Athens Travel Guide

Athens Overview

As with many capital cities, Athens possesses a mystical charm that never fails in captivating the imagination of the visitors it receives by the bucket loads. The principle city of Greece, in the watchful eye of three prominent mountains and with the enticing waters of the Aegean Sea flowing peacefully at the ancient port of Piraeus, is alive with a wealth of history, culture, mythology and cutting-edge cosmopolitan life. Blessed with architectural masterpieces at every turn of the head, the citys grandeur matches that of Rome and often feels like one enormous outdoor museum.

 
Dominated by the colossal Acropolis and ruins of the Pantheon, although being a sprawling city, the bulk of Athens attractions lie within easy reach of the centre, Syntagma Square. With so much to see, walking is a great way to explore the various districts of this fascinating ancient metropolis. South of Syntagma Square, Plaka, in the watchful eye of the Acropolis, with its zigzag of streets, is a wonderful and vibrant quarter blessed with shops, restaurants and stunning architecture. In close proximity, Monastiraki is the largest flea market and bazaar, where vendors sell everything imaginable, both old and new. Moving away from the centre and towards the coast, the old buzzing port of Piraeus is where visitors will find the citys finest and stylish bars and restaurants.
 
A hectic city for the most parts, those looking to relax shall be happy to know that Athens boasts some fine regions in which to take time out. The National Gardens, in the heart of the city, are a wonderful shaded area of subtropical trees, pristine lawns, walkways and ponds. The more adventurous can head out to the surrounding Athens Hills, where they will be met with unsurpassed views of the Saronic Gulf and Aegean Sea. 
 
Boasting hot and dry summers and mild springs and autumn, Athens is a city that can be visited at any time of the year. Winter months are known for the odd rainy or even snowy day; however, this should never deter anyone from making the journey and becoming part of this truly magical and historic place.

Things to do in Athens

Acropolis - Rising out of the crowds and visible from all corners of the city, The Acropolis, complimented by the striking Pantheon ruins, is one of the Western worlds most significant architectural icons and ancient sites. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the structures, dating back to the Bronze Age, is a remarkable sight and one, which must be seen to appreciate its true beauty. Open daily from 8am - 7pm (5pm in winter). Entrance 12.

 

Plaka - At the foot of the Acropolis is a charming historical village within the city. The typical spiders web of winding alleyways is home to whitewashed Cycladic homes, shops, restaurants, museums and Roman ruins.

 

Ancient Agora - During the ancient times, the Agora (market) was the citys meeting place, the central hub for political and social life and the religious and cultural heart. First developed in 6th century BC, the site where Socrates once voiced his philosophy is full of ancient sights of historical interest, including churches, temples and a museum. Entrance fee 4/2.

 

Temple of Olympian Zeus - The largest temple in Greece, whose construction was started by Peisistratos in the 6thC BC, to be finally completed by Hadrian some 700 years later. Open daily from 8am - 7.30pm (5.30pm in winter). Entrance fee 2/1.

 

Theatre of Dionysos - Huge theatre on the southeast side of the Acropolis that played a huge role in Athenian theatre dramatics throughout the 5thC BC, the so-called Golden Age.

 

Museums in Athens

Benaki Museum - The family home of Antonis Benakis turned into a museum to showcase his extensive private collection.

Museum of Cycladic & Ancient Greek Art - 230 exhibits of artefacts from the Cycladic to Roman times, with a large emphasis on Cycladic pieces.

Museum of Greek Folk Art - Fine exhibits of worldly and religious folk art from the 18th and 19th centuries.

National Archaeological Museum - One of the finest collections of archaeological findings and preservation Greek culture and history.

 

Athens Nightlife

Athens nightlife rivals that of many of the worlds pioneering cities with a feast of cafés, restaurants, bars, pubs and discos. The main areas to go are Piraeus, Psiri, Plaka and Thission, where things only start to get going after the stroke of midnight!

Gagarin 205 - Popular, predominantly rock club, hosting DJ nights and Greek cinema evenings.

Mikes Irish Bar - Expat favourite and all you grow to expect from an Irish bar.

The James Joyce - Imported beers, lives music and sports events.

Café Boheme - Laidback vibe, music to suit all tastes and happy hours from 5-9pm.

Kibubu Music Bar - Friendly mix of locals and tourists and good music.

Hotels in Athens

Budget Hotels Athens

Aristoteles Hotel - Great value, centrally located hotel. Tel (30) 210 5228127.
Athens Easy Access Hostel - Cheap and comfortable beds, walking distance from major sights. Tel (30) 210 5243211.
Hostel Aphrodite - Welcoming hostel, friendly staff and lively bar. Tel (30) 210 8810589.
 
 
Midrange Hotels Athens
Ionis Hotel - 3-star hotel within walking distance of Plaka and Omonia Square. Tel (30) 210 5232311.
Dorian Inn Hotel - Another hotel close to Omonia Square. This one with superb bar and restaurant and great views. Tel (30) 210 5239782.
 
Luxury Hotels Athens
Eridanus Art Luxury Hotel - Charming and elegant hotel in an old converted mansion. Tel (30) 210 5205360.
Electra Palace Hotel - 5-star luxury in the Plaka district. Worth a visit for the pool. Tel (30) 210 3370000.

Athens Weather

Athens Travel Resources

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