. I would not hesitate taking teens. What are their interests? We thought the Rough Guide to Greece to be our go to guide. We took the RS Greece Tour in 2017. On our own we visited Santorini & Naxos. If you’re looking for a true Greek Island experience, and family friendly, consider Naxos. We were there 6 nights & didn’t want to leave! Late May would be lovely.

Posted by
1750 posts

We traveled in Greece with no issues. My husband wore a money belt to secure the cc’s, cash and passports. Of course, it’s always wise to remain aware and secure your valuables such as cell phones, cameras, etc. We used the metro in Athens and took the train to and from the airport. When we arrived in Delphi and it was too early to check in to our hotel, we asked the desk clerk if it was safe to leave our belongings in our car on the street and he replied “Where do you think you are? Italy?” With apologies to our Italian forum members, my husband and I still laugh over that exchange.

Posted by
2018 posts

Adding to the chorus-Greece and Athens are both safe for family travel. If you would like to be notified of places to avoid while there, our govt has the STEP program (smart traveler enrollment program). You fill out some online forms relating where and when you will be traveling and they will text you safety awareness notifications specific to American travelers. They will text you info about planned demonstrations and areas you might want to consider avoiding while traveling. For me, these heads up warnings have come in handy more than once. Check out the website and see if it’s for you.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you all for the advice and reassurances. I will do my research and sign up for that STEP program but generally I feel a whole lot better reading your posts! Excited to start trip planning!

Posted by
433 posts

We encountered a large protest taking place near Syntagma Square while in Athens, but it was not the least bit violent. We were at the National Archeological Museum when it started, so it was somewhat difficult to hail a cab because many of the streets were closed to traffic and our hotel was near the Square. The cabbie dropped us off several blocks away and we walked the rest of the way with no fear. Another vote for enrolling in STEP; we have received alerts from them on numerous trips to Europe which was very helpful.

Posted by
1117 posts

Greece generally is one of the safest countries in Europe. There may be petty thefts and pickpocketing in big cities, especially in crowded places with many tourists. Just use common sense as you would in any big city anywhere in the world.

Any smaller towns or islands have always felt perfectly safe to us.

Protests are a perfectly normal part of European democracies; they happen all the time and in all big cities. They are nothing to be concerned about and don't mean political unrest. They are, on the contrary, a sign of a good healthy lively democracy where people give voice to their opinions. If you happen to run into one, usually the only thing to be concerned about is the traffic jam they cause. Let your kids have a look at the protests and take them as a real live social studies lesson of democracy in action.

I am not aware of any political unrest in Greece, except maybe on those islands where they are keeping thousands of refugees in inhumane camps.

Don't overestimate anything you may have seen on TV. Cameras will always focus on any kind of violence they can find, so that can give a very distorted view. Even Athens is considered to be safer than your home town. :-)

Posted by
281 posts

In looking for a hotel or lodging in Athens I would recommend the area near the Acropolis, on or near Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, which is a lovely shaded pedestrian street. We stayed at the AthensWas Hotel and had a room with a balcony. It was also near the Plaka area and restaurants on Makrigianni Street. There are other nice hotels in that area also. I am glad that we did not stay near Syntagma Square. It was a very busy area with a lot of traffic noise and that is where sometimes they have the demonstrations. We took a taxi from the airport to our hotel when we arrived, and then when it was time to go home we took the metro from the Akropoli stop to the airport. We also went in May and loved the Early Morning Athens Walking Tour of the Acropolis (https://www.athenswalkingtours.gr) which left from the Fresko Yogurt Bar on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. Our guide Kostas was outstanding and this was a highlight. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
7748 posts

Kostas is an excellent guide. It is so much better to use a local company like Kostas’ for tours than genetic ones with branches all over Europe.

Posted by
951 posts

Greece is one of the safest countries in Europe and far safer than most areas of the US.

However, no place is perfect.

One of the main "crimes" is pick pocketing or bag snatching, especially in heavily touristed areas of Athens like the Metro and some of the main squares.

However, common sense is your best defense. Keep all personal items close at hand or secure on your person.

I have been to Athens many times, including the Metro and have never had any issues but again no guarantees.

Violent crime is very low and any types of crime are even rate on islands, especially on the more touristy islands.

If you are in Athens you can ask your accommodations if there are any upcoming demonstrations or protests to stay ahead of the game. Even most demonstrations are on the safe side, noisy, crowded but usually safe but should be avoidable.

As usual the media tends to hype up any type of violence so take with a grain of salt.

I would doubt you'd see any type of violence like the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, DC

You can check out this informative website for Athens:

https://www.athensguide.com/