Safety and security
The political situation in Greece is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest. Strikes and demonstrations which can affect visitors travel plans are a common occurrence in Greece.
If a demonstration is in progress it is best to avoid central areas of Athens, particularly areas around Syntagma Square (Constitution Square), where the Parliament Building is located and where most demonstrations terminate.
Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
Crime is relatively low in Greece as a whole but pickpocketing is common in central Athens. Always take sensible precautions:
- Be aware that the tourist season attracts an increase in incidents of theft of passports, wallets, handbags etc. - particularly in areas and at events where crowds gather. You should leave valuables in safe custody at your hotel or apartment.
- Be particularly vigilant when using public transport. In Athens, we recommend visitors take extra care of their personal belongings when using buses or the metro; especially when travelling to and from the airport or the port of Piraeus. Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. Consider wearing your rucksack on your front, and do not leave valuables in accessible pockets.
- Don't carry your passport unless absolutely necessary. Leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home, and consider keeping a photo of important documents on your phone or in your emails.
Personal attacks, including sexual assaults and rape, are infrequent in Greece. However, there is a higher incidence of sexual assault and rape on some Greek Islands. We advise that you do not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended when in bars or nightclubs. We also recommend that you avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Greece, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Athens if you need help or guidance.
Greece regularly experiences forest fires in the warmer months. While most of these fires do not affect residential areas, you should heed risk warnings and be vigilant if travelling in forested areas during the summer. If there is a forest fire near where you are staying, you should keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of the Greek authorities. See here for official information and advice on forest fires in Greece.
If you’re planning to drive in Greece, you should take extreme caution due to the very high incidence of road traffic accidents and different driving customs.
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and quadbikes
Every year, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and quadbikes are associated with many serious accidents in Greece, often resulting in very serious or even fatal injury.
Failure to wear a crash helmet or to have the necessary driving license may invalidate your insurance if you are involved in an accident. Greek law requires you to wear a crash helmet on a scooter, moped or motorcycle. Quad bike riders require a full-face helmet (or non-full-face helmet plus goggles) under Greek law.
You should check that your travel insurance covers you for the relevant activity. Road insurance and a motorcycle license are also mandatory.
Pedestrians should also be vigilant and aware that traffic will be coming from the opposite direction to Ireland. They should also take particular care when using pedestrian crossings at intersections; vehicles won’t necessarily stop when the signal indicates that pedestrians may cross the road.
Tue, 23 Oct 2018 17:03:57 BST