Skip to Content

Is Athens Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Is Athens Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Athens, the capital of Greece, is a must-visit destination for anyone in search of ancient, classical history. Most people who visit Greece spend at least some time in Athens, and the city receives about 6.4 million visitors a year.

Of course, Athens’s ancient heritage is the primary draw for many visitors, who flock to see the Parthenon, the Acropolis, and the many treasures on display in the National Archeological Museum.

Athens also has many sites from more modern Greek history, such as the famous changing of the guard at Syntagma Square in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

After a long day of sightseeing, the best thing to do is relax with some delicious food and an ice-cold frappe in one of Athens’s many cool neighborhoods, such as the hipster neighborhood of Psyri.

However, you probably want to know if the city and neighborhood you are in is safe before you can truly relax.

This detailed travel guide can prepare you for visiting Athens. Keep reading to learn more about safety in the city, including detailed crime information.

Is Athens Safe to Visit in 2024?

Quaint streets of Plaka pictured for a guide titled Is Athens Safe to Visit with tourists strolling about


Yes. You can stroll through ancient monuments with complete peace of mind, because the city of Athens is fairly safe to visit!

The city has a moderate crime rate, but most severe crimes rarely affect visitors. Instead, be on your guard for the normal problems that you might encounter in most tourist destinations, such as petty theft.

The capital of Athens is probably such a safe place to visit because Greece overall is a fairly safe country.

For example, the United States government only issues a Level One travel advisory for Greece, telling people to take normal safety precautions anywhere in the country, including Athens. The city is a very popular tourist destination, receiving millions of visitors each year.

It is also a big city in its own right, with a full-time population of over three million people. These statistics tell us that some crime is almost inevitable in a city of this size and with this many people.

Common crimes in Athens include:

  • Pickpocketing
  • Bag snatching
  • Tourist scams
  • Mugging
  • Robbery
  • Drink spiking

Most crimes that affect tourists are petty in nature, but some more violent incidents (rarely) occur. As long as you take some basic precautions, you should be safe on your trip.

Another problem that you should watch out for when you visit is civil unrest. Demonstrations and strikes are common.

In the spring of 2023, demonstrators took to the streets to protest against a train crash that killed dozens of people and a shipwreck of refugees off the Greek coast for which many blame the Greek Coast Guard.

Greece had a tumultuous recent history and political present, which means the society is very polarized. Although the vast majority of Athens’s (frequent) protests are peaceful, people often clash with police or the police escalate a situation.

For those reasons, it’s best to avoid any demonstration that you see gathering as you don’t know what might happen. Strikes and demonstrations often disrupt public transportation so you may need to change your plans for the day.

The Canadian government includes a list of common dates and locations for protests in Athens in its travel advisory for Greece so you know what to avoid.

Demonstrations are common on dates important for recent Greek history such as May 1st and November 17th. Protests usually gather in Syntagma Square, Omonia Square, the National Technical University, and the anarchist neighborhood of Exarcheia.

Just as elsewhere in Europe, there is somewhat of a risk of terrorism in Athens. In March 2023, Greek authorities foiled a plot to attack the local Jewish community.

There have been minor attacks with IEDs before where people were injured, but deadly incidents have not happened recently. You should take some precautions, such as staying alert in crowded public areas, but not let the fear of terrorism ruin your trip.

Crime in Athens

Calm morning in the street of Athens near the Monastiraki flea market pictured for a guide to whether or not Athens is safe to visit

Athens, Greece – November 27 2021: A colorfully decorated shop and sidewalk cafe with pink and magenta flowers near the Monastiraki flea market in Athens, Greece/Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock

As a visitor, crime is the most likely problem to affect you when visiting. As with any big city, Athens has a problem with crime. According to the site Numbeo, which calculates crime rates based on user responses, the city has a moderate crime rate.

It scores a 55.99 out of 100 on the site’s crime index. The crimes people worry about the most are petty crimes such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and other forms of petty theft.

People also report a high rate of drug abuse, which is a common societal factor contributing to crime rates. The good news is that extremely violent crime is relatively rare. The gun death rate in is 1.52 incidents per 100,000 people, which is low for such a big city.

Violent incidents such as murder and kidnapping rarely, if ever, affect visitors, although tourists have been victims of some violent crimes such as assault before.

There are some troubling facts about crime in Athens. For example, authorities are worried about the rise in crime in the capital.

The police even put together a “black map of Athens” marking out 11 neighborhoods that have higher crime rates. Petty theft was one of the crimes that increased the most. A few different factors can explain the rise in crime.

One is the end of pandemic lockdowns, which caused a rise in crime globally, including in Greece. Another is the ongoing economic crisis that still affects many Greeks.

Greece also has many organized crime groups, including local mafia-style organizations. Many criminals operate in Athens.

These groups are behind crimes such as trafficking of people, weapons, and drugs, extortion, and even violent confrontations. Almost all of their crimes affect locals, including local business owners, and they mostly leave visitors alone.

However, they do contribute to the rising crime statistics. Athens certainly has its problems, just the same as any big city. However, the savvy visitor can stay safe while in town, as long as they take a few precautions.

Petty Theft

As in any big city or popular tourist destination, petty theft is the most common crime you might encounter. A city with a difficult economic situation, big crowds, and many annual visitors is the perfect place for pickpockets to do their deeds.

According to the UK government’s travel advisory for all of Greece, central Athens is one of the hotspots for theft in the whole country.

Thieves operate in crowded areas such as around the central train station, around ferry terminals, and in public parts of the Athens International Airport.

You should also be careful on public transportation, especially in metros and buses leading to areas popular with tourists. Popular tourist destinations such as Syntagma Square and the neighborhood of Monastiraki are also pickpocketing hotspots.

To protect yourself from petty theft, make sure that you always keep a secure grasp on your valuables. Never, ever leave your bag unattended or somewhere where you don’t have complete control over your possessions, such as hanging off of the back of a chair.

If you can, try to take only what you need for the day and leave the rest of your cash in your hotel safe so that even if you do get robbed, it isn’t devastating.

Athens also has a lot of scammers looking to take advantage of tourists. While most taxi drivers are honest, there are those that want to overcharge tourists.

Look up average prices before getting a taxi. Taxis from the airport to town are a fixed price, so make sure you let your taxi driver know that you are wise to their tricks.

Restaurants and cafes in popular tourist areas such as Syntagma Square sometimes overcharge tourists by putting one price on the menu outside and another on the menu indoors and on your bill. Always double-check your bill amount before paying.


While most crimes affecting tourists are petty property crimes, tourists have been victims of violent crime before. The most common violent crime affecting tourists is assault, both physical and sexual.

The Australian government warns in its travel advisory for Greece that travelers have been assaulted in parts of the country before, including Athens. Most attacks happen at night (in fact, most petty thefts happen at night as well). Avoid walking in the city by yourself at night.

Most of Athens is safe after dark if you are walking with a group but there are still some places that are sketchy even with more people. Avoid more dangerous neighborhoods such as Omonia and the areas around the ferry and train terminals.

Female tourists have been victims of sexual assault before. If you are a woman traveling in Athens, avoid wandering around at night alone. If you are checking out the local nightlife, always go with a group.

Never go off with a new acquaintance, no matter how charming he or she may be. Always watch your drinks as there have been drink spiking attacks in the past where criminals then robbed and assaulted victims.

Avoiding Bad Areas

View of the hilltop neighborhood of Exarcheia pictured for a guide on whether it is safe to travel to Athens


Certain areas of Athens have much higher crime rates than other parts of the city. Even most of these areas are safe during the day, but it’s a good idea to avoid them at night.

The neighborhood of Exarcheia is a popular anarchist hangout, and many people visit it to check out the unique bohemian atmosphere. However, it has a much higher crime rate than other parts of the city, especially at night.

Omonia is another popular bohemian area that is a bit sketchy at night. The once-posh Victoria Square neighborhood is now also a place with higher crime rates.

The Victoria Square Park has become a place where many homeless people, including homeless refugees, sleep at night.

The park’s rough sleepers are just regular people who are in bad circumstances, but the atmosphere is still a bit worrisome. Other neighborhoods to be careful in are downtown Kolonnos, Agio Panteleimomas, and Acharnon.

Things to Consider

Heavy traffic in Athens for a guide to whether it's safe to visit

Heavy traffic on the streets of Athens after the announcement for a second lockdown in Greece from 7th to 30th of November 2020/Theastock/Shutterstock

Here are a few additional safety tips for Athens:

  • Athens is not equally safe for everyone. There have been hate crimes and assaults against people with darker skin or LGBT individuals. You can still visit if that describes you but be mindful as you move through the city and avoid walking alone at night.
  • Be prepared for the weather. Summer in Athens is extremely hot, and heatstroke is common. Make sure that you drink plenty of water, apply sunscreen, and stay in the shade during the hottest part of the day.
  • The city is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes don’t happen often, but they can happen. Read up on earthquake preparedness tips just in case.
  • Avoid driving if possible. Traffic is a nightmare and road safety is among the worst in Europe. The city has decent public transportation that is a better way to explore.

Frequently Asked Questions

Night view of the wet streets of Kolonaki

ATHENS – GREECE, FEBRUARY 2017: Streets of Kolonaki in Athens City. Urban photography, nightlife in Athens, Attica, Greece/Pit Stock/Shutterstock

Here are a few common questions that you might want answered about Athens:

Is Athens safe to visit now?

Yes, Athens is safe to visit now. However, keep an eye on the news for any protests or strike announcements as there have been many this year so far.

What is the safest part of Athens?

Most touristy areas of Athens are safe to stay in. That includes the neighborhoods around the Acropolis, Plaka, and Kolonaki.

Is Athens or Rome safer?

Athens and Rome have similar crime statistics. Rome has a slightly lower risk of civil unrest as the political situation is more stable there.

How many days should you spend in Athens?

You should spend at least three days in Athens. You want to give yourself enough time to explore all the ancient monuments, learn more recent history, and check out the diverse neighborhoods.

Is Athens safe to walk at night?

Athens can be safe to walk at night if you take the right precautions. Make sure that you always walk with a group and stick to popular tourist areas, avoiding poorly lit side streets and dangerous neighborhoods.

So, Is Athens Safe to Visit?

Athens is mostly a safe city to visit, although it has many of the same problems other big cities have around the world. Make sure that you do your research about the neighborhoods you want to visit ahead of time and always keep a firm grasp on your valuables.

So, with so much to see and do and a safe overall environment, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Athens has to offer. Happy travels!