Athens tips


Mar 28th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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Athens tips

Im traveling to Athens, Greece for the first time. I've read some news about protests, and that tourists should 'be careful'. Should I be concerned?
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Mar 28th, 2013, 10:51 AM
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Tourists should always be careful of their personal belongings and surrounding regardless of where they are traveling. Common sense. Generally protests are in an limited area so I think it would be wise to avoid those areas until the protest is over. Other than that, I don't think you need to be overly concerned.
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Mar 28th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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Haven't protests in Greece been going on for more than a year?

You should be careful no matter where you are.
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Mar 28th, 2013, 11:44 AM
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Greece has long had a tradition of peaceful protest. Very occasionally (maybe once or twice a year) a small group of anarchists cause trouble, but this is normally in a small area around Syntagma Square, and over quickly. Only a few streets away people are having coffee at sidewalk cafes and are unaware of anything happening.

If you are on Facebook you can "like" the US Embassy Consular Section at, and will get notices of upcoming demonstrations. For example, today at 11 am there was a gathering of doctors at the Ministry of Health, and a march of shipyard workers from Omonia Sq to Syntagma Sq. See if you can find anything in the news about those demonstrations, but I doubt that you can.

On the rare occasion where there has been violence the news media play the footage on television over and over, making it look like it is happening all the time. When I go to Athens I stay near Syntagma Square, and I have never even seen a demonstration, much less a violent one.
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Mar 28th, 2013, 11:50 AM
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If you hear a demonstration down the street, go the other way. Or at least keep your distance. They are not tourist attractions, being designed to garner attention an outsider can't give. This is good security advice for any other disturbance, from mugging to fender-bender.
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Mar 28th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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Thanks for the input. I have heard the peope are very friendly. Of course, anywhere there are tourists, there is a possibility of con artists. I travel a lot, and am always cautious. It seems normal precautions are sufficient. I am looking forward to this visit, and will post a follow up,
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Mar 28th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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We saw a small protest, completely peaceful, when we were last in Greece in June 2011. We just detoured around it. I would suggest you check for any scheduled strikes as your trip approaches so you can plan transportation accordingly, and sightseeing too if the main attractions won't be open (very rare).
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Mar 30th, 2013, 03:44 AM
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We also saw 2-3 different groups of protestors near Syntagma Square, but they were all quiet, some even posed for pictures! Just use your common sense and be careful, as you would be in any tourist spot, Greeks are extremely friendly and their economy depends hugely on tourism. I'd go back any day in a heartbeat, am actually planning a trip for May/June 2014
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Mar 30th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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I recall one "protest demonstration" back in May 2010 ... I was walking along Metropolis St heading toward Syntagma Square, as I passed the Metropolis (Cathedral), across the street in front of a shuttered store, there was a line of men holding large placards and chanting an angry slogan. Seated at the edge of the cathedral lawn was a man, holding the same sign, drinking coffee & smoking a cigarette. When I asked him what they were doing; he said, in perfect English, 'We are anarchist-syndicalists and we are protesting the religious and capitalist oppressors." I said thank you, and he smiled and said, have a very nice day.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 10:51 AM
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Thank you for sharing these experiences. I had been concerned about possible hostile crowds, but feel reassured. I always use caution, but good to hear first hand experience to the contrary of what I was worried about. I have heard that the Greeks are very friendly.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 11:11 AM
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I was in Athens last weekend. There was no protest during my stay. The merchants of all types were very happy to see us and they were very courteous and so were people on the streets when asked about how to get to places. However, the major impact of the economy was the shortened hours. Don't rely on guide books. Go straight to the official web site or have hotel or you call the museum directly to confirm the most accurate closing days/hours which can be as early at 3pm or earlier. Also, several shops/restaurants I wanted to visit in Athens and in other part of Greece were closed on supposed business days. Some were clearly out of business.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 06:52 PM
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Greg, that is good to know. I will take your advice.
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