Is it safe to visit Greece? That’s the question that seems to be buzzing in the travel headlines these days thanks to all that is going on with the Greferendum. I live here and specialize in travel writing about this country and I can tell you… it is safe.
Is it Safe to Visit Greece?
Greece and its Greferendum are in the news. So that is why people are asking that question and why tourists that have booked a vacation to Greece now might be second guessing their holidays. Here’s what’s going on, and oh… don’t cancel your plans.
What You Need to Know
I recently wrote a few articles for CNN Travel about the very subject on what tourists visiting Greece should know. I think the concerns many tourists have are logical given the kind of doomsday scenarios that have been circulating about the current economic situation in Greece. I must say that I have strong feelings on this issue and have written about it today on my writer blog, you can find the post here. In a nutshell, I support the OXI/NO group on this one.
The bottom line is that it is very safe to be in Greece. The only thing I’d advise is to bring lots of cash and credit cards.
I have been interviewing Andreas Andreadis, the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation known as SETE, who has admitted that some bookings set to arrive between now and the next weeks have been cancelled. Bookings later in the season remain okay.
I think there’s no reason to change up those dream vacation plans.
Are the Greek Islands Safe?
Is it safe to visit Greece and namely the Greek islands? Well, the Greek islands are their own entity. Friends have visited them in the past week or two with no issues. I’ve interviewed businesses on islands like Santorini and Mykonos about the situation. Cash is flowing, credit is accepted and tourists are having the time of their lives.
Athens is Safe
As for Athens, where the big decisions are taking place? I can say, Athens is safe. Demonstrations are peaceful.
My Observations in Athens
Here is what I see as an expat living here in the capital:
- Grocery stores are stocked. Yes, Greeks had an understandable panic thanks to human nature and lots of propaganda. For the most part the grocery stores are full and restaurants are running smoothly.
- Capital controls do not apply to foreign bank accounts. Is your credit card or debit card issued abroad? No problem. You can spend to whatever limit you have agreed with your bank.
- There may be lines at the ATMs. That may be the inconvenience you’ll bump into. I have found some ATMs out of cash so I have just popped to another one.
- There is gas. We’ve filled up numerous times and even visited Evia island in the past week. Ferries are run by private companies that typically stick to schedules. Strange weather could be your ferry trip enemy but that’s a long shot.
Greece Travel Tips:
- Bring euros to last your vacation. Don’t worry about any currency changes. Even if that were to happen it would take months or more.
- Bring credit cards. Some tourists have asked to raise their limit while vacationing here in Greece.
- Advise your credit card company of where you are traveling to avoid any question of big withdrawals.
- Consider taking out insurance on your trip.
Greeks are Affected, Not Tourists
From the stories I have published recently, the stressful yet hopeful scenario for Greece is truly affecting the Greek population and not the tourists.
Greeks are cancelling their vacations, Greeks cannot get access to all of their money and Greeks are facing an intense barrage of propaganda in the face of big “the world is watching” referendum.
Besides shipping, Greece thrives on tourism. The islands are even more aware of how important tourism is to their livelihoods. Even more important than that is the fact that Greeks are super proud of their hospitality. In the face of all this understandable stress — will love to see you.
In the face of change in one beautiful country like Greece — don’t fear. Support Greece, be positive, pack those euros and credit cards and have the time of your life.
This is the time to enjoy Greece.
What are your thoughts? In your opinion, is it safe to visit Greece?