Numerical simulations compared with field measurements are used to explain the effect of sea breezes on photochemical smog episodes in Athens during the Mediterranean Campaign of Photochemical Tracers on 12-14 September 1994. The numerical simulations, performed using a nonhydrostatic vorticity mesoscale model coupled to the Lurmann-Carter-Coyner photochemical module, are compared with ground-based lidar and aircraft measurements. The current analysis shows that the three selected days include the two main summertime flow patterns characteristic of the Athens peninsula, each of which lead to significantly different pollution amounts. On 12 and 13 September, a strong, northerly synoptic wind reduces the inland penetration of the sea breeze so that ozone concentrations within the greater Athens area remained low. In contrast, the weaker synoptic forcing on 14 September allowed the development of sea breezes over the whole peninsula and high ozone concentrations were found north and east of the city. An analysis based on pollution amounts and wind patterns is carried out to divide the peninsula into regions, each of which corresponds to a specific pollutant behavior.