Times Online Guide to visiting Athens

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Pollution is sometimes a problem, but recent improvements made before the Olympic Games last year mean that now is a good time to be there. What better place to do business than the original city of democracy, learning, philosophical excellence and the arts?

Arriving: The state-of-the-art Eleftherios Venizelos international airport was finished in 2001 in readiness for the Olympics and makes flying into Athens easier than ever, says athensguide.com. It’s about 20 miles from the capital and the city centre can be reached via a new six-lane motorway or the new metro extension. Immaculate trains leave every 30 minutes and stop at all stations to Monastiraki in the centre of town. The names of each stop, and signposts in general, are now translated phonetically into English to make life easier for travellers.

Business etiquette: The linchpin of business dealings in Greece is personal relationships, says kwintessential.co.uk. The Greeks prefer to do business with friends, but becoming too chummy too quickly might cause offence. The preferred way to do business is face to face and appointments are ideally made one or two weeks in advance. Afternoons are usually reserved for lunch so are not a good time for business, says worldexecutive.com. Nepotism is not frowned upon either, so expect to find relatives working for the same company. Printed material should be written in both English and Greek and an interpreter is a good idea.

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