The 5.1 magnitude tremor struck 23 kilometers (14 miles) near the capital, near Magoula, according to the Athens Institute of Geodynamics.
The Institute said there were seven aftershocks, with the largest measuring 3.1.
Residents who contacted the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center said the quake was strong but short, describing televisions shaking and objects falling from bookshelves.
There were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.
The Ministry of Citizen Protection in Athens said the city's fire brigade and police were being deployed. Two helicopters were also assessing the extent of damage.
A major earthquake measuring 5.9 hit Greece in 1999, leaving 143 people dead.
. (tagsToTranslate) europe (t) Athens: strong earthquake shakes Greek capital – CNN