Despite the issues with the Greek economy over the past few years, and the unrest, demonstrations, and strikes caused because of these issues, Greece is still one of the safest places in Europe (and anywhere in the world) for tourists.
Up until a couple of decades ago, violent crime was virtually non-existent anywhere in Greece, even in large cities like Athens. Over the past several years things have changed a bit (mostly since the early 1990s) when many illegal immigrants came to Greece from Central and Eastern European countries, Asia and the Middle East. Their sudden arrival contributed to an increase in criminal activities throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Despite all this, Greece is still a very safe place to visit.
As an example, there were a total of 78 murders in the whole of Greece in 2017 (murder rate of around 0.7 per 100,000). There were an estimated 17,250 murders in the US in the same year (murder rate of around 7 per 100,000), and 31,174 murders in Mexico (murder rate of around 25 per 100,000).
Greek islands, in general, are very safe, with non-existent violent crime, and in general no crime other than some petty theft. As a precaution, avoid carrying large sums of cash on your person if not necessary. Also, ensure that your travel documents are up to date and that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times (preferably at your hotel’s safe).
Even though there have been no terrorist acts in Greece so far, there is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities and further attacks are likely. Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places and exercise normal security precautions.
Road safety, driving in Greece
The traffic fatality rate in Greece is among the highest in the European Union. Poor driving standards, aggressive drivers, difficult terrain and heavy traffic create hazards. Driving motorbikes, scooters and mopeds are particularly dangerous, especially on the islands.
Small, unlicensed rental agencies (especially on the islands) do not always offer vehicles that comply with up-to-date safety standards. Read the rental contract carefully.
In the event of an accident, wait for the police to arrive. An accident insurance claim may not be valid without a police report. In general, driving in Greece is challenging, and at times dangerous. Prefer using the reliable public transportation and inexpensive taxi service where possible.
General safety notes
As mentioned earlier, in general, Greece is a very safe place to travel. People are usually friendly and accommodating. When staying in downtown Athens ask at your hotel lobby the areas you should avoid (especially at night). Other than this, exercise regular precautions and common sense when traveling. Don’t carry large sums of money (cash) and keep your travel documents (passports) safe at all times.