Tourist information guide on Athens Greece


Locan CustomsJust some advice

The Athens streets are very safe but watch out for pick pockets in crowded areas. A good idea is to buy a pouch with the belt loop you hang inside your trousers next to your skin as well as to use your hotel room safe. Also watch out talking to girls in some bars. You might end up with a big bill. Its always better to play it safe as Athens gets over 4.000.000. strangers in town every year!

Make sure you drink enough while sightseeing in Athens. Dehydration is much more expensive than water. Plastic bottled mineral water is readily available from the many Athens corner kiosks in 2 sizes: 1 liter and half liter and costs 1 euro and 0.50 euro respectively. Don't pay more, always carry your own water when sightseeing as site vendors notoriously overcharge. The Athens tap water is safe to drink. It's a fact that if you drink a lot of alcohol you are going to perspire more initially. Then you'll get even more dehydrated.

Do not forget to bring a good sun block cream or buy it in Athens on your arrival. A good idea also it to get a little sun tan before you expose your skin to the Greek sun.

Traffic in Athens can be real busy at times and most Athens drivers have their own set of traffic rules. Stay off the road a much as possible and, even when crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing, look before you cross. Some drivers are also color blind.

Attire in Greece is generally casual except when entering churches and monasteries. Women are expected to wear a below the knee skirt and a hat/scarf for church entrance as well as a buttoned up blouse. For men trousers and a shirt (no sleeveless) should be worn.

You always get back what you give. Be nice to people and they will be nice to you. The Greeks are no exception. Remember that the success of your vacation mostly lies with you. Top

Independance DayIndependence Day

Independence Day, 25th March, fills the streets with parades and celebrations, both secular and sacred. In Athens, military parades will be held together with church celebrations, keeping the streets both busy and sometimes blocked.

In 1821, Greeks vigorously rose up against the oppressive Ottoman Empire which had occupied Greece for nearly four hundred years, embarking on the ultimately successful war of independence. Bishop Germanos of Patras boldly raised the Greek flag at the monastery of Agia Lavras, inciting the Peloponnese to rise against the oppressors.

On this day in the Orthodox calendar, the archangel Gabriel appeared to the maiden Mary and announced the news: she was pregnant with the divine child. Bishop Germanos chose this day to deliver a different but not unrelated message: a new spirit was about to be born in Greece. The churches celebrate the Festival of the Annunciation with pomp, ceremony and joy.

Travelers who don't throw themselves into the spirit of the day may be frustrated with delays, unexpected closures and a general lack of attentiveness by the Greeks who are busy with the dual holiday.

Ochi Day "Ochi" Day

October 28th is one of Greece's public holiday. It commemorates the day that Mussolini's request to allow Italian troops into the country at the beginning of World War II was refused ("Ochi" being the Greek word for "no").

In memory of this significant day in Greece's history, celebrations take place all over the country with lavish parades of soldiers, tanks and armored vehicles showing their spirit and pride and the resistance that will exist for generations to come. It is a unique manifestation of Greek pride and is a must see for visitors in the country at the time. Top

17th November

17 NovemberThis day will be filled with commemorations of 17th November 1973 when a student uprising at Athens' Polytechnic University was brutally suppressed by the military government which had seized power and many students were killed.

The government of the "Colonels" was backed by the United States as part of a Cold War strategy to reduce the influence of communism in the region. Because of the US support of this suppressive regime, many Greeks still harbor resentment toward the United States and distrust its interventions.

17th November parades and protests always disrupt travel to some degree. To avoid encountering this activity, ask your hotel staff what streets are likely to be involved and plan accordingly. Most commemorations will be in larger cities, with Athens seeing the most vigorous displays. These will include the Polytechnic University, the American Embassy, and the related streets. It might be an ideal time to have a look at the other side of town. Top

Summer Theatre Festival at the HerodeionTheatre Festival

Theatre is still very popular in Greece. Athens alone has almost fifty permanent theatres where you will see every kind of drama you can possibly imagine.

In summer, there are some performances in English but at most other times of the year, the performances are almost entirely in Greek. Of course, they are still enjoyable in their originality. It is at the various summer festivals that you will get to see the classics performed with exceptional enthusiasm and talent.

The best-known festival is the Epidaurus Festival. The picturesque setting in an ancient amphitheater makes the shows at this celebration of theatre really special. There are also performances in some of the other ancient theatres at Dodona, Thassos and Phillipi.

In Athens, you just can't miss the Hellenic Festival and the performances in the Odeon of Herodus Attikus amphitheater (Herodeion). On our Festivals in Athens pages, you will find the complete program of the Hellenic Festival and the performances in the Herodeion this summer. Top


     Just some advice
     Independence Day
     "Ochi" Day
    17th November
    Theatre Festival

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