Travel guide to flights & holidays in Athens.
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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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holidays - Top Places To Go
||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
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
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
holidays - Top Events
|1. Athens Festival
|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
Where is it? Herod Atticus Odeon
|2. Lycabettus Hill Festival
|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
Where is it? Lycabettus Hill Amphitheatre (travel up by funicular, or
|3. Traditional Greek Dance Festival
|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
Where is it? Dora Stratou Theatre
|4. Rockwave Festival
|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
Where is it? Terra Vibe