At the heart of Greece’s thriving and stimulating population is Athens, the historical city combining modern living and traditional Greek values. Athens is considered a temple city, as the impressive yet ancient places of worship are scattered across the majestic hillsides. As one of the most prehistoric cities in the world, its origins dating back to 5th century BC, the landmarks tell the stories of Greek mythology, literature, and philosophy. Travellers become lost in the city’s rich history and the influence Greek culture has bestowed on modern life.
The city thrives with culture; as you walk the winding streets, you can find yourself lost in the street art, or captivated by the inconspicuous buildings housing incredible artwork and theatre. Stay in the beautiful marble buildings at one of Athens' premier hotels, overlooking the water, and enjoy the sunset from the highest peak of the Parthenon every night.
Travelling to Athens city won’t break the bank; many airlines travel directly into the heart of Athens that offer affordable, cheap airfares all year round. Though some countries don’t offer direct flights into Athens, there are many available airports you can travel to easily switch carriers. Here are the airlines who offer affordable and easy flights into Athens:
Emirates, Etihad Airways, SilkAir, Qatar Airways, British Airways, Air China, Singapore Airlines and Scoot Airlines
Athens International airport is a multi-use international airport, divided into two sections for both international travels outside of Europe, and a section for flights around central Europe and domestic services. When coming to and from the airport it is important to know what type of flight you are taking, as this will dictate the terminal building you need.
The airport is stocked with everything you need; available inside is minimarts, banks, ATMs, pharmacies and duty-free shopping. Enjoy a quick bite at one of the many cafes and restaurants, and relax in one of the many businesses lounges before your flight.
Athens airport is just 20km from the heart of the city, and there are many options available to get you to your hotel easily. Connected to the airport is Athens Railway, a suburban railway network that will take you directly to the city straight from the airport. Alternatively, you use the Metro system, Line 3, to make your way towards the city, or take a ride on one of the many bus routes available. Alternatively, take a taxi from the assigned taxi rank, as the journey should only take you thirty-five minutes to the centre of town.
With only three lines, the Athens metro system is the easiest and most cost-effective way to travel around the city, and the network spans most of the areas travellers will need to go. A fun and unique way to see Athens is via the tram network, however, this option doesn’t cover every part of the city. There are three main lines; the first line links downtown Athens to the Peace Friendship Stadium, the second line connects the city centre to Voula, in the south, and the third line runs along the coast.
Taxis are readily available in Athens and can be hailed on the street or picked up from a designated taxi stand. However, it is common practice in Athens for a driver to pick up multiple fares at once, so you may be asked to share your ride with someone else. Rideshares apps like Uber are also available in Athens and are becoming ever more popular.
No matter what parts of Athens you are in, you will have a beautiful view of the most significant, and one of the oldest, ancient sites in the world, the Acropolis. The distinct white columns, the pointed roof, and the marble glow are unmistakable, and there is little wonder why travellers flock to this important monument every day. Even at night, the careful position lights surrounding the building capture the grandeur and significance of the site, providing the city with a beacon to follow by dark.
To understand more about the heritage of the Acropolis, and why it possesses such significance in western history, visiting the Acropolis museum is a must. Situated just a short ten-minute walk from the site itself, the museum provides travellers with a journey through time, featuring exhibition from the Archaic period, the time of the Roman Empire, and the ruins of the ancient city. This beautiful building is a spectacle in itself; opened in 2009, the towering glass gives a sense of grandeur, and possesses its own remarkable views.
Continue your journey through history with a stop at the Temple of the Olympian Zeus. Built in the 6th century BC, the temple is one of the tallest in Greece, standing at an imposing 17m high. These remains of the decaying temple, with only 15 of the original 104 columns still standing, continues to be admired to this day.
Though there are a couple of international restaurants scattered across the city, nothing that can rival the Mediterranean cuisine when you are visiting Athens. You cannot pass on the Greek Tavernas, and one of the oldest is Diporto Agoras, where there are no menus, just a beautiful sense of family and good food. There is no shortage of wine too; simply order a glass from one of the barrels that lines the walls of the restaurant.
What you will find hidden away in the Athens streets is the abundance of Cretan restaurants, with colourful walls and dishes made from garlic and fresh nuts. Popular Cretan restaurants include I Kriti, which is highly recommended to reserve a table, and Rakolemono, a quaint tavern famous for making the Greek alcohol Rakomelo.