Athens

Explore the ancient origins of the modern world

Over 3,400 years ago, a powerful city emerged in the ancient Greek Empire. Little did those first inhabitants know that what they were building, was the blueprint for the modern world. They developed mythology and philosophy, politics and sports, theatre and schooling — creating an incredible heritage of everything from powerful gods and heroes to minds like Plato and Aristotle, from classical epics to the Olympics, from stunning temples to entire schools of thought.

From the centre of the ancient Greek Empire to the capital city of modern Greece, Athens has come a long way. Discover its amazing story as you wander through the historic streets where humans first chose to settle. You’ll be treated to iconic monuments like the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus, museums brimming with antiquities like the National Gallery and Benaki Museum, landscaped parks and pedestrian-only heritage districts, traditional food and wine, affordable marketplaces and magical moments to bind the whole experience. 

Athens Tourism : A Quick Overview
Continent  Europe
Official Language Greek
Dial Code  21
Population 3,154,152 (As of 2019)
Currency Euro
Time Zone  GMT+2
Area 2929 km²


Highlights of Athens:

Attractions Of Athens:

  • The Acropolis - The crown of Athens is the stunning remnants of the ancient city’s Acropolis. A citadel that still holds monumental classical-era remnants like the Temple of Parthenon and the Sanctuaries of erechtheion. Standing beside this iconic wonder of the world will surely leave you in awe. Be sure to visit the Acropolis Museum at the bottom of the hill. 
  • The Agora - Along the ancient trail of Athens, is another attraction that features on every visitor’s must-visit list — the ruins of the Agora or marketplace. This was where the people gathered, where everyday life was lived, ideas were exchanged, performances were given, and food and wine were enjoyed. Where better to reimagine the past? 
  • The Temple of Olympian Zeus - Only 15 columns of the extraordinary Temple of Zeus still stand, where once stood over a 100. Still, the ruins are a sight to behold, a true dedication to their most powerful god, and one of those places you just want to be able to say that you’ve seen. 
  • The Panathenaic Stadium - While this isn’t the original Panathenaic Stadium of Athens, it is an exact replica that was rebuilt for the 1896 Olympic Games. It is a marvellous 60,000-seater that will fire your imagination, as you think back to how some of the earliest sporting events in the history of mankind took place at the very same place you now stand. 
  • Plaka - A quaint part of town that radiates heritage, Plaka is where you’ll discover a charming side of Athens, away from the crowded attractions yet right besides historic monuments like the Roman Agora and Library of Hadrian. And while visiting them is a highlight, so is walk around down the narrow streets, past picturesque little houses, endearing local cafés and small restaurants.
  • National Archaeology Museum - It’s all well and good to witness the sights of this ancient city, but if you want to know its full story, the National Archaeology Museum is the place to go. Innumerable artefacts and exceptional chronicling make this a truly vivid cultural experience. 
  • Lycabettus - Athens sprawls over a few hills, the tallest of which is lycabettus. So, for the best views of the city, there’s nothing like climbing or riding the funicular to the top. There is also a 19th Century Chapel and Open-Air Theatre at the pinnacle, that make for interesting sightseeing stops. 
  • Museum of Cycladic Art - Created in 1986, this exceptional museum displays a profound collection of Cycladic and Cypriot art that dates back to the 6th Century BC, that anyone in Athens must see. 
  • Syntagma - Right in the heart of the city is its biggest central square, Syntagma. The area right beside the Greek Parliament, leading up to Monastiraki is pedestrian only. Along this stretch is one of the main shopping hubs, while the nearby National Garden with an in-house zoo, café and playground, is an idyllic spot to spend a long day. 
  • Kifisia - When you’re done exploring the culture of Athens by day, head to Kifisia or its bordering neighbourhood of Nea Erythraia for some modern world pleasures. These newly developed areas have some of the most luxurious restaurants, bars and nightlife venues. 

 

Heritage Of Athens:

The Greeks are proud of their culture, and it is no surprise when you realise just how long it has been in existence. One of the great ways to get a real taste of this iconic heritage is through one of the many local festivals and events. The Hellenic Festival is the oldest of them all, showcasing Greek art and culture for over 40 years. The August Moon Festival is when all the archaeological sites of Athens are kept open late into the night and performances and events take place across the city. The Petras Festival is a spectacular open-air theatre festival during the summer. 

Cuisine Of Athens:

Traditional Greek foods like Souvlaki and Gyros have become street-food favourites around the world, but Athens is the ultimate destination to discover the many layers of this traditional cuisine. Be sure to sample meals across all the types of eateries across the city, from the seafood specialty “psarotaverna” to the meat-lovers favourite “psistaria”. While the “taverna” are perfect for a quick affordable meal and the “estiatorio” for when you’re in the mood for a full-course extravaganza. Top rated restaurants to visit include Cafe Avissinias, Psaras, Melilotos and Vassilenas. 

Shopping In Athens:

Apart from enlightening you with its rich history, Athens will delight you with its many markets, ranging from high-end shopping centres to exotic flea markets. While you can find the usual list of famous brands, do search for some keepsakes from this memorable journey such as traditional artworks or antiques, embroidery and clothing. Famous places to shop include the Athens Metro Mall, Plaka for its roadside vendors, Kolonaki for luxury brands, Ermou Walkway and Monastiraki Flea Market for more quirky and affordable items. 

 

Interesting facts about Athens  

  • The land that is modern-day Athens is said to have been inhabited for over 7,000 years.
  • The city is named after Athena, the Greek Goddess of war and wisdom. 
  • All forms of government have been witnessed through Athenian history, from monarchy to communism — it is also the birthplace of democracy.
  • Since Athens has lived for millennia, it has monuments of most western architectural styles, from Greco-Roman to modern minimalist.
  • There are a total of 17 archaeological institutes located in Athens. 
  • Athens is said to be one of the sunniest cities in the world, with temperatures reaching as high as 48 degrees on occasion. 

 

Location Of Athens:

Athens is found within the central plains of the Attic Peninsula, surrounded on all sides by mountains such as Mount Parnitha, Mount Pentelicus, Mount Hymettus and Mount Aigaleo. The city itself is built on rolling hills, Lycabettus being the tallest with the best aerial views. The location of the city causes it to experience a rare natural phenomenon called temperature inversion, which is what causes its increased pollution levels. However, the last decade has seen the local authorities make tremendous strides in tackling environmental issues. 

 

Best time to visit:

While Athens welcomes visitors all through the year, winters are considered the best season to tour the city. This is mostly because the summers get exceptionally hot and pollution is at its highest — not ideal for the amount of sightseeing you’ll want to do when you’re in such a historic destination. Spring and autumn are pleasant seasons with a slight chance of rain. If you can get around the slightly unpredictable weather, these months are a great alternative to peak season rates. 

 

How to get to Athens:

By Air

About 27 km away from the city, in a town called Spata, is the Athens International Airport that welcomes flights from all over the world. Indeed, it is a hub for all of Southeast Europe and so all the national and global airlines have routes to, from or via Athens. The most popular airlines from India include Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Gulf Air and Qatar Airways. 

By Road

If you are already in Greece, reaching Athens by road is a possibility either by taxi, rented car or bus. The Corinth-Athens Highway and Larissa-Athens Highway are considered great for road trips. Public and private buses run from all major cities and towns to Athens Central Bus Station.

By Train

Getting to Athens by train is possible from within Greece and select European cities. They will drop you off at the Athens Railway Station or Larissa Station, from where taxis and buses can be availed transport you to the hotel. 

By Boat

Athens has its very own port of Piraeus, from where ferries and boats regularly operate domestically as well as with Italy. This is a great way to come to the city from one of the Greek island chains. 

 

History Of Athens:

Legend has it that the early tribes living around the region now known as the Acropolis of Athens, were united into a kingdom by King Theseus. Thus, began the first part of its history — the ancient era. It started 3400 years ago, went into the Golden Age of the Pericles in 500 BC, then came Alexander the Great until 146 BC and the consequential Roman rule until 330 AD. It is this classical period of history that draws most visitors to Athens today, as the entire city is a museum in itself. 

Despite the decline of the city as a force of power, Athens continued to remain a cultural centre for centuries to come, through the Byzantine Age, the Ottoman takeover, right up until Greece was liberated from Turkish rule and the city was named its capital. Of course, that wasn’t to be the last of invasions seen by Athens, as the Axis Powers took control during the World Wars. But just like the perfectly etched still-standing columns of the Parthenon, the city has stood the test of time to become a modern marvel. For not only is it the home of some of the world’s oldest monuments, but also some of the oldest ideas of mankind. Some of our greatest discoveries, achievements and evolutions began within the walls of this very city. That’s what makes Athens the trip of a lifetime. 

Language Spoken

Greek

Currency used:

Euro

NOV-MAR 6 to 16oC
SEP-NOV 15 to 24oC
MAY-SEP 20 to 32oC
MAR-APR 12 to 20oC

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Best Athens Tourism Guide

The origin of Western Civilization can be traced back to the capital of Greece, which makes Athens vacation packages such a huge favorite among tourists. Though it has turned into a metropolitan now, Athens tours can offer you valuable insight about the ancient Greek history.

The seven historical hills of Acropolis, Areopagus, Hill of Philopappus, Observatory Hill (Muses Hill), Pnyx, Lykavittos (Lycabettus), Tourkovounia (Anchesmus) can be an obvious part of your Athens tour. Your visit to the Acropolis can be a pleasant experience when you travel to Athens with the this holiday packages, since it had been ‘high city’ and is crowned with marble temples dedicated to the city goddess Athena.

Apart from that, the Ancient Agora, the cemetery at Kerameikos and the Temple of Olympian Zeus can be the other notable sites which you can visit on your trip to Athens with your this travel packages.

Athens can be a traveler’s delight since the city boasts of well-maintained parks and streets, easily accessible airport, latest motorways, with all signs in perfect English. The National Archaeological Museum, the Folk Arts Museum, the Agora Museum can be the other places to visit when you go for Athens Holidays.

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