About Athens


 
   
Greece
is one of the world’s most popular destinations, with ancient and modern attractions, such as museums of the ancient and Byzantine eras and archaeological sites and cities, all of them historical monuments which have inspired modern education and culture around the world.

Athens, its capital, is a unique combination of the old and the new, set against a spectacular Mediterranean landscape: a world famous past, an exciting present. Ancient and brand new at the same time, Athens inspires and seduces its visitors, leaving its mark on their hearts and minds.
It is a city where hospitality, setting and character are guaranteed to take your breath away. Stroll along the cobblestone, pedestrian-only path that encircles Europe’s largest archaeological park for a close up view of some of the world’s most significant ancient treasures, including the Acropolis, and the Theatre of Dionysus and Herod Atticus.
Delight your palate by indulging in the bouquet of dining options that make up the Athenian restaurant scene renaissance.
Innovation and achievement have ushered in a new era for the city, its citizens and its visitors. Mega-infrastructure improvements have made Athens a city that is easy to navigate. Use the fast, clean and safe metro to discover the myriad of Athenian neighborhoods.
For more information, please visit www.breathtakingathens.com

Weather: The average temperature in Athens in early September ranges from 20o to 30o C (68o to 86o F).

Time: Greece is in the UTC/GMT+2 time zone. Greece observes the Daylight Saving Time system, thus during the ELF7 Conference, it will be in the Summer Time (UTC/GMT+3).

Currency: EUR (euro) is the official currency.

ATMs: They are widely available all over the city.

Banks: Banks are open from Monday to Thursday, 8:00-14:30 and on Friday, 8:00-14:00; on Saturdays and Sundays they are closed. Central branches of some banks may be found open until 20.00 daily and from 10.00 to 16.30 on Saturdays. For further details while in Greece please consult your hotel concierge.

Credit cards: All major credit cards are accepted in almost all hotels, shops and restaurants. Stickers in the front windows will advise you as to which cards are accepted.

Electricity: Electricity is 220 V/50 Hz. Plugs are the standard continental (DIN) type with two round pins.

Healthcare: Emergency treatment is free for all in public hospitals. Public and private hospitals can be found in big cities. Small and large islands usually have hospitals and health centers.

Language: Greek is the official language. Most Greeks speak English as a foreign language.

Restaurants: Restaurants and Taverns are normally open for lunch from 12:30 to 16:00 and for dinner from 19:00 to midnight. Fast food and souvlaki shops usually serve food all day long, and some of them stay open till late at night. Cafes and bars are open all day from about 8:00 until late at night.

Tipping: It is not compulsory, but it is quite usual in Greece.

Telecommunications: The international access code for Greece is +30. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the USA or Canada, 0044 for the United Kingdom). Public payphones are available all over Greece and use phone cards, which can be purchased from kiosks. For information concerning mobile phone use in Greece (telephone transmissions are based on GSM technology), please consult your provider.

Social and Cultural Life: Athens features numerous venues for various social and cultural events, open-air theaters, clubs, bars and cafes in downtown picturesque alleys, wide assortment of colors, flavors and local gastronomic creations in open-air tavernas by the sea.

Public Transportation from/to the Athens International Airport (www.aia.gr) : Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos, opened in March 2001, is dedicated to customer satisfaction and provides high security standards and top quality service for all travellers. Each day there are flights to over 50 cities around the world. Athens International Airport is located 33 km southeast of Athens and is easily accessible via Attiki Odos, a six-lane motorway constituting the Athens City Ring Road. Public transport to Athens and the port of Piraeus is provided by express airport bus connections on a 24-hour basis, while a direct metro line connects the airport to the city centre in 35 minutes.

Athens Metro: The Athens Metro has 3 operating lines.
Operating hours are 5:30 am to 00:30 am daily, and every Friday and Saturday night lines 2 & 3 stay open until 2:30 am. You can find information about the Athens metro, including timetables, maps, parking and safety information on this website. To view the Athens Metro map please click here
Cost for a combined (metro and bus) ticket = € 1,40. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes.
Useful metro tips:
While inside the train, announcements in Greek and English are made before every stop.Metro tickets are sold at the stations’ cashiers and by automatic tellers.Tickets must be validated in the designated machines in the metro station. Please note that the ticket control area begins right after the validating machines.

Buses (www.oasa.gr): The broad bus network of Athens covers almost every point of the city and the suburbs with 7,500 stops. The fleet consists mainly of modern buses, environmentally friendly, with air-conditioning and facilities for the elderly and the disabled.
Useful bus tips: Tickets must be bought before boarding (from bus terminals and from the majority of kiosks) and validated in the designated machines (orange coloured) within the vehicles. To stop a bus for embarkation you must make a hand signal to the driver while on the bus stop. To disembark you have to notify the driver by pressing the “stop” button found in various spots in the vehicle in advance. The OASA Call Centre (185 – dialing from within Greece) operates from 06:30 am to 10:00 pm on weekdays and from 07:30 am to 05:00pm on weekends.
Cost for a combined (metro and bus) ticket = € 1,40. Cost for bus ticket only = € 1,20.  All tickets are valid for 90 minutes.

Taxis: Taxis are yellow with a red-letter taxi-sign on top. Taxis in Athens can be stopped in the street with a hand signal (just like buses) and they often take more than one passenger at a time embarking and disembarking at different points on the same route. For exclusive use of a taxi you are advised to call a “radio taxi”. In any case, you can request a taxi from your hotel’s concierge. Always ensure that the taxi driver is operating the taxi meter.