Be happy in Athens

By ManpowerGroup Athens team

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*Updated version: 1/7/21

Are you a German speaker willing to live (or already living) in Athens? Then let us introduce you to a special project by ManpowerGroup in Greece, called Be local in Greece, that gives you the chance of a bright new career, and a new beggining in this beautigul city. Bist du bereit?
The point is not only to find a fulfilling job in Athens; it is to live happily here. This is exactly what it has been running on our minds here in ManpowerGroup in Greece, so we decided to create this super-complete compact guide for you, the German speaking community in Athens, to make your life here as easy and enjoyable as possible. Alles klar, lass uns anfangen. 

Note that Athens and Greece in general, has dealt with the Covid storm better than many countries in Europe. All foreign visitors can now come to Greece without the need for quarantine on arrival, provided they have a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travel or proof they’ve been fully vaccinated.

So, what do you need to know to get around the city? Which are the hippest places and the places you definitely must-see? Where to go if you get to feel… homesick? What you need to have in mind in order to live in Athens as a local (and even better than a local)?

Yeap, our tips are given from people who work for city cultural guides, and Athenians who simply adore their hometown and have tried to de-code it for you.

Getting around Athens

Transportation system in Athens is really affordable and covers most of the city and suburbs. The fastest and coolest means of getting around is the metro. Metro (underground and overground) is connected to: 

-the tram (taking you from the centre, all along the southern seaside) 

-the buses (taking you almost everywhere) 

-and the suburban railway (taking you to Piraeus, the port, up until the Athens Airport and many other places).

The Metro runs daily from 5:30 a.m. to 00:30 a.m. At peak hours, trains run every 5-6 minutes. 

You can use all means of public transport using the same ticket. The ticket costs €1.20, and you can use the same ticket for 90 minutes.

There are 3 types of “tickets” for getting around:

  1. The ticket: a rechargeable paper-ticket that can be charged with fares starting from €1.20 for a 90-minute trip, up to 5-day tickets. You can just go to a ticket machine and get it.
  2. The (anonymous) Ath.ena Card: a plastic card that can be charged with any fare, up to 5-day tickets. The only bad thing is that you can’t get half priced tickets and it has very few of the advantages of a personalized Ath.ena Card.
  3. The personalized Ath.ena Card: a plastic card with the picture and the name of the passenger it belongs to. It can be charged with any fare, up to a 365-day ticket and/or an extra amount up to 50 euros.

If you want to have all the information in your hands, you can use the Moovit app (for ios or android) and/or the Oasa app (for ios or android). View bus and train schedules, arrival times, service alerts and detailed routes on a map, so you know exactly how to get to anywhere in Athens. Sehr gut! 

Want a taxi?

You can easily get a cab on the street. But we recommend you use Beat app (for ios or android) or Uber (for ios or android) to request your ride and monitor its arrival.

Self service laundry

If you don’t have a washing machine at home or you don’t want to bother about washing and drying, no worries. Self service Laundromats are available in Athens! Some, like Athens Launderette, are available 24/7 close to the Acropolis Metro station, while others, like Easywash Self Service Laundry are open from early in the morning until midnight. Of course you still have the option of taking some clothes to regular cleaners/dry cleaners but you have to be prepared that this is a bit more pricey option.

Be happy in and out of work

Feeling happy where you work is one of the most important mood boosters when you live in a foreign country. And if you are a German-speaking candidate, yes, you can work in an environment in Athens where you can feel like home. Check your opportunities by submitting your CV here and ManpowerGroup will get in touch with you. There are a few international companies, like Webhelp, 24-7 Intouch, IntrumTTECZuluTrade and more, who are constantly seeking for German-speaking employees. 

 Working for such multilingual companies you get full training by expert instructors, while being in a truly multicultural “family” and enjoying many career development opportunities and benefits, like:

  • Competitive remuneration package
  • Extra salaries per year
  • Full training by highly skilled instructors
  • Amazing work environment in the heart of the Mediterranean!

And what about the relocation hassle? Some companies offer a complete relocation package including flight tickets from any German-speaking country to Greece, car transfer from Athens airport and hotel accommodation with breakfast for a couple of weeks. 

Eat (and drink!) like a local in Athens

If you are a food aficionado, Athens is by all means your type of city. Many hidden and not-so-hidden gems are around for you. OK, you may think “Why shouldn't we get the suggestions from Tripadvisor?”. Sure, you can always check in Tripadvisor and other traveling review sites. But here we will try to give you some super-useful condensed info that you may find handy if you want to narrow down your choices (and always staying in budget! That’s very important, isn’t?). Guten Appetit!

Top 3 Greek restaurants

Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani: One of the most authentic places, a deli house where you can have traditional dishes with gourmet sausages, pies, cold cuts to share and many more, in an old-style environment .

Aiolou 68: If you like fish and seafood this is the place for you. Almost hidden, this place gives you a very good seafood experience in a summery hall that makes you think you’re in a Greek island.

Ergon House: The latest addition to the gastronomic map of the city is located inside a hotel and is a food hall that celebrates the Greek cuisine culture with greengrocers, a butcher’s stall, a fishmonger’s stall and a bakery, a delicatessen and roastery, along with a bar and restaurant.

Top 3 vegan places

Avocado: A true vegan spot, with products and dishes coming from the Mediterranean, India, Mexico and other places of the world.

Mama Tierra: Salads, soups, falafels, vegan burgers and a whole lot that manifest what we call “healthy cuisine”.

Veganaki: In a chill out space, in this eatery where you can try many plant based delicacies such as pasta dishes, wraps, vegan omelets, and even vegan moussaka. Ja! Lecker. 

Top 3 sweet and dessert places

Serbetia: Probably the most famous hidden place in Psirri, dedicated to sweets. Delicious cakes, sweet pies and baklava. Make sure you don’t get a sugar rush.

Dickie Dee Athens: Not only does it serve freshly baked desserts but it also has homemade artisanal soft serve ice cream in great flavors – fior di latte, dark vegan chocolate, salted caramel, cherry cheesecake etc. You can enjoy it in a cup, in a cone or even wrapped in cotton candy!

Stani: It is considered to be one of the oldest and most traditional dessert places in Athens. This… dairy place is specialized in creamy desserts, great yogurt with nuts and honey, loukoumades (Greek donuts) and many more.

Top 3 bars to have your after-office drinks

The Clumsies
A for Athens
Baba Au Rum

The Clumsies: In a neoclassical building, dating from 1910, there is this multi-bar that has been awarded many times in worldwide level. This is an exciting place, with rooms and courtyards surrounding the elegant mainstream bar, and a workshop that brings unique techniques and in-house ingredients.

A for Athens: On the top of a boutique hotel in the centre of Athens there is a cocktail bar with unparalleled views to Acropolis and the surroundings. Also it has been awarded in bar awards for its well balanced and imaginative cocktails.

Baba au Rum: Another Athenian bar that has conquered the world ranking, this one is run by experts in rum. The rare rum collection is constantly being updated while an aclaimed team behind the bar supports the creative list. Prost! 

Open-air cinemas

Thission Cinema
Cine Dexameni
Cine Anesis

Watching your favorite movie or a blockbuster under the stars is a “must” experience in Athens. Every neighborhood in town has at least one outdoor cinema! Grab a soda, a cocktail and some hot popcorn and enjoy yourself, in a yard where a big screen, chairs in a row and verdant settings is all you can ask for.

Cine Dexameni: Located at the foot of  the beautiful Lycabettus hill, you’ll find Cine Dexameni, a classy and cosy cinema, a favorite of the locals. It screens mostly European films and some selected American ones.

Cine Thission: With a spectacular view to the Acropolis and the Parthenon on its left, Cine Thission was recently awarded as the most beautiful open-air cinema in the world.

Cine Anesis: A cinema on a terrace! Anesis in Greek means comfort and this is what you get when watching a movie in this cinema’s comfortable chairs and sofas.


Let's meet at the park

Stavros Niarchos Park
National Garden
Lycabettus Hill

Over the last years Athens is getting greener and greener, and new “green zones” and parks are popping out! Combined with the almost eternal sunshine, a stroll in the park is the perfect reason for you to be out.

Stavros Niarchos Park: Located in the Stavros Niarchos Complex, this is not just a simple park. This is a recreational space with landscaped walking paths, playgrounds and such, a true “home” to a rich variety of flora, including olive trees, evergreen shrubs, as well as an extensive selection of indigenous Greek aromatic plants.

National Garden: Next to the Greek Parliament and Syntagma Square, the National Garden together with neighbouring Zappeion Park, covers a full 160 acres in the middle of the city, with more than 500 species of trees and plants from around the world.

Lycabettus Hill: One of Athens most recommended green areas is not exactly a park but a hill. Very close to Syntagma, Lycabettus Hill has paved paths for you to walk and jog into the green and a spectacular 360-degree view to the city of Athens. There is also a café-restaurant up there.

German moments in Athens

"Berlin is the new Athens" by street artist Cacao Rocks, Athens, Psirri. Photo by aesthetics of crisis.

You may have heard the debate for whether ‘Athens is the… new Berlin’. There is also a mural stating that… Berlin is the new Athens! We can’t confirm any of these two statements, as every city has its own heritage and culture. But for sure you will notice many German places, references and vibes here.

Goethe-Institut Athen

Goethe-Institut Athen is a non-profit institute that promotes the study of German in Athens and encourages international cultural exchange. It also organizes in Athens a multitude of cultural events (conferences, lectures, cinema screenings, concerts, literary evenings, art events and more)!

The streets

You will probably notice street names like Schliemman and Ziller. German archeologists and architects played their part in morphing the early years of Greece.

Food and the city

Beer Garden Ritterburg. Located in Kaisariani, this is the first German restaurant that ever opened in Greece and is still considered to be one of the top choices. It is an absolute paradise for schnitzel, spätzle and an amazing haxle.

Petra’s Gourmet. A very small eatery in the heart of Athens, with a German… heart. Schnitzel, wuerste and a good selection of beers. But keep in mind that it closes early in the evening (approximately at 19:00).

Berlin by 5 drunk men. This place may have a funny name but it has a tradition in beer and good food. It’s the only place in Athens where you can pour your own beer straight from the tap.


Food delivery in Athens

You just got home, you’re hungry and the last thing you want to do is cook. For your sake, delivery services in Athens are very-very popular.

Check out some of the biggest services, like efood and Wolt (if you are coming from Hungary you definitely know this). There is a couple more delivery apps but still not fully covering English speaking audiences, so don’t bother.

Best attractions and sightseeing

By all means you should spend some mornings in top rated Museums like: the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Benaki Museum, and the Museum of Cycladic Art.

If you are an art lover note down:

National Gallery: Here is the biggest and most significant art collection you can find in the city. The National Gallery re-opened its doors in 2021 after an extended renovation. Its premises host 1,000 unique artwork with some being presented for the first time. Keep in mind that in the main building it also hosts an exhibition called “Portraits of the Heroes of the Greek War of Independence”, from the German artist Karl Krazeisen.

Bernier/Eliades Gallery: You will find it in Thisseio and has introduced to the public numerous artistic currents, such as Arte Povera, Minimalism, Land and Conceptual Art etc.

The Image Gallery: Opened in 2009, it was born out of a love for illustration art of all types. The gallery displays original posters, covering subject matters such as cinema, travel, advertising, sports, political propaganda, music and more.

Acropolis Museum
National Gallery
Clio Muse Tours

Here are some good ideas if you want to dive into the city’s secrets:

Download “Clio Muse Tours”: self-guided tours for almost anything you need to see in Athens. This is an award-winning tour guide for your smartphone, plus it has a bunch of very creative ideas for audio (or even virtual!) tours like: “The cats of Athens” tour (!), Love as Chimera, Greek Mythology Traces and many more.

Use the “With Locals” app: this is an app using trusted locals in order to give you tours and tips to discover the real, less touristic local culture of Athens.

Cost of living

Cost of living in Athens is vastly different from Western Europe. The minimum salary in Athens is €650/month, and the average cost for a 1-bedroom apartment is around €250-300. In general, prices are therefore much lower than what you might be used to from your home country.
Consumer Prices in Athens are 11.97% lower than in Berlin.
Consumer Prices including rent in Athens are 25.58% lower than in Berlin.
Rent Prices in Athens are 54.82% lower than in Berlin.

Get around on (fun) wheels

Hop on. You think that a Red Bus (City Sightseeing Hop On Hop off) is too touristic for you? Well, think again! Even locals like to hope on and off some times to rediscover their city. For sure it will help you orientate yourself quickly and see historical treasures in a short time. Your ticket allows you to get on and off the red bus as many times as you want during the day, as you explore Athens, Piraeus (the port) and the Attica coastline. And of course you can get the city commentary in German. 

Rent a bike. If you love bicycling, you should know that over the last years there is an increasing movement of bikers around the city. Some excellent solutions if you want to rent a bike or join in a bicycle tour are Athens by bike and Funky Ride in Acropolis, or Coco-Mat bike with its super cool wooden bikes, very close to Monastiraki.

Rent a Segway. Segway is always a fun alternative if you want to… glide through the highlights of a city. You can check it out as an option in Athens Segway Tours.

Want to network with other German speaking people in Athens?

German expats in Athens are a vibrant, supporting community. Visit the InterNations site and connect with fellow German and German-speaking mates near you. You can easily join the community, exchange experiences, tips, help for everyday topics and many more. In addition to that, InterNations organize meetings for Germans and other German-speaking communities from time to time, so you get the chance to all meet in person. 

Also visit “Expats in Greece Athens” facebook page. With over 3.000 active members you can find much useful stuff: places and rooms to share and rent, inexpensive lessons of greek language etc.

Healthcare in Athens

What you need to know is that emergency care in Greece is free of charge regardless of one’s nationality. However, unless an expat is:

  • employed in the country
  • has a social security number (known as an AMKA) 
  • and has a health insurance (public or private)…

…they will have to pay their own medical bills for most primary care visits.

So be sure that you work for a company that covers these preconditions.

The most acclaimed companies in Greece, provide private health insurance to all employees!

Phone numbers to keep on your mobile:

112 as you may know is the emergency telephone number for all emergency services (ambulance, fire and rescue, police). Calling 112 is free of charge and can be made from a landline or mobile phone (even without a SIM card).

1434 is for Hospitals, pharmacies and doctors on call.

1135 is a 24-hour line for symptoms and questions regarding COVID-19.

11888 is the Greek directory for any useful telephone or information.

210 728 5111 is the number of Deutsche Botschaft in Athen, the German Embassy in Athens.

Worauf wartest du? Athen erwartet Sie!

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