For the most part, Greece is a very safe county with a low rate of crime that’s extremely welcoming to tourists. But it’s important to remain alert especially in busy areas to make sure your holiday remains a happy one.
In Athens, like many metropolitan parts of Europe, there’s an increased risk of theft of cash, wallets, passports and bags is common. Particularly in crowded places and on the metro.
Only move around with what you really need to carry and keep it somewhere secure and inaccessible to thieving hands. Take a photocopy of your passport (or a digital copy on your phone if it stays charged), leaving the real thing with your other valuables in a safe at your accommodation.
Scams can take place in popular tourist spots, so watch out for street sellers overcharging for products or services. Agree prices in advance, check the authenticity of anything you’re buying, and make sure you’re given enough change.
Acts of terrorism are rare in Greece and UK nationals are rarely the target. They can’t be ruled out, though, so check the current government guidelines before you travel.
Road deaths as a proportion of the Greek population are higher than in the UK. Activities like the use of quad bikes and mopeds carry increased risk so if you intend to check your insurance has adequate cover for these and any other higher risk activities like water sports.
Like the rest of mainland Europe, Greece drives on the right-hand side. Speed limits are in km/h and range from 50 km/h in built-up areas to 110-120 km/h on motorways. The limit is 90 km/h on regular roads.
If you’re planning to drive while there, you’ll need to be 18 or over and have a full, valid driver's licence, insurance and proof of ID, plus ownership documents if it’s your own vehicle. With the UK’s departure from the EU, you should also check if you’ll need an International Driving Permit.
Hired or private vehicles need to contain a breakdown warning triangle, reflective jacket, a fire extinguisher and first aid kit. If it’s your own vehicle, the headlights will need deflector stickers or the beam adjusting. Not complying with these regulations risks high fines.
Seat belts must be worn. Children under 10 must sit in the back seat. If under 3 they must use a child seat. Those aged 3-11 and under 1.35 metres tall need the correct seat or restraints for their size. Crash helmets are compulsory for both the lead rider and passenger on motorcycles.
Driving while over the legal drinking limit can result in heavy fines and imprisonment. Drink driving limits are lower in Greece, where a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent classes you as legally drunk.
With different types, brands and strengths of alcoholic beverages available it can be difficult to judge the volume consumed. The only way to be sure is to avoid alcohol if you intend to drive. Remember too that accidents or injuries caused to you or someone else any time you’re under the influence of alcohol are unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance.
Long distance bus or coach services in Greece are provided by KTEL, while local providers operate for shorter bus journeys.
There are frequent buses and trolley buses to be found in the city of Athens, as well as a reliable metro system and tram network. The city of Thessaloniki also operates plenty of buses too.
Taxis are cheap, safe and plentiful in the cities but become scarcer on the islands. They run on meters and, while still cheap on some of the islands, can be more expensive on Santorini and other more commercial islands. Don’t be surprised if another passenger asks to share the ride if they’re going in your direction – it’s common in Greece.
If you’re keen to see the splendour of Greece by train, InterRail provides a choice of three different passes. A main train line connects Athens and Thessaloniki, with the journey taking about four hours on the express service.
If you’re looking to move around the Greek islands a network of ferries operates between the larger islands. Local providers operate boat services for the smaller island, but times may be infrequent and routes indirect.