We are planning on travelling to Greece for 3 weeks in Sept. With all the political issues, is it a good idea to still go?
It's definitely safe, why wouldn't it be?
That's the same time I'm going, so yes.
Country being in financial trouble and seeing some news reports of unrest in Athens....
I've never been to a place where I felt safer, so yes. I wouldn't hesitate.Edited: 28 July 2010, 05:58
Your main danger will be sunburn. How much time were you planning to spend in Athens?
Athens (and the rest of Greece) are perfectly safe (outside of the traditionally "colorful" areas around Omonia Square/Psirri/Victoria Square) you can go anywhere, day or night, in Athens and not be worried or afraid.
The financial issues of the country have not changed things for tourists (the country has a long history of strikes, it is just that the media never covered it for reasons left to another forum).
You can see past threads on this subject here:
According to what I'm seeing here in Greece - there hasn't been a BETTER time to come to Greece since country went "euro". Prices are steady or down on almost everything other than a cup of coffee (we are back to dining out for under 10 euro/person, something we have not done in years in the city center), there are some terrific offers on things like weekend/short breaks, and the media did such a good job scaring folks away that the sites are less crowded this year than I have seen them in several years.
You will have a great time in September and once you are on the ground in Athens you will be scratching your head wondering what all the fuss was about.
Actually, even Omonia Square isn't that bad any more. I was there last week at 3 AM and not only have I lived to tell the tale, I also came back with photos. The police have been chasing the junkies and other undesirables away - the worst you're likely to come across now is a few immigrants (people with darker-colour skin) who seemed extremely unthreatening to me.
Here's one of my photos - there are a couple more on Flickr: http://tinyurl.com/2wrzxq9
Psirri (at least the part closer to Monastiraki) wasn't bad either when I was last there in April. A bit run down perhaps, but perfectly safe from what I could see.
Like mentioned before, I am 100% with you regarding this issue Tina. I have walked the backstreets of Omonia at night and found it colourful, nice to explore with several ethnic origins and culture around, and my opinion is that most of the fuzz is more about the majority being immigrants etc. than actual criminals.
Psirri has always been welcoming to explore, and has a lot of nice tavernas, bars etc.
Sorry guys - as a mother I have to disagree with you about Omonia/Psirri areas. It is fine if you are an adult, a group of young adults, etc - however, it is not a place for families, PERIOD.
I make this statement as one who has previously defended the area, see past messages where I said it was colorful, but not dangerous. I stand by this statement as still being true, it is colorful and not physically dangerous. However, it is one of the least attractive areas in downtown Athens and there is no need for anyone to have to stay there in this current economy.
In addition, the areas run together and people describe themselves as being in Psirri when they aren't (is the Hotel Fresh in Psirri?) and it is all very confusing for visitors who do not know the city.
Further, to go back to being a mom - I don't want my 8 year olds memory of Athens to be a junkie in a doorway shooting up - and that is something that goes on in this area 24/7. The junkie really doesn't pose any threat to anyone other than him/herself - but why should a visitor have to even deal with it?
As for saying that the neighborhood is bad because there are immigrants - I do not think that is an accurate or fair statement to make, particularly if you understood Athens neighborhoods, as there are immigrants in all of Athens' neighrborhoods - since Athenian neighorborhoods are not segregated by race/color/economic class : poor people live in Kolonaki, they just live on lower floors, and rich people live in Psirri, they just live in the penthouses.
>>Further, to go back to being a mom - I don't want my 8 year olds memory of Athens to be a junkie in a doorway shooting up - and that is something that goes on in this area 24/7.<<
First of all, I don't think anyone here mentioned taking any 8-year-olds to Omonia. We're discussing if the area is safe, not if it's a pleasant walk for a family with young kids.
Even taking that into account, I've been to Omonia Square 3 times recently (twice in day time and once in the wee hours) and haven't seen any junkies shooting up - in fact I've seen no junkies full stop. I did see tourists wheeling their cases through the square heading to the hotels in Metaxourgeio, and they too seemed happy and unworried (at 3 AM). Obviously they've not been reading TA ;-)
Sure if your aim is to go for a pleasant walk with your young family in the city centre, the answer is don't go to Omonia (or don't go for a walk after midnight) but if the question is "will I come to any harm from being in/staying near Omonia" the answer IMO is no - based on the fact that I've not come into any harm yet myself, although I've been to the area several times as a lone female.
You are of course entitled to your opinion, and we don't all have to agree.