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Athens Holidays Overview

The capital of Greece and a major tourist centre, Athens is a sprawling city bounded by Mt Pendeli, Mt Parnitha and Mt Ymettos on three sides. Inside Athens are 12 more hills, Lykavittos and the Acropolis being the most historical.

Scattered around the foot of these hills are beautiful Neoclassical buildings, traditional and chic stores, cafes, winding streets, beautiful churches and beautiful views. Athens is unexpected, relaxed and charming.

Most of the historical locations and strewn around in the city centre around the Syntagma Square. The Acropolis is crowned by beautiful marble temples that are dedicated to Athena, the city's goddess. The historic districts of Thissio, Monastiraki and Plaka are charming with their pedestrian only streets, neoclassical homes, picturesque ruins, restaurants and shops.

Athens also has more theatrical stages than anywhere else in the world. The historic Odeon of Herodes Atticus is where the Athens Festival is hosted each year. Other than the multiplexes, Athens also has a large number of open air cinemas.

The museums in Athens are world class and include various internationally renowned museums like the National Archaeological Museum, Numismatic Museum, Byzantine and Christian Museum and the Benaki Museum.

Athens has a rich history, vibrant streets, relaxed lifestyle and a distinct nightlife that make an impression on anyone who visits. Amidst ancient ruins are charming cafes that offer good opportunities for people-watching. The nightlife centres in Athens stay open later than most places in Europe.

While the city did undergo careless modernization in many parts, the extensive restoration projects have still kept the spirit of Athens alive.

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Athens holidays - Top Places To Go

1. Acropolis

What is it? Those arriving in Athens for the first time generally head immediately for the Acropolis. There are very few visitors who are not already familiar with the image of this distinctive citadel of ancient Athens, perched on its steep flat-topped rock above the sprawling city. It is the spot where Athens, and classical Greek civilisation, began, and the site of a collection of beautiful temples, most dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, Athena. The ruins that remain visible today date from the 4th century BC, most of them erected by Pericles after the Persians destroyed many of the original Acropolis buildings. Visitors toil up the slopes past the souvenir stands and enter the site through the monumental entrance way, the Propylaia, which in ancient times contained an art gallery. To the right of the entrance is the tiny temple of Athena Nike, reconstructed and restored. The Parthenon, the greatest surviving monument of Doric architecture, is the biggest drawcard on the Acropolis, built of Pentelic marble quarried from the distant mountains, which form the backdrop to the magnificent view of Athens from the Acropolis. Alongside the Parthenon is another temple, the Erechtheion, which bears holes on its northern porch where Poseidon's trident struck it during his contest with Athena to have the city named after him. There is a museum on the Acropolis, too, where some of the carving and friezes recovered from the temples are on show, although many of the archaeological finds from the Acropolis are now housed in the British Museum in London. Hours of Operation: Daily 8am to 7.30pm (15 June to 31 October); 8.30am to 3pm (November to May) Phone:(01) 321 0219



2. Ancient Agora

What is it? Clustered below the Acropolis (enter from Odos Adrianou, east of Monastiraki Square) is the remains of the Agora, ancient Athens' commercial and civic centre, where once walked and talked the great philosophers Socrates and Plato. In fact the disgraced and despairing Socrates committed suicide in a prison in the southwest corner of the Agora, by drinking poison. The area is littered with the ruins of numerous ancient buildings, including the Dionysos Theatre (the world's oldest theatre where great plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were first performed). One building that has been restored is the 200 BC Stoa of Attalos (a stoa is a long, low roofed promenade which served as a combination law court, municipal office and shopping arcade in classical Greece). The reconstructed building now has a museum on its ground floor containing artefacts covering 5,000 years of Athenian history. Hours of Operation: Daily 8am to 7.30pm Phone:(01) 321 0185



3. National Archaeological Museum
Patission 44 Street
What is it? This is the largest and most popular of Athens' many museums, and is usually very crowded. Its vast collection includes treasures unearthed from Mycenae by Heinrich Schliemann; a staggering array of sculpture including the earliest known Greek figurines dating from around 2,000 BC; frescoes from the volcanic island of Santorini; and so much more that it is recommended visitors make several visits to absorb it all. Hours of Operation: Monday 12.30pm to 5pm; Tuesday to Friday 8am to 5pm; weekends and public holidays 8.30am to 3pm Phone:(01) 821 7724



Athens holidays - Top Events


1. Athens Festival

From 2007-06-01

To 2007-07-31

What is it? The city of Athens' cultural showcase is the two-phase Athens Festival, held every summer since 1955 at the magnificent 2,000 year old Herod Atticus Odeon, built in 161 AD. The ancient tiered theatre nestles at the foot of the Acropolis and during summer and autumn resounds each evening to the tune of symphony orchestras, classical drama and dance, and operatic performances. The large and varied programme of international and Greek artists is available from the Athens Festival office on Stadiou Street. The summer section of the festival runs from about June to July, while the autumn section covers August to October. Where is it? Herod Atticus Odeon



2. Lycabettus Hill Festival

From 2007-05-01

To 2007-09-20

What is it? A perfect way to spend the hot summer nights in Athens in stunning surroundings and with first class entertainment is to attend some of the items presented at the annual Lycabettus Hill contemporary arts festival. The various performances take place in the open-air theatre atop the hill which provides magnificent views across Athens. The programme includes contemporary jazz, pop, rock and dance shows. For more information contact the Lycabettus Theatre on (0)210 722 7233. Where is it? Lycabettus Hill Amphitheatre (travel up by funicular, or walk)



3. Traditional Greek Dance Festival

From 2007-05-01

To 2007-09-07

What is it? The warmth and energy of the Greek people is nowhere better demonstrated than in their traditional dancing, and this can be witnessed in fine style each summer night (except Mondays) at the theatre established by Greek folk expert, Dora Stratou, on Philopappus Hill in Athens. The dancers in each show do full justice to the costumes and ancient routines that make up each packed performance. Where is it? Dora Stratou Theatre



4. Rockwave Festival

From 2007-07-09

To 2007-07-11

What is it? Since it was first held in 1996 Athens' Rockwave Festival has become one of Europe's most popular annual live rock music events, drawing the hottest performers and an enthusiastic crowd of tens of thousands. The music fest takes place over three days, featuring three stages offering different types of music: metal, rock and dance. The latest addition is the 'silent' dance experience, featuring the Silent Disco. Where is it? Terra Vibe




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About This Page

Information on Athens Holidays, Athens Hotels, Holiday Packages in Athens (city breaks, short stays, all inclusive and luxury deals). Also provides links and resources to Air Travel, Flights and Athens Car Hire Options

Holidays Travel Guide content part sourced rom, copyright Globe Media Ltd. By its very nature much of the information contained in the travel guide is subject to change at short notice. Travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevent authorities. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to a person as result of information contained above.