Greece Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Greece
How safe is Greece?
Threat level: Medium
There has been an increase in the number of public strikes in Greece. The main disruptions have been to regional airports, domestic flights and railway services. When flying to the Greek Islands, make sure to contact your airline for further advice in case of any strikes that have prevented planes from landing in Greece.
Greece is still facing a huge financial burden on the economy that has placed a substantial constraint on budgets and capacities. As a result, there is a limit on the number of cash withdrawals in Greece. Before you travel, make sure you have enough euros in case of any emergencies.
For specific security threat information with regards to Athens, see our: Athens Travel Advice.
On the 25th of May 2017, an explosion involving ex-interim PM Lucas Papademou happened. The incident took place near Athens's Patission Street. It is understood that the explosion took place when he opened a letter in his car. Papademou is said to have injuries to his hands and legs.
Greece has been one of the countries affected by the current migrant crisis that has seen a dramatic increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering main destinations of Lesvos, Kos and Samos in the main Greek Islands. At present, the current situation is not a major threat to travellers who wish to visit Greece, but it is advised to remain cautious.
The threat of terrorism is high across Europe and although the risks in Greece are relatively low, it is still advised to remain vigilant; especially when attending sporting events or other public festivities. There have been a few potential threats in Greece, with bomb attacks by extreme right militant groups targeted at the Greek state and diplomatic interests, in areas such as Athens and Thessaloniki.
In January 2017, a police officer was wounded in central Athens in a shootout with members of the group 'Anarchists', outside the offices to the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party.
Previously there has been unrest, including demonstrations in Greece and Athens, in particular Syntagma Square outside the country's parliament, Omonia and Exarchia. It is possible that visitors to the country may get drawn into events and great care should be taken when visiting the country.
Over the years, there have been a number of football-related incidents, some involving tourists. It is advisable to stay away from crowds on match days and seek local advice where possible. However, stadiums are mainly located away from touristic areas.
Attire and behaviour deemed to be of a respectable level, may need to be noted outside tourist hotspots; less tolerant locations do exists, therefore caution is advised, especially in the rural areas.
Greece is a very historic country that relies on tourism for much of its income. There is a general concern about pick-pockets and muggings in holiday resorts, but this is at a level that is similar in comparison to the likes of the south of France.
Greece's International Relations
After the controversial closure of the Balkan’s borders, migrant routes have halted within Greece. There has been a recent international deal between Greece, Turkey and the EU. For every Syrian refugee which has been returned to Turkey from Greece, Turkey will transfer one Syrian refugee to the EU. However with policy favouring heritage of Syrian migrants, alongside political and administrative difficulties undermining this operation; it is felt that further confrontations and tensions may rise in the area.
Travelling around Greece
Many drivers in Greece are erratic and aggressive in nature, making it one of the most dangerous countries in Europe to drive in. You should be wary of this when travelling and drive defensively. It is recommended that you avoid congested areas or driving during peak hours, as the situation on the roads can be dangerous.
Greece is renowned for many young adults hiring scooters, mopeds and quadbikes and have been linked to many serious accidents. Failure to wear a crash helmet may invalidate your insurance if involved in an accident and is required under Greek law. If you hire any of these vehicles, be extremely careful when driving on the roads.
Greece's Financial Crisis
Greece is currently experiencing a sovereign debt crisis which has been ongoing since 2009, triggered by the turmoil of the Greek Recession. On June 30th 2015, Greece became the first developed country to fail to make an IMF loan repayment.
Due to this, the amount of cash you can withdraw from a cashpoint machine is limited to €600 on a daily basis and €5000 a month.
Earthquakes in Greece
Earthquakes are a regular occurence in Greece, with the country seeing regular magnitude 2-5 earthquakes occuring. 1953 saw a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that killed an estimated 800 people. The last large earthquake that resulted in many deaths was the 1999 Athens quake that killed more that 140 people.
Extreme weather in Greece
During the summer months, forest fires can occur in Greece. 74 People were reported to have been killed in 2018 by forest fires. It is recommended to monitor local news prior and during your visit, check out safety procedures in your hotel or on the Internet and follow the advice of local authorities.
Emergency services in Greece
General emergency: 112
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
Visitors Police Help Office: 4 Dragatsaniou Street, Klafthmonos Square, Central Athens open: 0730-2200 Contact numbers; +30 210 3222230 and + 30 210 3222232
Religion: Christianity (Eastern Orthodox)
Currency: Euro (subject to change)
Time now in Athens:
Consular information for Greece
U.S. Embassy Athens
91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue,
Telephone: +30 210 7212951
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +30 210 7294444.
British Embassy Athens
1 Ploutarchou Street,
Telephone: +30 210 7272 600
Visa requirements for Greece
Travellers from EU countries or countries part of the Visa Waiver Program, including the USA, do not require visas. Nationals from Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia holding biometric passports, are also exempt from the visa requirement.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Greece are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
In general, medical facilities are much better on the mainland than on the islands. Make sure to take out necessary health and travel insurance in order to cover any costs incurred overseas.
It is advised to EU citizens when travelling to Greece, to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but please note that for some medical assistance, you may still have to pay.
One death caused by West Nile Virus was reported in 2014 by the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, but there have been no reports of further cases since.