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Guide to the city of Athens

Athens the capital of Greece since 1834 after Nafplion and Aegina, situated at the basin of Attica surrounded from the North west by the mount Aegaleo, the mountains of Parnitha and Penteli continue to the North, North east and the mount Hymettus closes the bow to the south East. The Saronic gulf finally surrounds the east coasts of Athens and Attica.
The infrastructure of Athens has been developed very fast within the last 10 years with new highways, a new airport, new metro lines, a new tram line, a new railway the Proastiakos rail, huge shopping centres, stadiums and sport centres and the port of Piraeus has been developed to one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean.
Due to this new infrastructure and the quick access by rail ,metro and car a kind of dis urbanisation has began in Athens as many Athenians prefer to live out side of the city centre in suburbs and areas that a few years ago were holiday resorts. Athens has very good transport services, the visitor can use the bus, trolley tram or the metro and of course taxi. Since the distances to most of the main sights of Athens are not far, walking is a good idea and a good way to get to know Athens. Of course you will not be able to see Athens within one or two days unless you want to get some pictures of the Acropolis and pack for the Greek islands, but Athens has a lot of attractions that someone will need at least one week or more. there are many museums in Athens like the National Archaeological museum of Athens one of the most important museums in the world, exhibition centres, shopping malls, theatres and concert halls and of course the famous nightlife of Athens equivalent with the nightlife of Paris and London.

There are many places to visit in Athens that sometimes you can spend the whole day just strolling around. A place like that, is Monastiraki and its famous flea market with all kind of old and new stuff, a place that first was used by the rag and bone men of Athens as their main market place. Just across Ermou street from Monastiraki is the area of Psiri with numerous restaurants, bars , cafes and taverns with Greek live music both Monastiraki and Psiri is something like the Camden market in London. But do not forget the beaches of Athens. From the Lycabettus hill you can have an amazing panoramic view of Athens. The coastal road from Faliro to Glyfada, Vouliagmeni and further until Sounion is full of sandy beaches, yacht marinas, hotels, sport clubs, a worth seeing Riviera of Athens. From the port of Athens, Piraeus you can visit the beautiful Greek islands of the Aegean world famous for their nature, history and tourist attractions like Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Santtorini, Mykonos and many others.

HISTORICAL CENTRE OF ATHENS

historical center of athenThe historical centre of Athens is the most important area of the city for the thousand of tourists who are visiting the Greek capital in order to admire the shrine of Democracy the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the museums and the monuments and theatres from the glorious past of Athens. The Pedestrianisation of the historic centre that is surrounded from the triangle between Plaka, Dionysiou Areopagitou street and Keramikos includes almost all the magnificent sights of Athens. At Dionyssiou Areopagitou one can go walking from Syntagma square or by metro to the Acropolis station, a few meters away is the new Acropolis museum and opposite is the Ancient theatre of Dionysus, a little bit further is the Herodes Atticus Odeon and after that is the way on the Acropolis. The hills of Filopapos and Pnix are near by as well as the ancient Agora, the temple of Hephestus the oldest neighbourhoods of Athens Plaka, Anafiotika and Monastiraki on the north west slopes of the sacred rock. An amazing planning that give the opportunity to the visitor to see within a few hours the most important sights of Athens. But Athens has more attractions to offers as we can see in the article about the sights of Athens. 

The atmospheric pedestrian streets around the Acropolis, the big exhibitions, the rich potential of the museums, highlighting the New Acropolis Museum, the cultural complexes and the festivals, the lively, even in times of crisis, gastronomic landscape, the lively downtown neighborhoods, make the center of Athens the strongest attraction for visitors to the city. Increasingly hip in recent years, Gazi has become an all year round hot spot. Especially in summer, the main road and the square of the metro station resemble an island. Restaurants and bars set tables outside, everyone is on the street, in a perpetual motion. Metaxourgio, which follows closely with more alternative and art profiles, the timeless “village of art and entertainment” in Psyrri, which along with the night spots now gives reasons for all-day walks, the idiosyncratic and forever young Exarchia, the Syggrou Avenue with the dynamic cultural package of the House of Letters and Arts, the museums and cultural centers of Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, and the ever-changing Piraeus Avenue are some of the neighborhoods of the wider city center that keep our interest constant. 

WHAT TO SEE

The Acropolis of Athens

On a sunny day walk up the sacred rock of  Acropolis and visit Parthenon the world famous landmark of Athens. Τhe Acropolis of Athens is the main attraction of the capital of Greece. On the rock that dominates the centre of the capital, the ancient Greek culture was expressed in the most ideal way and some of its top monuments were built, such as the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the temple of Nike, the Erechtheion and others.

plaka athensVisit Plaka the oldest and most attractive neighbourhood of the Greek Capital, stroll around the narrow streets and enjoy the neoclassical mansions, climb up the steps to Anafiotica and explore a hidden small village in the heart of Athens!! Plaka used to be called by the Greeks the neighbourhood of the gods, today Plaka is one of the main attractions for the tourists, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops all can be find here. Anafiotica is a must see area just over Plaka and under Acropolis to the east .

Anafiotika is like a small island within Athens, builders from the small island of Anafi build their traditional white washed houses in the tiny winding streets and steps of this area when they were building the royal Palace.
Today the Palace is the Greek Parliament and rights on its front is the Parliament square or Plateia Syntagmatos in Greek , the most central place of Athens.

Next to the Parliament is the National Gardens and the Zapeion exhibition hall. Not far opposite Zapeion are the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Hadrian arch.

The Panathinaikon stadium where the first Olympic games took place located a few minutes walk through the National Gardens or through Zapeion. Athens has many neoclassical buildings like the Athens Academy, the National Library, The Historical museum, the Archaeological museum and many others mainly at the streets of Panepistimiou, Stadiou, Athinas, Patission (28 October street), around Omonia square and in the area of Plaka where located the first university of Athens and many neoclassical houses .

Beaches

athens beachThere are numerous beaches in Athens and in the peninsula of Attica. All of the beaches of Athens are well organised . Most popular are the beaches in Vouliagmeni, Varkiza, Kavouri, Glyfada. Alimos is the nearest to the centre of Athens. All of those beaches are in the coast line of the south suburbs of Athens and you can get there by tram (until Voula) or by bus. On the east coast of Attica there are many sea resorts very popular among the Athenians with nice beaches, to name a few, Marathon, Rafina, Nea Makri, Agios Andreas, Porto Rafti, Loutsa and Sounio at the southernmost peak of Attica.

Eating out

For eating out in Athens you are in the right place, all kind of restaurants with local, international and ethnic cuisine, grill houses, Greek souvlaki shops, pizzerias, hamburger, you name it, are to be found everywhere in Athens. For fish food you should try the fish taverns in the area of Piraeus at Peiraiki and Tourkolimano. Along the Poseidonos avenue at the coast there are numerous restaurants, bars, taverns and live music clubs.

Shopping

Athens is a paradise for shopping, all kind of shops are to be found in the most famous shopping areas of Athens the Ermou street, Aiolou street and in the area of Kolonaki. For books and music instruments the Solonos and Academias street. Many shops are on the two main streets that heading to the Parliament square Panepistimiou and Stadiou. But the most famous market place for the tourist is Monastiraki and the flea market. Worth of a visit is the Athens market at Athinas street and the small shops at Evrypidou street.