Autumn in Athens
Athens has been a popular destination for travellers since ancient times due to its location, enjoying a much drier climate compared to most of the rest of Mediterranean Europe. It is also popular for the diversity of its milieu, its monuments, its history and the warm, clear blue seas reaching out to all 5 senses.
There is no better time to visit Athens than the autumn, which is the ideal season to go on enthralling tours and engage in activities, both within and beyond the city limits.
As one of the world's oldest cities, Athens is legendary for its grandiose history and anyone who has visited knows that there are plentiful of cultural and historical tours to choose to go on. These include the Ancient city and Monument tour, and the Byzantine period and churches tour, which includes sightseeing around the Acropolis and the ancient Agora (the meeting point of the ancient Athenians). There is no doubt that visits must be made to at least one of the city's many museums, the latest attraction being the new Acropolis museum designed by Swiss-French architect Bernard Tschumi, located at the Acropolis metro station.
What many may not know, however, is that Athens is currently the sixth most visited capital in the world. This is due, in part, to the city's successful hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games and the radically improved infrastructure and social amenities, but also to the city's innovative decision to focus on alternative tourism and turn Athens into a high calibre business centre; a decision which has attracted a more diverse public all year round.
This new movement has opened doors for a multitude of enthralling tours and activities, expanding the classical sightseeing tours with tours of the renovated neoclassical buildings to be found in all parts of the city and Futuristic architecture tours. These include the main Olympic Complex (known as OAKA), designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, which has steel arches, landscaped gardens, fountains, futuristic glass and a new blue glass roof.
Autumn in Athens is truly enjoyable for walks and outdoor activities and there are plenty of options to choose from, whether it be a walk through the lush gardens of the National Park behind the parliament buildings or up Lycabettus Hill, a visit to the open-air cinema, therapeutic hot-spring baths in Limni Vouliagmeni's healing waters or a swim at the Athenian seafront.
Moreover, the delightful autumn climate is perfect for agro- and eco-tourism, which have grown rapidly in recent years. The four surrounding mountains: Parnitha to the north, which is also a national park, Penteli accessible to the north-east, Hymettus to the southeast, and Egaleo to the west, all of which have well-marked paths, gorges, springs, waterfalls and caves, and offer the chance to partake in a range of activities such as trekking, mountain-biking, cave exploration, rafting, equestrian sports and parachuting. You can also enjoy rural activities such as collecting olives and vintage, observing birds, flora and fauna, and gastronomic excursions to wine factories and to producers of honey and other local produce.
Visiting Athens during the autumn is a really wonderful experience and if the more demanding outdoor activities like hiking do not please you, there are always alternative options; maybe golf is more to your taste. In the tranquil and beautiful seaside resort of Glyfada, 15 kilometres from the centre of Athens, the 18-hole, par 72 golf course designed by Donald Harradine is a green oasis of rolling hills, landscaped with mature trees and shrubbery, where you can play a game or practise your skills on the driving range and putting green whilst enjoying the autumn in Athens.