Athens, the birthplace of democracy and ancient philosophy that has laid the foundation stone for the modern civilisation, arts and humanities, awaits you nestled in the heart of the Attica Peninsula. Athens epitomises antique charm, and an immensely rich intellectual and artistic tradition, interlaced with qualities of a modern European capital. With its spectacular historic sites, Athens makes for a splendid cultural getaway. The city's landmark Acropolis houses the world famous temple Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess Athena, the Greek capital's patron. Dominating the skyline, the Acropolis is visible from all parts of Athens. In broad daylight you will see the Parthenon basking under the Mediterranean sunshine in its flawless Pentelic marble white, while at night it rests wonderfully illuminated above Athens.
The unique city of Athens will welcome not only culture vultures, but also food and beach lovers. The historic core of the city is Plaka, a labyrinth-resembling neighbourhood inhabited since the ancient times. It is a must-visit cobblestone maze of streets with numerous traditional handicraft shops, and typical Greek tavernas offering the most exquisite dishes of the local cuisine. Wonderful beaches sprawl along the coastline, many of them unspoilt and almost secluded.The optimum way of getting acquainted with the versatile Attica Peninsula is certainly a car hire in Athens. It enables you to visit numerous places in and around the Greek capital, including hidden coves, capes, and sites of great historic importance. A car hire from Auto Europe, one of the world's leading car rental brokers, is the most affordable way to discover Athens at your own pace. Auto Europe has a vast network of car rental suppliers to meet your needs during your holiday in Greece. Enjoy a scenic drive along the coast to Sounion or take your car hire to Patras.
As a rule of thumb, driving in Greece, as in most Mediterranean countries, can be rather challenging. Sometimes it is advisable to acquire a defensive style of driving in order to protect yourself on the road. However, you just need to remember to take some extra care while on the road, and you should be able to explore this beautiful country by car without any problems. In terms of traffic congestion, August is the best month to drive in Athens, as the roads tend to be less crowded due to the majority of people being on holidays. Broad, multi-lane avenues make moving through the city faster, and are the best option for driving from one part of the city to the other.
The 'beltway' Attiki Odos is a toll road that will take you to the airport rather quickly. This road branches into several roads leading to the port of Piraeus, or even to the city centre, where you will find many lanes reserved only for buses. The restricted bus lanes are separated from other lanes by a double line and bus drawings on the pavement. Although the speed limit may vary, normally it is 30mph in urban areas, 68mph outside cities, and 75mph on motorways. Seat belts must be worn at all times, and using your mobile phone without a headset is forbidden. Find out more about driving in Greece in our detailed guide here.
A great number of well-maintained car parks will be at your disposal in Athens. These car parks offer short-term and long-term parking facilities, as well as executive valet parking service at some car parks. Parking can be paid in cash at the customer service booths in the parking areas. Payments with a credit card at the exit machines are possible only at KED and Athens International Airport by placing your ticket first, and then the credit card. If you are lucky to find a parking spot in the downtown area, expect a maximum stay of 3 hours. White line parking spaces indicate payable parking with pre-paid tickets that can be obtained at nearly every kiosk in Athens. Blue lines indicate free parking for local residents.
The city of Athens extends over the central part of the large Attica peninsula. Surrounded and protected by mountains and the Aegean Sea, it has a typical Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers, and quite mild winters. Some rainfall is possible in autumn, whereas snowfall is quite uncommon in Athens but it does occur every 2-3 years. On average, July is the hottest month, when temperatures can soar to 35°C. The coldest month is January with an average of 10°C.
The international airport in Athens is located 27 miles south-east from the capital, just 45 minutes from the city centre with your car rental. The port of Piraeus is only 20 minutes away by car.
Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" (ATH)
Address: Attiki Odos, Spata Artemida 190 04, Greece
Telephone: +30 21 0353 0000
Getting around Athens by public means of transport is rather inexpensive and practical. The extensive network comprises buses, the metro, trolleybuses, and a tram line. Ticket prices start already from only one euro. Athens is connected with the airport, Piraeus, the adjacent regions, and the Peloponnese by a suburban rail. For night rides, there are express bus services that operate 24 hours.