It’s been a long road, we cannot lie. But this month, Athens finally opens its doors and legendary sites to the world once more with the official restart of tourism in Greece by the Greek Government on Saturday, 15 May. Everything that makes summertime in Athens so amazing is back on the menu in May - and we can’t wait to share it all with you again.
In short, we mean a return to idyllic days on the sun-drenched shores of our beautiful beaches. Sunset cocktails on stylish rooftops with the Acropolis for company. High spirited meals with friends, old and new, in leafy squares. Open-air movies at jasmine-scented summer cinemas and live gigs at ancient arenas under the stars.
Join us as we visit our favourite museums and galleries again as if for the first time (hello Acropolis Museum, how we’ve missed you) and check out some brand new ones too: such as the landmark National Gallery of Art, fresh from an extensive 8 year makeover, and the old Public Tobacco Factory, due to be reborn in June as an emblematic culture hub, with an international exhibition “Portals”.
Let’s hit the shops (without having to make an appointment first); trawling for hot street fashion, vintage treasure or cool souvenirs. And relish together all those sights, sounds and unpredictable encounters that signal the return of Athens’ seductive summer energy, as we freely explore the city’s beating urban neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct village vibe.
During the extended second lockdown (in effect to varying degrees since 7 November), the City of Athens has rolled up its sleeves to ensure that the Greek capital is both safe and more accessible to welcome back visitors and residents alike this month. These expansive initiatives have included improving sidewalks and cleaning streets, removing graffiti across the city, smartening up the National Garden and scenic slopes of Mount Lycabettus, and planting bright flora and new “pockets parks” to green up the urban experience. Athens has also refined its social distancing protocols to ensure that citizens and visitors experience a buoyant, re-charged and well-prepared city.
More specifically, here’s what now open (or about to open) in Athens this month:
• Restaurants and bars have reopened their outdoor spaces;
• Open-air archaeological sites such as the Acropolis and the Roman Agora are open with strict protocols;
• Organised beaches are operating again with strict health protocols (you can read up on them here on our Covid Bulletin);
• In-store shopping returns on 14 May (you'll no longer need to make an appointment and receive an SMS permission - see our Covid Bulletin);
• Hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons are open (by appointment);
• Parks have reopened and fishing in coastal municipalities is permitted again;
• Museums will reopen with visitor quotas and protocols on 14 May (conservatories to follow on 17 May);
• Summer cinemas and outdoor cinema screenings recommence on 21 May with 75% capacity;
• Live shows in outdoor spaces and theatre venues resume on 28 May for seated attendance only, with a fixed occupancy rate of 50%;
• The current nightly curfew of 11pm will be extended until 12.30 from 14 May; while the existing system of mandatory SMS texts for citizen movements will be shelved on 14 May, one day before the restart of tourism.
We'll keep you posted of course as new measures and relaxations are announced and if you are planning on visiting Athens via the Athens International Airport, please make sure to read more detailed information on COVID-19, restrictions and rules on their official page. You can also find out about the latest official protocols regarding arrivals and departures in Greece - and how to obtain them - here.