Greece’s recent economic troubles are no match for centuries of cultural heritage founded on hospitality and a refined, sophisticated social nature, so you can rest assured that it is still the most amazing place to visit on holiday, as millions of UK holidaymakers continue to find out.
Against a backdrop of recent struggles with austerity measures and civil unrest, the majestic vistas of Greece’s rugged limestone mountains and crystal blue waters have done little to alleviate the concerns of travelers. Is Greece safe? Can you trust the locals, the government, the hoteliers? Should you take extra precautions, or wait for things to calm down?
The Foreign Travel Advice page from Gov.uk is clear in its summary: travelers in Greece generally enjoy a trouble-free holiday. That said, just no country is free from it is
there are strikes and protests planned to take place in Athens over the coming the coming months. If you avoid these areas, you’re only difficulty will be with potential delays and disruptions in public transport.
Tip 1: Get the Lowdown
Strikes and protests in Greece generally take place on one of three traditional dates. Disruptions to public transport are publicised well in advance, and dealing with a reputable agent will ensure you have all the travel advice you need for the dates when travelling. Greece is a small country, but it’s many villages and towns, together with landmarks like Mount Olympus, mean that there’s no reason to restrict your self to it’s marginal but inconvenient trouble hotspots. It’s also worth remembering that the 2011 riots in London did little to deter travellers to the UK.
Tip 2: Take Advantage
It sounds a little mercenary, but Greece’s tourist trade is the countries biggest source of income, and recent media coverage has been unfairly biased towards its political situation. This has resulted in fewer tourists, and as a result many hotels are offering reductions and unbeatable promotional offers. On an economic level, your trade is doing the country a service, for the same reason that more brazen investors are scooping up properties in Cyprus – it’s a good opportunity.
Greece itself is characterized by an easy-going culture and laid-back populace, renowned for endearing habits like enjoying meals with extended family of the extended family on a regular basis, and refusing to lock doors. It retains its unique charm, even in turbulent conditions, because it is an essential part of the hospitable Greek nature.
The country is still safe, but coverage of civil unrest paints an unfair picture and is largely disproportionate to the actual cultural climate. The Telegraph recently surmised the majority of media attention as simply ‘alarmist’.
Tip 3: Follow the Usual Precautions
Laid-back and hospitable it may be, but Greece is no exception to the general rules of travel. Pickpockets operate in busy areas, and young people are advised to travel together if only because they can wind up in precarious situations through a lack of street-smarts.
Troubles in Athens will not concern the majority of UK holidaymakers, who favour Greece’s many beautiful islands. Larger resort complexes carry the usual risks, and travelers are advised to take only registered taxis, drink moderately, or, failing moderation, staying in groups. Assault and rape is rare in Greece, and when it does happen, it’s usually an altercation between holidaymakers rather than with the Greeks themselves.