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Greece's unstable situation? to travel or not to travel?

We are planning a trip to Greece in late June for about 10 days, to the islanda and meteora with part of our time in Athens. I am getting nervous about traveling to Greece given what is happening with the economic turmoil. The last thing anyone needs on a vacation is to get in the middle of a chaotic situation. Can some of you living in Greece give me a sense of what is going on? what to expect? what is your advice for folks like us who are planning to travel there? Please advice. this will change a lot of our plans and I appreciate your advice!

Posted by
3117 posts

You can check the U.S. State Department "Travel Warning/Travel Alert" section for updates on the situation. Hopefully, things will be calmer by late June.

Posted by
11973 posts

Look at the bright side (I always do) if the protests scare away the tourists, you'll have Greece to yourself. No problem finding a room and the price should be good.

Plus, not everyone gets a picture of the Acropolis draped with protest banners. It's not like Greeks protest all the time (come to think of it, it's not that uncommon). :)

Posted by
44 posts

Sorry, I don't live there but have traveled there and into areas that have had similar uprisings. Just an FYI - I wouldn't plan more than 48 hours in Athens really (where most of this is unfolding) as the islands and outer areas of Greece have so much to offer. You could easily do 24 hours or skip it completely, spend your time in the peaceful regions of the islands and outer areas and just agree to come back to Athens another time if that is a must see. Really, the Acropolis is the main highlight and personally, based on current conditions as of today (on the news right now!) I would avoid Athens. That said, it can be a whole different story come June. Hopefully someone that is living there can update you to current conditions and forecast.

Posted by
60 posts

Thanks, Nicole. I get the same sense of Athens but our transatlantic flight ends in Athens and then we are planing on moving to the islands. our departing flight from Greece is also in Athens so that is sort of unavoidable at this point.

Posted by
2898 posts

SS, you are from NY... I was a Manhattanite for 25+ years; let me put it in terms you will understand. During those years there occasionally were large protest demonstrations -- but we New Yorkers did not change our lives; we kept on going to work, meeting friends for lunch, shopping etc. We just avoided First Avenue in front of the UN, or did not go to Times Square/5th Avenue if people were planning to block traffic there ... and Life went on as usual.

Greece protests are REAL (govt employees are losing up to 12% of their income, which believe me, is a MODEST income)... but these are not "riots." CNN films one dumb kid throwing something & replays it all day. And yes there is a small % of people who like to break windows. But except for Syntagma Square and directly in front of Athens Univ, you don't see anything.

As for 'strikes' that may affect transportation & whether ancient sites will be open (the ONLY 2 aspects affecting visitors), listen carefully -- Job actions are always announced in advance and are ALWAYS on T-W-or Th... NEVER on F-S-S-Mon ... greek protesters don't want to mess up their OWN weekends. nd year-round, outside Athens & THessaloniki, people don't strike. PLUS, college classes end in early JUne -- and then strikes end, because organizers can't get anyone to march! (Govt works don't march; they'd lose a day's pay).

So c'mon, act like the suave urban-dweller that you are... keep your cool... get your info from Trip Advisor Greece forum, which has actual Greek Residents reporting the situation ... everything will work out. I leave Monday for Athens, and am not worried; this is my 9th trip. I've encountered a strike or 2 before -- but also in Paris, Rome and London, so this is not some unique thing. For the Fall -- look for Spain & Portugal to have student marches. I wonder if TV will cover it as intensively??? Greece seems to be a popular target.

Posted by
60 posts

Janet, thanks for the rundown. This insight certainly puts a different perspective. I will check out the trip advisor forum and watch the pulse of what is going on. safe travels to you, if you get a chance, report to us when you get there!

Posted by
2951 posts

You might as well get used to the fact that there's no way anyone here can predict the future and tell you not to worry. We're travel geeks, not international political analysts.

Posted by
31524 posts

SS,

The situation in Greece seems to have worsened somewhat today, with several fatalities in a Bank that was set on fire.

I'm scheduled to be in Greece later this month, and at this point I don't intend to change my plans. I won't be staying in Athens any longer than absolutely necessary, and hopefully conditions in the Islands are more peaceful.

Posted by
60 posts

Thanks, everyone! I appreciate each of you taking the time to respond.

Posted by
2876 posts

The sad thing for Greece is that tourism is a huge part of their economy and it's going to take a big hit because of all this turmoil. The upside for those going is that prices there are sure to drop.

Posted by
655 posts

SS, regarding your note that although you will be in the islands, your flight is in/out of Athens - a small comfort may be that the Athens airport is actually quite removed from the center of Athens.

Posted by
60 posts

Thanks, George. our plan at this point is to fly into Athens and later that afternoon take a flight to Thira and stay there for 8 days touring the islands before returning to Athens and then spend a day in Athens (Acropolis) before heading home. This should keep us for minimal time in Athens.

Posted by
191 posts

Hi, I arrived in Athens yesturday, and have spent yesturday and today sightseeing and visiting the Acropolis. Have had no problems! Have not even seen a protester or so much as a sign! There is a small police presense around the main square near the parliment, but nothing else - could be because its the weekend! But I am almost alittle disapointed, obviously don't want it to ruin my trip but would have like to see a little of what has been shown on the news.

Posted by
60 posts

Thanks....6 weeks is a long time to see how things unfold.

Posted by
11973 posts

I spoke to a co-worker who has extended family in Greece. She goes there all the time and is in regular contact with her Greek family. She said essentially the same thing that has already been posted - she just wouldn't plan a lot of time in Athens.

In her opinion Athens is just another big city anyway, to experience Greece you have to get into the smaller towns. I think that's true everywhere.

Posted by
37 posts

Hi Everyone. I leave for Athens on Monday. Just one night there and on to the island Naxos for the balance of my stay except for another night and 1 full day in Athens @ the end. Have talked to Hotel Adonis in Athens and they report quiet nights. The only caution I've received (from US Embassy site) is to stay away from any protests if you see any.

Posted by
60 posts

Amanda, please come back and post an update while you are in Athens esp at the end of your stay there. thanks!

Posted by
31 posts

I just got back from Greece Tuesday night (May 18). We had a fantastic time and the only problem we had--we had to make a 2 block detail to avoid a protest in Athens. Later that evening I watched the protest on Greek T.V. and wondered how many of my friends and family back home would be worried!!! T.V. can really make such events seem much more dramatic than they really are. So, the bottom line--We found Greece perfectly safe.

Posted by
60 posts

hi all,

thanks for all your responses. we have decided to go ahead with our trip to greece. I will let you know how things stand when we get back... ciao!