Everything you need to know to visit Athens

 

General information on tourism in Athens

Athens is known as the historical capital of Europe, it was founded in the 5th century BC and it has an amazing architecture thanks to the conquerors who occupied it. It is the capital of the Greek state since 1834,  and almost two centuries later it became a modern metropolis full of charms.

The city of Athens is considered more than an open-air museum. Today it has an urban personality full of tradition. Honoring the Greek goddess Athena (goddess of wisdom and inspiration), the city has become a cosmopolitan place with exciting nightlife, unique cuisine and indescribable landscapes.

From the iconic Acropolis to the charming neighborhoods, the city is a mix of historical heritage and modernity. The best time to visit Athens is between mid-April and mid-June, even between September until the end of October, with average temperatures around 22 ° C.

What to see and do in Athens?

Recommended visits in the city

The historic center of Athens has the largest pedestrian area in Europe and it is part of the route that leads to the most visited places, allowing you to visit archaeological sites, museums and amazing neighborhoods. The recommended visits in the city are described below:

Acrpolis of Athens

The Acropolis is an emblematic place of Athens. The tour allows you to learn about the development of civilization before Christ. You can start at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, one of the largest in antiquity and near Hadrian's Arch at the symbolic entrance to Athens. In addition, when you climb the sacred rock of the Acropolis, you will find the famous temple of the Parthenon (in memory of the Goddess Athena).

 

Acropolis museum

One of the most important contemporary works in Athens, it has 14,000 square meters and displays the historical treasures of ancient Greece. It is considered one of the best museums in the world. It is always advisable to visit the Parthenon gallery for its great recreation.

 

Monastiraki, Psirri

It is part of the historical area, it has narrow streets and it is the place of the traditional bazaar of the city (Yousouroum). Nearby is the famous neighborhood of Psyrri, known for an active nightlife, offering lots of bars and clubs. You will also find shops with traditional crafts.

 

Plaka neighborhood

Without a doubt, the busiest neighborhood in Athens. It is east of the Acropolis and is known as "the quarter of the gods" for its important historical sites and museums. Walking through its narrow streets is almost a traditional walk when you visit Athens.

 

Propylaea of Athens

It is the architecture that serves as the entrance to the Acropolis of Athens. It was built on the ruins of other older Propylaea, around the year 437 B.C.

 

Temple of Zeus

Also known as the Olimpeion, it is an impressive marble structure that honors the god Zeus. You can still admire 15 columns of the old building.

Change of  Guard in Athens

The Evzones (a special unit of the Hellenic Army that guards the Monument of the Unknown Soldier) carry out a changing of the guard every Sunday at 11:00. They also perform the ritual (short version) every hour of the day.

Roman agora

Old civic center at the time of Roman rule is located between Plaka and Monastiraki. Here you can see the remains of the Roman public baths.

Shopping in Athens

The city center has a variety of stores for shopping, from handmade items to malls and designer boutiques. Visit the famous Christakis men's shirt tailor shop.

Athens at night

The city is as lively at night as it is by day, so you can enjoy the night walks, panoramic views of the city and a large number of taverns in the historic center. One of the biggest attractions is Thissio's open-air cinema.

Hadrian's Arch

Also known as Hadrian's Gate, it is an arch designed in marble with 18 meters high. It is the western entrance to the historic center of Athens.

 

Nightlife in Athens

The Gazi neighborhood is a destination for lovers of night entertainment. The area is famous for live performances of Rebetiko (traditional Greek music). You will also find crowded places where famous DJs perform, ideal for those who prefer a more exciting night. The Estate 360º Entertainment is a modern club and concert hall, offering events and live music, with a restaurant that has an elevated position and panoramic views. Gazarte is also a busy site, offering a multi-story cultural space with live music.

Athens Riviera

The famous Athens Riviera (just 10 km from the city) is the coastal area that offers a large number of beach clubs, bowling alleys and night entertainment venues. “Island” is one of the most popular clubs in the area, where visitors from all over the world have been gathering for more than 20 years. In addition, it allows access from the sea for those arriving by yacht.

Excursions from Athens

Nearby islands (Argo-Saronic Islands of Hidra, Spetses and Aegina)

The Greek archipelago has more than 6,000 islands in 7,500 km between the Aegean and Ionian Sea and many beaches have Blue Flag recognition. This feature allows visitors to have freedom and security when doing activities such as windsurfing, diving, and sailing, among other activities. In addition, they have an ideal climate in season and crystal clear waters that attract millions of tourists every year.

The Argo-Saronic Gulf Islands offer easy access from Athens. The ferry route from Piraeus port to the Saronic Islands is carried out by 2 companies: Hellenic Seaways (it runs up to 5 times a day with a duration of 55 minutes) and Saronic Ferries (it travels up to 12 times a week with a duration of 2 hours 40 minutes per trip).

Aegina Island is one of the most popular routes near Athens and has an ideal environment for family vacations. You can also visit the island of Spetses, which has a naval history and is famous for its important contribution to the War of Independence of 1821. It also preserves the tradition for its picturesque port and architecture.

Hydra is considered one of the most romantic islands near Athens. It has narrow streets, there are no cars and it maintains its characteristics through the passage of time. You can get accommodation on a hillside with extraordinary views of the Argo-Saronic gulf.

Sounion and temple of Poseidon

The Sounion Shrine (Temple of Poseidon) is one of the most important in Attica: it is at Cape Sounion, just 1 hour by car from the historic center of Athens (76.4 km). Visiting the famous Temple of Poseidon requires a trip near the coast, where you will be able to contemplate an amazing view of the sea. Also, it is recommended to walk through Sounion at sunset, it allows you to admire the romantic sunset. The city of Lavrio is a 10-minute drive away and has dining options for dinner.

As an additional option, you can take the bus trip from the Athens station. The cost of the tour (April 2019) is 12.50 euros, with buses running from 07:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (except Sundays) and a journey time of 2 hours.

How to get to Athens and transport around the city

The city of Athens is in southeastern Europe, the easiest way to get to the Greek capital is by air. The new Athens airport, Eleftherios Venizelos, is considered one of the most modern airports in Europe. It is only 34 minutes by car from the center of Athens, while by metro or bus, the journey can take 1 hour. However, there are alternative routes by train through the Balkan Peninsula, by car or by ferries that depart from various ports in Italy.

The alternative means of transport from the airport to the city are the subway and the bus. The metro ticket costs only 8 euros, so it is a good option if you are travelling light, while the bus costs around 6 euros.

Within the city you can use the most convenient means of transport (metro, taxi or bus). You can also use the tram, it is a modern and economical system to get around (even outside the city), and it offers routes near the coast with views of the Saronic Gulf. The tram service operates between 5:30 am and 1:00 am, while the price of the ticket varies between 4.5 and 22 euros.

Greek gastronomy

Greek gastronomy stands out internationally for its mix of flavors. With a tradition that exceeds 3,000 years, it has been of great influence throughout Europe: one the most famous, used in Mediterranean cuisine, are the world famous Greek olives. From the traditional Greek breakfast to local products, these are some of the specialties that you will try on your trip. As well as traditional Greek dishes, such as: S aganaki (fried cheese) or Spanakopita (cake filled with spinach and feta cheese).

Where to eat in Athens

Most of the neighborhoods in Athens offer traditional restaurants, however, the most popular areas for the quality of their food are Plaka and Monastiraki. One of our most popular streets is Adrianou, near the old Agora.

The "Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani” is a restaurant that is in the historic center, offering delicious sausages and local products, while the “Kostarelos” is a restaurant that prepares sandwiches, salads and soups that include artisan products.

At Greca Travel, you can find travel packages to Athens at the best price and modify them to suit your needs!

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