The Magic of Athenian Open-Air Cinemas

Step into a different movie-going experience with the city's summertime outdoor cinemas


Tiny oases tucked in among towering buildings, the summer cinemas of Athens do not aim to captivate their audiences with their films alone. Resisting the trend of multiplexes and ear-splitting sound, these open-air movie theaters have retained their retro atmosphere. They are places where you can sip a cold beer and munch on a hot dog in a courtyard or terrace smelling of jasmine while gazing into the cat-like eyes of Audrey Hepburn or perhaps over her shoulder at the actual Acropolis, lit up at night… both equally charming. Non smokers beware, though: summer cinemas still offer cigarette-loving Greeks the option to light one up.

Whether you’re a movie fan or not, a visit to an open-air cinema is worthwhile: they have greenery, usually a view, a long history and die-hard fans from all over the world.

“Resisting the trend of multiplexes and ear-splitting sound, these open-air movie theaters have retained their retro atmosphere”

RECOMMENDED

Cine Thision: One of the oldest summer cinemas in Athens, it opened in 1935. It has an amazing view of the Acropolis and the owner makes her own sour-cherry juice. • 7 Apostolou Pavlou, Thiseio

Cine Paris: Just a stone’s throw from the Acropolis, it was established in the 20s by a hairdresser who named it in honor  of the the city where he’d worked for much of his life. • 11 Kydathineon, Plaka

Cine Aigli: Good acoustics, comfortable chairs and great snacks, right in the middle of a lovely park.• Zappeio

Riviera: For a slice of real life in the alternative side of Athens, in a garden between downtown buildings. 46 Valtetsiou, Exarchia

Dexameni: This was the site of Hadrian’s Aqueduct, which supplied the city up until Turkish rule. Now it is home to a cool cinema with a mean canteen. Dexameni Square, Kolonaki

*Look for the banners advertising the 6th Athens Open Air Film Festival, running through September at archaeological sites, parks, public squares and other spots around the city.

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