Athens is the ultimate mix of ancient history and lively, cultural chic.
Holidays in Athens are perfect for those in search of historical and cultural breaks. Athens holidays provide a fantastic combination of beautiful beaches, vibrant evening entertainment including tavernas, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The Greek capital of Athens is home to some of the most important heritage of the ancient Greek civilisation. It was named after Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and was the birthplace of the Olympic Games.
Who goes to Athens?
Athens holidays are ideal for those seeking a variety of attractions such as nightlife, fantastic beaches and places of historical interest, there is something to entice everyone.
As a result of the preparation of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Athens has inherited an extensive and modern infrastructure. Examples are a new airport, ring roads, underground & overground tram/train networks and generally the city had an extensive clean up and face lift.
The Acropolis (with Parthenon as its main attraction) situated in the centre of Athens, is one of the many historical sites that brings visitors to the city. However, Athens is also a modern and vibrant city, and it offers a variety of night life entertainment to its visitors.
The best beaches in Athens are situated on the south-east coast, in Glyfada. Many of the beaches are private so you would have to pay to swim there. However, there are secluded rocky creeks which are less crowded than the main beaches.
The sandy beach at Varkiza is the furthest away from the town centre, so is one of the least crowded of the south-east coast. The beach also offers many activities such as volleyball, tennis etc.
Vouliagmeni Beach offers everything needed to enjoy a day out at the coast, with tennis and volleyball courts, water slide and children's play area.
Athens is a city that seems to never sleep, giving a new meaning to the word nightlife. Start with a late dinner and hit the clubs, the city will undoubtedly keep you entertained. Live music is on offer at the clubs in Syngrou and Poseidonos Avenues and are a great place to let your hair down. The area of Gazi is known for its many art cafes and trendy bars, and in the southern suburbs you can find a little but of everything, including of course a drink by the sea.
The renowned Greek gastronomy is renowned as being one of the most popular in the world. Based on simple ingredients like olive oil and fresh fish the cuisine is flavourful and healthy. Eating out in Athens is a wonderful blend of traditional Greek cuisine in relaxing surroundings. If you fancy a change from Greek cuisine there are huge range of restaurants catering for every possible cuisine.
- Lots to see
- Variety of entertainment
- Beautiful beaches
Athens holidays are hard to beat for those who enjoy shopping, the areas of Plaka and Monastiraki are a popular jaunt for visitors on holidays in Athens with a huge choice of tourist shops. Athen's busiest shopping street is the pedestrianised Ermou off Syntagma Square, here you'll find souvenirs, clothing and accessories. The upmarket shopping area in Athens is Kolonaki where you'll be tempted by the designer boutiques selling Versace and other well known brands. Strolling around the shops during your Athens holidays is wonderfully atmospheric, Athens has not adopted the culture of large shopping centres so you can still see and feel some of traditional Greece.
Things To Do
Athens is a large city with a multitude of things to see and do, the activities available are varied catering for both adults and children. Below are just a few activities that you may want to discover whilst on holiday on Athens:-
Attica Zoological Park: The park is situated in the suburb of Spata and is a modern Zoo and the only of its kind in Greece. The park is home to to a range of wonderful creatures including lions, tigers, black pumas, monkeys and reptiles. A visit to the zoo is a great day out for the entire family with daily show featuring birds of prey and sea lions.
The National Gardens: The gardens are absolutely beautiful and even has a small zoo. The gardens are very child friendly wit its own playground.
Mount Likavitos: Ride to the top of Mount Likavitos on a cable car, once you reach the top there is a cafe selling refreshments.
Sports: The Olympic city of Athens offers a huge range of sports to tempt the outdoor types. Many of the sports in Athens are very much water based and many beaches provide the opportunity to participate in a huge range of activities including water-skiing, windsurfing and jet-skiing. The Astir Beach Club us a lovely area of beach and has great facilities including showers, changing rooms with lockers, sun loungers and a volleyball court.
Things To See
During your visit to the magical city of Athens you'll have no shortage of things to see. For those interested in history, a holiday to Athens is a must where you'll be inundated with historic sites to visit.
The Acropolis of Athens: A flat topped rock measuring 490 ft above sea level with a surface area of 3 hectares. The Acropolis is a place surrounded by Myths and known as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent man - the first Athenian king.
New Acropolis Museum: Opened on 21st June 2009 after 30 years of planning, construction and controversy. This ultra modern gallery sits in the shadow shadow of the Parthenon, for a small fee you can marvel at the unique treasures of ancient Greece. The state of the art museum building is itself a sight worth seeing, it was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Bernard Tschumi.
The Parthenon: This unique temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena, built of white marble, is one of the most magnificent masterpieces of the ancient world. It will leave a lasting impression on any of its visitors.
National Archaeological Museum: Renowned as being one of the world's best museums with a wonderful collection of sculptures, jewellery, pottery and the 2000 year old computer found in a shipwreck off the island of Antikythera.
Temple Of Poseidon at Sounion: The site was once used to worship the God of Sea, Poseidon. The idyllic spot overlooks the sea at the tip of the Attiki Peninsula offering amazing sunset views of Santorini.
Taxi: Getting around Athens is faster if you take a taxi which can be flagged down on most street corners. Taxi fares in Athens are quite cheap so if you are travelling in a group this is a cost effective way of getting around.
Train: Information and tickets can be obtained from the main headquarters near Omonia. Fares are reduced for people under 26 and foreign students (ID Required). Athens has 2 main train stations, Larissis Stat for trains travelling north and Peloponnese Stat for trips to southern Greece.
Proastiakos (Suburban Rail): This new high speed rail system provides access to Irakleio and Neratziotissa which is next to the Athens Olympic Sports Complex. The line from Neratziotissa station to the airport and back to Neratziotissa station run 24 hours a day every 30 minutes.
Athens Metro: This is not just a means of transport, it doubles up as an underground museum since many stations display archaeological finds at the exact spot where they discovered. Other stations are decorated with work from well know Greek artists. Athens has 27 metro stations with 2 lines operating weekend services until 2am.
Blue Buses OASA: The blue bus network consists of more than 320 lines connecting the city centre with all the Athens suburbs and Piraeus. The buses run daily from 5am to 12:15am.
Thermal Buses (ETHEL): The ETHEL buses are the core lines connecting Athens and Piraeus city centre with the surrounding areas. There are several express bus routes to and from Athens International Airport. Thermal buses run from 5am to 11pm.
Trolley Buses: The old yellow trolleys of Athens past have now been replaced with cutting edge purple and yellow trolley buses with digital displays. Trolley buses run daily from 5am to 12.30am.