Greece has been a top holiday destination for British tourists for decades. As well as its fantastic nightlife, Athens offers mouth-watering traditional cuisine and aeons of culture, which means there is plenty for even the most sophisticated traveller to love.
Best Time to Travel
Athenians love to socialise. Avoiding the heat of the day, the nightlife doesn't begin until 8pm and clubs don't really kick off until midnight. In the Summer, many clubs re-locate to the beach and are open every night. Predictably, these Summer months are hottest and busiest Ė book in advance! Spring and Autumn offer a more relaxed experience but try not to miss out on the Athens and Epidaurus festival. Running from May to October, it is a festival of every kind of art, ancient and modern and genuinely offers something for all tastes.
Amazing Attractions to See
Athens is the capital of modern-day Greece and the site of the ancient city state of the same name. Home of Plato and Aristotle and widely regarded as the birthplace of western philosophy and politics, Athens oozes culture and historical curiosities. The acropolis is the heart of ancient Athens, offering spectacular views of the city and some of the best-preserved ruins anywhere in the world. The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, patron goddess of Athens, is particularly impressive, not least because it has been standing for almost two and a half millenia. The adjacent Parthenon museum offers multi-lingual tours for a shade over Ä10, giving an exciting glimpse into the ancient world.
I could fill this article with rave reviews of world heritage sites, but I'll let you discover them for yourself. If you eventually tire of antiquity, the narrow lanes spilling out from the foot of the acropolis are replete with coffee shops and boutiques. Get a feel for how a modern Athenian lives while you review your pics over an espresso or two. Sample traditional dishes like souvlaki' and tzatziki. Museums and galleries offer welcome respite from the heat and display what the Greeks have been up to since the days of Plato and the Parthenon.
Exquisite and Delicious Restaurants
These lanes and streets are home to some of Athens' most impressive restaurants and bars. The Plaka district is more quaint and in keeping with its historical surrounding whereas Psiri offers trendy, alternative eateries and hotels. For simple, unpretentious traditional food at a reasonable price try Kostas in Plaka. For a more modern and stylish take on Greek cuisine, try Pairs KerÚs on Psiri Square (features live music every night).
Getting Around in Athens
Getting around Athens is a serious consideration as it is not a small city, but luckily almost every kind of transport is available to you. If you're like me, you'll want to experience the metro (a Ä1 ticket can be used and re-used on most city transport for 90 minutes after first validation), but if you want the convenience of a car (and don't fancy taking your chances with the pick-pockets) then Avis provide car hire throughout the city and direct from the airport, starting at a little over £100. The city is shot through with accommodation options, from backpackers' hostels up to five-star hotels, so there's something for every budget.
It's worth mentioning that Athens is a very political city, so riots and protests are relatively commonplace. Stay out of their way and you should avoid trouble. Like any large city, there are areas which are a little less friendly than others. Always contact a tourist advisory service in advance if you a worried about ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don't let anything spoil what should be an amazing experience.