Athens, Greece is a top travel destination in the world. There are millions of tourists each year who visit this bustling metropolis to see the famous Acropolis, eat Greek food and immerse themselves in Greek culture.
Matthew and I love Athens so much that we decide to live there for 2 months as digital nomads. We got to truly experience what it was like to live like a local and scope out the safety situation for ourselves. As Athens is a city in Europe, it must be a safe place for tourists to explore right? Well, you might want to think again.
It’s not completely crazy to wonder, “Is Athens safe?”. This capital city of Greece has nearly 3.7 million inhabitants – crime almost seems inevitable right?
Your safety is something that you need to consider every time you travel to a new country – no matter where that is in the world. If you’re still wondering, “is Athens safe for me?” and should I visit this city…
Here’s all you need to know about safety in Athens – the stats, the kind of scam to avoid, our personal experiences with safety in Athens and the top tips to keep yourself safe from any danger.
Athens Safety Statistics & Facts
Want the numbers to whether Athens is safe?
We’ve got you covered! There’s a lot of hearsay and talk about what safety in Athens is truly like. The only way to understand the safety in Athens is to look at the numbers year after year.
Here are some statistics and facts to help answer the question “Is Athens safe?”:
- The top criminal activities in Greece: Illicit trade, extortion and trafficking are the top crimes that occur. These types of crimes are typically directed at locals rather than a tourist visiting Athens.
- Crime rates are trending upwards. While crime has been trending upward in recent years, although it is relatively low compared to the population and other countries in the world.
- Greece has nearly 30 million visitors every year (pre-pandemic). That’s a lot of people that visit one country – it’s higher than the entire population of Australia! Crime almost seems inevitable in a place where there are that many tourists.
- Low-threat location. According to the US Department of State, Greece is a very low-threat country relative to other places in the world.
Overall, Athens is a safe city to visit in Europe. You don’t need to look over your shoulder every couple of minutes but it is still good to keep your wits about you. After all, danger strikes when you’re least expecting it!
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty details and answer the question “Is Athens safe?” below.
Is Athens Safe To Visit In 2023?
Athens is a vibrant and exciting city, with plenty of attractions for visitors to explore. But is it safe to visit in 2023?
The short answer is yes, Athens is generally considered safe to visit in 2023. The Greek government has taken steps to improve security in the city, including increased police presence and improved surveillance systems.
What Kind Of Crimes Happen In Athens?
The best way to keep safe (no matter where you are) is to understand what you’re dealing with. You can be sure all kinds of crime occur in Athens, just like most big cities in the world – drugs, petty theft, scams and more.
Here are the certain types of crimes you need to watch out for as a tourist visiting Athens in 2023:
1. Petty Theft
This is probably the most common crime directed toward tourists. While the crime rate in Athens is very low, it’s still possible to experience petty theft.
What’s petty theft exactly? It’s basically when someone takes something (steals) that isn’t theirs without permission. The value of items stolen in a petty theft isn’t usually worth more than $1500. This can include crimes such as mugging, pickpocketing and purse snatching.
Where does petty crime occur in Athens? Unfortunately, it’s usually in touristy areas and attractions. These crimes can also occur in sketchy neighborhoods in Athens, areas like Omonia, Exarchia and more. As Athens is generally safe, although crime usually happens late in the night. It’s unlikely someone will try to snatch your phone in broad daylight with all the other tourists around.
Another area where petty crimes can happen is near and around the metro stations in Athens. We have heard multiple accounts where people have been scammed and pickpocketed as they enter trains, during a train ride or as they exit the station.
2. Overpriced Taxis
Petty crime is probably less likely to happen to you than it is for you to overpay for a taxi in Athens.
Matthew and I distinctly remember coming off the Santorini ferry in Piraeus port, looking to get a taxi to the city. We got a guy who was over-friendly which is always a warning sign for us. Anyway, we agreed on a price and he gave reasons why it was so much higher than what we remember. We definitely overpaid for that taxi by almost double – this seems usual in Athens.
The biggest place you will experience this is at ferry ports and even when you’re trying to get from Athens airport to the city center. It’s hard to tell what the right price to pay for a taxi is and that’s why we rely on rideshare apps to tell us. Even if we choose not to take a rideshare, we go on the app and check how much it would cost to get from A to B. This gives you a little advantage as you’re not starting from 0 when negotiating with taxis!
If you want to avoid negotiating with taxis, download the BEAT app. It’s similar to Uber and it’s available all across the city! Uber is also available in Greece but we found BEAT always had lower prices and more cars available.
3. Higher Or Incorrect Restaurant Bills
Yes, it does happen. You might see some prices on the menu and once you get the bill – it’s completely different. This is something that does happen in Greece – it’s usually unlikely but it does happen.
I watched a Tiktok of a woman being threatened to pay an incorrect bill at a restaurant in Mykonos. They inflated the prices like crazy – the bill for 2 drinks and 2 meals came out to over €1000! They said they wouldn’t pay that and they were suddenly swarmed with staff around them, threatening that they would find them if they don’t pay the bill.
This kind of crime seems to be more common on the islands – you won’t have to worry too much about this happening in Athens.
4. The ‘Dropped Something’ Scam
There’s a common scam around the world – not just in Athens, where someone will pretend to drop something and if you pick it up for them – they will steal something from you as you give it back.
It sucks as they are using your kindness to steal from you. If someone drops something, just don’t pick it up unless you’re 100% it’s okay. You can be the judge for yourself and it’s important to just be aware of your surroundings at all times!
The hardest thing about Athens having a low crime rate is that you can begin to get complacent and lazy with your safety. Unfortunately, that’s when your safety can become at risk. If you continue to be aware and vigilant, you will see that Athens is safe!
5. The Bracelet Scam
This scam is pretty common all across the main tourist destinations like Paris and Athens.
Here’s how it works: A person will come up to you and make a bracelet for you. They will then put that bracelet on your hand. They will tie it onto your hand and once it’s on – they will demand you to pay for it. When we were there last, I believe the cost was somewhere ridiculous like €10-€15 for a simple string bracelet.
This specific scam can be found near the Roman Agora, people will be loitering around looking for people. Simply tell them a firm NO and continue walking along.
6. The ‘Let Me Help You’ Scam
I didn’t know how to explain or name this type of scam. I only know about it because one of my friends on Instagram experienced this scam in Athens!
Here’s how this scam works: you come out of the metro station with all your luggage. Some guy will approach you and offer to help you with your luggage. And by that, they will literally take your luggage off of you. Once you try to take your luggage back from them, there will be another guy trying to steal your other bags from you. It can work as you have both hands free trying to get your luggage, leaving your other valuables at risk.
Is Athens safe when these kinds of crimes happen? Yes, Athens is relatively safe compared to other countries but be aware that these scams still exist today!
Who Is Safe To Travel To Athens, Greece?
Everyone! Athens is safe for all types of travelers.
The biggest risk that you’ll have is pickpocketing which is quite common in most countries!
Is Athens Safe To Travel Solo?
Yes, Athens is safe for solo travelers! Greece is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and it’s such a beautiful country with so much to offer.
You can easily do activities and attractions on your own without worry. Greek people are also pretty warm and welcoming which makes it a great place to get to know locals safely. The only place you’ll have to be more vigilant is when you’re taking public transportation.
If you’re traveling to Athens solo, don’t get scared off because it’s relatively safe!
Is Athens Safe For Solo Female Travelers?
Yes, Athens is safe for solo female travelers. As with any destination, it’s important to take all the necessary precautions and be aware of your surroundings (especially as a solo female traveler). There is a small increase in crime in recent years and that means you need to keep your wits about you and be street-smart as you explore the city.
Greece is a top travel destination for solo females looking to enjoy a Greek adventure! The Greek capital has taken steps to ensure the safety of its visitors and that includes solo female travelers. The only thing to be aware of is that Greek men can be a little more forward than you might be used to and it may be common that people to look at you or approach you.
If you ever feel like you’re in danger, the police presence is quite strong in Athens. You can walk up to them if anything is going wrong.
Is Athens Safe For Digital Nomads?
We lived as Athens digital nomads for 2 months in 2021 and felt completely safe the entire time! Athens is a vibrant, exciting city with lots of things to do and see for digital nomads to work online and travel.
The crime rate in Athens is relatively low compared to other cities in Europe. For digital nomads who have lots of expensive gear with them, safety is quite an important factor. The good news is that it’s fairly safe in Athens to be cafe-hopping with your laptop in your backpack.
4x Tips To Help Keep You Safe In Athens
Is Athens safe?
It’s a fair question to ask before heading to a new city as a tourist. Athens isn’t a small city either, it’s a big metropolis with millions of people living and working. It’s bound to have some trouble and crime but in general, Athens is safe regardless!
But that doesn’t mean you can just let it all go. It’s important that no matter where you are, you are aware of your surroundings and vigilant as you go around a city like Athens.
1. Don’t Stand Out Like A Sore Thumb
One of the worst things you can do as a tourist is show off all your bling when you go out. This will make you an easy target for pickpockets and other criminals.
Hear me out – it’s very normal to wear your usual everyday jewelry. The thing that I’m talking about is when you wear luxury goods over luxury goods – people know that you have something worth stealing.
If you want to stay safe and not attract pickpocketers to you – the best thing to do is to put the luxury goods away.
2. Stay In The Right Areas Of The City
Athens is a big city. There are going to be great areas that are safe and fun to live in but there are also dodgy areas that feel sketchy and maybe even a little dangerous.
One of the best things you can do to stay safe in Athens is to choose the right area to stay in. Here are some popular tourist areas that feel safe:
Athens is generally considered a safe city, but like any other large urban area, certain areas can be dangerous. The most dangerous neighborhoods in Athens are usually located further away from the city center and tend to have higher crime rates. These areas often have narrow alleyways that can be intimidating to walk through, especially at night. Here are some neighborhoods in Athens to avoid:
- Victoria Square
Before you book accommodation in Athens, this is definitely something to consider. While it’s unlikely dangerous things will happen in Athens – choosing to stay in the right neighborhood will make your walks home at night much more comfortable.
3. Be Aware When Amongst Crowds Of People
Got lots of people around you? It’s important to stay alert in those moments!
This didn’t happen in Athens but one of my scariest pickpocketing experiences happened in Barcelona on a super crowded metro ride. Everyone was packed in like sardines and I had people pushing up against me – my phone was in my pocket and the next minute, I saw this old man holding my phone. I only recognized it because the screen lit up and it had my wallpaper! I quickly snatched it back from his hand and got off at the next stop. It turns out 3 old people were targeting me!
A big crowd usually means that thieves and robbers can strike at any time. It’s very hard to feel like you’ve lost something from your pocket. And let me tell you – some experienced people can easily take your necklace, watch or phone off you without you even noticing!
This might get you questioning “Is Athens safe?” and don’t get me wrong, it is generally safe but you don’t want to turn a blind eye to what still goes on!
4. Double Check Your Bills
One of the sly ways foreigners get scammed is by getting a higher bill than what was on the menu. Some people will invite you into their restaurant and the prices will look reasonable on the menu until…
…they give you the bill and it’s way higher than it’s supposed to be. This kind of thing happens in the main tourist areas like Monastiraki and Syntagma Square. It’s hard to distinguish whether this is going to happen beforehand so just beware and double-check before sitting down.
Be aware that mistakes also do happen! It’s not always going to be higher on purpose – they might’ve added something extra that you didn’t actually order. That’s totally normal and happens everywhere! The difference is when they make you pay the higher bill even though there is no way that you could have to spend that much.
Be Safe In Athens And Get Travel Insurance
The best way to protect yourself when traveling is to simply get travel insurance. Whether you’re riding a scooter through the rice fields in Bali or walking the ancient streets of Athens, you will need to have travel insurance!
As digital nomads who travel full-time, we don’t go anywhere without travel insurance. Thankfully for people working remotely like us, there have been a few insurance companies made specifically for us! These are the 3 companies you can choose as a digital nomad:
We personally chose Safetywing as it’s only $42 per month and it’s created by digital nomads. However, we recently did a complete Genki Insurance review and they are up there with their policies, deductibles and max limits. PassportCard Nomads is also a great option if you are willing to pay more for better coverage!
If you want to learn more, we wrote an honest review the best travel insurance out there!
BOTTOM LINE: Is Athens, Greece Safe For Tourists To Visit In 2023?
Is Athens safe for tourists in 2023? In general, yes!
Athens is one of the most popular European cities to visit. This city is bustling with charm, history and a long list of things to do. It’s hard to get bored in such a vibrant city, especially as a tourist!
But is Athens truly safe? In our personal experience, after living in Athens for 2 months, we felt completely safe. I would walk around Athens by myself without hesitation! Nothing happened to us while we were there and we think Athens is safe for any kind of traveler – solo, digital nomads, etc.
Don’t get me wrong – there has been an upward trend of crime in recent years but Athens is still very safe! When you compare it to other cities, Athens has extremely low crime rates and it’s still considered safe for tourists to visit in 2023.