Greece in spring 2011?

Jul 21st, 2010, 08:29 AM
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Greece in spring 2011?

Having just come home from a family trip to Europe, I'm tire-kicking the idea of taking a trip on my own but with a small, women-only tour group in spring 2011. Traveling by tour isn't what my question is about, however. I already understand the pros and cons of that.

It's this: I realize that no one has a crystal ball, but considering the unrest in Greece (including at sites tourists tend to hit) and the strikes, Greece feels unstable to me right now and maybe even unsafe -- but that's based only on impressions. I'm a little hesitant to put down a deposit on a spring trip. The tour goes to Athens, Santorini, and Crete, if that makes a difference. Any thoughts?

Also, is mid May a high tourist season in Greece? The cities we visited in Europe this summer were packed to the point of discomfort.

Thanks so much.
beeswing is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 08:40 AM
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Your impressions are misleading you, planting false doubts. Although there are economic/domestic problems Greece is not in the midst of a civil war. Your safety is not at issue. Worst-case scenario, your tour is temporarily delayed due to strikes, which of course no one can predict. When they do happen there is an advance warning and they usually only last 24 hours.

Mid-May is before the summer tourist crush and is the perfect time to go to Greece.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 08:49 AM
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I agree w/ everything brotherleelove2004 said above. We have just returned from yet another late spring/early summer trip to Greece with absolutely no problems. Husband was there last week during a one-day strike, and it barely affected him.

Mid-May is a wonderful time for a visit, although if you want to swim, you might prefer the water temperature at the end of May/early June.
Weadles is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 09:14 AM
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Thanks for the information! What concerned me more than the strikes was that I've seen some past reports of bombings, including at places tourists might frequent (e.g., the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier). Is that just a case of the media making mountains out of molehills, or is it really a concern?

Thanks again!
beeswing is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 09:25 AM
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This is not an ongoing danger, not one that can be predicted or because of which you should change your plans. And yes, the media does tend to sensationalize and make one incident sound like something that is continuing and has overtaken the whole country. That's just not the case.

I'd like to see these reports. Do you have links to them?
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 09:42 AM
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Sorry, I looked at several Web sites this morning and don't remember specifically what Web page said what. I do know that I looked at the travel advisories from the U.S., Canada, and U.K. government sites...perhaps it was from one or more of those? And no, I don't have links, though I'm sure they are easily Googleable.

However, I just did a quick Google for the specific incident I mentioned, the bombing at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. CNN has a report at
beeswing is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 10:17 AM
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We were in Athens in May this year. The weather was great and not too crowded.
We walked right up to a protest. The area was cordoned off by the police and life went on like normal outside the small area. We sat for 2 hours and read our books. There was never any danger to us.
We lost a day on Naxos due to a Ferry strike but ended up having a great afternoon and evening in Paros. One has to be ready to enjoy where circumstances place you when you travel.
stanbr is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 10:45 AM
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The overall impression I have of Athens is how safe it is compared with other capital cities. Would you wander around central Washington D.C. late at night? I don't think I would, but I do in Athens!

The media has made much of a few protests in Athens this year, but I am not aware of a single tourist being harmed in any of them.
Heimdall is online now  
Jul 21st, 2010, 11:13 AM
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Would you wander around central Washington D.C. late at night?
Yes, often.

You could get bombed in London too, there's just no point in worrying about it.
yorkshire is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 11:58 AM
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Hi yorkshire,

I guess we are all victims of the media. Last June I walked through Plaka and Thissio in Athens between midnight and 2 AM, and saw lots of young people having a good time, but nobody getting drunk or looking threatening. It was very refreshing, especially compared to what we see on most high streets in England that time of night.
Heimdall is online now  
Jul 21st, 2010, 12:17 PM
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I was in Greece for several weeks last September and never felt unsafe. In Athens I stayed right across from Parliament at the Grande Bretagne, but that was, I suppose, before any major demonstrations. It was however, right before the elections, and they did have a big political rally one night in Syntagma Square.

As for strikes, they happen commonly in Italy too, but also with notice. Pompeii was to be closed due to a strike the day I had planned to go, but I was able to fit it in the day before the strike since I heard about it.

I would go if I were you.
Delaine is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 04:38 PM
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beeswing, Mid to late May is the perfect time to visit Greece... I've done it about 9 times since 1999... Its "season" starts later than France and Italy. In Mid-May through mid-June every thing is open, the weather is great, but the crowds have not arrived. The Greeks are enjoying the weather, and have plenty of time to socialize with you, and you are welcomed heartily. The only thing is, the water is a little "brisk" at first, that's why I'm starting my 2011 trip about May 20.

I usually take along 3-4 newcomers, and many of them have questions like you, all I can say is Wait and You'll See. I was there this year when some spotty strikes took place but we "ran between the raindrops". Went to Crete, Santorini, Naxos, Athens, Nafplio and Folegandros. I have a web page that shows these islands, plus a bunch of others visited in the past.

Security is NOT an issue ... The only thing you might need to be aware of is the possibility of delays in transportation in/out of Athens (ferry or plane), due to a one-day 'job action' and I've learned the strategies to avoid that. Who knows what the situation will be by next Spring/Summer? I have a feeling that Greece will resolve something before then Anyhow, As someone who lived in Manhattan for 30+ years, I can say I feel safer, walking alone, in Athens than I do in any city I've visited or lived in. And as for the islands... say no more.
travelerjan is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 05:39 PM
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Hi beeswing, my wife and I went to Greece mid-May (last days of off-peak for ff-miles) a couple of years back and visited Crete Santorini and Athens. The tourist volume was really light which was great for Knossos and the Parthenon, which I heard is insanely crowded in further into the season. One surprise to us was the weather though. I forced myself to go swimming in Matala, Crete (a place you should definitely go if you get the opportunity), but really it was not beach weather at all.

As far as strikes go, we got stuck in Santorini airport for 7 hours because of a strike in Athens. It was ok, you make the best of it. As long as you're with good friends who have some patience, you should be ok.

Also, we always get travel insurance before we go anywhere out of the U.S. and in fact if we had known beforehand about the strike, we could have taken the ferry instead and it would've been covered. Insurance also covers terrorism or the like, so if the situation seriously deteriorates before you go, then you can cancel. We usually get American Express, it's about $79 per person.
chadnycity is offline  

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