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August 15 Holiday: Tips on What to do in Athens While Greece Celebrates

Constitution square (Syntagma), Athens.

Syntagma Square, Athens.

Dekapentavgoustos (August 15), as the day is referred to in Greek, is the day of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, one of the biggest religious celebrations in Greece and a national holiday that is observed by the public and private sector.

National Gardens, Athens. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

National Gardens, Athens. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

So, if you happen to be in Athens around that date, don’t be surprised if the city is somewhat deserted and hardly any Greeks are around. It is tradition for Greeks to flock to home villages or islands and attend celebrations that are held at churches throughout the country.

As agreed by many, this time of August is a great time for residents and visitors to be in the city as it is less crowded, there are no traffic jams and it is more quiet than usual. This may just be the best time to go out and really explore Athens center and Attica.

Don’t be fooled. The city may look empty since shops are closed but there are actually plenty of things to do. From strolling around Syntagma Square to visiting one of the major museums which are open such as the Acropolis Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Numismatic Museum.

The Numismatic Museum of Athens. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

The Numismatic Museum of Athens. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

Great time to discover Attica!

Another idea is to hop in your car and drive around the city and maybe even out of the center to discover the small and big surprises hidden in Attica.

Drafi_PenteliYou will not believe what you may discover. For example, did you know that in Penteli you can have a picnic beside a waterfall? Yes, this is true!

The waterfall in the Drafi area is one of the best kept “secrets” in Athens. The lake formed by the waters is ideal for swimming while the banks have plenty of space to have a picnic (under the condition you pick up after yourselves).

August is also a great time to visit one of the many open-air cinemas in Athens to just relax and watch a good movie under the stars.

Athens Open Air Film Festival: over 20 film screenings will take place at Athens’ open air cinemas in September.

Open air cinema in Athens.

Visit a beach in Athens-Attica!

Psatha, clear blue waters. Photo © Municipality of Vilia

Psatha, clear blue waters. Photo © Municipality of Vilia

Also, now that the crowds have left Athens and there is hardly any traffic on the main avenues, you can go to one of those beaches near the city that everyone talks about such as Vouliagmeni, Cape Sounion or Limanakia.

Other options include the small pebbled coves between Mati and Agios Andreas or the sandy beaches at Psatha and Alepochori.

Maybe a day trip to an island?

Of course, if you still want to “escape” from the center, even for the day, you can take a morning ferry from Piraeus and visit one of the islands of the Argosaronic such as Agistri or Egina that are very close to the city. This is also an inexpensive option for a quick getaway as you have no accommodation to cover. For ferry schedules, press here.

Athens Technopolis. Photo © Facebook - ΟΙ ΟΜΟΡΦΙΕΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΑΣ ΜΑΣ

Athens Technopolis. Photo © Facebook – ΟΙ ΟΜΟΡΦΙΕΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΑΣ ΜΑΣ

“Athens by night” is a must!

During the week of the 15th, Athens’ nightlife is quieter than usual but there are always things going on. One of Athens’ most coolest places to be is Gazi, a district full of restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs. It is also home to the Athens Technopolis, an industrial museum of modern architecture that spreads in an area of about 30,000 m2.

Have fun in Athens!

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