Locals sign up as Athens' guides
Jeremy Guest: August 2011
Locals sign up as Athens' guides.
Holiday visitors to Athens are to get shown the city sites by locals thanks to the launch of a new tourist service. 'This is MY Athens' is a new tourist venture that aims to bring together visitors on holiday in the capital city and people who live there. More than 150 local volunteers have registered with the website www.thisisathens.org to offer guide services to Athens.
They also aim to help promote cultural links between city dwellers and visitors.
Local people in Athens were asked to volunteer their time to show visitors around the city and to share part of their lives, show them the different faces of Athens and the tourist attractions they will not find in travel guides.
It could include visits to favourite cafes and tavernas, hidden bars and clubs or even secret places where locals go with their friends and enjoy a good views of the city.
The idea is to let an Athenian take you to that special neighbourhood bakery, or some little known area with specialist shops for handmade souvenirs.
Visitors to Athens can sign up online in the My Athens visitor greeter programme The service is free and local volunteers do not accept tips. Everyone pays their own way.
That goes for all situations, including transportation, food and drinks and entrance fees to museums, for example.
It could appeal to those on holiday in the Greek islands who hope to spend a little time in Athens during their stay as well as those planning a holiday in the capital itself.
'This is My Athens' is designed to serve individuals and small groups of six or less who are not part of an official tour group.
If visitors want a professional licensed tourist guide they can contact the Association of Greek National Guides through the website at www.tourist-guides.gr or by phone on +30 210 323 0090.
A spokesman said: 'The purpose of the new service is to bring together visitors with Athens locals, which means people who want to explore the city with those who know it better than anyone — its inhabitants.'