Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. It is one of the world’s oldest cities, with a recorded history spanning over 3400 years. It has always been a centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, which lead to it often being referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. Today, Athens is a global city and one of the biggest economic centres in south-eastern Europe. It has a large financial sector, and its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, and the second largest in the world.
|City Tax||EUR 4.00|
|Climate in Winter||max. 14,3°C
|Electricity||220-240 V AC|
On Sundays, shops are normally closed, except souvenir stores.
|Time Zone||EET (GMT+2)|
Banks, Credit Cards & ATM’s
Greek banks are open for the public from 8:00 to 14:30 Mondays to Thursdays and from 8:00 to 14:00 on Fridays. They are closed on Public Holidays.
Credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted. American Express is mostly accepted at higher-end establishments only.
Most ATM’s are located in the city centre and at every Greek bank.
Churches, Synagogues, Mosques
In Athens all religions are allowed and practiced by many citizens. Please contact your hotel concierge for current times of services or nearby churches.
There is a city tax in Athens, also known as tourist tax or accommodation tax, to be paid at the end of your stay directly at the hotel. The local tax in Athens is EUR 4.00 per room per night.
The dominant feature of Athens’ Mediterranean climate is alternation between prolonged hot and dry summers and mild winters. The average annual temperature is 19,1°C. Owing to the rain shadow of the Pindus Mountains, annual precipitation of Athens is lower than most other parts of Greece.
The official currency in Greece is Euro (€). You can exchange your currency in exchange offices and banks which clearly display Currency exchange rates. When you are exchanging your currency, you need your passport or official ID card. If you do not have it with you, the bank may refuse to exchange your currency.
Standard electrical voltage in Athens is 230 V AC, 50 Hz. In Greece the power sockets are type C and F, it also works with plug E. Appliances from North America require a Voltage converter and British ones an adaptor for the sockets in use in Greece. Adapters are available in electronic stores in the city centre.
Because of its antiquity and influence, Athens is full of museums, galleries and archaeological sites. For prices and opening hours please refer to the hotel reception or any tourist information. On Mondays, nearly all museums remain closed, although the most-visited are open all week long.
The sprawling city is bounded on three sides by Mount Ymettos, Mount Parnitha and Mount Pendeli; whilst inside Athens are twelve hills, the Acropolis and Lykavittos being the most prominent. These hills provide a refuge from the crowded city streets, offering amazing views down to Saronic Gulf, Athens’ boundary with the Aegean Sea on its southern side.
Places of interest to travellers can be found within a relatively small area surrounding the city centre. This epicentre is surrounded by the districts of the Plaka to the south, Monastiraki and Thissio to the west, Kolonaki to the northeast and Omonia to the northwest. These areas at the foot of the Acropolis are home to many wonderful Neoclassical buildings, trendy and traditional cafes and shops, narrow winding streets, and incredible views of the Acropolis. Little Greek Orthodox churches are tucked in amongst the concrete, often in the most unexpected places.
In Athens there are bus, electric trolley-bus, metro, tram, and suburban railway services. The public transport service has a wide network all over the city. The regular ticket lets you travel for 90 minutes on any means of public transport with unlimited transfers anywhere within Athens (except to the airport).
For more information please visit the Airport and Arrival Information page.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Gourmet and traditional Greek cuisine, in the past decade, has become one of the most popular in the world as it has been proven to provide a flavourful healthy and balanced diet. The local and traditional outdoor seaside taverns and cafes are plentiful and a cultural mainstay.
Most restaurants, pubs and bars are located on the shore or in close proximity and offer a beautiful view and atmosphere for the visitors. The restaurants are normally open for lunch from 12:00 to 17:00 and/or for dinner from 19:00 to 24:00. Some may open for breakfast as well, from 07:00 to 11:00. Bars and nightclubs usually open from 22:00 until 03:00.
Safety Tips / Pick-pockets
Whilst Athens is generally a very safe city, pickpocketing might occur as in each tourist hotspot. We recommend carrying your wallets in closed/zipped bags and keeping an eye on your bag when standing/walking in crowded areas, packed bus stations, etc. Do not carry all cash money, credit card and ID documents all together in one bag/pocket. Don’t put phones, cameras etc. on tables at cafés and keep your belongings always on your lap. Be wary of strangers approaching or touching you and do not play any street games.
The main emergency numbers are:
European Emergency call: 112
Police: 100 (Local Police)
Fire Department: 199
There are hundreds of clothing shops in central Athens, the main shopping streets are Ermou Street and Athinas Street. Most shops are open between 09:00 to 21:00 but close down from 14:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Saturday. Some of the international chains are also open on Sunday.
VAT is always included in the price presented to the customers/guests in shops, hotels, restaurants and other service providers. Non-EU citizens can claim back their VAT when leaving the country/Europe. Refunds are only available for goods that you are carrying with you on your way out, and when the total bill exceeds EUR 50.00 in one purchase in the same shop on the same day. To claim the refunds, make sure to obtain a receipt with VAT (FPA or ΦΠΑ in Greek) from the shop and present it to the VAT Refund desk at the airport.
For more detailed instructions, please visit this website.
Possible Taxi numbers are:
Apollon (+30) 210 3636508
Athens 1 (+30) 210 9212800
Express (+30) 210 9943000
Ikaros (+30) 210 5152800
Kosmos (+30) 210 5200020
Athens is located in the Eastern European Time Zone (EET), i.e. two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).
Tipping is not obligatory in Greece, but it would be appreciated to leave 5-10% on top. Taxi fares should be rounded up by a euro or more for great service.
All foreign visitors entering Greece must possess valid passports. For citizen from the European Union Member countries, a valid identity card is sufficient.
Please check the current Visa requirements with the nearest Greek consulate/embassy in your country before your departure to Greece.