Explore the birthplace of civilisation
Athens is the capital of Greece. It was also at the heart of Ancient Greece, a powerful civilization and empire. The city is still dominated by 5th-century BC landmarks, including the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel topped with ancient buildings like the colonnaded Parthenon temple.
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The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historical significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis is from the words akron ("highest point, extremity") and polis ("city"). The term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece. During ancient times the Acropolis of Athens was known also more properly as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the supposed first Athenian king. While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as early as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495–429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the buildings whose present remains are the site's most important ones, including the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike.
The agora (meaning "market" in Modern Greek) was a central public space in ancient Greek city-states. The literal meaning of the word "agora" is "gathering place" or "assembly". The agora was the center of the athletic, artistic, business, social, spiritual, and political life in the city. The Ancient Agora of Athens is the best-known example.
The archaeological site of the Kerameikos, between Ermou, Peireos, and Asomaton Streets, is a small part of the ancient Attic Deme of Kerameon, one of the largest demes of ancient Athens, located on the northwest edge of the city. As suggested by its name, the Kerameikos (from the Greek word for pottery) was a settlement of potters and vase painters, and the main production centre of the famous Attic vases.
Lycabettus is a Cretaceous limestone hill in the Greek capital. At 277 meters (908 feet) above sea level, its summit is the highest point in Central Athens and pine trees cover its base. The name also refers to the residential neighbourhood immediately below the east of the hill. The hill can be ascended by the Lycabettus Funicular, a funicular railway which climbs the hill from a lower terminus at Kolonaki (The railway station can be found at Aristippou street). At its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant.
Lively Monastiraki is known for iconic landmarks including the ruins of Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora and the rebuilt Stoa of Attalos, with a museum exhibiting Athenian artifacts. Monastiraki Flea Market is a jumble of shops selling artisanal soaps, handmade sandals and souvenir T-shirts. The surrounding streets are crammed with traditional tavernas and restaurants, many with Acropolis views.
6. NATIONAL ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
The National Archaeological Museum houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and contains the richest collection of Greek Antiquity artifacts worldwide.
7. NATIONAL GARDEN
The National Garden (formerly the Royal Garden)(it was named Royal Garden until 1974 is a public park of 15.5 hectares (38 acres) in the center of Athens. It is located between the districts of Kolonaki and Pangrati, directly behind the Greek Parliament building (The Old Palace) and continues to the South to the area where the Zappeion is located, across from the Panathenaiko or Kalimarmaro Olympic Stadium of the 1896 Olympic Games. The Garden also encloses some ancient ruins, column drums and Corinthian capitals of columns, mosaics, and other features.
The Panathenaic Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium and one of the main historic attractions of Athens. It is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. The stadium held the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1896 Olympics.
9. PHILOPAPPOS HILL
Philopappos Hill is a popular place to walk for Athenians and to catch the sunset. If you climb to the top of the hill (147 metres) you will soon see why, as it offers a fantastic view of the Acropolis and the city of Athens below.
10. PITTAKI STREET
The non-profit Imagine the City and the creative lighting studio Beforelight teamed up to give Pittaki Street a makeover. In order to restore foot traffic to the neighborhood, they collected unused light fixtures from all over Athens to cast light into the shadows of the once grimy little alleyway. Since then, the alley has become a cheery hub of Psyrri. People walk through it regularly, pose for photos, and there are even events staged there. Boutiques that failed on busier streets thrive here thanks to the heavy foot traffic.
It was built between 19 and 11 B.C. with a donation of Julius Caesar and Augustus. During the reign of Hadrian the court was paved with slabs. After the invasion of the Herulae in A.D. 267 the city of Athens was restricted to the area within the Late Roman fortification wall, and the administrative and commercial centre of the city was transferred from the Ancient Agora to the Roman Agora and the Library of Hadrian.
12. STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION CULTURAL CENTRE
A public space, where everyone has free access and can participate in a multitude of cultural, educational, athletic, environmental and recreational activities and events. It includes the Greek National Opera, the National Library of Greece as well as the Stavros Niarchos Park, one of the largest green areas in Athens, covering 21 hectares. The SNFCC was created thanks to an exclusive grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which delivered it to the Greek State upon completion.
13. TEMPLE OF OLYMPIAN ZEUS
The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a former colossal temple at the center of the Greek capital Athens. It was dedicated to "Olympian" Zeus, a name originating from his position as head of the Olympian gods.
14. TEMPLE OF POSEIDON
The Temple of Poseidon is an ancient Greek temple on Cape Sounion, dedicated to the god Poseidon. There is evidence of the establishment of sanctuaries on the cape from as early as the 11th century BC Sounion’s most prominent temples, the Temple of Athena and the Temple of Poseidon, are however not believed to have been built until about 700 BC, and their kouroi (freestanding Greek statues of young men) date from about one hundred years later. The material and size of the offerings at the Temple of Poseidon indicate that it was likely frequented by members of the elite and the aristocratic class.
The Varvakios central market in Athens, located at Athinas Street, which connects Monastiraki to Omonia, is a monument to Greek produce, where every possible food under the sun is bought and sold.
WHEN TO GO: The months between March and May, as well as September and November, are ideal for visiting Athens. The weather in the spring and autumn is pleasant, and sunshine is almost always prevalent.
HOW TO GET AROUND: The best way to get around Athens is on foot and by metro; most of the city's major attractions are located within walking distance or a short metro ride of one another.
Baklava is a layered pastry dessert made of filo pastry, filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with syrup or honey.
These delicious Greek bread rings covered with toasted sesame seeds are incredibly crunchy on the outside with an amazingly soft and slightly chewy centre.
Delicious authentic souvlaki with juicy, tender grilled meat, homemade Greek pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and lots of aromatics.
Ouzo is a dry anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece. It is made from rectified spirits that have undergone a process of distillation and flavoring. Its taste is similar to other anise liquors like pastis, sambuca, raki and arak.
SLEEP @ A FOR ATHENS
Right next to Monastiraki Metro Station, A for Athens offers a rooftop bar with a stunning view of the Acropolis. Nightlife districts of Psirri, Monastiraki and Plaka are a 5-minute walk.
SLEEP @ ART PANTHEON SUITES
Art Pantheon is a 19th century neoclassical townhouse in the heart of the historical center of Athens, the old neighborhood of Plaka, minutes walk away from the famous Acropolis and all major sights.
SLEEP @ ATHENS LODGE
Finding an ideal romantic small hotel in Athens does not have to be difficult. Welcome to Athens Lodge, a nice option for travelers like you. While staying at Athens Lodge, visitors can check out Monastiraki and Open Air Cinema Thision, some of Athens' top attractions.
SLEEP @ BOHEMIAN SUITES ATHENS
In the midst of Athens’s famed entertainment district, the Bohemian Suites Athens commands center stage thanks to its dramatic design. Located on the Kaplanon Street, the building dates back to the 1850s when it operated first as the house of the Greek admiral Stamatis Kleanthis and later on as one of the most important Journalism schools of the country.
SLEEP @ CHIC ATHENS HOTEL
Chic is a minimal design hotel of Athens, accommodated in a classical 19th century building, combining the atmosphere of the period with the technology of the 21st century. The building has been renovated completely and turned into a modern hotel unit that stands on a very privileged spot in Pireos Street and in the famous Omonia square , Monastiraki square.
SLEEP @ MOON AND STARS ATHENS
In one of Athens most beautiful art deco buildings the owners had the amazing opportunity to use all of their enthusiasm and creativity in order to create Moon and Stars. The great location in the heart of Athens offers endless possibilities for you to explore the many great restaurants, exciting bars, shopping gems and hidden corners of this capital.
SLEEP @ NIKI ATHENS HOTEL
Niki Athens Hotel is a family business established in 1975, since then it is an integral part of the tourist product of modern Athens. The recently renovated building is located on the same street, "Niki", right in the heart of the capital of Athens. Its location is an ideal place to stay, as the main archaeological, cultural and tourist points of interest surround the hotel.
SLEEP @ THE GEM SOCIETY BOUTIQUE HOTEL & SPA
Step into the Top-Awarded Hotel of Athens: The Gem Society Boutique Hotel & Spa. They offer a unique feel-at-home experience, unlike other hotels or home rentals on the market. Located in the heart of Athens’ Historic Triangle, the hotel is set against a canvas of ancient and contemporary, making it the ideal base for tapping into a million things the city has to offer.
SLEEP @ THE MODERNIST ATHENS
The Modernist Athens settled into the former Canadian Embassy on a quiet street that overlooks a leafy residential square in Kolonaki. They transformed the handsome corner building with its many balconies in signature Modernist style, combining casual, contemporary luxury with mid-century detailing and minimalist Danish design.
SLEEP @ THE VAULT ATHENS
EAT @ WINNERS VEGAN RESTAURANT
Winners Vegan Restaurant is a 100% plant based restaurant. Enjoy this exclusive vegan restaurant with its unique flavors, emphasising on organic raw materials and handmade preparations just as mother nature intended.
PLAY @ ATHENIAN TOURS
They started Athenian Tours to give visitors a few hours walking around Athens with a real local friend, someone knowledgeable who can give inside information for the city with a fun way but most of all personal to you.
PLAY @ ATHENS WALKING TOURS
Athens Walking Tours is the most popular tourist activity in Athens with international acclaim! They offer personalized exciting tours to groups of no more than 18 persons in the company of licensed, university graduates and highly knowledgeable guides!
PLAY @ FOOD AROUND ATHENS
Food Around Athens is the brainchild of Michalis and Rachel, who have known and loved Athens all of their lives. They share two great passions– Athens and Food!
PLAY @ GREEKING.ME
Your choice to come to Greece is already hands down the best decision you’ve made this year so, congratulations! Your next best decision will be choosing Greeking.me to do what they do best: creating the most authentic and high quality experiences for travelers from all over the world - they avoid tourist traps like the plague!
PLAY @ TRUEVOYAGERS
Truevoyagers (Efthimis Kragaris and Pascal Panagiotidis) are travel bloggers, trip planners, but most of all, travelers. Being locals, they know the best spots for an authentic Greek experience. They are always on the hunt for new and amazing places in Athens and generally in Greece in order to bring you the most original activities.
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