Athens, Greece’s capital city, is a hub of art, history, modern movements and shared humanity. Travelers and students going abroad can experience a lot walking the streets and taking in the sights. Here are a few tips on the pleasures of the city and on how to enjoy them safely:
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Learn and enjoy all you can and while you’re in Athens:
- See ancient history: Athens is a treasure trove of historical sites – like the Acropolis, the ruins of a famous citadel constructed on a hill. Take in the real deal and witness the art and culture of that period at the new Acropolis Museums. Ancient arts meet cosmopolitan society on nights with a full moon, when guests can enjoy live music at the museum.
- Taste Greek cuisine: Greek food is celebrated worldwide. Get a taste of what Athens has to offer while you tour the city. Food walks like these can cost as few as €15, the equivalent of $16.75.
- Experience Greek theater: Greek is home to some of the oldest traditions in modern theater, and the Theatre of Dionysius, a remnant from those ancient times, is right in Athens. You can also see current-day performances bring those stories to life in the same city at the Greek National Theatre.
- Get a keepsake: The Monastiraki Flea Market is full of booths, permanent antique shops and even modern tourist shops for travelers and locals alike. Explore the stalls, hunt for bargains and see what surprises come your way.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
The following are tips based on warnings from the United States Department of State:
- Your local contacts: Greece is home to two United States embassies: one in Athens, and one in Thessaloniki. Citizens, especially students, should always know where the nearest U.S. Embassy is at all times. It can be a lifeline in a dangerous situation.
- Local emergency numbers are 112 (the equivalent of 911), 116 (ambulance), 119 (fire) and 100 (police).
- Terrorism: The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) lists terrorism threats in Greece as HIGH! Several European countries have been targeted for terroristic threats and attacks, and as a continental neighbor, Greece faces some of the same risks. Greece has also undergone its own incident of domestic terrorism as recently as 2015. Always have an emergency contact plan that includes being able to contact your local embassy and your loved ones back home.Also consider getting evacuation insurance.
- Protests: Economic unrest in Greece has spurred a variety of protests and demonstrations. Some of these are peaceful, but some aren’t. They often occur at university campuses. If you see a protest, even a peaceful one, don’t go near. Be especially cautious on Nov. 17, the anniversary of an uprising at Athens Polytechnic. OSAC warns: “Avoid Omonia and Syntagma areas during protests. American Citizens should exercise caution in Exarchia Square and its immediate vicinity at all times.”
- Harassment: According to the United States Department of State, United States travelers have reported harassment while traveling in Greece. This is especially true of travelers of color. Greece is currently dealing with an immigration crisis, and interracial tensions are high. Be aware of your surroundings and walk with a buddy whenever you can.
- Theft: Public transportation hubs in Greece can be a hotspot for pickpocketing. Make sure your passport, money and identification are safe.
- Insurance: Having medivac insurance, civil unrest evacuation and natural disaster evacuation is recommended. Greece has seismic activity. It can cost upwards of $50,000 to air ambulance you or someone you love home or to best care.
- Vaccinations: Routine vaccinations are recommended by www.cdc.gov along with Hepatitis A & B, and rabies.
Travel is broadening and enriching, but make sure you’re exploring in safety. Visit Depart Smart’s homepage to learn more about how to protect travelers going abroad. Like our work? Become a sponsor – donate to help us help you.