We flew into Athens yesterday (2/17) afternoon and plan to be here for a few more days. Visiting here in Athens, we don't at all feel that the entire country is burning down in flames/demonstrating/rioting/unsafe. Booked our trip from LAX>AMM>ATH>IST>LAX last week RIGHT before the Athens demonstrations started, decided to stay the course & calculate the risk:
1. Consider staying out of the protest areas during planned protest events. We found this person's blog is particularly useful when planning around & monitoring strikes while on the ground:
2. Staying @ a SPG hotel located in Vouliagmeni (~20 mins outside of central Athens). If there were riots in downtown Athens, it is entirely possible that we could avoid much of the "demonstration situation" and still have a good trip. Our hotel is located on a peninsula which can be directly accessed (by car) from the airport without having to drive through central Athens; we reasoned that we could still see a lot of heritage sights in S.Greece if downtown was not accessible. (Rented a car and prepaid the gas.)
3. We plan to visit certain key places as they are available because there can be unexpected closures (not "on Tues I will do xyz", etc.); keep abreast of the local events, and stay out of "higher risk" areas.
The upside is that (1) we don't have a million people milling around in the background of our photos, (2) in "tourist Athens", there are essentially no lines (we got there "early-ish"), and (3) our business feels highly "appreciated".
Much like the Vancouver riot after their hockey game last year, locals we've chatted with are extremely disappointed to be "broad brushed" from last week's riot incident - they feel it was not representative of the entire city/country population.
4. Curious, we went to Syntagma square this afternoon to check it out (checked that blog above, weighed our risk as there were no planned demonstrations for today). Syntagma is in the process of being repaired with a lot of trades people milling around; marble being replaced on the bank fronts, etc.. In a few days, we might not have ever known there was much trouble around the square (other than ongoing economic issues, but we see that at home in the US also). There are A LOT of police (both regular, riot patrol/buses) patrolling the main spots.
Today, restaurants near the square were busy, main tourist sites were open. We walked around the entire Acropolis/central tourist area all day and left exhausted and our stomachs full of amazing food.
5. The main thing we've realized when we get stuck in the cross-hairs of this type of situation is to stay flexible, out of the way of the planned protest areas, and have travel back up contact #'s/resources readily available. There are planned demonstrations tomorrow (Sunday), so we plan to stay away from central Athens (or other high risk areas) and focus on day/excursion trips.
We were in BKK when the red shirts were protesting a couple years ago, and used the same MO: there were a couple of sights we couldn't see, but we got to see other places which we might not have gone to otherwise. In the end, it mostly evened out (or creates an excuse to return).
Good luck assessing your trip.