Are you concerned about travel to Greece because of their economic problems?
“ Strikes and demonstrations are a regular occurrence. Greece is a stable democracy and these activities for the most part are orderly and lawful ”
Bureau of Consular Affairs – U.S. Department of State, dated May 2011 Travel.state.gov
by Rem Malloy
Protests gone bad, tear gas, riot police are all images of Greece we have all seen on the evening news as the Greek government tries to bail itself out of debt.
Does the current economic situation in Greece make it a good time or a bad time to travel?
Travel to Greece is alive and well in 2011; and the savvy traveler knows that when a country is in economic distress, the luxury destinations, hotels, services and all things travel become big bargains.
While people protest; all for a good reason; they tend to do it around the government buildings in several square blocks of Athens and Thessaloniki. I would recommend checking with your hotels front desk to see if there are any issues when visiting Syntagma Square, also known as "Constitution Square” since it has the Parliament Building along one side of the square; and may be a hot spot for protests.
People who are protesting their governments, typically are not doing it at tourist spots; they tend to protest where the government offices are located.
What that means for you is a relatively normal sightseeing experience as long as you keep “see all the government buildings” off your must see list.
In 2011; Greece 4 Real sent a 12 family member group from Virginia to Athens and the Greek Islands Touring during the most turbulent times.
Their report was surprisingly positive…
TripAdvisor Review - Jun 28, 2011, 7:47 AM
“We used Italy 4 Real back in 2008 to schedule a trip to Italy for 8 people. They did a fabulous job; consequently, when I started planning out a trip to Greece in 2011 for 12 people, I immediately called Italy 4 Real. We worked with Rem Malloy and he was great. He was able to give me valuable advice as I worked to set our itinerary and the accommodations and activities he suggested couldn't have been better. Everyone on the trip absolutely loved our hotels, and the individuals at the hotels treated us like family. Rem also suggested we take a boat ride around Santorini with Captain George ---- which was a highlight for everyone. The transfers from the airports/hotels all made the trip so easy, which given the large size of our group was really important in keeping everyone happy. As we were leaving the Islands, everyone in our group kept telling me what a great job I did planning the trip, and I had to keep telling them that it was all Rem. When we plan our next trip to Europe, I will definitely call Italy 4 Real to see if they can help us plan that trip!!” Our TripAdvisor Page
As you can see no mention of riots, danger or chaos. One of the key factors in a successful Greek vacation is spending the most of your time Greek island hopping; where you spend just enough time in Athens to see the Acropolis and the Parthenon, the New Acropolis Museum and the Plaka which is full of winding streets; in and around the Acropolis. The Plaka is known for its boutique shops, local restaurants, and some great historic architecture.
Once you see the basics of Athens; get out to the islands. Protests are not going on in the Greek Islands; The locals on the islands are tending to their normal busines of catering to the tourists. Naxos , Paros and of course Santorini are strong bets that won’t disappoint . You can reach Santorini easily by air from Athens in just about an hour and be sipping Ouzo (an anise-flavored aperitif) overlooking the Aegean Sea while the locals in Athens hash out all the problems.
The Greek Islands are on sale; and you as the traveler should be looking at this opportunity like you would a 50% off sale at Macy’s .. so go out there and plan your Greek vacation now.