Athens is the capital city of Greece, part of the European Union. It is the largest Greek city, with around 50% of the population living here.
Located in a peninsula in the southern part of Greece, Athens is surrounded by the Aegean Sea, the Evoikos Gulf, the Saronic Gulf, the Gulf of Corinth. By land, Athens has Mount Pendeli and Mount Parnassus in the north, Mount Hymettus to the east and Mount Egaleo to the west.
The Greek Capital has a Mediterranean climate, with an average of 250 days of sunshine per year. December is the wettest month, while January is the coldest. July is the driest month, while August is the hottest.
If you are wondering when to visit Athens, keep in mind that since it is one of the most important cities in the world from a cultural point of view, there will always be lots of other tourists. However, try to avoid visiting Athens during the summer months, as the Greek Capital becomes busier with everyone passing through the city on their way to the Greek islands. In addition, it’s very hot. Therefore, it’s probably best to visit Athens during late spring, or early autumn.
1. How to get to Athens
2. Getting around Athens
3. History of Athens
4. What to see in Athens
5. Neighborhoods of Athens
6. Eating in Athens
7. Day trips from Athens
8. Currency, banks, and ATMs
9. Health and safety in Athens
Keep in mind that all the main monuments, archaeological sites, and museums are placed in the center of the city of Athens. Athens can easily be visited by walking from one touristic attraction to the next!
When planning your trip to Athens or anywhere else in Greece, keep in mind the following Greek national holidays: 1 and 6 January, 25 March, the first Monday after the Greek-Orthodox Easter, 1 May, the Monday after Pentecost, 15 August, 28 October, 25 and 26 December. On these days you should expect most places to be closed.
Greece adopted the euro in the year 2002. No other currency is accepted.
Banks are normally open from Monday to Thursday between 08.00 and 14.30, and on Fridays between 08.00 and 13.30. There are also some banks which are open until later. Here is a short list:
Opening times | Alpha Bank is open from Monday to Friday between 08.00 and 18.00, and on Saturdays between 10.00 and 15.00.
– Patriarchou Ioakim 2, Athina 106 74, Greece | See on map
– Leof. Kifisias, Neo Psichiko 154 51, Greece | See on map
Opening times | Eurobank is open from Monday to Friday between 10.45 and 17.00, and on Saturdays between 10.15 and 16.30.
Address | Mall of Athens – Andrea Papandreou 35, Marousi 151 22, Greece | See on map
Opening times | Piraeus Bank is open from Monday to Friday between 08.00 and 18.00, and on Saturdays between 10.30 and 16.30.
Address | Μητροπόλεως 9, Αθήνα, Athina 105 57, Greece | See on map
ATMs are easy to find on the streets of Athens if you prefer having cash on you. If not, credit and debit cards are accepted in larger hotels, restaurants, and shops. However, when crossing paths with a smaller, family-owned business, you might have to use cash. If you don’t have cash on you and you’re in a smaller establishment, do check if they accept card payments before ordering your food, for example.
If you are going on a day trip from Athens, it might not be as easy to find an ATM so make sure you have enough money on you when you leave.
Personal checks are not accepted.
The water quality in Athens is very good. Therefore, you can safely drink the tap water. You can save money and promote sustainable tourism by refilling your bottle as necessary instead of buying a new one from a shop.
Pick-pocketing and minor theft are as common in Athens as in other major cities in the world, where tourists are abundant. Avoid being a victim and:
- don’t display your valuables while riding the public transport
- keep your valuables in a bag that you keep to your front in crowded places
- make sure you don’t leave your bag in the car, if you rent one
- don’t keep your ID / passport / important documents with your money
- don’t keep all your money in one place
- don’t wear expensive jewelry.