The Athenian Experience

A bustling collision of ancient and modern, Athens is very much alive. Named after the goddess Athena, it is the proud birthplace of democracy, western civilisation and great philosophers.

For more information such as Visas, Language, Currency, Climate, Useful Addresses and Maps Visit www.cityofathens.gr

What to see and do

Below are a list of links to websites with great information about the Archaeological Sites and Museums of Athens

Athens in 3 days

With its mix of culture, history, shopping and fine dining, Athens is a fantastic destination for a weekend breaks, or for a few days lingering before heading to the islands. Wear comfortable shoes and rise early to get the most of your days. We’ve outlined a few must-sees you can pack into a three-day visit.

Save time and money with an Archaeological Sites of Athens block ticket. Valid for four days, it gives you access to the Acropolis, the Theatre of Dionysus, the Ancient Agora, Kerameikos, the Roman Forum and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It can be purchased at any of these sites.

Athens day one

Delve into the past with a visit to the world-famous Parthenon. Dedicated to the goddess Athena, it was built in the 5th century BC. Look for the sculptural reliefs on the sides of the building depicting gods, beasts and the Procession of the Panathenea.

From here, cast your eye over the building progress at the high-tech New Acropolis Museum, and then head down the hill to amble through the cobbled streets of Plaka nearby. This pretty neighbourhood is packed with restaurants, cafés and small shops, lined with neoclassical buildings and is home to a host of archaeological sites, including the Tower of the Winds.

Athens day two

You can’t come to Athens without visiting the National Archaeological Museum, which has one of the richest archaeological collections in the world. Highlights include the statue of a Nereid (a mermaid of the Mediterranean) found in Epidaurus and dated to 380 BC and a marble sculptural group of Aphrodite and Pan found on Delos and dating to 100 BC.

The daily Monastiraki flea market will bring you sharply back into the present with its assemblage of goods, ranging from gold and silver jewellery, real fur, traditional costumes, rugs, museum reproductions, weird food, fake religious icons and musical instruments. Rub shoulders with the locals as you spot a curio or two to take home and don’t be afraid to barter.

Athens day three

The Agorá, or market, was the pulsing heart of ancient Athens. It was the focus of commercial, political, social and administrative activity, as well as being a religious and cultural centre. This once buzzing site would have seen the masses mingling with the elite – all from servants and stall holders to politicians and merchants.

A highlight is the Temple of Hephaestus – one of the best preserved temples in Ancient Greece, with friezes depicting images of the mythological character of Theseus. Further highlights include the Stoa Attalou, thought to be a precursor to the modern-day shopping mall, the Temple of Apollo Patroos, the Bouleuterion and the museum that explains the area’s history.

Then take a metro ride to one of neighbourhoods of Gazi, Psirri or Kerameikos, three of the more hip and artsy parts of town and where you’ll find Athenians and the more travel-savvy visitors hanging out.

Experience…

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Did you know?

Greece enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine or 3,000 sunny hours a year.

Greece has more than 2,000 islands, of which approximately 170 are populated.

Greece’s largest island is Crete (3,189 sq.miles) (8,260 sq. km.)

Greece has more archaeological museums than any other country in the world.

Greece is the leading producer of sea sponges