Moving to a new city, especially abroad, can be both exciting and frightening. When it comes to Athens, though, the challenges are considerably lower mainly because of its multifaceted and multicultural identity, the open-minded culture and the friendly and easy-going lifestyle that it offers to its residents.
Athens has been a destination of choice for expats who seem to love the city’s exquisite combination of climate, culture, and cuisine. If you are looking to move for studies, work or retirement to a city that has all the characteristics listed below, then Athens will definitely be the right choice for you.
- Culturally rich and multifaceted
- Warm and sunny
AN EVOLVING CITY
Athens is currently undergoing transformation towards a more resilient, thriving future. The City of Athens is creating a toolkit that will help people to live and work in Athens, as well as to study, invest, have fun, or find a quiet place in the city.
Today it’s in our hands to build a resilient and thriving city. In 2020, the municipal council increased the budget for urban development and revitalization projects by nearly 40% over the previous year. Every neighbourhood will be a catalyst for economic growth, social support, and digital innovation. The new strategy will touch the lives of everyone in Athens, starting from the ground up. The streets are being re- rebuilt and more space is being made for cycling. Sidewalks are being re-engineered and barriers removed to improve accessibility throughout the city. Vacant lots are being turned into pocket parks. More trees are being planted along the streets to create shade. New green corridors are helping push cool air through the streets to let the city breathe more easily.
Athens is prioritizing a green and resilient recovery. The city is investing in its culture of recycling and raising awareness about waste management. Solar panels and student gardens are being installed at schools throughout the city to inspire the next generation as they build a circular economy. Projects at the National Garden and Lycabettus Hill are helping to restore the city’s natural spaces and adding new defenses against land erosion. And the first urban parks to be created in several generations are planned for the neighborhoods of Elaionas and Ampelokipi, helping to mitigate ground pollution in areas once crowded with light industry.
Athens is investing in its Historic Business Districts to help small businesses adapt to global pressures and to establish focal points for sustainable tourism. Every neighbourhood is full of small and unique family businesses with distinct identities and common goals for their neighbourhoods. The city is creating business clusters that will help each neighbourhood to sustain its own commercial districts that are alive with foot traffic. Working with the business community, the city will help roll out new standards for service quality that will improve competition and transparency. The city will also invest in upgrading shopfronts to make them more energy efficient and will provide support for the creation of online shops to help expand their reach.
Athens is strengthening the ecosystem of innovation and youth entrepreneurship at the Athens Digital Lab by giving local talent the resources, mentorship, and opportunity to lead the digital transformation of the city. A growing suite of visitor applications and the web portal at This is Athens, the Official Visitors’ Guide, is helping to create a sustainable tourism experience by sharing information about Athens in multiple languages. A new digital “city card” will make it easier for visitors to access cultural institutions during their trip.
Meanwhile, the digital reconstruction of municipal business is letting the city do more of its day-to-day work through its e-services platform and reducing the need for residents to make a trip to City Hall.
City facts and numbers
With over 300 days of sunshine a year, Athens is known for its mild climate and clear, blue skies. Temperatures usually remain above 22º Celsius from April until October. During the autumn and winter, temperatures generally range from 7° C to 15° C.
Icy days are rare, but you can enjoy snow up on the surrounding mountains.
Athens is on Eastern European time. Athens is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, and 1 hour ahead of Central European Time.
Greece’s currency is the euro (€). All major credit cards are widely accepted in Greece, though some establishments do not accept American Express and Diners.
Foreign currency can be exchanged at most Greek and foreign banks and at exchange bureaus located at Athens International Airport, Piraeus port, and around the city centre. You will need your passport to exchange money. Travellers’ checks and credit cards are also widely accepted.
Greece boasts a robust and modern transportation network that seamlessly connects air, land and sea. By plane, ship, train or car, traveling to Greece, and moving through the country, is simple and quick. Almost the entire country is covered by public transport, making travel easy within Greece.
The most important entry point by air into Greece is Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens. It is situated 33 km southeast of Athens and easily accessible by highway (private vehicle or taxi), bus, train, and metro service. (www.aia.gr). Other Greek airports also handle direct international flights from certain foreign countries, by regular and special airlines (especially during the summer months), as well as charter flights. Many of the larger islands and Greek cities also have domestic airports.
Greece offers a highly developed port and ferry network that connects all of the country’s islands as well as ports in other countries—predominantly in Italy. There are daily routes from Patras and Igoumenitsa to Italy, reaching the ports of Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, Venice and Trieste.
Greece’s railway network is approximately 2,500 km long, covering the greater part of the mainland and linking the country to Central Europe and Turkey. Ιntercity Express train connecting Athens to the country’s second biggest city of Thessaloniki are a fast way to cross mainland Greece.
Athens boasts a highly sophisticated public transportation network, comprised of buses, suburban railways, and a state-of-the-art metro. Thessaloniki and other cities in Greece also have integrated public transport networks.
Shops are generally open:
Monday & Wednesday: 9 am-3 pm; Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 9 am-2 pm and 5.30 pm-9 pm; Saturdays: 9 am-3 pm; almost all shops are closed on Sundays.
Department stores are open Monday-Friday: 10 am-9 pm Saturday: 9 am-8 pm or 10 am-9 pm, depending on the store.
Although the cost of living depends on Individual lifestyle, Athens is an affordable city, compared to European capitals and smaller cities, offering a wide range of products, services and experiences for all tastes and budgets.
These are some indicative prices for everyday products and services in Athens:
→ Single ticket for public transport valid for 1.5 hours: €1.40
→ Museum tickets: €3-€12
→ Theatre tickets: €10-€50
→ Cinema tickets: €7-€10
→ Sandwich from €2.50
→ Souvlaki from €1.80
→ 1-liter bottle of water: €1
→ Coffee to go from €1.50
→ Coffee at a cafe: €3.5- €5
→ Beer at a bar: €3.50-€5
→ Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant: €20- €40
→ Taxi Fare: €3.50 * minimum ride cost
Athens offers a very modern healthcare infrastructure and highly skilled physicians and specialists who have been trained in the world’s finest medical facilities. Many healthcare specialists speak English and are accustomed to treating foreign residents and visitors. Health care in Greece is provided by the National Healthcare Service and by the private sector. Workers in Greece must be insured through the national health insurance scheme and can also choose complementary private coverage.
Medical Assistance: 112
Hospitals & Pharmacies: 14944
Pharmacies are open:
Monday, Wednesday: 8 am-2 pm, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8 am-2 pm and 5:30 pm to 8 pm.
Selected pharmacies in each area stay open after hours. Find your nearest pharmacy here.
Religion in Greece, is dominated by the Greek Orthodox Church (about 98%), representing the majority of the population. It is the "prevailing religion" of Greece, although there are smaller religious communities including Muslims, Old Calendar Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Free practice of religion is widely respected in Greece.
From pet-friendly hotels to hot dinner dates and bureaucratic hacks, the This is Athens-Info points team can field any question you can throw at them, whether you are a visitor or newcomer-resident. This is Athens Info Points are situated at:
- Athens International Airport: Αrrivals level, daily and weekends 8 am - 8 pm. Open year-round from 8 am - 8 pm daily. Tel. +30 210 353 0390
- Syntagma Square: Open year-round: 9am - 6pm.
Police Hotline: 100
Tourist Police: 171 (English, French and German)
Airport Police: +30 210 353 6919
- New Year's Day: January 1st
- Epiphany: January 6th
- Clean Monday: 41 days before Easter. Lent begins.
- Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation: March 25th, military parade
- Anastasi (Resurrection): celebrated with fireworks and candles at midnight, on the eve of Pascha (Easter)
- Pascha (Easter)
- Labor Day: May 1st
- Whit Monday: 50 days after Easter
- Dormition (Assumption) of The Virgin: August 15th
- October 28th: ‘Oxi’ day, rejection of the Italian ultimatum in 1940, military parade
- Christmas: December 25th-26th