Visiting Athens Greece
This section covers all the pre-travel basics to help you plan your trip – and how to get around once you’ve arrived in Athens Greece
When to Go
As Athens is a major cultural centre, tourists come and go the year round. In summer, many visitors pass through the city on their way to the islands, though this is certainly not the best time to visit: it’s very hot and packed with foreign excursion groups. Try to come in either late spring or early autumn, when you can expect mild weather and a more relaxed atmosphere
if you are going to have your Greek holidays in Athens the city is blessed with a typical Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot, dry and sunny, with temperatures between 22?C (72?F) and 32?C (90?F) throughout July. Winters tend to be mild, with average temperatures ranging from 7C (44F) to 13C (55F) throughout January, with a fair amount of rain and even occasional snow.
Greek is the official language, though many people, especially youngsters and those working in tourism, speak good English. By and large you shouldn’t have any problem communicating, but learning a few basic Greek words shows good will on your part.
Street and Shop Signs
Street signs are posted in both Greek and Latin (English alphabet) script, and tourist maps are published using the Latin script. However, shops and restaurants, especially those less frequented by tourists, may have signs in Greek only.
Athens Shopping Areas
The capital’s chic designer boutiques line the streets of Kolonaki, with shoe emporia and high street chains on Ermou and Patission. The bargain market areas are Monastiraki, Psiri and Thissio. However, some suburbs have recently made challenging bids to the centre’s fashion monopoly, and leafy Kifissia in the north hosts a wealth of upmarket designer boutiques and elegant shopping malls filled with expensive imports. In the south, Glyfada boasts a Miami-style coastal boulevard containing branches of most of the centre’s clothing, shoe, accessory, home decoration and beauty stores.
Citizens from EU countries have the right to free basic medical care upon the presentation of a completed E111 form. Travellers from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are not covered by the Greek health system, and will be required to pay for all treatment, except emergency casualty visits.
For car and moped hire, EU citizens need only have a national driving licence, but visitors from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are required to show an International Driving Licence before taking to the roads.
Banks, ATMs, Cards and Cash
Banks are normally open Mon–Thu 8am–2pm and Fri 8am–1:30pm. ATMs are plentiful in Athens for round-the-clock access to cash. Credit cards are accepted in larger hotels, restaurants and shops, but you will find that less touristy businesses, such as local tavernas, accept cash only.