Open-Air Cinemas: Breath of Night Life in Athens



If you find yourself stuck in Athens during this hot July, don’t despair. Athens is full of fun and fulfillment even amidst the summer and the harsh financial circumstances. There is no need to spend too much money to have a wonderful time in the Greek capital and enjoy the wonderful warm evenings.

Athens and its people have always loved the cinema. And more particularly, the summer ones operating from June to September. Open-air cinemas with their director’s seats, the smell of popcorn and jasmine from the nearby neighborhood gardens and the silently devoted audience watching classical movies on the white projection screen give the 7th art experience a new dimension.

Under the clear starry sky, Athens downtown has more than 15 open-air cinemas welcoming cinephiles who want to watch the reruns of movies from the winter or classical movies that appeal more to the wider public. Black and white movies are a must for open-air cinemas, spreading the feeling of a forlorn era the audience can still relive.

With two programs running, usually one at 9pm and the other at 11pm, you can purchase your tickets just 15 minutes before the performance, while you can also enjoy a drink or a snack in most open-air cinemas’ gardens.

They first summer cinema opened in Greece in early 1900, and they are usually located on a terrace of a block of flats or in a backyard surrounded by flowers and small trees and bushes.

One of the oldest open-air cinemas in Athens is Zefyros Outdoor Cinema in the Thisseion area. Close by, one can find the cinema Thisseion Cine. There is also the Cine Paris overlooking the Acropolis, in Philomousou Etairia square next to the bust of Chatziapostolou.The neighborhood of Exarheia is full of open-air cinemas, such as the VOX cinema on a terrace, or the Riviera in a backyard. Located on Dexamenis Square in Kolonaki, you can find one of the oldest cinemas in Athens Dexameni just up the hill.

According to the official website of National Greek Tourism Organization, the summer cinema possibly originated in Egypt as a development of the shadow theatre. In Greece and especially in Athens, it is already popular before the war when silent movies became talkies, one of the most affordable means of entertainment. Nowadays, tickets are at about 8 Euros for adults and at 6 Euros for children, students and people over 65 years old.


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