Athens - Greece


Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts And eloquence. John Milton


Quick Stats:
  • Athens is the capital of Greece.
  • It is one of the worlds oldest cities with a history spanning over 3,400 years.
  • It has hosted the Olympic games twice (1896 & 2004)
  • My Life in Ruins starring Nia Vardarlos was the first film shot at the Acropolis.

Why I love it: Awesome food, vibrant nightlife, great shopping and history at every turn ! 







 





Tip:  Visit the  Acropolis & other sites on a  Sunday and  its free.  Otherwise purchase the Acropolis Pass for 12 euros*.  It is a  3-day pass that entitles holders to free entry into  Athens' top attractions including the Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Ancient  Agora.

Tourist Info - Greek National Tourism Organization, Athens: +30 210 870 7000 or www.gnto.gr


*Prices quoted will vary depending on the time of year and season.  


 


Festivals & Events
Check out Matt Barrett's comprehensive list of festivals and holidays


11 things to do:
  1. Visit the Acropolis & Parthenon for the best views in town. 
2. Eat a  Souvlaki Pita  from Thanasis on Metropoleos street by Monastiraki. or Kostas on Agia Irini Square.
3. Wander around the Ancient Agora. 

4. Dine out in the Plaka - touristy yes, but it is the oldest part of Athens, it has a great vibe & there are many great restuarants & bars to be found - let you nose guide you !
5. Visit uber cool Gazi for art, bars & food.
6. Make like a tourist and run a lap of the Panathenaic Stadium, it was the site of the first modern Olympics in 1896 and was also the site of events during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games

7. Watch the Changing of the Guard at the Parliament Building  then hit the shops along Ermou Street -  leading  off Constitution Square (Syntagma). 
 
8. Stop at the Byzantine church of Kapnikareas stands, one of the best preserved Byzantine structures in Athens. 
9. Check out the temple of Olympian Zeus.
10. Wander around Park Thiseio for great views. 

11. Hit the Sunday flea markets for vintage and obscure - head to Plateia Monastirakiou and Ermou (Make like a local and have Sunday lunch afterwards).
Check out the meat market (sometimes known as the Central market - or modern Agora on Athinas Street. 

Further Research:
http://www.athensguide.org/
http://www.greecetravel.com/

Where to Stay:

$$$ - Money to Burn
If you want to live like a king or queen and have the budget to match ! -

$$ - Flashpacker

The Acropolis View Hotel


For a great view of the Acropolis (Left was the view from our room) ,  friendly staff and  walking distance to the plaka and many of the major sites - I stayed here and can recommend it.




$ -Budget Busters
Check out the best of the budget options at either hostel world or hostelbooker. 
http://www.hostelworld.com/hostels/Athenshttp://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/greece/athens/



What and where to Eat:
Grab a Souvlaki Pita or "gyro pita" - this is the best and quickest way to stave off rumbling tummies whilst in Athens.  The Souvlaki Pita are delicious skewers of grilled meat (usually pork) dusted with garlic/paprika, served with tomatoes and tszaziki dripping with garlic, it is divine, delicious and just plain  YUM.

For something more substantial, there are loads of great restaurants and cafes in Athens.   All the print and online travel guides (Lonely Planet, Fodors, Luxe ,  Frommers, DK and Rough Guides) can point you in the right direction or check out these links below:

 

How to get there:

By air:
Athens International Airport is 27 kms from the city centre.  Public transport is provided by express airport bus connections with Athens center and the port of Piraeus on a 24 hr basis,
  • Line E94 connects the Ethniki Amina Metro Station with the Airport. Passengers can transfer from the Metro line to the Airport Bus at this departure point.
  • Line E 95 Syntagma Square - Airport Express has its departure point at the center of Athens (Syntagma Square) and via Vas. Sofias Avenue, Mesogion Avenue and Attiki Odos terminates at the airport.
  • Line E96 Pireaus - Airport Express starts from the center of Pireaus (Karaiskaki Square) and via Posidonos Avenue, Varis-Varkizas, and Varis-Koropiou Roads terminates at the airport.
Buses:


There are two principal stations for KTEL, the national bus company. Terminal A, Odos Kifissou 100 (tel. 01/512-9233), off the road out of Athens toward Corinth, buses to and from the Peloponnese and Northern Greece. Take public bus no. 51 to & from  terminal A. It leaves from the corner of Odos Zinonos and Odos Menandrou, 7 blocks off Omonia Square. 


Terminal B, Odos Liossion 260 (tel. 01/831-7096),  buses to and from Central Greece (including Delphi, Thebes, Evvia, and Meteora) and some destinations to the north and east of Athens. Bus no. 24, from Leoforos Amalias in front of the entrance to the National Garden (1 block south of Syntagma Square), will take you to and from the terminal 


The Mavromateon terminal at Patission and Alexandras,  buses for most destinations in Attica.
Trains: 
Peloponnese Station (Stathmos Peloponnisou; tel. 01/513-1601). Trains from the South and west.

Larissa Station(Stathmos Larissis; tel. 01/529-8837)- Trains from the north ,  There is an exchange office, usually openfrom 8am to 9:15pm, and luggage storage.

Trolley 1 runs from Larissa Station to Omonia, Syntagma, and Koukaki . 

Purchase  tickets  at the station at the Omonia Square , Odos Karolou 1 (tel. 01/524-0647); at Odos Filellinon 17, off Syntagma Square (tel. 01/323-6747); or at most travel agents.

Ferry:
Piraeus, Athens's main seaport is 11 kilometers  southwest of central Athens.  It is a 15-minute Metro (subway) ride from Monastiraki and Omonia squares. Bus no. 040 runs from Piraeus to central Athens every 15 minutes between 5am and 1am and hourly outside of this time.



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