Someone asked me this question and I was really shocked that people can really believe this. I think media and sensationalist headlines contribute to the problem but really now, Greece is a first world nation! It is not a country to fear for your own safety any more than any other European nation. My friend who asked me this question said:
Evidence of a state tottering on the edge of complete dysfunction is apparent everywhere in Athens. Traffic signals work sporadically; a sign giving the shortened hours of one of the world's great museums, the National Archaeological Museum, is haphazardly taped to the door; police officers in riot gear patrol the perimeters of the universities, where a growing population of anarchists, disaffected young people and drug addicts congregate in communal hopelessness.
Please people, reply with your thoughts on this! Greece is perfectly fine to travel to!
I was just in Athens and wondered the same thing because of sensationalist news (and horrible Orbit reviews for the hotel I stayed in) but Greece was fine and really fun. There are cops and loitering youth but I didn't see anything dangerous (except this one abandoned neighborhood was really spooky at midnight).
There are much worse places in the USA (like I'm scared of going to the Bronx but I wasn't scared of going anywhere in Athens even though the travel website said that my hotel is in "the worst neighborhood in Athens." I almost chose a different hotel but when I got there it reminded me of the East Village. (FYI I loved my hotel- the Centrotel.)
I recommend everyone to go, especially the islands, it's paradise!
Elena gives the correct impression. Things are quiet and stable for the time being.
However, the current policies (if they continue to be insisted on blindly) will lead sooner or later an intense crisis of one sort or another. People with zero income are now going to receive demands to pay tax (I mention this as an example of how people who are already suffering will find no relief only more suffering). A year ago there was a fair amount of social agitation. That has disappeared now, but it will reappear when the government starts doing things like confiscating the property of the unemployed for the non-payment of taxes, and when the health system breaks down (it is already extremely weak).
Unless a plane load of European leaders crashes and their places are taken by some charismatic European equivalents of Nelson Mandela, Greece will implode at some point. Roubini gives Greece six months, but it could be more (a lot more if they manage to keep kicking the can down the road) or it could be less. The peak summer months of 2012, though, should be pretty safe and calm.
This is a first world country - it is neither Egypt nor Yemen. The worst it can get is like what happened in December 2008, which is not unheard of in other countries, f.e. France or the UK - in fact it is better because violence was not racial and it was focused on city centers, not spread around residential areas.
With the exception of Athens, the main areas of interest for tourists are very quiet places and also are the least affected by the crisis.
Greek politics always slow down in the summer. People can't be on the streets all day when the temperature hits 100 degrees.