Athens is the city of the gods, the heart of Athenian civilisation that influenced modern philosophy and democracy. Fans of history and myths will be in their element surrounded by stunning ancient architecture, each with its own legend attached.
Yet the modern city of Athens is also exciting, lined with cafes and classy restaurants, fabulous boutique shopping, museums and a roaring nightlife that regularly continues until dawn.
Sights to See
First and foremost, Athens is the place to wander remnants of the past. Must-see buildings are the Parthenon, the Acropolis site and Pnyx Hill where Athenians used to gather for assemblies. The Parthenon is arguably the greatest symbol of Ancient Greece, a huge rectangular structure bordered with columns and decorated with some of the best sculptures in Greek art. It is dedicated to the goddess Athena and took 15 years to build, finally being completed in 438 BC.
Athens offers world-class museums, favourites being Archaeological Museum of Delphi which shows off the history of the Delphic sanctuary and oracle, and The Acropolis Museum with beautiful sculptures and archaeological excavation sites.
For those more interested in the present, Athens offers exciting dining, stylish shopping and wild nightlife in the areas of Psiri, Keramikos and Gazi.
What’s For Lunch
Greek food has an abundance of dips, good bread and olives. Take a seat at a seaside cafe or taverna and be sure to try the classic tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt), fava (split pea and cream) and taramasalata (fish roe) dips for a truly Athenian experience.
If You Only See One Thing
The Acropolis is considered the most important ancient site in the Western world. The area includes a number of ancient buildings, including the Parthenon, which can be viewed from almost anywhere in the city. It was inhabited from about 3,000 BC until 510 BC when the Delphic oracle declared it a site only fit for the gods.
Have a go at Stin iyá mas! This is the Greek way of saying cheers, to be used when you’re drinking with a group that includes yourself.
The Greeks, both ancient and modern, love their sandals. The most famous sandal shop in Athens is Melissinos Art, who have been making sandals since 1927 and provided footwear to stars like the Beatles and Barbara Streisand.