Athens City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 17, 2007

Athens is the capital of Greece.  It is also the country’s largest city and, including the surrounding suburbia, the largest metropolitan area in Greece and one of the largest in the European continent.  Athens spans 412 square kilometres and is home to around 3.2 million inhabitants, almost 30% of the country’s total population.

Athens is currently one of the most modern cities in Greece.  Interestingly, it is also one of the oldest.  Modern-day Athens stands on one of the most prominent city-state in Ancient Greek civilization.  Ancient Athens was home to the western world’s greatest philosophers including Socrates and his younger friend/student, Plato and was also Ancient Greece’s (and the Ancient world’s) bastion of democracy.  Athens also led the Delian League against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta during the Peloponnesian War.

The evidence of the rich Athenian culture is now modern-day Athens’ biggest draw to tourists and expatriates alike.  In Athens, for instance, you will see the world-famous Parthenon, the Acropolis complex where you will find the Ionian-style Temple of Athena and the Dorian-style Propylaia, and many other historical monuments and structures.  Apart from being an interesting mix of the old and new, moreover, Athens is also an ideal place for relocation due to its generally mild climate and mostly sunny days throughout the year.

Residential Places in Athens

In Athens, you have two options when it comes to choosing a place to live.  First, you can live within the city itself.  This option is perfect for people who want to live in the centre of the city and prefer to be right in the middle of the major urban amenities and facilities like hotels, restaurants, shops, clubs, etc.  On the other hand, you can move slightly farther from the city proper and find a residential neighbourhood in one of the Athens metropolitan area’s suburbs.  This is ideal if you want to be close enough to the city to enjoy its amenities but do not want to live in the centre of the city’s hustle and bustle.

If you want to live within the city, the obvious choice of residence is the Kolonaki District.  This is one of the most prestigious and safest residential neighbourhoods in the city-proper and is quite famous with expatriates who appreciate the district’s graceful buildings, its tidy streets, and its fashionable shops and restaurants.  You can also try the other areas of the city such as in Plaka, Syntagma Square, Monastiraki, and Omonia Square but the accommodations in these parts of Athens are likely to be more suited to short stays rather than permanent relocation.

The suburbs offer more choices of residence; there are over 70 residential communities in the Athens Metropolitan Area.  Kifissia is one of the most prestigious suburban addresses in Athens.  Maroussi, Athens Financial Centre, is also a good choice.  The coastal area of Voula and the nearby Glyfada and Vouliagmeni are among your suburban community choices in the southern part of the Athens metropolitan area.  Paleo Faliro is another beach-front community that is much closer to the city.  At the eastern part of the metropolitan area are the Zografou and the Pappagos residential districts among others, and at the western part of the metropolitan area are the Nikea residential district, the Peristeri suburbs and others.

Hospitals and Universities of Athens

There are many hospitals in city of Athens and in the larger Athens metropolitan area.  Along one of the main avenues in Athens, the Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, you will find several hospitals including the Areteio Hospital, the Ippokrateio Hospital, the Eginitio Hospital, and the Alexandras Hospital.  Along the Mesogeion Avenue, on the other hand, you can find the Errikos Dounant Hospital and the George Genimatas Hospital.  In Kiffisia, particularly at Nikis St, you can find the General Hospital of Attica or the KAT hospital.  At Iakovaton St, you can find the Pamakaristos Hospital.  If you are in Voula, you’ll find the Asklipiio Voulas Hospital at Vassileous Pavlou conveniently near.  Other hospitals in Athens are the Evangelismos Hospital in Ipsilantou, the Laiko Hospital in Goudi, the Tzanio Hospital in Piraeus, the Athens Medical Centre in Maroussi, and many more.

Universities in Athens

There are also several universities in Athens.  They include the Athens University of Economics and Business at Patission St; the Athens School of Fine Arts which has campuses along the Patission and Peiraios Sts; the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens which has campuses in Daphne, Goudi, Ilissia, and the Centre of Athens; the National Technical University of Athens at Heroon Polytechneiou Street; and the Agricultural University of Athens at Iera Odos among others.

If you prefer British institutions of higher learning, there are several British universities in Athens.  Typically, these are branches of universities found in Britain, but there are also those that have been specifically established in Athens, Greece.  British Universities with affiliated campuses in Athens include the University of Wales as well as the London Guildhall University.  The University of Central Lancashire and the University of Huddersfield also have Athens campuses.  Also in Athens are representatives of the Strathclyde University, Middlesex University, Northumbria University, Kingston University, and many more.

Commercial Places in Athens

You should go to the Syntagma Square and the Kolonaki district if you want to find world-famous and exclusive shops.  You can also visit the outlying area Maroussi to get to The Mall Athens which is also home to world-renowned brands.  Syntagma Square and Kolonaki are also home to famous hotels, cafes and restaurants.

Numerous Delicacies in Athens

If you want to eat in fast-food joints, you’ll find several in Omonia Square.  At Omonia, you will also find local shops.  However, if you want to have a wide variety of local shops to choose from, go to the Monastiraki district which is full of bazaars and quaint shops.  The prices are truly low, especially during early Sunday morning.

You should also try the Psirri and the Plaka districts to get a taste of local delicacies and the exciting local nightlife.  There are many bars and local tavernas in these areas.  If you have time, you can also go to the suburbs of Kifissia to visit the many malls, restaurants, cafes, and bars in the area.  Definitely, you should not miss the Central Market where you’ll find all kinds of food stuff, fresh produce and delicacies.

Service Establishments of Athens

Altec Telecoms is a company headquartered in Maroussi that provides telephony and internet service in Athens and the rest of Greece.  This company provides local as well as long-distance phone services, narrowband as well as broadband internet services, and digital phone services.

Alta Services is another company in Athens, Greece that can provide you with voice and fax services.  Alta Services also offers mobile phone service and internet connection, both narrowband and broadband.  Vivodi Telecom, on the other hand, provides both interne and cable TV services.

The Public Power Corporation, S.A., on the other hand, can be contacted for electric service.  You can call 210 5293417-8 for concerns, to request more information or to request power supply or service connection.

If you have any need of police assistance you should go to the Greek Police Headquarter at #4 P. Kanellopoulou St or call 210-6977386 or 210-6924929.  You can also go to the #43 Beikou St police station or call 210-9200730 or210-9200761.

Embassies in Athens

The Embassy of the United Kingdom in Athens is found at #1 Ploutarhou St while the European Commission is at #2 Vassilissis Sofias Avenue.

Along the Vassilissis Sofias Avenue of Athens, you’ll find several other embassies and consulates including that of Japan, United States of America, Servia, Portugal, Norway, Malta, Luxembourg, Lithuania, France, Egypt, and Argentina.  Other embassies are distributed in other streets and avenues of Athens.

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