Athens Lonely Planet
Crime has risen in Athens with the onset of the financial crisis. Though violent street crime remains relatively rare, travellers should be alert when out and about, especially at night, and beware the traps listed here.
Streets surrounding Omonia have become markedly seedier, with an increase in prostitutes and junkies; avoid the area, especially at night.
Favoured hunting grounds are the metro, particularly the Piraeus–Kifisia line, and crowded streets around Omonia, Athinas and the Monastiraki Flea Market.
- Most (but not all) rip-offs involve taxis hired from ranks at the airport, train stations, bus terminals and particularly the port of Piraeus. At Piraeus, avoid the drivers at the port exit asking if you need a taxi; hail one off the street.
- Some drivers don’t turn on the meter and demand whatever they think they can get away with; others claim you gave them a smaller bill than you did and short-change you. Only negotiate a set fare if you have some idea of the cost.
- Some drivers may try to persuade you that the hotel you want to go to is full, even if you have a booking.
- Scammers target tourists in central Athens, particularly around Syntagma. One scam goes like this: friendly Greek approaches solo male traveller; friendly Greek reveals that he, too, is from out of town (or else he ‘has a cousin’ in the traveller's home country) and suggests they go to a bar for a drink. Soon some women appear, more drinks are ordered and the conman disappears, leaving the traveller to pay an exorbitant bill. Smiles disappear and the atmosphere turns threatening.
- Some bars lure intoxicated males with talk of sex and present them with outrageous bills.
- Some bars and clubs serve what are locally known as bombes, adulterated drinks diluted with cheap illegal imports or methanol-based spirit substitutes. They leave you feeling decidedly low the next day.