Daily life in Athens Greece by an Athenian

There have been thousands of articles about Athens on thousands of websites but this particular article it wont be a tourist guide to Athens. The article is about my personal views and experiences as someone that was born and lived here, so don’t expect a review of Athens written for tourists that usually visit the capital of Greece mostly for its monuments and mainly Acropolis and its museums or for a stop over before getting to the Greek islands with a visit to Plaka and Monastiraki and probably some shopping in Athens.

But Athens is not only the area around the sacred rock of the Acropolis of Athens ,it is a huge city that together with its greater area and suburbs counts about 5 million inhabitants almost the half of the Greek population. Athens like most metropolis in the world is divided in to the so called rich areas where the the stronger financial social classes are living or they used to live and the the poor areas where the labour class use to live traditionally ,though this kind of diversity is a bit hard to be accurate.

The measurement today of “rich” and “poor” areas is a matter of rental and building costs. In the first zone lets call it the expensive area are the suburbs of Psihiko, Marousi, Ekali, Kifisia, Drosia the so called north suburbs and Paleo Faliro , Alimos, Glyfada, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza in the Athens Riviera in the South West.

In the center we have the less expensive areas of Kypseli, Pagrati, Ampelokipoi , Ano and Kato Patisia ,Nea Ionia and Perissos to the north and Nea Smyrni, Kalithea Moshato to the south. The working class areas are located to the north west including the areas of Liosia Peristeri and further west Aegaleo, Agia Varvara, Korydallos, Nikea, Amfiali ,Drapetsona ,Keratsini and Perama the traditional strong holds of the labour class including Kaminia, most of them belonging to the area of Piraeus. Piraeus its self has its own rich areas that are traditionally Pasalimani and Kastela and lately Hadjikiriakio.This deviation reflects as well the real estate and property prices.

I had the luck to be born when the Attica sky was still deep blue and the sun was smiling to Athens over Hymetous mount every morning without the infamous smog that today is hanging a few hundred meters of the roof of Athens. that was the time when when the children where playing happy in the small poor neighbourhoods without any cars passing by. But life goes on and things are chamging. My area that belongs to the labour class areas of Piraeus had only 7000 inhabitants when I was born in the 50’s and today has more then 200000, that gives an idea of the population grouth the last 50 years in the basin of Attica.

Describing the Life in Athens today its more a matter of personal view and subjective criticism depending of the personal experience and financial situation, but some problems of athens are universal and effecting both rich and poor.
The biggest problems of Athens are the Pollution ,the overpopulation and the anarchic building planning. You can read here more about the traffic, parking and driving in Athens.

The pollution problem after the summer fires on the mount Parnitha that destroyed a huge part of the National Forest of Parnitha (the main oxygen lung of Athens) will bring more problems to the already existing ones.

The other problem of Athens is the population growth and therefore more flats growing like mushrooms day by day, many Greek Banks advertising attractive housing loans and many maisonettes are build almost in every empty space of Attica. Many Athenians that have the financial facilities are getting a second house and slowly moving out of Athens in the small coastal resorts like Nea Makri, Rafina, Agioi Theodoroi, Kinetta ech.

As the cost of living in Athens increases whilst the salaries remain low, a big part of the lower income population has not many alternatives of recreation and entertainment except a small family outing for a sulky ,pizza or coffee and ice cream in the local square. A big part of the weekly shopping mainly fruits and vegetables held in the local street markets. The Greek TV is the only window in the world for many families of the low incomes.