Athens Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Athens
How safe is Athens?
Threat level: Medium-Low
COVID-19 Situation for Athens
Greece allows travellers from the UK to enter Greece for non-essential travel but the country has been added to the 'amber' list of countries that may pose a risk of contracting COVID-19. For this reason, when returning to the UK, travellers must quarantine at home for 10 days and take a pre-departure test, plus PCR test on day 2 and 8 (with the option to take a test on day 5 to be released before). Before travelling to Greece, travellers must fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before landing that contains a QR code that must be printed or available on a mobile phone. When arriving in Greece, travellers must either present a negative PCR test result on arrival, taken no more than 72 hours before flying or a certificate of vaccination that shows they have received two doses of an EU-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to travelling. On arrival, travellers will have to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test.
Face masks are compulsory indoors in public places and on public transport.
See our healthcare section to find out about preventive measures to follow to avoid contracting the disease.
Security in Athens
The current travel advice is Athens if for visitors to remain vigilant. There are no present travel risks reported for the city, but petty crime is high in many areas of Athens.
Athens is the capital city of Greece and is known as one of the world’s oldest cities. It is seen as a hidden gem that holds mesmerising and iconic ancient monuments, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilisation.
The current situation in Greece is unstable, with the ongoing financial and migrant crisis affecting different areas in Greece. There has been a massive influx of migrants entering Lesvos, Kos and Samos in the main Greek Island. The migrant crisis has not affected tourists travelling to Athens, but it is still advised to remain cautious throughout your stay.
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The threat of a terrorist attack remains on high alert across Europe. Although the risk of an attack in Greece is relatively low, there has been outbreaks of potential threats, particularly targeting embassies located in Athens and sporting events.
In October 2013, an explosive was set off at the Panathinaikos football supporters’ club in Athens. No one was harmed, but the explosion caused several damages to buildings surrounding the area.
In 2013 and 2014, there were two attempted gunmen attacks targeting both the German Embassy and Israeli Embassy in Athens. There were no reports of any injuries, but tourist should remain vigilant at all times.
Since the financial crisis hit Greece in 2011, the crime rate in Athens has risen. In general, most violent crime thefts remain relatively rare, but it is still advised for all travellers to be on high alert of any peculiar behaviour when walking around Athens.
In recent years, political demonstrations have increased in Athens, particularly Syntagma Square outside the country’s parliament, Omonia and Exarchia. Travellers should remain vigilant of any unusual activity and avoid large gatherings.
Petty thefts and pickpocketing are still a present issue, like most big cities. Popular destinations are metros and overcrowded places, like Omonia and the Monastiraki Flea Market.
Travelling around Athens
When travelling by car in an EU country, British nationals do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) but a motor insurance green card issued by their car insurer is required to drive a UK-registered car in the EU.
Taxis scams are prevalent in Athens, mainly targeting airports, train stations and the port of Piraeus. Taxi drivers tend to target tourists who are unaware of taxi prices and will set a high price without turning on the meter. Before getting into a cab, the best travel advice is Athens is to try to negotiate a set fare price in order to avoid any scams.
Athens has a well-organised and extensive public transport network of buses, trains and metros. There are regular buses that operate every 15 minutes from 5am to midnight around the city of Athens. It is worth purchasing a 24-hour travel pass for 4 euros, or if you are spending more than 3 days in Athens, a 5-day travel pass worth 10 euros that gives you access to all forms of public transport.
The metro is a good form of transport to navigate yourself around the city, as it is fast and efficient. However, due to the current economic crisis, the metro has not been very reliable with occurring shutdowns due to strikes. It is advised to allow yourself extra time to get around Athens, with added delays that may be caused by train strikes.
Avoid driving around the city as road users in Athens are notorious for their aggressive and impatient driving. Be aware that parking is illegal alongside kerbs marked with a yellow line on footpaths. Locate parking areas where you can purchase a ticket from any available kiosks.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in Athens
Police emergency: 100
Tourist Police: 171
Special Violent Crime Squad: 1014
Ambulance emergency: 166
SOS Doctors (SOS ΙΑΤΡΟΙ: 1016
Coast Guard: 108
Fire emergency: 199
Religion: Christianity (Greek Orthodoxy)
Time now in Athens:
Useful websites for Athens
Consular information for Athens
U.S. Embassy Athens
91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue,
Telephone: +30 210 721 2951
British Embassy Athens
Telephone: +30 210 7272 60
Canadian Embassy Athens
48 Ethnikis Antistaseos Street
Chalandri, 152 31,
Telephone: +30 210 727 3400
Healthcare and Immunisations
If you are a British citizen, your UK EHIC card remains valid when travelling to an EU country until it expires, providing access to state-provided healthcare in Greece. After that, British citizens must apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which will cover them for state-provided healthcare in the EU. Nevertheless, you will be required to show proof on arrival that you have travel insurance for your trip.
COVID-19 cases have been reported in Greece. There is no vaccination against the disease, protection against the disease is through preventive measures such as applying good hygiene practices, self-isolating, maintaining social distance, avoiding unnecessary travel and public gatherings.
Before 2011, medical healthcare in Greece was of a high standard that ranked above other countries, such as the UK and Germany. However, after the economic crisis 2011, a number of revisions were made to the public healthcare system. This caused the public health service to be hugely underfunded, meaning many hospitals are now extremely overcrowded and the quality of care is dismal.
Family members are expected to bring in food for the patient, so tourists should keep this in mind if they are treated in hospital.
It is important to take out the necessary health and travel insurance in order to cover costs incurred overseas.