Areas to avoid, Athens
Athens is way less dangerous than it gets credit for. It sells to talk s--- about the city lately, so oh well. You can be on tourist mode for as long as you want, it's just not a very good idea if you're on one of the streets crossing Omonoia Square from 1-4 in the morning. These so-claimed dangerous pickpockets almost exclusively act on tourists who look around as if they were in Iraq during a bombing (and 90% of the time it will be naive-looking asian tourists). Act cool and just dont be blind. As for those people pretending to be cops or friendly tourists?-> they aren't common but they smell of *** from miles and are the easiest to detect. Finally, junkies wont get agressive as someone said below, unless you go ask them questions into their little area-which is basically 3 or 4 streets from the whole city center and are truly bad at night-time. With the exception of one of those streets across a museum, the rest are streets you have nothing to do in really and would be pretty unlucky and map-lost to find yourself in. If anything, these junkies are as powerful as your 10 year old daughter so I wouldnt be too afraid even if you're so unlucky that you will have to hold a group of them back.
The most important thing to remember is there's no organized gangs or very intelligent pickpockets as in other capitals, and thus if you keep your eyes open and dont act like a scared lost soul you'll be fine. As for the stories you may have heard about the idiot fascists of Golden Dawn? Those stupid no-lifers are only after illegal immigrants, whom they can usually distinguish from tourists.
Do yourself a favour and ignore warnings about Exarchia, it's one of the hippest areas in the city and much safer than anywhere else really. The anarchists around are always happy to help in case a junkie bothered you, and lately they have managed to keep the area mostly clean of people looking to do harm with the exception of isolated streets where cheap ***ty drugs are dealt and taken but are not in the vicinity of the squares where there is cool places to hang out in.
Sad to say Athens has become far too dangerous they'll rob you in broad daylight - in MacDonalds, the train anywhere.
I was supposed to stay 2 1/2 weeks but after the past 4 days I can't wait to get out - going to UK instead.
Just glad to escape with my life - be warned Greece is no place for tourists these days.
Hello All. Been there. They wanted to rob me in bright day light as well. I met a guy, he said he's a tourist from Italy, he went my direction so we talked for a bit. He offered a dring in a pub nearby. And it was near, so I agreed - why not have a nice cold drink in the hot. We went into Hollywood Pub. I ordered an Ouzo, he too, then the waitress joined and asked if we could buy her a drink -we agreed to share the bill. Little chit-chat and the bartender brings a bill for 300 EURO. The Guy takes out 150 like nothing happened. I say -it's way too much. They block my way out and want me to pay. Luckily I had 50 EUR with me and gave them only 30 from my one pocket. But they wanted more, so I sy I'm calling the police. They won't let me use the phone. So what I do, is I push away the bartender away, jump the table and chairs and run out of the place. I find a policeman, ask for help, but he only points me to the police station to search for help there. Overall long story with the police and a couple of hours lost, but in the end after some more sightseeing I return early evening to that pub and call the police station where I was earlier as we agreed with the lady officer that if it would be open she would send a patrol there. It was open, police arrived after 45 mins!!! The bartender was fu**ing surprised to see me and the police. There was no discussion, as soon as he saw me he had my 30 EUR in his hand to give it back to me. All in all- a happy end, could have ended differently had they drugged me. Maybe a lesson learned for them and will think twice before trying to fu*k a Polish tourist again :)Police told me they know about it but....it's Greece, so what can u expect.
Pickpockets in the public transportation.
Central Metro stations and bus-lines are infested by foreign pickpockets and they target mostly elder people and tourists. They operate usually in groups of 3-5 persons. At least one of them is robust and ready to "give a lesson" to the victim or to another passenger who might come to help the victim. The others create a local congestion, they encircle the victim, the push and everything to distract his attention, while the one, possibly a woman or a smallish man, niks the wallet.
You can possibly recognise them if you are ethno-savvy. They are mostly Albanians, Romanians (some of them gypsies), Bulgarians, Georgians. While waiting the train or the bus they stay separate, so don't expect to see a group of crooks. When the train/bus arrives they all come together to the same door, usually last, after the other passengers. They push and quite often the go again without entering the train.
Avoid bulky wallet. They detect it (or your mobile, camera etc) by touching you "accidentally" or watching you while you pay your ticket. Separate your money from passports and other valuable documents.
There are very often questions about Omonia square and the round area.
Many tourists think that this area is dangerous but I can tell here that it is not so dangerous as some people want to claim.
In the day time it is full of people and it is a very interesting spot where Greeks come to make their shopping. There are big malls, and many shops in the round area.
I just want to advice to avoid Omonia when you are alone and try not to be out of the hotel after midnight. If you are in a hotel it is quite safe and you don't have to worry.
If you happen to retrurn to your hotel in this area after midnight, just be alert and try to avoid staring at people. Walk with a fast pace and don't panic.
On April 5, 2011, my mother in a wheelchair had her purse stolen by a thief in mid 40s, dressed in suits and tie, right in front of 14 (yes, 14 and less than 30 meters away) Athens Municipal Police in black uniforms, white crash helmets and on enduro motos. This happened in pedestrian zone Aeropagitou at 2:30pm, between Makrigiani and Makri. This thief came out near the 1st restaurant on right side (coming from Acropolis Museum) introduced himself to be restaurant manager, inviting us to read menus and come in to eat. Policemen did absolutely nothing when we reported the theft. Ditto with a police van that showed up later. They only told us to go to Police station on Veikou to file a report. Clearly Athens Police know the heads of gangs operating in these areas. When I described the thief, I can see on Police's faces they know given this thief's age, he operates alone and passes himself as restaurant manager. We have traveled the world, defeated many thefts but this is our 1st encounter with this scheme. 2 Japanese tourists were subjects of theft in the same area around the same time (we met at Veikou). My mother losts 500 euros and her papers (ID, etc.). Few restaurants and even hotels in Athens and at islands (Santorini, etc) accept credit cards, they all want to be paid in cash. Tourists must exert extreme cautions and if possible avoid Acropolis/Aeropagitou as long as Athens Police chooses to do nothing with rampant crimes since 2009.
There is this gang of hobos dressed in yellow everytime i went to omonia square!
the hobo started gabbing at me and saying im a putz!
i was likei dont even know u and he is like you are my girlfriend from last year!
and i am like i wasnt even here last year i was in canada enjoying my time!
and so if you are heading to omonia square just beeeeeeeeeeeeware!~~~
he is one freeeky man..........
IF u come back and the same thing happens to u.... then write on here and tell me all about it!
Around the entrance to Evangelismos metro station. If you walk alone, especially if your face is japanese because Asian tourists are considered SHY, soft, and WEAK to be BULLIED. This FAKE policeman will pretend first to greet you 'Hello', 'How are you', etc. and then when you're not interested and try to walk by he will approach you saying that he is a police and will ask you some questions. When you ask him to show you his badge he will not be ready to show it to you but rather only flash you a folded piece of unknown paper (no visible writing of ID at all), but he will insist to see your passport and ask how long have you been in Athens, etc. If you look weak enough or show something that is not sufficient with papers he would try to extort from you as much belongings of yours as he can by manners of bullying and terrorizing. See this man does not look typically greek (likely foreigners, too, with dark skin), he does not speak greek well and his accent is certainly sure NOT greek. Make sure you are not alone. Don't hesitate to yell out HELP if necessary (VOITHEIA in greek).
People no longer find this entertaining, with the HIV danger around.
In addition the town planning authorities have changed Athens quite drastically in the early eighties, from what it used to look like before.
Given the dangers with sex-tourism, for the reason explained, it is only a myth continuated for obviously political purposes.
The "kamaki tip" writer is -probably- a member of some hostile group.
When in Athens avoid going after 11:00 pm near Omonoia square. The square at that time is full of drug addicts , who may become aggresive. Also , i would advise you to stay away from Athinas Street at night (Athinas street connects Monastiraki with Omonoia) , as this is the street where prostitutes hang.
Your story of the lost tourist and the fake policemen is exactly what happened to my husband and I last Sunday, Nov. 18th 2007.
We were on Vouli Street walking toward the Electra Palace Hotel when a small man asked us for directions to the Acropolis. Out of nowhere, two "policemen" appeared, dressed in leather jackets and who flashed a badge.
The routine was the same. I handed them 1200 dollars and some euros. The big one handed me back my money, while keeping 9 one hundred dollar bills. I caught on to his scheme and grabbed him, while screaming "you are stealing my money, help, help." He dropped the money on the ground, saying "you dropped it, there it is".
The "lost tourist" stayed behind acting as though nothing happened.
I have been having nightmares ever since, wondering if they were really policemen.
I wonder why they didn't run off with my money. What scared them off? It was Sunday morning and there were no people around.
Athens is generally a safe city - safer than many other major European and North American cities. Having said that, it is still imperative to take a common-sense approach to personal safety especially at night. The area north-west of Omonia Square around Metaxourghio Station is a rather rough area. I passed by this area by day and I felt uneasy. There were travel agencies selling long-distant bus tickets to neighboring Albania, Macadonia and Bulgaria. There are many eastern Europeans from these ex-communist countries staying and loitering around this area by night.
Avoid walking in this area alone at night especially if you are a single woman traveller. A happened to talk to a solo male traveller from China who stayed in a hotel in this area. While he was making a telephone call at night, he was accosted for money by two eastern Europeans.
Beware of false policemen working in the Makriyanni district in the nice neighborhood!
I've seen a tourist being approched by a man asking for directions to Syntagma or something of that sort. As the tourist try to help a "undercover police man" equipped with a false policebadge turns up and warns the tourist not to talk to strangers and asking if the tourist has bought drugs, made illegal money transactions etc.
He will then ask to see the tourist's money, gives it back again and then some of the money are missing. These robberies are getting common in Athens, just as "the expensive ladies' bars" are getting more uncommon. I've been living in Athens for longer periods and have seen it happen or heard of it more than twice. So beware - insist to study the policebadge, ask to go to the policestation to get things sorted out or call for help.
Omonia is one the oldest squares in Athens and has been
rebuilt many times.Surrounding by cafeterias and fast food
stores is very dangerous place to be especially at night
because it is a hangout for junkies,deales and transsexual
As like in every place you visit, you have to act a little responsible. Don't put your wallet in your back pocket, don't leave your mobile phone or camera unattended. 90% op the people will be able to tell you are a tourist and some of those people may want to spoil your vacation. Being a little cautious always is healthy.
There is one place in Athens where you do not want to go walking late in the evening or in the middle of the night. The unlit part of the National Gardens near the Zappion is an area you want to avoid. Quite a few illegal Albanians wonder around there during the night waiting to see what they can 'borrow' from you. The park is safe during the day but once it gets dark you better stay on the lit streets and avenues edging the gardens.