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”
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