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Getting around Athens



Calendar of events


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Wednesday, 17.07.2019
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    Athens: At the foot of the Acropolis

    Ancient seat of classical civilisation meets vibrant modern metropolis: thousands of visitors throng to the Acropolis overlooking Athens, but the city also has world-class museums and galleries, as well as superb dining options and a vibrant nightlife scene. Athens’ rocky hillsides were first occupied over 7,000 years ago, but the city enjoyed its cultural golden age around the fifth century BC, when its greatest monuments were built.

    Today, the most important surviving ancient buildings, including the Acropolis, are concentrated in the southern part of the modern city, but the smart northern district of Kolonáki has many of the most popular attractions and amenities.


    Top 10 sights in Athens

    Athen, Columbus, Zeus, Tempel, Lufthansa, Travel Guide, Travelguide


    Acropolis, Acropolis Hill
    Tel: 210 321 4172
    Show on map

    Opening times: Daily 0800-2000

    This hilltop site, where the ancient city was founded, dominates Athens’ skyline. Its complex of ancient temples and sacred monuments is one of the great cultural wonders of the world.

    National Archaeological Museum

    44 Patission, Exárcheia
    106 82 Athens
    Tel: 213 214 4800
    Show on map

    Opening times: Daily 0800-2000

    For its astounding collection of ancient and classical Greek artefacts, this is the most important museum in the country. It’s too big for one day; most visitors focus on a few highlights such as the Mycenean Antiquities, Classical sculptures, and the Thira Frescoes.

    Ancient Agora

    Adrianou 24, Monastiráki
    105 55 Athens
    Tel: 210 3210 0185
    Show on map

    Opening times: Daily 0800-2000

    Lying just to the north of the Acropolis, this ‘market-place’ played a central role in ancient Athens’ daily life. Remains have been found of law courts, prison, schools and a theatre, dating from 600 BC, with some of the finest exhibits housed in its museum.

    Benaki Museum

    Koumpari 1
    Tel: 210 367 1000
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    Opening times: Wed and Fri 0900-1700, Thu and Sat 0900-0000, Sun 0900-1500

    Housed within the elegant former home of the Benaki family, this museum contains a magnificent collection of Greek art and crafts from prehistoric era up to the present day.

    Panagía Gorgoepíkoos

    Plateía Mitropóleos
    Athens 105 57

    Show on map

    Opening times: Daily 0700-1900

    This precious little church, standing in the shadow of Athens’ main cathedral, is affectionately known as the ‘Little Cathedral’. It dates from the 12th century and has original details reflecting Byzantine and Classical influences.

    Tower of the Winds

    Kirristou, Monastiráki
    105 55 Athens
    Tel: 210 324 5220
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    Opening times: Mon 1100-1900, Tue-Sun 0800-1900

    This spectacular multi-faceted monument, part of the Roman Agora ruins in Monastiráki, was constructed in the second century BC as a combined weather vane and water clock.


    Show on map

    One of the oldest areas of the city, with mosques dating from the Ottoman era. You could easily spend a day browsing its flea market and visiting the monuments, churches and museums.

    Museum of Cycladic Art

    Neophytou Douka 4, Kolonáki
    Athens 106 74
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    Opening times: Mon, Wed and Fri-Sat 1000-1700, Thurs 1000-2000, Sun 1100-1700

    This private collection specialises in the Cycladic civilisation (3000-2000 BC), with beautiful exhibits including marble figurines and ceramics. It also houses artefacts from the Minoan and Mycenean ages, up to around 700 BC.

    Temple of Olympian Zeus

    Leofóros Amalías/Leofóros Vasilíssis Ólgas
    Athens 117 42
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    Opening times: Daily 0800-2000

    Dedicated to the king of the Olympian gods, this is the largest temple in the ancient world. Damaged by earthquake and subsequently plundered, only 16 of its original marble columns remain; the triumphal Hadrian’s Arch stands on one corner of the site.

    Theatre of Dionysus

    Mitseon 25
    Athens 117 42
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    Opening times: Daily 0800-1900

    Originally built to seat 17,000 spectators, this important open-air theatre hosted festivals dedicated to Dionysus, god of harvests. Plays by Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles were also held in the theatre.

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    A flavourful melting pot of sparkling nightspots, fresh seafood, sizzling Mediterranean passion and mythical legend, Greece is a fascinating and enchanting destination – whether lounging on a sandy stretch, or exploring ancient relics. Greece’s urban hubs are home to some of the world’s most glorious and prized ancient and medieval architecture, such as Athens’ white marble Parthenon and Thessaloniki’s proud Byzantine churches, and the setting of some of humankind’s oldest tales.

    On the coast, find bustling, umbrella-peppered beaches and secluded sandy coves, washed by turquoise waters and regularly doused in sunshine. Off shore, Greece’s 1400 islands, such as party-hard Mykonos and picturesque Santorini, offer a rainbow of paradisiacal settings for an idyllic island-hopping adventure.


    Greece is situated in southeast Europe on the Mediterranean. The mainland consists of the following regions: Central Greece, Peloponnese, Thessaly (east/central), Epirus (west), Macedonia (north/northwest) and Thrace (northeast). High mountains, fertile plains, pine forest and scrub-covered foothills are all found on the Greek mainland.

    The largest mountain range is the Pindus, which runs north-south through central mainland Greece, and separates the regions of Thessaly and Epirus. The highest mountain is Olympus, which soars 2,917m (9,570ft) – according to Ancient Greek mythology, this is where the 12 Olympian Gods resided.

    The islands account for one-fifth of the country’s land area.

    The majority are thickly clustered in the Aegean between the Greek and Turkish coasts. The Ionian Islands are the exception; they are scattered along the west coast in the Ionian Sea, looking (both geographically and culturally) towards Italy. The Aegean archipelago includes the Dodecanese, lying off the Turkish coast, of which Rhodes is the best known; the northeast Aegean group, including Chios, Ikaria, Lemnos, Lesvos and Samos; the Sporades, off the central mainland; and the Cyclades, comprising 39 islands (of which only 24 are inhabited). Crete, the largest island (with an astounding 1,000km of coastline and a population of some 650,000), is not included in any formal grouping.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 10.76 million (2017)

    Capital: Athens


    Greek (Ellenika). Most people connected with tourism, and younger generations generally speak some English, French, German or Italian.


    Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2, 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.


    230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2019 – December 2020 period.


    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2019
    Epiphany: 6 January 2019
    Start of orthodox Lent: 11 March 2019
    Independence Day: 25 March 2019
    Orthodox Good Friday: 26 April 2019
    Orthodox Easter Sunday: 28 April 2019
    Orthodox Easter Monday: 29 April 2019
    Labour Day: 1 May 2019
    Orthodox Whit Sunday: 17 June 2019
    Orthodox Whit Monday: 18 June 2019
    Assumption: 15 August 2019
    Ochi Day: 28 October 2019
    Christmas: 25 and 26 December 2019


    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2020
    Epiphany: 6 January 2020
    Start of orthodox Lent: 2 March 2020
    Independence Day: 25 March 2020
    Orthodox Good Friday: 17 April 2020
    Orthodox Easter Sunday: 19 April 2020
    Orthodox Easter Monday: 20 April 2020
    Labour Day: 1 May 2020
    Orthodox Whit Sunday: 7 June 2020
    Orthodox Whit Monday: 8 June 2020
    Assumption: 15 August 2020
    Ochi Day: 28 October 2020
    Christmas: 25 and 26 December 2020

    All information subject to change.

    Good to know

    Getting around

    Public Transport

    A network of buses, trolleybuses, and metro trains keep Athenians on the move (tel: 210 820 0999; www.oasa.gr). Metro Line 3 connects to Athens airport; this and Line 2 are the most useful for visitors. Public buses are blue, yellow and white, with routes all over the city. Electric trolleybuses also operate around the centre. Tickets for buses and trolleybuses must be bought in advance from a metro station or street kiosk; the same ticket is valid for all three systems.


    Athens’ bright yellow taxis are plentiful day and night. Fares are low by European standards; tipping is not typical but welcome. Radio taxis are a reliable alternative; one reputable company is Athina (tel: 210 921 742).


    Nightlife in Athens


    Athens offers a cosmopolitan programme of world-class entertainment, from classical concerts to beachside nightclubs.

    If you are a hard-core rembétika fan, the unmistakably Greek music is still played in Pláka.


    Voutadon 42
    118 54 Athens
    Show on map

    Massively popular bar in Gazi, currently Athens’ trendiest district, with arty décor, comfy old sofas, and the young crowd spilling out onto the piazza on balmy nights.

    Akrotiri Lounge

    Sellei 3
    Athens 105 58
    Show on map

    Buzzing beachside club, about 15 minutes drive from the city centre, with resident DJ, pool illuminated at night and restaurant.

    Halfnote Jazz Club

    Trivoniavou 17
    116 36 Athens
    Show on map

    Athens’ most famous jazz club, a snug and atmospheric venue in the south of the city, attracts top international and Greek artists.

    Rempetiki Istoria

    181 Ippokratous
    114 72 Athens
    Show on map

    For fans of Greek traditional music, this is one of the most reputable clubs, with its resident group playing live (closed on Mondays).

    Mousikís Megarón Concert Hall

    Leoforos Vasilissis Sofias
    115 21 Athens
    Show on map

    This grand modern auditorium is one of the top venues for ballet, classical concerts and opera.


    Restaurants in Athens


    Dining out in Athens offers a wonderful array of cuisine from all over the country: from kebabs at street stalls to innovative gastro temples.

    Fresh local ingredients focus particularly on fish, lamb, olives, cheese and pastries soaked in honey or syrup.


    Pirronos 5
    Athens 116 36
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Excellent Michelin-starred French-fusion cuisine at one of Athens’ top restaurants, with romantic outdoor tables in a leafy patio.

    Jimas Ginger

    Dorileou 10
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Famous for its warm, lively atmosphere, serving great fresh fish dishes and other local specialities.

    Arsenis Taverna Iseris

    Syntagmatarchi Zisimopoulou 19
    Athens, Paleo Faliro 17564
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    A traditional Greek taverna serving similarly homely local cuisine; live music at weekends.

    43 Sarantatrio

    43 A Frantzi Str.
    Athens 117 43
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    A small and cosy restaurant, serving Greek staples with an adventurous twist, including vegetarian options.

    To Trikyklo

    Pitheou 34
    Athens 117 43

    Show on map

    Price: Budget

    Superb Greek food using traditional fresh ingredients; a bit out of the way, but great value for money and well worth the trip.


    Calendar of events

    Apokries (Carnival)

    28 February – 5 March 2019

    Venue: Pláka, Moschato and throughout the city

    Greeks celebrate Apokries (carnival) during the three weeks preceding Lent, when the devout then begin a 40-day fast in the run up to Easter. Although the country’s biggest carnivals are held in Patras, 215 km (134 miles) west of Athens, the capital also sees festivities, notably in the neighbourhoods of Plaka and Moschato, with parties and fancy dress parades. Carnival ends on Kathari Devtera (Ash Monday), which is a public holiday.

    Independence Day

    25 March 2019

    Venue: Syntagma Square and throughout the city

    Greece had been occupied by the Ottoman Turks for almost 400 years, when on 25 March 1821 an uprising began on the Peloponnese. The Greek war for independence ensued (1821-1832), with the Great Powers (Great Britain, France and Russia) sending naval forces to help the Greeks. In Athens, the anniversary of the beginning of the end of Ottoman occupation is celebrated with patriotic military parades.


    19 – 21 April 2019

    Venue: Churches throughout the city

    The Greek Orthodox faith’s most important celebration sees Athens animated by Good Friday night candlelit processions, and solemn masses on the Saturday, culminating in midnight firework displays to herald Christ’s resurrection. Family lunches of spit-roast lamb take place on Easter Sunday. Greeks greet one another saying, “Hristos anesti” (Christ is risen). Most Athenians leave the capital for their villages over the Easter break and many restaurants close for the weekend.

    Labour Day

    1 May 2019

    Venue: Various throughout the country

    A public holiday in Greece, Labour Day is celebrated with parades in many cities. The stongest tradition, though, coincides with the height of springtime and the profusion of flowers in the countryside. There is a general exodus out of the towns for picnics and kite-flying, with Athenians favouring the verdant slopes of Mount Parnitha, north of the capital. Flowers are gathered and made into wreaths to decorate houses, cars and even donkeys.

    Athens & Epidaurus Festival

    May – October 2019

    Venue: Various

    Founded in 1955, the summer festival sees world-class concerts, opera, theatre and dance, staged at various open-air venues in Athens, with the main stage in the ancient Odeon of Herod Atticus, below the Acropolis. Past performers have included stars such as Maria Callas and Rudolf Nurejev, and although the economic crisis has seen a reduction in funding, recent names include Jose Carreras, Vanessa Mae, and the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra.

    European Music Day (Fête de la Musique)

    June 2019

    Venue: Squares and public spaces in centre; main stage on Kotzia Square

    The idea of ‘Fête de la Musique’ was a European initiative, launched in 1982 as the only Pan-European cultural event dedicated to music. Held over the night of the summer solstice (in Athens, it extends to three nights), it brings together traditional music, orchestras, choirs, pop, jazz, rock, rap and techno. In Athens, the festival has taken off like a rocket, giving rise to a three-day party when the squares and parks of the centre are filled with crowds enjoying free concerts into the early hours. Past performers here include the Scissor Sisters and Transglobal Undergound.

    Rockwave Festival

    Juli 2019

    Venue: Terra Vibe

    The premier festival of rock music in Greece takes place north of Athens, in the 40-acre Terra Vibe Park. Founded in 1996, the three-day event attracts big name performers from around the world – previous guests include Ozzy Osbourne, Robbie Williams, The Prodigy as well as Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal from the band Placebo. The music line-up is complemented by on-site activities and entertainments such as bungee jumping, stilt walking, a skate park and acrobatic performances – all under the warm Greek sun.

    Ochi Day Parade

    28 October 2019

    Venue: Main Roads of Athens

    For many visitors this might be less of an attraction than something to avoid, as towns and cities all over Greece tend to grind to a halt for a few hours. 28 October is Ochi Day – Ochi meaning No – the anniversary of General Ioannis Metaxas’ flat denial to the Italians’ request for free passage to invade Greece during WWII. Today it is marked with extravagant military parades involving soldiers, students and tanks along the capital’s main boulevards.

    Athens Marathon

    November 2019

    Venue: From Marathon to Athens

    A sporting event rooted in ancient history, the marathon race was born here in Athens, when the soldier Pheidippides brought news of the Athenian victory over the Persians from the battlefield at Marathon in 490 BC. Today the Athens marathon is run over the same 42.195km (26 miles 385 yards) route followed by Pheidippides, beginning at the ancient battlefield of Marathon and ending at the Panathinaikon Stadium. The route is mainly flat but with hilly stretches in the middle.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.


    Hotels in Athens


    Athens has hundreds of hotels and hostels to cater for all tastes and budgets, and standards have improved a lot since the 2004 Olympics. In and around

    Syntagma Square is the most exclusive area; but also try Psirri, near Monastiraki, the heart of Athens’ alternative scene. Advance booking is highly recommended during July and August.

    InterContinental Athenaeum

    Syngrou Avenue 89-93
    Athens 117 45
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    One of the biggest hotels, with all the expected amenities and facilities, plus views of the Acropolis from its rooftop restaurant.


    Charitos 22
    106 75 Athens
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    This slick modern designer hotel is just a taverna plate’s throw from Kolonaki Square. Rooms have Wi-Fi, and there’s also a gym, restaurant and bar.


    Corner of Hatzimichali 2 and 16 Iperidou
    105 58 Athens
    Show on map

    Category: Budget

    Plain but comfortable rooms make this a good-value hotel in the central Plaka district.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Wednesday, 17.07.2019 00:00 UTC

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    Climate and best time to visit Athens

    Blessed by a sunny Mediterranean climate, Athens is popular all year round. Temperatures peak in July and August, when they sometimes exceed 40°C (104°F) during the day. This is also the high tourist season, when the city becomes very hot and crowded. If you come during April-May, or September-October, however, it is comfortably warm, and you’ll have shorter queues at the main sites. Even during the low season, from November to April, Athens is worth visiting; though you’ll need an extra layer of clothing, everything is open for business. The wettest period is between October and January, with around 82mm rainfall per month.

    Climate & best time to visit Greece

    Greece has a warm Mediterranean climate. In summer, dry hot days are often relieved by stiff evening breezes, especially in the north, on the islands and in coastal areas. Athens can be stiflingly hot, with temperatures occasionally exceeding 40C in July, so visitors should allow time to acclimatise – the evenings are generally cooler, but can remain very hot during heat waves. Winters are mild in the south but much colder in the mountainous north, where it is not uncommon to see snow and temperatures plummeting to well below zero. November to March is the rainy season, most notably on the Ionian islands.

    If you are planning a beach holiday, the sea is warm enough to swim from June through September, and hardier types will also manage in May and October. Seaside hotels are generally open from Easter through to late-October, as are water sports facilities.

    Sailing holidays need slightly more careful planning. Charter companies operate from May through September, but weather conditions vary greatly from place to place, and month to month. Beginners should start with the Ionian Sea, which sees moderate winds through summer. People with little sailing experience should avoid the Cyclades in July and August, when the unpredictable meltemi blows at speeds of up to 8-9 Beaufort.

    Spring and autumn are the ideal seasons for hiking and mountain biking, when the days are sunny but not unreasonably hot. Spring sees the Greek countryside dappled with wild flowers, while in autumn the trees take on russet hues.

    Although few people think of Greece as a winter destination, it is in fact possible to ski and snowboard here. Two of the most popular mountain ski resorts are Arahova (near Delphi) and Kalavrita (on the Peloponnese), both much loved by wealthy Athenians, and therefore also well provided with cosy hotels and authentic rustic eateries with blazing log fires.


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    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute maxØ absolute minrelative humidityØ precipitationdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan22 °C-6 °C12 °C6 °C72 %45 mm64.5 h
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    year42 °C-6 °C22 °C14 °C62 %378 mm467.9 h
    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Country code: +30

    Mobile telephony and Internet
    Since June 2017, EU citizens traveling within the EU, and also in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein have been able to use their cell phones and surf the Net without incurring any extra charges: In other words, customers pay the same price for phone calls, text messages and data volume as they do at home. Restrictions do apply to the constant use of SIM cards abroad, however, and caps may be set on data packages. For full details, contact your mobile telephony provider in your country. Travelers using a SIM card from a non-EU state do not benefit from the new arrangement.

    Free Internet access via Wi-Fi is possible in many busy tourist spots. When using public Wi-Fi networks, it is a wise precaution to ensure encryption of all passwords, credit card details and banking TANs entered. Use of a VPN app or security software to check the safety of a hotspot is recommended.


    Shopping in Athens

    Key Areas

    Athens offers a plethora of wonders for shopping addicts, despite its recent economic struggles; with wonderful street markets and bazaars, as well as chic boutiques and giant modern malls. Upmarket Kolonáki has antique galleries and fashion designer outlets, particularly in and around Sólonos and Skoufá. Monastiraki, Syntagma Square and Athinas are great areas for browsing, with flea markets, second-hand bookshops and herb and spice stores. Pláka is the heartland of tourist souvenir stores.


    Monastiraki has one of the best flea markets, open from early Sunday morning, along Adrianou and adjacent streets; there’s also a daily, more touristy market here, on Ifaístou and Pandrósou. The Central Market (Varvakios Agora) has a wonderful spread of fruit and vegetables; open every day except Sunday, off Athinas between Monastiraki and Omonoia metro stations. Other neighbourhoods also have their own smaller local street markets.

    Shopping Centres

    Notos Galleries is one of the biggest department stores; another is Attika, which is smaller but more upscale. The Mall Athens, near the Olympic Stadium on Andrea Papandreou, is one of the largest shopping malls, with more than 200 stores, as well as restaurants, bars and a multiplex cinema.

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    Greeks are very aware of their strong historical and cultural heritage. Traditions and customs differ throughout Greece, but overall a strong sense of unity prevails. The Greek Orthodox Church has a strong traditional

    influence on the Greek way of life, especially in more rural areas. The throwing back of the head is a negative gesture. Dress is generally casual. Smoking is prohibited on public transport and in public buildings.

    Good to know


    Main emergency number: 112

    Food & Drink

    Tap water is drinkable in Athens and other cities – in fact, in areas where the local water is good, bars and restaurants are obliged by law to provide customers with glasses or jugs of tap water free of charge upon request. So don’t be ashamed to ask. However, visitors should be wary of drinking tap water in remote areas, and on many islands – even if the locals do it, they have probably built up a resistance that newcomers may need time to acquire. Bottled water is widely available and prices are strictly controlled on the mainland and islands. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are considered safe to eat.

    Other Risks

    Visitors to forested areas should consider getting the vaccination for tick-borne encephalitis three months before their date of travel.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Anastasakou, Kornilia
    Messinias 58
    Athens 11527
    Tel. +30-210-779329 (office)

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre