Athens is more than just a capital and metropolis. Once the cradle of ancient civilization, today it is one of the main cultural centers of Europe with hundreds of ancient monuments, colorful districts, high-level festivals and endless shopping opportunities.
What to visit in Athens
You need to start your acquaintance with Athens with a visit to its sights - they determined the glory of the Greek capital as a popular tourist destination. Firstly visit Acropolis. The monumental buildings were stretched across the territory of the Acropolis witnessing all historical events. The Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Propylaea, the temple of Nike Apteros - these are just some of the monuments you need to see with your own eyes.
Museum lovers should dedicate a few hours to the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art or the National Art Gallery. In total, Athens has more than 50 major museums and a huge number of private collections.
Athens is a city of cozy districts, many of which are known no less than the legendary Acropolis:
- Anafiotika is an area founded by settlers from the Cycladic island of Anafi. That is why its architecture is so reminiscent of the typical architecture of the Cyclades. White houses, narrow streets, balconies immersed in flowers are part of the charm of Anafiotika;
- Psirri is one of the most ancient districts of the city. It was first mentioned in travel essays of the 17th century. This is an area of cozy taverns where you can feel the real Greece, old buildings and graffiti, which in contrast turn Psirri into one of the most memorable places in Athens;
- Plaka is the most famous quarter at the foot of the Acropolis. Here, many houses are built on 300-year-old foundations, and winding streets keep the spirit of "old" Greece;
- Monastiraki is an area that is famous for the flea market of the same name and an abundance of attractions, including the 18th century mosque and the church of Pantanassa;
- Syntagma is the most visited square in Greece. And all because the Parliament building is located here, where you can watch the changing of the guard. Nearby is the National Garden.
Syntagma is famous for its excellent transport interchange. From here you can get anywhere by metro, bus or tram.
The Athens sightseeing itinerary should definitely include the Panathinaikos Stadium, which hosted the first Olympic Games in modern history, the architectural ensemble of the Roman Agora with dozens of monuments, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus , one of the main symbols of the Greek capital.
The traditions of theatrical art originated in Athens in antiquity. The National Opera of Athens invites you to ballet performances, opera performances, concerts of symphony orchestras. The troupe performs at several venues in the city and in cultural centers. The National Theater puts on the classics of Greek drama, preserving the national identity. In addition, you can get acquainted with the theatrical art of Greece (and, moreover, surrounded by historical "decorations") in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the theater of Dionysus.
The festivals of Athens are something not to be missed if you happen to be in the capital of Greece during the days of them. Here are the most famous:
- The Athens festival is the largest. It is held from May to October at many venues not only in Athens, but also in Epidaurus. The festival covers all areas of the arts and includes theatrical, musical and other cultural events;
- Animation Festival - It is held every year in March. More than 300 animation works from Greece and dozens of other countries are presented at several venues;
- The Chocolate Festival is an annual event for the sweet tooth. Includes not only tastings, but also master classes, exhibitions and fairs;
- Jazz Festival in Technopolis - an annual meeting place for connoisseurs of jazz music;
- International Film Festival is held for many years and includes screenings of new Greek and foreign films, retrospectives.
Shopping in Athens is one of the favorite entertainments of the city's guests. Here you can buy anything your heart desires: from rare items at the Monastiraki flea market and antique shops to luxury brand clothes in large shopping centers. If your goal is to replenish your wardrobe, you need to go to the Attica department store, the Athens Metro Mall and the McArthurGlen outlet. Many freestanding boutiques are located throughout the city. Ermou street is great for shopping, too. If the budget is not limited, you should go to the elite area of Kolonaki.
In the center of Athens there are jewelry stores, countless souvenir shops, shops of high-quality Greek leather goods (shoes, accessories). The best time for shopping in Athens is during sales periods . In winter they are held in January and February, and in summer the maximum discounts can be caught in July-August.
No capital can be imagined without a noisy nightlife, including Athens. The Greeks love to have fun: life in the capital does not stop at sunset. Bars, taverns, clubs are filled with visitors, promising an unforgettable vacation. In the areas of Psirri and Plaka, you can listen to traditional rebetika music, and buzukya taverns are scattered throughout the city. In search of discos and bars, you should go to Glyfada, Gazi and Kolonaki or explore the area near Syntagma. The choice of musical directions is huge here: from indie and lounge to rock and music from the best DJs in Europe. The nightlife of Athens is so contrasting that even the most picky will find entertainment to their liking.