Hi, We are planning our trip for the coming June 2014. My daughter suggested Santorini . We have never been to Greece before. I am sorry to ask this question and do not want to offend anyone but is it safe in spite of the political instability and the demonstration ? I am thinking of doing London first then flying to Athens on our way to Santorini . Thanks for your help.
I haven't been in a few years but when I was on Santorini, I felt perfectly safe. It is a very small island who needs tourism. Athens was a different story. It is a very large and crowded city. I did not feel as comfortable at that time and that was before the political instability.
I would think if you stayed on the smaller islands you should be fine but you will need to determine what you are comfortable with.
See the post "Must do" ideas for Athens & Santorini?? for some tips on Santorini
It's not an offensive question. It's a common concern for first-time visitors. Yes, Santorini is safe. The demonstrations don't make it out to the islands, they're mostly contained in a couple of square blocks in front of the Parliament Building next to Syntagma Square. You can go HERE to check for strikes that might affect your visit, such as airlines, ferries, buses, taxis and the Athens Metro system.
Tourism is the one thing that keeps going regardless of what the current political situation might be. Don't be put off by the media, either. They have a bad habit of sensationalizing isolated events and turning them into a full-scale riot that seemingly has no end, when in fact it might have been one demonstration that got violent 6 months ago that is still fueling the paranoia you might read about.
If there is a demonstration or strike going on it's easy to avoid the Syntagma Square area. The airport Metro and the ferry port are usually free of hassles, and the website I gave you will tell you if that changes. Strikes are usually only 48 hours, and almost always happen mid-week to avoid inconveniencing too many people at once. You can still enjoy the best of what Athens has to offer and not even be aware of anything going on around you. I went to Syntagma Square during a demonstration a few years ago and it felt more like a street fair. There were people selling food and playing music, and kids were running around and playing with parents content to watch from where they were sitting. Granted, there is occasionally violence, but it's very rare and it's short-lived. The police make sure of that.
Thanks David and Lee.
I agree with the first two posts. If you're going to run into any demonstration, it's most likely to be in Athens. Once you're out of Athens, I doubt you will notice any disruptions.
You will be safe in Santorini. Nobody will demonstrate there. On the other hand there is always some demonstration in Athens - usually peaceful but when it gets out of hand it's better not to be anywhere close. Police there has less inhibitions than here in the US.
We were in both Athens and Santorini a couple of years ago, right around the time a lot of the demonstrations started. We stayed at a hotel right in Stygmata Square in Athens. While we didn't run into any problems while we were there, we definitely noticed a heavy police presence everywhere, which can be a bit unsettling. The police were in riot gear, and clearly ready to move in if there were any problems.
However, on the islands, we did not run into any problems. The demonstrations tend to happen where they get the most publicity - right in front of the government buildings in the big city. The people on the islands just seemed to want to go about their business.
Tourism is very important to the islands, so I doubt you will run into any trouble there. One thing to note, however, when we were there, cash was very sparse. We ran into a couple of occassions where we wanted to buy a little trinket for a few Euro, and if we handed them a bigger bill (i.e. 20 Euro or more), they had trouble making change. They also greatly preferred to take cash rather than credit cards because of the shortage of money there.