You must visit Athens, even for a short stay, when in Greece. The ancient city, named for the goddess Athena, has a long and varied history, from the Golden Age of Pericles when philosophers, artists and politicians set the foundations of ancient Greek civilization and even earlier. Socrates, Plato, the great tragedian, poets, sculptors, walked the streets of Athens and left their indelible influence.
We’re looking for an Athens destination specialist (if that’s you, please contact us), but in the meantime, please enjoy this introduction from Nelly Paraskevopoulou.
Situated in the basin of Attica, flanked in the north my mounts Parnitha and in the south by the harbor of Piraeus, modern Athens is a busy, cosmopolitan city, with interesting contrasts between past and future which create a unique atmosphere.
Ancient monuments coexist with contemporary restaurants, art and culture. The climate is considered ideal with mild winters and warm summers, there is a large choice of nearby beaches to spend relaxing time, interesting sightseeing, or just enjoying a coffee, meze or ouzo in a traditional taverna or an elegant café.
The most famous monument of Athens, which attracts thousands of visitors yearly from all over the world is of course the Acropolis, with the Parthenon as the focal point and other smaller temples dedicated to the ancient gods. A visit to the Acropolis is an experience in itself and must not be missed if you are visiting Athens. The surrounding area of old Athens, the neighborhood of Plaka is also a main attraction. Walking through the cobbled streets, visitors can see other important ancient monuments, such as the Roman Forum, the Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, the Tower of the Winds. In Plaka there is also a wide choice of traditional tavernas, serving local specialties. To get a wider and more in depth idea of ancient Athenian art and culture, visits the famous Acropolis Museum, very close to the Acropolis itself.
Ancient monuments definitely worth a visit are also the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Kerameikos ancient cemetery, the temple of Hephaestus and the theater of Dionysos, just below the Acropolis.
Lively Monastiraki, which practically is a continuation of Plaka, is a favorite hangout for the young crowd, with many bars and interesting shops. The best day to visit the Monastiraki Flea Market is Sunday, when the itinerant peddlers gather to sell their wares.
The neighborhood of Psyrri, very close the center of the city is famous for the antique shops, selling memorabilia and second hand objects, amongst which you can sometimes discover real treasures.
Just across busy Ermou street the historical neighborhood of Thission offers a wonderful view of the Acropolis from the central square with all the coffee bars.
The imposing building of the Greek Parliament is situated on Syntagma square, which is literally the center of the city, with the most prestigious hotels. Visitors enjoy watching the change of the guard outside the Parliament, with the Evzones wearing traditional costume. The National Gardens, right behind the Parliament, an oasis of peace and green, offers a relaxing break from sightseeing.
For a breathtaking view of Athens, take the funicular up to mount Lycabettus in the neighborhood of Kolonaki and enjoy the panorama. If you prefer to enjoy the sunset amongst the ruins of the temple of Poseidon, Sounion is not far from Athens and offers an unforgettable experience.
Athens however is not only about ancient ruins and history. Lively nightlife, interesting shopping, beaches and more can be enjoyed at a short distance. If visiting in the summer season, you can swim at the beaches of Glyfada and Vouliagmeni on the south coast, or Nea Makri, Rafina, Schinias on the east coast.
The high end neighborhoods of Kolonaki in the center, Glyfada in the south suburbs and Kifissia in the north, offer a wide choice of luxury brand shopping.
All in all Athens exists on a level between ancient myths and 21st century reality. Athenians love their city and are enthusiastic about offering information and help to visitors. So expect a warm welcome all year round.
Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.
Price ranges are quoted in €
See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
€ =>Tickets less than €15 per person
€€ => Tickets €15- €30 per person
€€€ => Tickets €30 per person
Sleep — Out of town/rural
€=> Rooms less than €60 for a double
€€ => Rooms €60 – €100 for a double
€€€ =>Rooms €100 for a double
Sleep — Large Cities
€ => Rooms less than €100 for a double
€€ => Rooms €100 – €150 for a double
€€€ => Rooms €150 for a double
€ => €5- €10 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€ => €10 – €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€€=> €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
N/A => Not applicable
€ => Tickets less than €25 per person
€€ => Tickets €25 – €50 per person
€€€ => Tickets €50 per person