I arrive in Athens in one week, and I am most concerned about my safety traveling from the airport since it will be known that tourists will have cash. We arrive at 9 PM. Our hotel is near the Parthenon. Are there suggestions for the safest route to our hotel.
I don't know the answer but what I do know is that Everybody will have cash.
That is the only that country is working at the moment.
What it will be like in a week - nobody knows. Nobody.
We took the metro which was really efficient for us, and felt perfectly safe, but things are understandably a bit more unsettled now. If you feel more comfortable taking private transportation, I can pm you the information for a taxi driver we got to know during our trip to Athens. We prearranged many of our transfers with him and it worked out great! That was in 2013 so no guarantees that he's still there but it's worth a shot!
There's a standard 35 euro daytime taxi fare into the centre, and there will be a queue of yellow cabs outside the arrival hall.
Other options are the express bus to Syntagma or the metro. For the metro, depending where near the Acropolis your hotel is, you will want Syntagma, Monastiraki or Acropolis station. The first two are on a direct line from the airport and the last needs a change at Syntagma.
The obvious security concern is pickpockets. Taking the usual precautions you would take in any big city should see you OK but if you are worried I'd make the following points
a) the bus has the advantage that once settled nobody is going to be jostling up against you. Also the other passengers will also be fellow travellers so you may feel more relaxed.
b) the first few stops on the metro tend to be fairly quiet. There is a supplementary fare for travelling to the airport. This is fairly carefully policed so guards come up and down the train. Once you are more central though the train gets more crowded, sometimes much more crowded, and it is correspondingly more difficult to be sure you aren't jostled.
I do this journey several times a year and have never had problems but, if only to have more relaxed start to your holiday, you might be best to choose a taxi.
We arrived today. No problem taking the taxi to the Plaka. And after a day and a half on the plane, taking the taxi was a relief. The cab driver used his gps to get us right to the door of our hotel. Cash wise I was nervous. We each have cash in 3 different places money belt included. Also we are at Hotel Phaedra, which we love. We have a beautiful view that includes an ATM.Folks are continually getting money out. A woman on the plane who has family in Greece said the relatives report that the less frequented ATMs are fine. So....first night in Greece and we are very happy.
The sky is not falling.
This message is for lisa, thanks for your comments. I am traveling also to Athens and staying in Hotel Phaedra. Great to hear that the taxi worked well as that is my plan for next week when I arrive-Makes me feel better!
Glad to see some more Hotel Phaedra fans! I've been visiting Greece since '99, just got back from trip #12, and since I'm FAR from affluent, I'm a seasoned budgeteer .... and when I first saw Hotel Phaedra I thought, too convenient, Acropolis view, I probably can't afford it! -- but I was wrong. Nothing at all fancy of course, plain rooms, plain lobby, but despite being in the heart of Plaka it's quiet at night, the staff is helpful, the linens are crisp and snowy-white, the balconies all have great views -- and don't overlook the roof terrace (no pricey bar, just canopied tables, to enjoy your own snacks or sunset glass with stunning views). The taxi flat-rate of €35 is very reasonable for 2 or 3 people, but If you're solo, at Phaedra on the day of return to the airport, and want to pay just €5 for the airport bus, it's an easy 15-minute stroll up Amalias Ave to Syntagma and the x95 bus. This is a very relaxing ride, you can even doze off: Almost all aboard are fellow tourists or airline employees, only 1-2 stops after Syntagma. Luggage is inside bus, piled in a central pen. Just remember to Validate (punch) ticket at a pole-mounted box inside bus.
About the safety/pickpocket factor: Pickpocket is only v. recent in Greece (10 years or so), and has been proven to be the work mainly of illegal Albanian immigrant "rings." There are really only 3 places they operate (1) on the Green Line Metro from Piraeus, largely because of so many US cruise passengers who are "public transit virgins" (2) The Metro from the Airport, same reason and (3) the main place where there are crowds distracted by photo-taking -- Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Syntagma Square memorial. Personal awareness & prudent measures (zipped daybags, no valuables in pants pockets) will keep you secure. On ANY trip, I don't carry my passport & a lot of $$ around town... just cash for the day's expenses in a change purse and (if u wish) color Xerox of your passport pages. Leave the rest locked up in your luggage or in hotel safe.
Jm, one advantage of bringing a certain amount of Euros is that, if you obtain them in US, you can specify which denominations and at ATMs, you get mostly 50s a few 20s. Obtaining in US, ask 50s just for larger budget items like hotel/ferry tickets, car rental, and plenty of 20s, 10s & 5s ... the local merchants will be very grateful for the help in making change.
We had the same fears. We took a cab from the airport and paid about 40 euros to the Acropolis area. Had we taken the subway, it would have only been 20 euros. We took the subway back to the airport and felt very safe and never in any danger. But it was a long ride on the subway, honestly. In your shoes, at 9pm, I'd want to get to my hotel as quickly as possible. But I wouldn't fear the subway now, knowing what I know now.
We always take the Metro from the airport to our accommodations near Monistirake Sq. We try to get a flight that lands either late morning or early afternoon mostly not to lose much time on our first day in Athens. We have never had any problems with pickpockets, scams or harassment on our journey. Not sure what the conditions are at 9 p.m. but one would have to think it shouldn't be that much different than an earlier arrival. Common sense is always a factor anywhere you go. Now that there appears to be some easing of banking and ATM withdrawals you may not have to take a whole lot of Euros with you. What we do is once we arrive at the airport we go to the airport ATM and take out what we need for a few days. Monitor conditions in Athens but it seems things are getting better. My understanding is that non-Greeks are allowed to withdraw whatever amount they want, but bear in mind that locals are limited in what they can withdraw so don't be a hog. Don't let the media who love to sensationalize everything scare you. We have been going to Greece every year since 2010 when things were far more "iffy" with demonstrations, protests and strikes but have eased up the last two years. Remember Greeks are not protesting tourists but the EU, especially Germany!