There are several footballing hotspots across Greece (and, indeed, the wider Mediterranean), but you’ll be hard pressed to beat a weekend groundhopping in Athens.
As well as eternal rivals Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, you can take a trip to the Olympic Stadium to see AEK Athens; alternatively, you can check out one of the many smaller neighbourhood clubs in the city, such as Atromitos, Apollon Smyrnis, and Kallithea.
Here’s a fast breakdown of Athens’ football teams, as well as some of the key things you need to know about groundhopping here.
Grounds I Have Visited
Georgios Karaiskakis (Olympiacos 2-1 Volos) | 28 Nov 2021
Apostolos Nikolaides (Panathinaikos 2-0 Panetolikos) | 28 Nov 2021
Athens Football Teams: A Who’s Who
There are several professional football teams in Athens, Pireaus, and the immediate surrounding areas, including:
- Olympiacos (Piraeus)
- AEK Athens
- Apollon Smyrnis
- Atromitos Athens
- Ionikos (Piraeus)
- Olympiacos B (Piraeus)
- Panathinaikos B
- AEK Athens B
- Agios Ierotheos
- Ethnikos Piraeus (Piraeus)
- AO Karavas (Piraeus)
- PAO Rouf
Below the 3rd-tier Gamma Ethniki, several amateur leagues operate under the jurisdiction of the Athens (EPSA) and Piraeus (EPSP) football clubs associations.
Unfortunately, it can be a little tricky to buy tickets in Athens – especially for high-profile games and derbies. Tickets do not often go on sale until 3-4 days before the game itself and can sometimes be held for even longer.
It’s possible in most cases to buy tickets online or on the gate (although big derbies may sell out). When purchasing online, you will need to provide an ID number in lieu of a Greek social security number. However, this system can be hit and miss, and you may need to take your chances on the day.
It’s also worth noting that some clubs require the purchase of a club membership (usually around €10) in order to buy tickets. In reality, this is a “donation” to the other sporting departments of that club.
In terms of sell outs, you’re unlikely to encounter any obstacles, although derbies between the big three – especially Olympiacos and Panathinaikos – are an altogether more complex prospect. As a general indicator, though, the following table (based on attendance data from the 2021/22 season) can give you an idea of satiety:
|AEK Athens||Olympic Stadium||69,618||13,916||20%|
|Ionikos||Dimotiko Gipedo Neapolis||5,500||991||18%|
|Apollon Smyrnis||Gipedo Rizoupolis “Georgios Kamaras”||14,200||664||5%|
|Atromitos Athens||Stadio Peristeriou||9,050||723||8%|
Other Sports in Athens
Both volleyball and water polo have a sizable following in the Greek capital but, after football, basketball is undoubtedly Athens’ sport of choice.
This is partly due to the fact that the city’s three biggest teams are also its three biggest football clubs: Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, and AEK. Unsurprisingly, domestic games are just as intense as their footballing counterparts, and groundhoppers looking for something a little different – but just as intense – should definitely keep it mind.
Athens has a genuinely impressive basketball pedigree, too. Both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos are licensed members of the Euroleague (European basketball’s premier competition), while NBA superstar Giannis Antetokoumpo started his career here.
Internationally, Athens is served by Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, which is around 30km from the city centre.
Athens hosted the 2004 Olympics and, as a result, operates a modern and comprehensive transport infrastructure. Many of the city’s stadiums are easily accessible via the Metro, while taxis can be hit and miss.
You can find more travel information the official Athens tourism website.