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Overview: Athens, Greece


Athens is a large, vibrant city with an ancient history. There are so many things to see and do here the mind boggles. No matter what your interests are, you will have no trouble finding things to do in Athens. The bigger problem, for those with time constraints, is figuring out which sights and activities to enjoy before moving to the next leg of the journey. Hopefully this list will help you organize your trip, and maximize your activities with the time you have. Here are the top 4 tourist

Where to stay

Our Suggestions
• Stanley Hotel
• Eridanus Hotel
• Claridge Hotel
• Ionis Hotel
Where to eat

Our Suggestions
• Estiatorio Milos
• Thanassis
• To Varoulko
• Taverna
What to do

Our Suggestions
• Monastiraki
• National Garden
• Delphi
• The Plaka
Articles
About Athens »
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Athens

The city with the most glorious history in the world, a city worshipped by gods and people, a magical city. The enchanting capital of Greece has always been a birthplace for civilization. It is the city where democracy was born and most of the wise men of ancient times. The most important civilization of ancient world flourished in Athens and relives through some of the world's most formidable edifices.

Who hasn't heard of the Acropolis of Athens? Photos and history of the most famous archaeological monument in Europe have made the world tour causing feelings of admiration by thousands of people. Acropolis is nominated to be one of the 7 wonders of modern world. In fact the trademark of Athens is one of the favorites. The Holy Rock of Acropolis dates back to the 5th BC, the famous Golden Age of Periklis. Athens met times of bloom and decline, but still shines under the Attic sky gazing the future. Still sparkling like the marbles of Parthenon and the limpid white of Pentelic marble.

Athens is situated in the prefecture of Attica and extends to the peninsula that reaches up to Central Greece. It is surrounded by mountains Ymmytos, Pendeli and Parnitha, northwards and eastwards, and the Saronic gulf southwards and westwards. The sun is shining over Athens all year round. The climate is one of the best in Europe, with mild winters and very hot summers, ideal for tourism. It is located just a few kilometres from the port of Piraeus, the central commercial port of the capital, and the shores of southern Attica.

Athens is constantly inhabited since Neolithic Age. The 5th century was the time of its ultimate bloom, when moral values and civilization surpassed city limits and became the mother land of western civilization. In the centuries that followed, many conquerors tried to take over Athens. In 1834 Athens was chosen to be the capital of the newly established Greek State. The city that now hosts more than 4,5 million people, was constructed around the Acropolis walls. Today it is the political, social, cultural, financial and commercial center of Greece.

Athens is a city of different aspects. A walk around the famous historic triangle (Plaka, Thission, Psyri) the old neighborhoods, reveal the coexistence of different eras. Old mansions, well-preserved ones and other worn down by time. Luxurious department stores and small intimate shops, fancy restaurants and traditional taverns. All have their place in this city.

The heart of Athens beats in Syntagma Square. Where Parliament and most of the Ministries are. Monastiraki, Kolonaki and Lycabettus Hill attract thousands of visitors all year round. A few kilometers from the historic center in Faliro, Glyfada, Voula and Vouliagmeni, you can enjoy the sea breeze. Or you can head up north and enjoy the fresh air at the more classy neighborhoods of Marousi, Melissia, Vrilissia and of course Kifisia.

Athens and Attica in general have the most important archaeological monuments (Acropolis, Odeion of Herodes Atticus, Olymbion, Roman Market, Panathinaiko Stadium or Kallimarmaro, The Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, etc). In the capital you will admire many imposing neoclassic buildings, true ornaments of the city (The Greek Parliament, Athens Academy and University, etc). Don't miss visiting the museums hosting unique treasures of our cultural inheritance (Archaeological Museum, Military Museum, Byzantine Museum, etc).

Athens has always attracted peoples' attention. During the 2004 Olympic Games proved that, despite all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, she never - not once - lost the talent. The return of Olympic Games to their birthplace was a great success.

The capital is famous, more than any other European capital, for its nightlife. Athens by night totally changes. The options for entertainment satisfy all tastes. The famous "bouzoukia" are the leaders in the Athenian entertainment. While the numerous theatres all around Athens offer a different type of entertainment. Athens is a divine city. Let it enchant you...
History of Athens - Ancient Greece Athens History »
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Here you will have the opportunity to take a quick glance at all the important historical events which took place from the past till recently in Athens. This historical overview will transfer us to the Neolithic Era, when, according to the archaeological findings, the first efforts for the organization of Athens city were attempted. Pelasgoi were the first habitants and in 1400 BC they started fortifying the rock of the Acropolis with walls, till Copper Age and 800 BC when the final unification of Attica in one united state took place. At that time we see Panathenaea, the big feast of Athens taking place in honor of Goddess Athena who was worshipped by many people. She was admired at such an extent that Athens, the capital of Greece to its name after her.

The last king of Athens was Kodros, in 1068 BC and then there was the appearance of the four tribes to which the people of Athens were separated during the 8th and 7th century. In 636 BC Kylon, unsuccessfully, tried to take over the control through tyranny.

Acropolis

In 624 BC the legislative practices of Drakontas took place and in 594 BC Solon was chosen to govern by both quarreling groups of the rich and poor. Then history moved on with the tyranny of Peisistratos in the middle of the sixth century, the murder of Ipparchos in 514 BC and the important reformations of Kleisthenis in 508 BC which set the basis for the Athenian Democracy to emerge.

The anger of the king of Persia after Athens sent help to the revolutionary cities of Ionia in 500 BC and the bravery of the Athenians during the battles of Marathon in 490 BC and Artemisio in 180 BC, the magisterial character of Athens in 478 BC and the victory of Evrydamantas which lead to the liberation of the Greek cities from the Persian domination are a few more of the important events which took place in the past.

The Golden Age of the Athenian Democracy is taking place during the fifth century BC after Pericles became the leader of the democratic party (490-429 BC) and the end of the first Peloponnesian war. Then the monuments of the Acropolis were built, in a period of time when Socrates, the Sophists and other great men culminated the day of the city.

Apostle Paul

Because of the second Peloponnesian war (431-421 BC and 416-404 BC) the development of the arts, literature and other sciences was stopped and later on the degrading loss of the Athenians in Sicily by the Lakedaimones took place along with the blooming of the Macedonian dynasty, the Roman domination during which the temple of Olympian Zeus was completed under the reign of Hadrian (117-138 BC). The aqueduct saved until today and a library were built at the same period.

An important point in history is 53 AC when Apostle Paul taught Christianity in Areios Pagos, the high Court in front of Stoic and Epicurean philosophers. A bad era in the history of Athens is 396 AC when Athens has fallen in the hands of Goth invaders.

Ioustinianos

Ioustinianos becoming an emperor in 482-565 played a very important role in the prevention of the ancient Greek world. From the era of emperor Herakleitos (574-640) a long period of obscurity and rapacious invasions started for Athens. In 1204 the crusaders entered inside the fort of the Acropolis. The domination of the Franks was maintained in the city until 1308.

Following the course of Constantinople, Athens was occupied in 1456 by the Turks.

Charilaos Trikoupis

In the beginning of the 19th century, in 1800, Lord Elgin settled in Constantinople as an ambassador of England and violently took parts of the decorations of the temples found on the rock of the Acropolis.
In 1834 Athens became the capital of Greece and after a year the first municipal elections took place, making Anargyros Petrakis the first mayor. In 1843 secret discussions taking place in the house of a great Greek man named Makrygiannis, are a fact referring to the revolution of the people and the guard of Athens having as a result the concession of the constitution. In 1862 kingship of king Othonas is abolished and after one year he is replaced by George the first.

Eleftherios Venizelos

In 1882 and for 15 years Charilaos Trikoupis is the leading figure. In 1896 we have the revival of the Olympic Games and during 1899-1908 many important works were made by Spyros Merkouris who was the mayor at the time.

Ioannis-Metaxas

The newer history has to present us the elements of the actions followed by the greatest political personality of the 20th century, Eleftherios Venizelos, whose work and achievements towards national completion and internal welfare of the country are more than visible.

Around 1928 an English company took over the production of electric energy in the capital and the telephones were operating automatically replacing the telephone centers. In 1928 the first political airport was created in the area of Faliro (Delta Falirou) and the airport of Elliniko was founded in 1934.

Ioannis Metaxas imposed a dictatorship in 1936, a bit later the second world war started, then the agreement of Varkiza took place, the dictatorship of the 21st of April 1967, the student rebellion in 1973 and the change-over period till the 6th of September 1997 when the International Olympic Games Committee gave Athens the organization of the Olympic Games 2004.>
Athens City Breaks »
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Athens City Breaks

Many head to Athens to bask in the city's world famous heritage, but the city also offers a wealth of nightlife with bars and clubs and hotels.

Standing above the city, the iconic Acropolis draws millions of tourists each year, but perhaps the best way to view them is from the overlooking rooftop garden bars.

The garden bars in the centre of Athens over brilliant views and a great welcome and are the perfect starting point on a city break.

For traditional nights out with the best Greek food and music the district of Plaka is the area to head to. Plaka is the oldest part of modern Athens and its complex layout and narrow streets matches in parts the streets of ancient Athens, while restaurants in the area cater for the many tourists and residents alike who are searching for traditional fare.

The hip areas to head for the best new bars and clubs are Gazi, Psirri, Kolonaki and Exarcheia. Exarcheia offers smaller more bohemian watering holes and is favoured by Athenian artists and students. Meanwhile, Kolonaki has a selection a more contemporary bars and restaurants which the yuppie set head.

Psirri and Gazi are the districts to head to if you want a night on the tiles. Clubs here cover almost every genre of music from jazz to techno. While Gazi is the former industrial area of Athens, giving a modern and cutting edge feel, the trademark of Psirri is its small bars – or mezedopoleia - serving Greek appetizers, wine, ouzo and rakomelo, a potent mix of the Cretan raki, and honey.
Top place to Eat in Athens »
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Café Aeolis
Ladies who lunch and writer-types fill this bright, trendy café for light lunches and, later, the tables outside for wine and cocktails.

Thanassis
Athens’ most famous souvlaki joint has been serving up hot, juicy, thinly sliced beef, slathered with cool garlicky tzatziki, wrapped in tender pittas, since the 19th century.

Estiatorio Milos
One of the best Greek restaurants is actually located in the Athens Hilton. Estiatorio Milos serves fresh line caught fish and other traditional local specialties in a luxurious setting with impeccable service and an extensive wine list. A place not to miss out Zeus come down from the mountain Dinner is served.

Oineas
Fun, high-quality, modern taverna-food-with-a-twist. Share one massive salad among five, then pass around bite-sized spanakopitas (spinach pies) and balsamic chicken.

To Varoulko
The menu at Athens’ top fish restaurant changes daily depending on what the sea brings forth. Sleek modern wood and glass interior.

Pil Poule
From the red-carpeted entrance to the lovely marble roof garden (with a gorgeous view), fine surroundings match exquisite Franco-Mediterranean cuisine.

Delfino
There is a beautiful fisherman’s harbor in Piraeus called Mikrolimano. There you can enjoy lunch or dinner next to the sea. One of the best seafood restaurants in the area called Delfino, which we highly recommend.

Hytra
Mediterranean cuisine in a minimalist dining space brought to hip Psiri by the owners of Spondi.

Mamacas
Taverna food made stylish, but with a deep respect for its most important element: bright, fresh flavour.

The Amada Cafe
The Amada Cafe is probably the most elegant cafe in Athens where you can bump into anyone (actors, politicians,etc). It is centraly located on the corner of Valaoritou (pedestrian road) and Kriezotou streeet, where we stop for coffee or lunch after shopping at the best boutiques or a museum visits. Perfect location and you must try its gourmet pizza and Greek rice pudding.
Top tourist attractions in Athens »
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Athens is a large, vibrant city with an ancient history. There are so many things to see and do here the mind boggles. No matter what your interests are, you will have no trouble finding things to do in Athens. The bigger problem, for those with time constraints, is figuring out which sights and activities to enjoy before moving to the next leg of the journey. Hopefully this list will help you organize your trip, and maximize your activities with the time you have. Here are the top 10 tourist attractions in Athens.

Monastiraki

For those who love to haggle, check out the Monastiraki Flea Market. Vendors here display a dizzying variety of wares, and if you are looking for a few little treasures to take home, this is a good place to find them. Sunday is the most important market day, stretching as far as the eye can see. Get there early if you want to be able to move though. By late morning you'll be packed shoulder to shoulder with deal-seekers.

National Garden

This entry on the list of the top 10 things to do in Athens is actually more of an escape from the city than anything else. Away from the sprawling concrete buildings and the oppressive heat is a tropical refuge. Slow down from the hectic pace of Athens, and take a stroll through the shaded pathways, and visit the turtles and ducks. If you are a nature lover and the hustle and bustle of the teeming streets of Athens is starting to get to you, this is your perfect escape if only for just a couple of hours.

Delphi

Technically not in Athens, but Delphi is so close that it merits a spot on the list of the top 10 things to do in Athens. The site of the ancient Oracle, Delphi holds great historical significance for the people of Greece. Take a bus, rent a car, or make sure a trip to this fabled site is included in your land tour itinerary if booking an organized trip.

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium dates back to the 2nd century, was renovated for the 1896 Olympic games, and updated again for the recent 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens. This is where the Olympic torch relay begins every year, and you should definitely try and squeeze this historic venue in when deciding how to spend your time in Athens.

The Plaka

The entertainment district of Athens is not to be missed and holds a deserving spot at number 6 on the list of the top 10 things to do in Athens. The oldest neighbourhoods in Athens, in the shadow of the Parthenon, the Plaka features restaurants, museums, and trendy shops alongside local artisans. Definitely a must visit attraction of Athens.

National Archaeological Museum

A city as steeped in culture and history as Athens is unsurprisingly filled with museums. However, if your time is limited and you can see just one, make sure you pay a visit to the National Archaeological Museum. A veritable treasure trove of artifacts dating back millennia, the museum holds some of the greatest artifacts from as far back as the Neolithic era. Definitely one of the greatest museums in the world, sure one of the places not to be missed, while in Athens.

Athens Central Market

If you are lucky enough to have a kitchen where you are staying in Athens then a visit to the Central Market might rank even higher on the list of the top 10 things to do in Athens. Fish, meats, produce and spices will tempt you as you explore the lively marketplace. For those who prefer to let others do the cooking, the Athens Central Market features many reasonably priced restaurants that will calm your cravings.

Mount Lycabettus

Budgeting time for a walk to the top of Mount Lycabettus is absolutely essential when considering things to do in Athens. If the prospective climb seems too daunting you can always take the train that weaves its way to the top. Once at the summit enjoy the spectacular view, and have a bite to eat in the cafe up there.

The Temple of Poseidon

Though the attractions of contemporary Athens are fun to visit, when considering the top 10 things to do in Athens a premium is placed on the historically significant sites of Ancient Greece. From around the world travellers flock to see these ancient monuments and the Temple of Poseidon is not to be missed. Not actually located in Athens, it is about an hour's drive away at Cape Sounion. Overlooking the Aegean Sea, the ruins sit atop a headland and if you stick around until evening you will be treated to one of the most gorgeous sunsets in the world.

The Acropolis

We are sure no one is surprised that the Acropolis, and more specifically, the Parthenon, sits atop the list of the top 10 things to do in Athens. These ancient ruins date back to the 5th century B.C. and are a monument to the achievements of the people of that ancient culture. Despite partial destruction by the Venetians in the 17th century, much of the Parthenon still stands as an enduring reminder of the accomplishments of the ancient Greeks. If you have only a few hours in Athens, just time enough to do one thing, make sure a visit to the Acropolis is that one thing.
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Achilleas Hotel
Hotel
In the centre of Athens, an idyllic location in the tranquil part of the city, beautifully renovated and decorated with spacious rooms and attractive rate
Rating from: 8 guest reviews
Achillion Hotel
Hotel
Business center of Athens, spacious and renovated accommodation, equipped with all modern facilities. Close to the Acropolis. Pleasant stay and hospitable environment
Rating from: 1 guest reviews
Acropol Hotel Athens
Hotel
Fine hotel in a landmark building designed by recognized architects, ideally located with charming and cozy rooms in the heart of Athens.
Rating from: 1 guest reviews
Acropolis House Hotel
Hotel
 
Rating from: 5 guest reviews
Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel
Hotel
Acropolis Museum Boutique hotel combines high quality service with a location in one of the finest parts of Athens. This very special hotel is housed in a classical building that recently has undergone a complete renovation (2007) and has 22 charming rooms divided over the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors. It is located just a few steps from the Acropolis and Plaka, and adjacent to the new Acropolis museum.
Rating from: 6 guest reviews
Acropolis Select Hotel
Hotel
Stylish and fully equipped hotel situated in the center of Athens, with an exquisite design of art at a great proximity from the shopping district. Not to be missed!
Rating from: 8 guest reviews
Acropolis View Hotel
Hotel
Center of Athens. Small hotel in a quiet neighbourhood with a magnificent panoramic view, ideal for your holidays or business needs. Friendly staff offering exceptional service
Rating from: 7 guest reviews
Adrian Hotel
Hotel
Nicely decorated hotel in the old and popular Plaka district in Athens' centre. Excellent to discover the charm and history of Greece
Rating from: 8 guest reviews
Aegeon Beach Hotel
Hotel
 
Rating from: 16 guest reviews
Alassia Hotel
Hotel
Located right beside Omonia Square and within 5 minutess walking distance of the Old Town of this ancient city, the Alassia hotel is a perfect base for both businessmen and leisure travellers.
Rating from: 10 guest reviews
Albion Hotel
Hotel
 
Alexandros Airotel Hotel
Hotel
Good city location, in one of Athens' safest neighbourhoods. Contemporary and intimate environment. Close from many important monuments and museums with friendly and professional staff.
Rating from: 24 guest reviews
Alma Hotel
Hotel
Hotel in the centre of downtown Athens with a long-standing reputation for good service, spacious rooms, and easy access to the famous places. Comfortable and pleasant stay assured
Rating from: 11 guest reviews
Alvion Hotel
Hotel
Comfortable and perfectly located hotel, excellent to discover Athens center and its surroundings!
Amalia Hotel
Hotel
Peaceful hotel and comfortable rooms in the heart of Athens at a walking distance from the Acropolis and Plaka area. Convenient for business and leisure tourists.
Rating from: 21 guest reviews
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