Safety and security

Major pre-planned strikes and demonstrations

Demonstrations take place regularly around major squares in central Athens, in particular Syntagma Square. The police have used tear gas to disperse demonstrators. You should follow local media and avoid large crowds and demonstrations. Road closures are common in Athens and are not always announced in advance. Demonstrations can be called at short notice, but there are certain dates on which demonstrations traditionally occur: 1 May, 17 November, and 6 December.

Crime

Most visits to Greece are trouble-free, but theft of wallets and handbags are common on the metro and in crowded tourist places. Leave valuables in a safe place at your hotel or apartment. You should maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as in the UK. There have been some racially motivated attacks, mostly in inner-city areas.

Personal attacks, including sexual assault and rape, are generally rare in Greece, although there have been incidents involving British nationals in some holiday resorts frequented by large numbers of youth tourists. In some cases the alleged attackers were also British nationals. In many cases excessive drinking by either the victim or the offender preceded the incident.

Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. In many cases excessive drinking by either the victim or the offender preceded the incident.

Local travel

Certain border areas are militarily sensitive. Although you can visit these areas, you should avoid taking photographs or video footage. You should also avoid approaching or taking photographs or video footage of military installations.

Road travel

Take particular care when travelling by road. In 2012 there were 1,027 road deaths in Greece (source: DfT). This equates to 9.1 road deaths per 100,000 of population, compared to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2012.

Make sure any vehicle you hire is in good condition and check that you’re insured. Hire companies sometimes ask for your passport as a form of security. Don’t hand over your passport under any circumstances. Check the terms and conditions regarding any damage to the vehicle.

If you intend to hire a moped you will need a valid driving licence with at least category A1 - ‘light motorcycle’. Category P, which is valid in the UK for driving mopeds up to 50cc, is not valid in Greece.

By law you must wear a crash helmet on a scooter, moped or motorcycle. Quad bike riders must wear a full-face helmet (or non-full-face helmet plus goggles). Failure to wear a helmet might invalidate your travel insurance if you are involved in an accident.

See the AA and RAC guides on driving in Greece.

Swimming

Follow local advice if jellyfish are present.

Political situation

Greece is a stable democracy and a member of the European Union. At present, the country is going through a severe economic crisis. The Greek Government, with the support of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, is implementing an economic adjustment programme with a view to ensuring fiscal stability, economic recovery and Greece’s continued membership of the Eurozone.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.