Athens is the capital of Greece and a city with glorious history that dates from the Neolithic age. As the architects of democracy and hosts of the first symposia, transformative thinking is in our cultural DNA. Athens is a bustling metropolis, a modern knowledge hub and a dynamically evolving city at the crossroads of three continents. You will not find a more inspiring city to host your prestigious congress, share innovative ideas, explore business opportunities, and foster a sustainable future for us all.
Athens’ unique location - situated in the prefecture of Attica, extending to the peninsula that reaches up to Central Greece, the city is surrounded by 3 mountains on the North and East and the Saronic Gulf on the South and West – its climate, heritage and vibrant contemporary culture have propelled it among the top 20 global conference destinations (ICCA report 2019). It is a city full of pleasant surprises and unique aspects; old mansions, luxurious buildings, historical sites and pedestrian zones, all of which present such a variety of choices for the pre- and post- congress period. Together with the know-how of the meetings industry professionals and excellent infrastructure these are the aspects that make Athens a great host for events of this caliber.
Athens enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with mild, dry winters and an average temperature of 10o C and warm summers with an average temperature of 26o C. Athens, as does most of Greece, enjoys ample sunshine for over 300 days each year.
The city’s privileged geographical location at the crossroads of three continents - Europe, Africa and Asia - offers easy access for delegates coming from the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, as well as developing countries.
The Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" began its operation on March 2001 and is the primary international airport that serves the city of Athens and the region of Attica. It is one of the busiest airports in Europe and is also the main base of Star Alliance Member Aegean Airlines, as well as of other Greek airlines. In 2019 it handled 25,574,030 passengers, a 6% increase from the previous year. It is at approximately 30 minutes driving distance/30 kms from the city center and is easily accessible by the city’s land transport network:
- 4 bus lines that connect the airport to the greater Athens area
- Athens Metro Line 3 (blue)
- Suburban Railway leading to the Athens Central Railway Station, at the greater center area
- Taxi, getting to the city center within 30 minutes
Athens is easy to navigate, with a well-connected and affordable metro, tram, and bus system. The metro line connects directly from the airport to the city center in about 40 minutes.
Metro, Buses, Tram, Trains, Trolleybuses and express highways allow for easy and quick transportation at a very low cost. It takes 40 minutes and € 10 to get from the airport to the city centre, where most hotels are located. What is more, most hotels are within walking distance from a metro station within the city centre, which means that it will take visitors 3 to 5 minutes to move around in the city. Tickets start from 1,40 € and they can be used in all forms of public transport within a one-and-a-half-hour timeframe. A day travel card costs 4.50 € and a 5-days one costs 9.00 €. Taxis are also relatively inexpensive, compared to prices in most European capitals.
Past and Present
Athens is a city of many aspects. In the backdrop of a history of over 2.500 years, world-famous museums and UNESCO sights go hand in hand with a vibrant contemporary cultural life. Athens presents more than four millennia of recorded history and an abundance of sites, museums and locations where one can see history unfold before one’s eyes, rendering it an ideal destination for leisure and business travelers alike.
A walk around the famous historic triangle (Plaka, Thission, Psyri), the old neighborhoods reveal the coexistence of different eras. Old mansions, luxurious department stores and small intimate shops, gourmet restaurants and traditional taverns all fit in this modern metropolis.
In Athens everything finds its place; visitors can either visit the historic center, enjoy a fancy night out in the northern suburbs, or enjoy the sea breeze in the southern suburbs and the beautiful Saronic Gulf.
Cultural events and entertainment
Athens, as a modern European city is the venue for numerous events throughout the year. This is where the Athens Epidaurus Festival takes place every summer (from June to August) and includes various performances, like modern theatre, ancient drama, ballet, opera, jazz and classical music concerts and art exhibitions. The events take place in various theatres around Athens and in the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. In fact, the peak of this festival are the ancient drama performances that are displayed in summer weekends in Epidaurus.
The numerous museums of the city host countless exhibits which span over thousands of years of human civilization, achievement and conquests. Athens has over 300 national and private museums, one of which the New Acropolis Museum.
Athens is also the city that many contemporary musicians and bands choose for their concerts and performances. Having many venues able to accommodate from small to very large crowds, the city is an ideal spot for both locals and visitors.
The Acropolis - The New Acropolis Museum
One of the definitive monuments of modern civilization, the Acropolis is one of the greatest and finest attractions of Greece and an important landmark. The sacred rock of the Acropolis is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The monuments of the Acropolis have withstood the ravages of past centuries, both of ancient times and those of the Middle Ages. The Acropolis Museum was built to house these findings. Today, the museum has a total area of 25.000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14.000 square meters and has become the city’s top attraction for locals and visitors alike. The collections of the museum expand over three levels, the top of which enjoys the amazing view of the Acropolis hill.
Τhe National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek art.
It was founded at the end of the 19th century to house and protect antiquities from all over Greece, thus displaying their historical, cultural and artistic value.
The museum is housed in an imposing neoclassical building of the end of the nineteenth century. The vast exhibition space - numerous galleries on each floor accounting for a total of 8,000 square metres - house 5 large permanent collections.
The National Art Gallery
The National Gallery was founded on April 10, 1900. Today, the National Gallery collections comprise more than 20,000 works of painting, sculpture, engraving and other forms of art; this is the treasury of Modern Greek artistic creation, encompassing the period from the post-Byzantine times until today. Moreover, the National Gallery owns a remarkable collection of Western European paintings.
The ancient Agora of Athens: Ruins of the Marketplace
The Agora was the heart of ancient Athens, the focus of political, commercial, administrative, and social activity, the religious and cultural center, and the seat of justice.
The site was occupied without interruption in all periods of the city's history. It was used as a residential and burial area as early as the Late Neolithic period (3000 B.C.). Early in the 6th century, in the time of Solon, the Agora became a public area.
The Roman Agora & Hadrian's Library
The Roman Agora was the ancient public square raised during the Roman period in Athens. It was one of the main meeting points in the city and it once housed the central market, having been moved by the Ancient Agora.
It is believed that the Agora was founded between 19 and 11 BC, as part of a commission by Augustus, the first Roman Emperor and then grew by the Emperor Hadrian.
The spacious landmark of Hadrian’s Library was surrounded by a gallery decorated with one hundred columns. The library was destroyed during the Heruli’s invasion in Athens in 267 AD, however later was restored by the prefect Herculius. After falling into disuse for many years, the building came to life again after the excavations of 1885, during which Corinthian columns 8 meters tall and limestone blocks were uncovered, together with the remains of three Byzantine churches.
Museum of Cycladic Art
The Museum of Cycladic Art is dedicated to the study and promotion of ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus, with special emphasis on Cycladic Art of the 3rd millennium BC.
It was founded in 1986, to house the collection of Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris. Since then it has grown in size to accommodate new acquisitions, obtained either through direct purchases or through donations by important collectors and institutions.
Today, in the galleries of the MCA the visitor can approach three major subjects: Cycladic Art, Ancient Greek Art and Ancient Cypriot Art.
The Plaka and Anafiotika Neighborhoods
Plaka is one of the most traditional districts of the historical center of Athens and a must see for any person visiting the city. Covering an area of about 3 kms, the area of Plaka with its small streets and little squares, presents a window to traditional Athens, with famous neighborhoods, historical monuments, small shops and tavernas.
Anafiotika, specifically is a small section in Plaka, located directly under the north section of the Acropolis. Its morphology resembles that of a small island, only this one is not surrounded by sea, with white-washed houses, built among the rocky terrain, narrow steps and flower-filled gardens.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Along with the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is also a distinctive Athenian landmark, located in the heart of Athens, the construction of which begun about 520 BC by Peisistratus and his sons. The site, left incomplete during Peisistratus time, was finally completed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Its location, right in the center of Athens, next to one of the busiest streets of the city is ideal. The site is surrounded by an open space that constitutes a park, like an oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
The Panathenaic Stadium is a classical cultural and tourist monument of Greece and one of the most significant landmarks of Athens. It is directly connected to the Modern Olympic Games, since their revival in 1896 and is also the place from which the Olympic Flame is delivered to all the Olympic Games, Winter, Summer and Youth. The stadium was constructed in the 4th century B.C. and was used to host events related to the celebration of the city of Athens, the “Great Panathenaia”. During its long history, the Stadium has seen major changes, having been abandoned and reconstructed more than once. In the late 19th century, the Stadium underwent major reconstructions and took its final form.
The Benaki Museum
The Benaki Museum ranks among the major institutions that have enriched the material assets of the Greek state. It is also the oldest museum in Greece operating as a Foundation under Private Law. Through its extensive collections that cover several different cultural fields and its more general range of activities serving more than one social need, the Benaki Museum is perhaps the sole instance of a complex structure within the broader network of museum foundations in Greece.
Gkazi - The Technopolis of Athens
Technopolis (Gazi) is an industrial museum and a major cultural venue of the City of Athens, Greece, in the neighborhood of Gazi, next to Keramikos and very close to the Acropolis. It has been in operation since 1999 and is situated in the city's former gasworks which were founded in 1857, occupying an area of about 30.000 m2.
Technopolis City of Athens has become a hub of cultural events, thus upgrading a historic area of the capital and creating another focal point in the cultural identity of Athens.
A wide variety of cultural events are held in Technopolis every year: music, dance, theatre and performing arts, plastic and applied arts, educational programs for children, entrepreneurship and temporary exhibitions, attracting over 600,000 people annually. Technopolis City of Athens offers quality entertainment and culture in reasonable prices.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus was built at the base of the Acropolis, is today one of the best places to experience a live classical theatre performance. This ancient theater was built in the Roman times, in about 161 A.D. by the Roman philosopher, teacher and politician Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife Aspasia Regilla who died in 160 AD. The semi-circular amphitheater has a wide 1,250 feet radius with a seating capacity of more than 6,000 people. The original wall of the stage stood three storeys high and was decorated with marbles and ceramic pieces while today it stands in ruins. The stage and seating area was laid with marble and has been renovated today.
Athens Walking Tour (Archaeological sites)
This half day tour is an excellent opportunity for visitors to enjoy the day-to-day aspect of life in Athens. Visiting the pedestrian zones of the city center, visitors are able to admire the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia, the Nike Temple, the Agrippa Monument, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Plaka and more.
Athens Food Tour
This walking tour is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to acquaint themselves with the traditional Greek cuisine, sample local delicacies and visit authentic shops and restaurants.
Hydra - Poros - Spetses - Aegina
The islands of the Saronic Gulf are ideal for a full day cruise, departing from Piraeus port. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore each island, where they can stroll the narrow streets and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of these picturesque islands;
Poros, with its enchanting Poros town, Hydra with its special architecture, traditional mansions that reflect its rich and turbulent history, Aegina with the Temple of Aphaia (the best preserved temple in Greece), the church of Saint Nectarios and the pistachio groves.
Epidaurus and Mycenae
Mycenae, one of the major centers of Greek civilization and Epidaurus with its ancient theater are both must-see sites for anyone visiting Athens. The tour consists of visit to the archaeological site of Mycenae, home to the kingdom of the mythical Agamemnon, the Cyclopean Walls, the Lion’s Gate, the Royal Tombs and the Treasury of Atreus, a magnificent 14th century BC structure. A visit to Epidaurus is the next stop. The UNESCO’s world heritage listed monument, presumed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asklepios, is mostly famous for its theater, one of the best preserved classical Greek buildings, renowned to this day for its amazing acoustics.
Delphi, located 180 km northwest from Athens was believed to be the center of the earth and was the most important religious center of ancient Greece. It remains to this day one of the most beautiful and mystical sites in the world. Visitors will pass the towns of Thebes, Levadia and Arachova, will visit Castalia Spring and the main archaeological site that comprises the Temple of Apollo, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Theater and the Stadium.