Tips to stay safe while travelling in Greece

Greece hosts millions of tourists every year, and many of those travellers have a safe and happy holiday. However, because of the recent economic troubles and rising unemployment have made some areas more risky than others.

The well-travelled tourist trails are usually free from civil unrest, but there are still minor threats to travellers from petty crime such as pickpocketing. Be informed and prepared, stay vigilant of your surroundings, and Greece should be a safe and enjoyable place to visit.

Pickpocketing and purse snatching are becoming increasingly common in tourist areas and on the islands. Leave valuables, such as passports, in a safe and secure place rather than carrying them with you. Be particularly careful when using public transport. Pickpocketing and bag snatching are common, and thieves will even slash suitcases and backpacks to get to the contents.

Violent crime against tourists is low, but there have been a few instances of serious physical assaults. In Athens, do not walk in the Monastiraki and Omonia districts or, after dark, around the Larissa and Peloponnese railway/bus stations.

Greece has some of the strictest drug laws in Europe, and the laws are strictly enforced even for tourists. Travellers should avoid any and all drug-related activity.

Backpacking through Greece? Items stolen from your shared room may be classed as unsupervised and may not be covered by your travel insurance. Make sure you lock your valuables away in a safe or personal locker.
Protest rallies occur frequently in Greek cities, especially in the major squares of Athens. Tourists are advised to follow local media and avoid these, as they may turn violent and police have used tear gas to disperse demonstrators. Similarly, strikes frequently disrupt air, sea, and rail transport. Follow media and your transport provider for the latest news, and have a backup plan in case your travel is disrupted.
Greece lies in an active seismic zone, and does experience earthquakes and volcanic activity. Greece is also prone to forest fires during the dry summers (June to September). Floods may occur during the spring and winter months throughout the country. In the event of a natural disaster follow the advice of local emergency services personnel, monitor local media, and contact your local embassy or consulate.
Icon of a volcano
Consider travel insurance that provides cover for out of pocket expenses related to cancelled or delayed flights, accommodation, activities and other similar bookings.
The roads are probably the most dangerous part of travel in Greece. According to Eurostat data, Greece overall traffic deaths are higher than other countries average in Europe (64 per million inhabitants and 49 per million respectively in 2018). Pedestrians should take extra precaution while crossing roads  as drivers in Greece tend to be very aggressive and have poor driving standards. Beware that the roads in many parts of the country are not in good condition, and roaming livestock can be an issue in some areas.
Greece’s national healthcare system is free for all Greek citizens and European Union (EU) nationals. Non-EU travellers can receive basic emergency care for free at public hospitals, but keep in mind that they maybe understaffed and running short of medical supplies. Private hospitals provide a higher standard of care — they are also more expensive and may require upfront payment. There have been occasional pharmaceutical supply shortages in Greece, so pack plenty of any prescription medication before visiting.
Hospitals may have limited nursing care available and treatment can be expensive. Travel insurance can help with the costs of your medical care including keeping your travel companion nearby to assist with caring for you.
Greece has high standards for food hygiene and the local tap water is perfectly fine to drink. Keep in mind though that the tap water on the islands may taste different — it’s desalinated sea water, and many of the locals prefer to drink bottled water.
There are occasional outbreaks of food-borne diseases, such as brucellosis. Avoid raw and undercooked food, and don’t consume unpasteurised dairy products. A more common cause of illness is heat stroke. During the hot summer days, dress in light clothing, wear sunscreen and a hat, and drink lots of water.
Your travel insurer can provide assistance on the best hospitals and liaise with your doctors to ensure you’re receiving good care.

NOTICE: While the Information is considered to be true and accurate at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. We strongly recommend verifying the travel advisory of your destination prior to departure.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as at the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd.

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