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Oh Greece, will it be okay if I visit you?

Hello all, My new wife and I will be embarking on our honeymoon this Saturday and are planning to spend the first portion of our trip in Santorini and Athens. Should I be nervous about the demonstrations as a result of today's bailout/austerity vote? We will be flying into Athens on Sunday morning and immediately boarding a flight to Santorini. Is there any word on air traffic controller strikes for this weekend? We'll be coming back to Piraeus by boat on Thursday. Should we continue with our plans to stay in the Plaka? (About 350m from Syntagma Square.)
We fly to Venice from Athens, early on the next Sunday morning. Do you anticipate trouble getting to the airport in those early hours (leave athens around 6 am)? How much should I expect to pay for a taxi? Is it worth trying to stay near the airport the night before? Thank you all!! Any other suggestions for things to do/alternative places to go are much appreciated.

Posted by
2858 posts

You'll be fine. Strikes are typically mid-week and the demonstrations are confined to the area around the Parliament building and Syntagma Square, so as long as you don't try to exit the Metro Station at Syntagma you won't have any problems. The Metro station under the square won't be affected so you can still use Syntagma to transfer to a different Metro line if it's necessary. Alternatively, take the Metro from the airport to the Monastiraki Station, one stop past Syntagma, and walk to your hotel from there. Monastiraki is actually a bit closer to the Plaka anyway. From the Piraeus Metro Station take the Green Line Train from into Athens to Monastiraki. Normally I'd recommend taking the Airport Express Bus from Syntagma back to the airport at such an early hour but because of what I saw in May I'm not sure where you'd catch it if the bus stop is still blocked off as it was then. This leaves you with the early-morning option of a taxi from your hotel, which will cost around €50 for such an early pickup. That, or to avoid hassles stay out near the airport. Sofitel is expensive but actually right at the airport. Close by are the St. Thomas B&B and Peri's Hotel. They have free airport shuttles between 7am and 11pm. They're a lot less-expensive than the Sofitel but you'll probably have to take a taxi back to the airport for an early departure.

Posted by
1874 posts

Aaron, I can well understand your concern. We flew into Athens last year, and I was watching world news and Googling constantly for the weeks leading up to our travel dates. Our trip was very pleasant. Here is a link to the Greek National Tourism Office in New York. Call these folks ( you can also email, but I found the conversational nature of talking by phone better ), and they will keep you up to date on any strike activity planned and what labor negotiations have been resolved or at least been put on hold, etc. They have their finger on the pulse of Athens, and they are extremely well informed and helpful. I trusted them and felt calmed the two times I called. They were open and honest, telling me like it was and explaining how things work. They were amazingly helpful to us. http://www.greekembassy.org/embassy/content/en/Article.aspx?office=1&folder=885&article=27 Lee (previous responder to your post) seems to really know the country well, and even though he does not know it, we read his answers to a lot of other posters' questions last year on a variety of topics as we prepared to visit Greece, and he was very much on target. As mentioned, major protests are unusual on weekends. Athens is a big city that shows its stress and financial problems. You'll love Santorini :)