Athens, part of the greater Attica region, is a city that is made up of multiple and unique districts, all of which offer major attractions and interesting places that should be on any visitor’s must visit or to-do list. Here are just some of the things we suggest you check out to best experience one of Europe’s most historic, culturally-rich and breathtakingly beautiful urban cosmopolitan cities.
the historical and archaeological monuments and sites that abound. History unfolds with every step in Athens, from the Parthenon atop the Acropolis, to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion on the tip of Attica. The list of monuments is long and impressive and offers a surreal window into Athens’ past and present. Highlights include: The Ancient Theatre of Dionysus, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Hadrian’s Arch, The Temple of Olympian Zeus, The Ancient Agora, The Roman Agora, Kerameikos, the Tower of the Winds, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Panathenaic Stadium.
Get inspired …
at the city’s myriad of fascinating museums, galleries and exhibits contemporary and classic. Don’t miss the chance to visit one of history’s latest architectural achievements: the New Acropolis Museum and the massive collection of works at the equally impressive National Archaeological Museum. The cutting edge industrial landscape of The City of Athens’ Technopolis ushered a new era in Athens’ progressive cultural identity.
the flourishing mosaic of Athens’ art & culture scene. The rich classical tradition of art in Athens has moved on fast forward in recent years with an amazing roster of talent — year after year – apparent in the permanent and temporary music festivals, art exhibits, fairs and theatre and dance performances that warrant the attention of lovers of the arts and not only.
Sightsee, dine and souvenir shop …
around Athens’ Historic Centre: Plaka, Monastiraki, Thiseio, Anafiotika and Makriyianni. Put on comfortable shoes and walk past … and present Athens. These districts — each with a distinct history and charm worth exploring — hinge the sacred rock of the Acropolis and make up what is known as the Historic Centre. Much of the accommodation in this area offers views of and easy access to the Acropolis and the surrounding Unification of Archaeological Sites, one of the largest archeological parks.
in Athens’ vibrant, multi-cultural and award-winning food and beverage scene. Certainly one of the best ways to experience a city’s culture is by eating and dining as the locals do. And like the world’s leading food meccas, Athens and the Attica region offers a cornucopia of choices for every palate and budget. If its top-notch and Michelin-star dining venues that are more your style, all-star classics such as Spondi, Varoulko, Edodi, Milos and Aneton are just some of the venues that will impress even the most difficult of critics.
Take in the Athens Skyline
Day or night . A must when visiting any city is to see it from above. Athens is no different, except that here, you don’t need to venture too high to appreciate the vast landscape of illuminated monuments atop Lycabettus Hill, the Acropolis; prominent mountains: Ymittos, Parnitha; or the surrounding seas and isles of the Argosaronic Gulf. The top of many of Athens’ hotels, restaurants and hills is height enough to give you a breathtaking view of one of the world’s most ancient civilizations and buzzing cities.
Go to the beach!
Head to the Attica Coastline. Little known fact: Athens is more than just the Acropolis. Hands down, this city with its vibrant urban landscape boasts some of the best beaches and seaside destinations in the world and boasts a Riviera just 30 minutes away from its heart. Begin by gazing at the luxurious yachts docked at Flisvos Marina, the mega yacht marina with shops and dining venues in the town of Paleo Faliro; enjoy a light salad, burger or cool drink dockside at Marina Alimou just a few tram stops away.
Experience Two Fantastic Venues
The New Digital Planetarium of the Eugenides Foundation and the Foundation of the Hellenic World. One of the largest, most advanced digital planetariums in the world is in Athens. Perfect for the curious young and old. Highlights include an ultra-modern projection hall with specially-designed inclined seating and huge semi-circular dome for wide-screen film screenings. Interactive and digitally-advanced technology exhibit Hellenic culture at the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Centre of the Foundation of the Hellenic World in a series of virtual reality programs that take you back to Ancient Greece with a touch of a button.
Trek, Hike and Bike!
Take it outdoors. This is the best time of year to enjoy a hike or a bike ride. Bike rentals and tours are offered by Acropolis Bikes, Athens by Bike, Pame Volta and Bicycle Greece. The closest and quickest route for amateurs and novices (with a spectacular view of the city) is the 2.5 km (or 1.5 mile) track that circumvents Lycabettus Hill. More experienced trekkers, head just 30 kilometers (20 miles) outside of Athens to Mount Parnitha, the largest of the three mountains in Attica.
Get Out … to Gazi
NIghtlife at its best. A modern take on Athens would not be complete without a visit to this district. Extending between Pireos Street and Konstantinoupoleos it is trademarked by the towering power plant of Technopolis. Reserve one night to enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the many bars, clubs and restaurants that line the streets of this industrial district. Summer or winter, the venues in this area are always filled with patrons of all ages, straight or gay, mainstream or alternative. Popular streets include many Voutadon and Triptolemou. But one step out of the Kerameikos metro station and you are in the centre of all the action.