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Introduction to Athens
Athens is the centre of civilization. Sprawling, atmospheric, and the centre of the ancient world, the capital of Greece is the most lively 3,400 year-old you’re ever likely to visit. The skyline is dominated by the ancient monuments of the Acropolis and the Parthenon, but Athens is one of the Mediterranean's coolest and most lively cities. Streets once walked by robed philosophers are now home to cool, fresh tavernas and restaurants, hotels in Athens are trendy and modern. Its tourist attractions could fill history textbooks – add in the beautiful blue skies, warm sun and some great shopping and you’ve got a world beating city break in Athens.
Find Things to do in Athens
Find Things to do in Athens
Things to do in Athens
Athens was the cradle of Western civilisation, and it is almost impossible to find a city with more history per square km. Foremost is the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Acropolis, a collection of ancient temples and monuments on top of a flat rocky hill high above the rest of the city. As well as the Parthenon, the temple to Athens’ divine benefactor and namesake, Athena, there’s the Erechtheum, a temple to a legendary king famed for its curvy carved caryatids (stone women), the Athena Nike temple, and an enlightening museum.
The city’s other archaeological attractions include the Agora – once the heart of Athens public life, now intriguing ruins – and the Archaeological Museum, which houses the world’s greatest collection of antique art and is beautifully situated on top of the hill.
It’s not all ancient history: a converted gasworks in Gazi is home to Technopolis, a cultural space devoted to the modern industrial art and modern architecture that also plays host to the city’s famous annual Jazz Festival every summer. Monastiráki Flea Market is a must visit for bargain hunters; fans of more modern art should head to the National Gallery, and those looking for child-friendly cultural attractions should hit the Benaki Museum, which has an especially interesting collection of historic toys and games.
Eating and Drinking in Athens
Although you don’t need to look hard to see that Athens’ gastronomic scene is international in scope, with plenty of fine-dining establishments, the roots of the city’s cuisine are classically Mediterranean: fresh fish, grilled meat and flavour-packed salads all drizzled with local olive oil.
Athenians usually start the day with something light: flaky, cheesy pastries are available all over the city. Lunch is normally around 2pm to 4pm, dinner at 9pm or 10pm, and many Greeks get together for coffee and/or snacks at about 6pm. Head to an ouzerie to sample the fearsomely strong Greek sprit, ouzo, and order 'Mezedes', which is simple tapas-sized portions of whatever the owner has made that day. The best is to eat fish fish in Greece, which is guaranteed success!
Weather in Athens is hot!. Athens is one of Europe’s most sun-kissed cities, and in the dry summer months between June and August the temperature frequently goes as high as 40ºC.
April and May are cooler, but still quite dry, and in the mild winters, from October onwards, rainfall comes usually in short, powerful showers. So you like warm and no showers? Go Greece and Athens.
When to go to Athens
Athens is a year-round destination, but for guaranteed sunshine, visit between March and November. If you’re sensitive to baking heat, however, steer clear in the height of summer. If you come to Athens between May and September, be sure to catch one of the performances of drama, ballet and music that comprise the summer long Athens and Epidaurus arts festival.
Flights to Athens land just 17,5km outside the city centre at Athens International Airport (also known as Elefthérios Venizélos). The airport handles direct flights from all over the world and offers connecting flights to the Greek islands, like Crete, Zakynthos etc.,. The Metro trains in Athens run every 30 minutes between the airport and Monastiráki station and are both quicker and cheaper than taxis, which can take up to an hour to make the journey. If you do take a taxi, make sure the meter’s running or you arrange a pickup via your hotel or make a booking of airport transfers.
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