This study explores the Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) activity of atmospheric particles during intense biomass burning periods in an urban environment. During a one-month campaign in the center of Athens, Greece, a CCN counter coupled with a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS) and a high resolution Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-AMS) were used to measure the size-resolved CCN activity and composition of the atmospheric aerosols. During the day, the organic fraction of the particles was more than 50%, reaching almost 80% at night, when the fireplaces were used. Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) analysis revealed 4 factors with biomass burning being the dominant source after 18:00 until the early morning. The CCN-based overall hygroscopicity parameter κ ranged from 0.15 to 0.25. During the night, when the biomass burning organic aerosol (bbOA) dominated, the hygroscopicity parameter for the mixed organic/inorganic particles was on average 0.16. The hygroscopicity of the biomass-burning organic particles was 0.09, while the corresponding average value for all organic particulate matter during the campaign was 0.12. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd