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Athens has been at the forefront of Greek civilization for over 4,000 years and is a city of paradox having two distinct personalities. Athens is a city where ancient and modern worlds collide for an experience you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world.

From the 5th Century B.C Acropolis of Athens to the stylish 5 star restaurants and artsy- industrial neighbourhoods like Gazi-which is said to be one of the most thrilling places to be after dark. The rich culture and vibrant atmosphere that fill these streets is unmatched and are what make this city so lovable.

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Why visit Athens?

  • Admire the many stunning panoramic views from the 147m high Filopáppou Hill for example, where you will be captivated by the gorgeous Athenian cityscape!
  • Soak up the splendid warm weather of Athens at the many Greek islands located near the city from Aegina, to Angist- you are guaranteed not want to leave this turquoises paradise!
  • Discover this magical city through its culture from The Museum of the City of Athens, the flea market neighbourhood of Monastiraki, and the mouth-watering traditional Greek cuisine!
Exchange Rate:
~1 ZAR: 0.06 €
Time Zone:
UTC+02:00 Athens has the same time zone as South Africa.
Dialing Code
00 + 30 + Local Number
Drives on the right
Athens International Airport
Travel Adaptor:
Type F (Frequency 50Hz: Voltage 230 V)

Athens is a year-round destination, with warm sunny days no matter the season. Summers are generally dry and hot with temperatures ranging between 29 and 32 degrees Celsius. January is the coldest month, with temperatures falling between 6 and 12 degrees Celsius.

The best and most popular time to visit is late in spring through fall which begins in April till October.

  • Athens is named after Athena, she is the goddess of wisdom who has defeated Poseidon to become the patroness of the city.
  • The first history of Athens was recorded around 3,400 yeas ago, making it Europe's oldest capital and one of the oldest cities in the world.
  • Athens is statistically one of the lowest ranking capital cities with regards to violent crime.

Athens has an extensive history which includes the stories of gods, goddesses and overachieving athletes. The diverse city boasts beaches with clear turquoise waters, a vibrant night-life can be found at places like Stadiou Street, not to mention the up-scale shopping and numerous ancient temples. This place is surrounded by mountains Ymmytos, Pendeli and Parnitha, northwards and eastwards, and the Saronic Gulf southwards and westwards.

Places like Syntagma Square is said to be the heartbeat of Athens as this is where Parliament and most of the Ministries are it is a very fascinating place.

Neighbourhoods like Monastriraki,Kolonaki and Lycabettus Hill are also known for attracting thousands of visitors all year round as they are have the best shopping, restaurants and architecture in the city.

The many other places to visit when in Athens include:

  • Acropolis Museum
  • The National Archaeological Museum
  • Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Mount Lycabettus
  • The Temple of Hephaestus
  • The Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • The Benaki Museum
  • The Erechtheion
  • The National Garden
  • Keramikos
  • The Byzantine and Christian Museum

The traditional Greek cuisine dates back to thousands of years-not much has changed, which is what makes the food in Athens so delightful.

Greek cuisine has been influenced by traditions from both the East and the West. Yogurt, rice, nuts, honey, sesame seeds, bread, olives, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves play a prominent role in the Greek diet.

Some of the local favourites in Athens include ‘Dolmades’ which is stuffed grape leaves, Gyro which is meat that is roasted vertically turning on the spit. Slices of it are then placed in pita, and saganaki which is mouth-watering deep fried cheese.

The best restaurants in Athens include:

  • Strofi Tavern
  • Spiros & Vasilis
  • Smile Restaurant
  • Spondi
  • Gostijo kosher restaurant
  • Melilotos
  • Daphne's
  • Athens Gate Hotel
  • Funky Gourmet
  • Aleria

The religion of Greek people is an important aspect of the Greek culture. Greeks are very proud of their culture and speak about their country with an intense passion. The majority of the locals in Athens are Orthodox Christians-with a few individuals following Muslim, Catholic, and Jewish faiths. Athens is a city that has many diverse cultures which has been influenced by its location.

Greek culture can be experienced and witnessed through the traditions, religions, music, language, food and wines. The locals are very friendly and curious, so don't be offended if they start to ask your personal questions, it is their way of getting to know you better.

The majority of monasteries in Athens impose a fairly strict dress code for visitors. You are not allowed to wear shorts, women are expected to cover their arms and wear skirts, and at times the necessary wraps will be provided on the spot. You should also be aware of your conduct in public areas, for example there are two pieces of body language that can cause unintentional offences.

You should not hold your hand up, palm out, to anybody, and don’t make an OK sign by forming a circle with your thumb and forefinger, as both are extremely rude. Lastly, nodding and shaking your head for yes and no are also unlikely to be understood, Greeks use a slight forward inclination of the head for yes, a more vigorous backward nod for no. These are small things to be aware of, but as a precaution it is advised to obey these restrictions.

Athens is generally a very safe city, but like any city these days there are the odd occurrences of petty crime like pickpocketing that occur on buses and other crowded places like Plaka.

Despite the economic, political and social turbulence, the city is very peaceful. Do not expect to witness any violence or dangerous situations in the streets of Athens.

South Africans need a Visa in order to enter Greece.
Leave plenty of time for Visa processing and don’t forget to check that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date, and that you have 2 blank pages available for entry stamps. You can contact the embassy of Greece (Telephone: +27 (0) 124253001) for more information, in addition to visa applications.

Address: 60 Kifissias Avenue
Marousi, 15125 Athens
P. O. Box 61152, 151-10 Athens

Phone: (+30) 210 617 8020
Fax:(+30) 210 610 6636 / (+30) 210 610 6640
Email: /

Item Cape Town Johannesburg Athens
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant R 90.00 R 100.00 R 171.98
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) R 22.00 R 20.00 R 60.19
Cappuccino (regular) R 19.00 R 20.00 R 51.42
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) R 10.00 R 12.00 R 12.73
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) R 35.00 R 35.00 R 68.79

Athens International Airport is the busiest airport in Greece. This airport began operations in 2001 and it now serves the city of Athens and the region of Attica.

Food and Beverage: The restaurants that are located within the airport include Buondi cafe, FloCafe, Gregory's, Heineken Star Bar, Illy Cafe, Jacobs Cafe, Kayak, McDonald's and many more.


Lost luggage: For items lost in the Terminal areas, you should contact the Lost Property Office, operated by the Hellenic Police. It is located at the Arrivals Level, across Exit 3, and operates on a 24-hour basis (Telephone: (+30) 210 3530515)

Airport hotel: The hotel that is located at the airport includes Sofitel Airport hotel.

Car hire: The car hire dealerships that are located at the airport include Enterprise, Avis, Budget, and Hertz.

Airport hub:Athens International Airport (Code: ATH) is a hub for Aegean Airlines and Greece's Airlines.

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The information on this page is correct as of March 2016. While every effort is made to keep information as fresh as possible, takes no responsibility for any of the information being out of date or incorrectly noted.

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