Budget (or indeed any) travellers to Greece should look out for evening 'summer cinemas' where locals sensibly sit outside to watch films, rather than sweat it out inside. They're also great value (although you might want to spray yourself with insect repellent first). The most spectacular has to be the rooftop Cine Paris right in the historic centre of Athens where the action on screen has to compete with the magnificent view of the Parthenon. Wonderful.
Plaka Square, Athens
Greece has a strong tradition of open air cinema in the summer months, and Athens has a startling number of venues. They can often be a bit shabby, and you'd best bring your own refreshments but with the right movie it can be great. I saw Tarantino's Death Proof on a rooftop in Exarchia, and it's hard to believe it could be better viewed any other way.
The most beautiful old, low-lit bar, which actually makes its own ouzo and liqueurs on the premises. Even if you don't want to have a drink, pop your head in the door and have a look - stunning. And with an outdoor rooftop cinema, The Cine Paris, just over the (pedestrianised) street, perfect for having a few drinks and waiting for the sun to go down before going to see a film.
41 Kydatheneon St, The Plaka, Athens
Tel: 210 323 2110
Open air cinemas are a nice experience, if you want to sit back under the stars with a drink in your hand and enjoy a much loved classic film (which is, to be fair, the majority of their repertoire).
If however you are a serious film buff and want to capture every second from the latest releases then this won't be the place for you. They are often located in residential areas, which means that the sound has to be kept low to avoid disturbing the neighbours, and at times can drowned out by heavy traffic. Most are no longer a serious commercial proposition and rely on subsidy from the council to continue. The projection equipment is often outdated too and the first show of the evening often begins before sunlight has faded enough to see the picture.
I would still recommend a visit or two.
One thing that Athenians claim to do best and a must-try experience for anyone who visits the city between May-September. There are dozens of great open-air cinemas from which to choose, but mostly because of a privileged location and quality of sound, I would recommend Aegli cinema, in Zappion Gardens.
Zappion Gardens, 105 57 Athens, (+30) 210 3369369, (+30) 210 3369370, (+30) 210 3369300
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