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Destinations

Guide to Short City Breaks in Athens

With a documented history dating back thousands of years, the city of Athens has an undeniable claim as the “cradle of Western Civilization”. Athens has served as a population hub, as well as an economic and cultural centre since 1400 BC. Athenian culture is alive in its architecture and culinary offerings.

3 sights you can’t miss in Athens

Parthenon

One of the most well known landmarks in Athens is the Parthenon.

Parthenon – one of the most recognisable ancient structures is the Parthenon. It was built as a temple dedicated to the virgin goddess Athena and other goddesses this temple is simply amazing. The Parthenon is built atop the highest hill in Athens, and is the centre piece of the public area known as the Acropolis. The Parthenon was rebuilt starting in 437 BC, after the original structure was destroyed by invading Persians 40 years before.

Theatre of Herodes Atticus – constructed by conquering Romans in the second-century AD, this outdoor amphitheatre can hold 5000 people and is still used for plays and concerts today.

Agora – the public political centre of ancient Athens. Many monuments can be found on the grounds of the Agora.

Shopping & Dining in Athens

Athens has many destinations for the shoppers. The entire downtown area is home to many shops selling everything from souvenirs to high-end fashion. Among the more popular shopping destinations in Athens are the Plaka neighbourhood, located at the base of the Acropolis and the Monastiraki Flea Market. The flea market is open on Sundays only, and is very packed with vendors and shoppers eager to find a good deal. Both the Plaka and the Monastiraki areas have multiple restaurants featuring Greek cuisine, and the city’s signature dish, moussaka (ground beef and eggplant).

Nightlife in Athens

Athens has a very diverse nightlife. Concentrated in three areas of downtown Athens (Plaka, Psiri, and Thission), bars and clubs of all sorts can be found. For a feel of Greek culture, be sure to check out a Rembetika music club. Many of these clubs also serve food while the entertainment performs traditional songs. Other clubs have a feel matched by New York or London, with rock, hip hop, and jazz clubs found throughout the entertainment districts. Discotheques abound for those who like to dance. Athens also has a thriving gay bar/club scene.

Suggested 2 day Itinerary in Athens

Syntagma Square

You can spend hours sitting around in Syntagma Square, soaking up the atmosphere.

Most tourist destinations in Athens are found in a compact area surrounding the city centre, Syntagma Square. The square is home to the Royal Palace, and a changing of the guard ritual occurs daily. Starting day one at Syntagma Square, head to the Acropolis and see the Parthenon. Many other sculptures and structures still exist on the Acropolis. Follow up with the Plaka neighbourhood located at the base of the Acropolis and enjoy shopping and eating in one of many restaurants. For day two, be sure to include trips to the Monastiraki and Thissio neighbourhoods. Both locates are loaded with restaurants and ancient relics that will inspire vacationers.

Image Credits

Gallery image: Courtesy of flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/visitgreecegr/5986674175/
Parthenon image: Courtesy of flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/caribb/78745414/
Syntagma Square image: Courtesy of flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/harout/1359708514/