When we travel, we want to be safe, whether it is in Greece or any other country. Yet travel advisories are tricky things - and deciding whether or not to travel when there is a travel advisory or warning in place, is a tricky question. Wherever you travel, I recommend everyone sign up for the "STEP" program which helps the embassy alert you in times of trouble.
Travel Advisories and Warnings in Greece
Greece is rarely under a travel advisory or travel warning, and in general, it's a very safe country to visit compared with many other nations.
Though strikes and protests occur and often garner media attention, for most Greeks, it's business as usual. Even with the Greek financial crisis and its attendant protests and strikes affecting travel, Greece is not generally under a travel advisory.
However, immigrant round-ups by police in Athens have also swept up a few tourists, some of whom were injured in the process. This prompted the United States and other nations to issue an advisory or note the situation in the general country notes on Greece. Since the sweeps are usually conducted against Pakistani, Indian, African, Asian, Middle Eastern and Rom groups, if a tourist shares ancestry or appears to share ancestry with these groups, there may be a greater likelihood to be stopped by police during these sweeps - or at any time. It's always good practice to carry a color copy of your main passport pages on you - and, if it's convenient, add a copy of the page showing your entry stamp into Greece once you are in the country.
The U.S. State Department is advising citizens to carry their passports with them at all times - I won't question the wisdom of that, but if you are uncomfortable doing so, the color copies may fill the gap though they would not necessarily have the same impact as your actual passport.
The United States has not issued a travel warning or travel alert for Greece at the time of this writing, but in November 2012 included the following text in its general page on Greece: "There has been a rise in unprovoked harassment and violent attacks against persons who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be foreign migrants.
U.S. citizens most at risk are those of African, Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent. Travelers are urged to exercise caution, especially in the immediate vicinity of Omonia Square from sunset to sunrise. Travelers should avoid Exarchia Square and its immediate vicinity at all times. The U.S. Embassy has confirmed reports of U.S. African-American citizens detained by police authorities conducting sweeps for illegal immigrants in Athens. "
About U.S. Travel Warnings and Advisories
The United States issues two types of advisory, the "Travel Warning" and the "Travel Alert". Though the wording may be a little misleading, The "Travel Warning" is actually more serious and tends to be in place when a country is so unstable that travel may be actively dangerous. At any given time, several dozen continously unstable or dangerous countries may be on the list. There is a general "Worldwide Caution" in effect as of May, 2016.
Check For Any Current Travel Warnings for Greece
If there is a current Travel Warning for Greece from the U.S., it will be listed here on the Travel Warning page at the U.S. State Department website.
Check for Travel Alerts for Greece
The less-serious "Travel Alert" is usually issued in response to a particular event or condition - a storm, planned protests, potentially contentious elections, even sporting events known to generate violent outbursts among fans.
Usually there are five or six countries listed for various reasons. If there is an expected problem in Greece, it would most likely generate a "Travel Alert", usually for a relatively short period of time, though this may not always be the case as conditions develop. For example, at the time of this writing, Egypt has been under "Travel Alert" status for over a year.
If there is a current travel alert for Greece, it will be listed on this page: U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs -Travel Alerts.
You may also want to check the official U.S. General Information Sheet on Greece. This page also links to the American Embassy in Athens and to any special announcements the Embassy provides.
Travel Alerts and Warnings from Other Nations
Other nations may issue similar travel warnings and alerts for Greece, but generally the U.S. alerts are based on the same information and reflect the situation accurately.
Frequently, mild warnings are just included under the general "Travel Advice" pages on various nations. Canada seems to be the most cautious among the nations listed below.
Is It Really a Travel Warning for Greece?
The situation is made more complicated because some news services, bloggers, or others may hear of a "Travel Alert" or "Travel Advisory" and rephrase it as a "Travel Warning" when they mention it. So don't assume your trip to Greece is at risk until you check the details directly.
Will My Euros Be Good in Greece? Will Greece Lose the Euro During My Vacation?
While some financial writers are still debating whether or not Greece will stay in the Euro, it is exceedingly doubtful that Greece will choose to exit the financial union. This is even less likely than it was before. See Greece's Financial Crisis - How Will It Affect Your Trip to Greece?.
Since there have been many bank mergers, there are fewer ATMs at tourist spots in Greece. You may want to carry some extra Euros in cash as ATMs can sometimes run out in busy areas.
Plan Your Own Trip to Greece
Find and Compare Flights To and Around Greece: Athens and Other Greece Flights - The Greek airport code for Athens International Airport is ATH.
Find and Compare prices on: Hotels in Greece and the Greek Islands
Book your Own Day Trips Around Athens
Book your Own Short Trips Around Greece and the Greek Islands
Book your Own Trips to Santorini and Day Trips on Santorini