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Safety in Athens

Hi I am planning take two weeks vacation in May. We book our flights to Athens, Greece because we want to take our engagement photos at Santorini. I have two questions: (1) Is it safe to go to Athens in May? How many days should we stay there?
(2) Our original plan is to stay 2 days in Athens, and 5 - 6 days in Santorini. With the remaining days, we are thinking to go to one more place. What would you recommend? (Both of us have never been to Europe). We are thinking Rome, but we are not sure if there are other better options. Thank you! Anny

Posted by
5297 posts

1: Athens, even in the height of the disturbances was safe. Certainly if there are protests, stay away from them, otherwise, the businesses will be glad to have you. 2. Your plan for 2 days in Athens, then onto Santorini sounds good. I like to spend my first night in Athens just to adjust, then move on. You will arrive mid-day likely, get to the hotel, have a nice afternoon, sleep, then spend the whole next day seeing the sights, another night, then hit either the ferry or a plane the next day to Santorini. The ferry is a long trip to Santorini, personally I would prefer to fly. Aegean Air offers low cost flights when booked well ahead. As for other plans, if you already have round trip tickets to Athens, then that influences your plans. Rome is wonderful, Aegean Air also flies to Rome, cheap tickets and fast, I can see flying there and back in the time you have. The other obvious option is to take in another island or two. Each Island has it's own personality. Santorini is stunning in scope, but mixing in another island that is quieter, more relaxed would be nice, or if you like party, there are islands for that. If you are into history, the Peloponnese with Epidaurus, Mycenae, Olympia and Nafplio is great, North of Athens you also have Delphi and the Meteora.

Posted by
31293 posts

Anny, Your plan looks very reasonable, and the weather in May should be great. Two days in Athens is good, and will allow you to have a look at a few of the main sights such as the Acropolis and the Archeological Museum. I found it to be perfectly safe, although it's important to note that petty crime can occur anywhere. As the previous reply mentioned, the tourist businesses will be very happy to see you. For travel from Athens to Santorini, you could go by Ferry from Piraeus, but the trip is about six hours. As Santorini has an airport, you could also travel by air (I'd highly recommend Aegean). You may find it very helpful to have a look at This Website, as it has a LOT of great information on travelling in Greece including Ferry information, etc. I used one of the Greek Travel Agencies recommended on the above website to arrange Ferry, Hotel and Transfers to Santorini, and they did an excellent job. Rome is a great idea for the latter part of your trip. The method I'd use for that trip is flight back to Athens with Aegean, and then EasyJet to Rome (flight is 1H:05M). I've travelled that route in the reverse direction, and it's very pleasant. One important point to note when travelling with Euro budget airlines, is that you'll need to consider luggage limits. Paying for extra weight is usually cheaper at the time of booking, rather than at the check-in gate. Also, they typically only allow ONE carry-on item. As this is your first trip to Europe, I'd highly recommend reading Europe Through The Back Door, as it provides a lot of good information on "how" to travel in Europe. Congratulations and happy travels!

Posted by
31293 posts

Anny, One additional comment.... While Athens should be quite safe, there are of course no guarantees regarding strikes or work stoppages at the time you'll be travelling. These sometimes seem to occur rather spontaneously, so there's no way to predict when they might occur. Good luck!

Posted by
686 posts

We were in Athens during strikes/disturbances in October and it is possible to not even know they are occurring. Your hotel will help and in the case of a demonstration stay away from places like Syntagma Square. However, no one can predict what things will be like then. If your plan for 2 days in Athens includes your arrival day plus one more, then I'd recommend a third so that you can see and visit most of the sites. You might look at the RS Greece book to help you answer the "how many days" question. Enjoy.