Is Athens safe to visit?

I know that Greece went through a Euro crisis, and I hear Athens is really chaotic. Is this true? I have always wanted to see Athens, so should I? Am I right to worry? Thank you!

Posted by Lee
Oregon
1641 posts

Yes, Athens is safe. Demonstrations are confined to a small area in front of the Parliament Building called Syntagma Square. If there's a demonstration it's easy to avoid. Athens is NOT chaotic. Nurturing that image every time there's a protest or demonstration is a ploy of the mass media to improve ratings. You should be more concerned with strikes affecting public transportation. They almost always happen mid-week, last for 24-48 hours and are announced in advance HERE.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Megan, I've been in Athens during times when sporadic demonstrations were taking place, and never had any problems at all. As Lee mentioned, these are usually confined to the area around Syntagma Square. If you see something brewing, head for another area. As I recall, there's a Metro stop right there so it's easy to leave the area. Cheers!

Posted by Alan
Brighton, UK
632 posts

Megan I agree with the other posters. We are in Athens two or three times a year and have never felt unsafe. You can always hear demonstrations from a distance and, if it sounds heavy, walk in the opposite direction. I wouldn't want to put anyone off of visiting - it's wonderful - but there is the risk of being inconvenienced by strikes. Especially, for example, if you aren't there for very long and sites are closed. Or if you are trying to get to the airport. Lee's point that strikes are announced in advance is useful, and it is always worth checking the situation. In our experience people in hotels will go out of there way to be helpful if difficulties arrive. Go ahead. Plan a trip! Alan
who will be back in Athens in early March, and is counting the days!

Posted by Emlyn
East coast, USA
49 posts

Thank you everyone for your help and information!

Posted by Lee
Oregon
1641 posts

Yes, there's a Metro station at Syntagma Square, but if you're coming into the city by Metro from the airport and need to change lines at Syntagma you can still do so even if there's a demonstration because it's underground and the demonstrators don't enter the station. I've been in Syntagma Square during a demonstration and it was more like a street fair. There were people selling food and playing music and there were children playing. But let's be real. Violence does happen, although very infrequently, when tempers flare and those intent on disruption gather in large enough numbers.

Posted by Emlyn
East coast, USA
49 posts

Thank you everyone for helping me out on all my questions. I am firm believer in asking questions. I was never trying to start a riot or cause any harm. I guess you could say that I am a real young person who's just starting out, and I never had any guidance on major events such as this. My parents never had the money or opportunity to do something like this, and so they can't help me. I like how every single one of you are positive and wise! I appreciate the advice, I really do. I guess I just have to quit over thinking everything and live life. It's just that when I think of the world I feel so small compared to it. And, If I can't ever manage to go beyond the limits of my own home town, then I'll never go anywhere or do anything with my life, and I don't want that. I want to be brave, strong, and experience the world. I will stop posting from now on and just go with the flow. Thank you all for being so kind. You have really made this easier. I wish you all luck and joy for years to come!! Farewell.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
1414 posts

Maybe not an ideal place for the Chancellor of Germany to visit right now, but perfectly safe for you.

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
556 posts

We were in Athens a little over year ago. We did not notice any safety issues, but we knew the places to stay away from (Syntagma Square). The Acropolis and the Archeological Museum are fantastic, and it's also fun to wander around in certain areas. I think it's worth three full days. Our visit was affected by frequent strikes, with museums and transit offline for a day or so at a time. Strikes are a much bigger issue than safety - if there are no taxis on the day of your departure, you may find that rebooking your flight is very expensive as the airline will have no sympathy. We booked a $200 private car ride through a major hotel but they let us switch to a $75 taxi at short notice when it turned out there would be no taxi strike than day. A good site to monitor even when you are on the road is http://livingingreece.gr/strikes/. Perhaps the strikes have calmed down since late 2011. It turned out o.k. for us, but my advice would be to wait a few years until things settle down. Lots of folks here will encourage you to go for it, so take my advice for what it's worth as I am a bit of a travel worrier.