Is Athens safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Athens is the Greek capital and also its biggest city. Considered to be the birthplace of Western civilization, it is home to countless famous landmarks like the incredible Pantheon temple and the Ancient Agora of Athens. You can further explore its rich history in the city's many museums, like the Acropolis Museum or the National Archaeological Museum. Some of these sites are thousands of years old, and Athens is truly unlike any other city.
In total, the city is home to just over 3 million people and around 6.3 million foreign tourists visit Athens each year. The city's high season for tourism is in the summer since that is when the weather is nicest. During those times you'll find plenty of people enjoying the great outdoors and sightseeing at all of Athens' wonders.
When spending time in a big city you'll need to be careful around busy areas since thieves could try to steal your valuables. This is why trusting your things to an Athens suitcase locker is a good idea. Doing so is easy and convenient with Bounce. Take advantage of the online app and storage locations found all over the city.
Is Athens safe to visit right now?
Traveling is very exciting, but before you take off on a plane you should research the country that you're heading to. Greece itself is quite a safe place with a Global Peace Index rating of 66, so in general, you'll be safe here. Right now there is no risk of traveling to Greece as no advisories are in place, although you should see if the government in your home country has any travel restrictions.
The violent crime rate in Athens is very low, especially towards tourists, but non-locals do face other threats like pickpocketing and scams. These two petty crimes are common in this city since it is a popular travel location, but with common sense and preparation, you can still have a safe and exciting trip here. Below we'll outline all of the tips and tricks that you can use to protect yourself and your valuables. No safety guide is perfect so please do additional research whether you travel a lot or not.
Top petty crimes and scams in Athens affecting tourists
Preparation is key when you're exploring any new city, and just knowing about a potential petty crime can make it less of a threat for you since you'll know what to look out for. Here are a few that you could encounter in Athens.
Tourist scams are common in any large city, and they are especially present in Athens because of its popularity. Chances are that you'll encounter a scammer at some point during your trip, but it can sometimes be hard to tell who is trying to trick you and who is being genuine. Never trust a stranger with your luggage, even if they are pretending to be friendly and helpful, as they might steal your things or overcharge you for their help. This usually happens around popular tourist attractions and also in bars, so be wary when approached by anyone you think looks suspicious. Don't feel obligated to accept help, even from the friendliest person.
Petty theft and pickpocketing
Pickpocketing is a high risk for people visiting Athens, and thieves are especially active around top tourist sites and on public transport. In some cases, the thieves are so skilled that they might grab your wallet, passport or smartphone without you even noticing, but street crimes like purse snatching can also occur. The most effective way to protect your items is to keep your valuables safe in a Bounce luggage locker where they can't be stolen. To protect the items you're carrying, pay attention to your surroundings and hang on tight to bags and purses when you're in busy areas. In densely populated places you may want to wear your backpack in front of you where you can see it clearly.
Fake taxi scams
Another common scam that tourists encounter has to do with taxis. In some cases, scammers will pose as taxi drivers and after driving you to your destination they will overcharge you. The best way to avoid being a victim of this crime is to make sure that you're entering a legitimate taxi, and don't get into just any car that offers to pick you up. As well, make sure the meter is running as soon as the trip begins. If you ever find that you've been overcharged, take note of the license plate and bring the information to the tourist police along with the receipt. They may be able to help you out.
Is Athens safe to travel alone
In general, someone who is traveling alone will always need to be a bit more careful than people who are vacationing as a group. Just make sure that you pay attention when you're touring around alone, especially at night, since you won't have anyone else looking out for you. The good news is that Athens is a very safe city, even for solo travelers. As long as you take normal precautions and keep an eye on your personal belongings then you'll have no risk to your safety.
Sometimes vacationing alone is more dangerous for a solo female traveler than a man, but you'll find Athens safe and welcoming for everyone. Women travelers will be fine exploring most of the city on their own. We've compiled data and ranked Athens 15th on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index, with the exception of a few neighborhoods which we'll highlight soon. If you do go out for a few drinks at a bar make sure that you're responsible and careful around strangers. Overall, solo female travelers can have a great trip here!
Safest neighborhoods in Athens
While exploring Athens you'll have the choice from a wide range of neighborhoods to discover, and although each one offers something new there are some that are safer than others.
As you explore Athens make sure that you spend some time in Kolononaki. This neighborhood is very safe and is filled with fantastic restaurants and art galleries.
After some gentrification, the area of Metaxourgio is now safe for tourists. It has some nice street art, so don't miss out on the incredible displays.
Want to get a taste of real Athens? Safe and full of culture, the neighborhood of Plaka is the perfect place to go. You'll find plenty of cute cafes here, too.
Athens is not a dangerous city but, like every major city, it has some places with street crime. We recommend that you steer clear of Filopappou Hill after dark as well as Vathi Square, Monastiraki, Omonia Square, Glyfada Square and the Larissa and Pelopnissos train stations.
Is Athens public transportation safe?
To get between central Athens and the rest of the city you'll most likely need to drive yourself or use the transit network to get around since some attractions are not within walking distance from one another. It is recommended to not rent a car if you don't have to since there are sometimes reckless drivers in the Athens city center. As for public transit, remember to be on the lookout for the taxi scams that we mentioned above, especially around the Athens international airport.
Just like in other European cities, pickpockets often strike on public transit. Be extra careful when using the metro system or buses since it is easier for thieves to steal your things in crowded areas. If a local comes up and tries to distract you, be careful because they may be working in a group to steal your things while you aren't paying attention. To protect your valuables you can either leave them in a luggage locker or consider investing in a backpack that is slash-resistant and has secure pockets.
Important emergency numbers in Athens
Although everyone hopes for a trouble-free vacation you never know what could happen, and there are risks of being robbed or scammed in everyday life. If something happens during your time in Athens, Greece you can contact their emergency services for help. Here are some important numbers to keep in mind, and keep note of your home country's embassy number when traveling.
- Emergency: 112
- Police: 100
- Fire Department: 199
- Hospital: 106
- Ambulance: 166
Safe travels to Athens
Athens is like a living museum, with an incredible ancient history that will make it one of your favorite cities. Overall you can call Athens, Greece safe, although it does experience petty crime and occasionally political demonstrations that can be dangerous. The vast majority of these crimes are just as common in other European capitals which is why you should still consider Athens worth visiting.
Wondering where to stay? Consult our guide, Where to Stay in Athens: The Ultimate Guide. Since most visits to the city require the use of public transit you might benefit from reading up on How to Get Around Athens.