The most complete information guide about Athens, Greece

Business in AthensBusiness in Athens
and Greece

What started 6.000 years ago in the Ancient Agora, still is true in the modern Athens of today. The city always has been a major business center. The Greek Drachma was replaced with the Euro, the common European currency, in 2001 making it even easier for the city with its good banking facilities, big and small companies and many ATM machines to do business.

General etiquette in Athens

Athenians are not much different from the rest of the Greek population. As all Greeks, they will appreciate you even more when you try to speak some Greek words or basic phrases. Like in any other place, Athenians expect common courtesy and respect. When visiting religious places, men have to wear trousers and women skirts.

Atheneans love eating and they take their time to do so. Be prepared for a lengthy meal when meeting over lunch or dinner.

Athens business hours

Most business in Athens will be open from 08:00 to 14:00 from Monday to Thursday and from 08:00 to 13:30 on Friday. Business hours can however vary greatly depending on the industry. Shops in tourist areas may also be open in the afternoon and in the evening. In Plaka and Monastiraki, shops will be open till 21:00 or later. On public holidays, most businesses will be closed. Top

Banking system

The banking and financial sectors have been liberalised considerably since 1987 and are now basically free of state interference.

The Greek banking system consists of a Central Bank (the Bank of Greece), 41 commercial banks, 3 investment banks, 1 specialized bank (Agricultural Bank of Greece), 7 local co-operative banks, the Postal Savings Bank and the Consignments and Loans Bank. Twenty-two of the commercial banks are foreign, including four American banks. Of the Greek commercial banks, the largest is the National Bank of Greece, which accounts for about one-third of the country’s banking business.

The Greek banking industry has matured considerably over the last five years. Credit analysis has been improved, provisioning levels have increased, IT systems have been overhauled, Internet banking services have been set up by several firms and the standard of management is now extremely high. Partly because of these changes, the sector is extremely profitable. Most banks make a return on equity of 25% and a return on assets of 1.5%.

More information on banks operating in Greece is available at the web site of the Hellenic Bank Association: Top

Euro coin Olympic edition 2004International banks in Athens

You will find foreign exchange outlets at the airport, post offices, tourist offices, train and bus stations, in tourist shopping areas and some hotels and restaurants but you will get the best exchange rate in banks. The many ATM machines in the city also will give you the best exchange rate. They operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. See our International Banks page. Top

Athens Internet access

More and more internet cafes start appearing in Athens. Hotels and hostels also increasingly provide internet access through the use of computers they set up or through internet connection in your room. Some hotels also provide paid internet connection through the tv in the rooms. See our Internet Cafes in Athens page. Top

Athens pharmacies (Farmakeia)

The many pharmacies in Athens are easily identified by their neon light outside (a green cross on a white background). They are open from 08:30 to 14:00 as well as on Saturday mornings. For evenings and weekends (07:30 to 14:00 and 17:30 to 22:00) you will find a notice posted on the door or window informing you of the nearest pharmacy that is open. Top

"Filoglossia": learning Greek as a foreign language through Internet

The Greek Foreign Ministry wants to make the Greek language more familiar to its visitors, to the extent of existing capabilities. Therefore they support the effort undertaken by the Greek Institute for Language and Speech Processing (ILSP), through its programme "Filoglossia", to offer the possibility to learn Greek, as a foreign language, on the Internet. You can access the services provided by "Filoglossia" by connecting to the relevant web page. Top

Dress code

Greeks used to dress quite formally when dining out but over the last 10 years this has gradually changed. The older generation will still dress up whereas the younger Atheneans wear whatever is comfortable. However, Atheneans will still avoid dressing like tourists (shorts, sportswear, skimpy tops). Even though they will still be polite, Atheneans do not like tourists walking around without a shirt, however warm it is. You can do so at the beach, not in the city center. Most expensive restaurants will request you to dress formally. See our Eating and drinking pages for an extensive list of addresses of restaurants and taverna’s. Top

Embassies and consulates

Greece is represented abroad by:

- 78 embassies
- 9 permanent missions
- 48 general consulates
- 11 consulates
- 1 Institute (of Byzantine and post Byzantine studies, Venice)
- 2 liaison offices

See the complete list of Greek embassies abroad.

Foreign countries are represented by their embassy and/or consulate in Greece. See our Foreign embassies page. Top


     General etiquette
     Business hours
     Banking system
     International banks
     Internet access
     Learning Greek
     Dress code
     Embassies and consulates

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