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Athens, the capital city of Greece, is an ideal place for city tourism. Visitors are struck by the so called 'Attica light', which is a combination of the dry and mild climate and the reflection of the sun on the stone of the surrounding mountains, giving the sky its unique light.
With a long and fascinating history with its highpoint around the 5th century BC, Athens has acquired a universal significance, and become the historical capital of Europe. Thousands of people flock to admire it's unique and splendid monuments, which are very well preserved. Athens is one city where the past blends harmoniously with the contemporary.
Today it is a modern , vibrant metropolis with unrivalled charm. A large part of the city's centre has been converted into 3 kilometre pedestrian zone, the largest in Europe, leading to the major historical sites.
Athens also boasts a lively and cosmopolitan lifestyle, with a variety of museums and interesting exhibitions; theatres, festivals and concerts. For relaxation, numerous hotels, some great beaches, the popular café culture, plus a variety of restaurants and tavernas to suit all tastes and pockets. For those who enjoy clubbing: nightlife carries on to the early hours of the morning, and if you like a bit of shopping therapy, there is a huge choice of stylish shopping areas, both in the centre and the suburbs
Thanks to its rich morphology, Athens has plenty of places from which you can admire stunning panoramic views of the city and beyond to the Aegean sea.
Within easy reach of the city centre is the town of Piraeus, Greece's main port and gateway to the beautiful islands of the Aegean, or the southern suburbs, located on the coast of the Saronic Gulf, where the locals like to stroll beside the seaside. Many long weekenders opt for a one day 3 islands cruise, as a wonderful contrast to the hustle and bustle of this fascinating city'
No other city has contributed more to the civilization of mankind than Athens. It is the place where Socrates was born, Plato, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and many others. It is the place that humanism and democracy were born. The intellectual light that Athens created will always be alive. It is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years.
Over the years, a multitude of conquerors occupied Athens but after a long period of decline, it became the capital city again in 1834, as a result of the Greek War of Independence and the creation of an independent Greek Kingdom. Since then Athens has never looked back and in 2004 the Olympic games finally returned to their birthplace and Athens underwent massive redevelopment and modernization.
There's no end of monuments and attractions in Athens, but these are the best of the best that you won't want to miss.
The jewel of Athens, the Acropolis and the Parthenon, dominate the city. Even if there were no Parthenon, the Acropolis is worth the visit just for the magnificent view of Athens and the surrounding temples below. And now the aclaimed New Acropolis Museum nearby.
Just below the Acropolis is the theatre of Herod Atticus built by the Romans in 161 AD and still used today for classical concerts, ballet, and performances of high cultural value. Further on is the Theater of Dionysious the first stone theatre and home to Sophocles, Aeschylus, Eripides and Aristophanes. It was rebuilt around 342 BC by Lykourgos and then enlarged by the Romans to be used for gladiator fights. From here a short away is Hadrian's Arch, a monumental gateway resembling a Roman triumphal.
The heart of modern Athens beats in Syntagma Square. Next to Syntagma Square you will find the Greek Parliament building and in front of it the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, guarded by the Evzones in traditional costume. From this square starts the beautiful National Garden (40 acres), south of which stands the impressive Zappeion Mansion (1874-1888). From there you can continue towards the Presidential Mansion (1897) and thence to the Panathenaikon (Kallimarmaro) Stadium, where the first Olympic Games in modern history were held (1896).
The Plaka is the oldest section of Athens. Most of the streets have been closed to automobile traffic, and is now an area of restaurants, tourist shops, and cafes. Though it is quite commercialized it is still a neighborhood and arguably the nicest neighborhood in central Athens. There are a few galleries like the Moraitis and there are several museums in the Plaka of special note the Children's Museum, the Music Museum, the Greek Folk Art Museum and the Jewish Museum. The Monastiraki flea market is the place to be on Sunday's when it seems every Athenian is here either buying or selling.
A few kilometers from Athens centre you can take the coast road, also known as the Athens Riviera, from Faliro until Cape Sounion where you will find the temple of Poseidon built in 5th B.C. which offers one of the nicest sunsets one could ever imagine. On the way to Cape Sounion you will find many sandy beaches, yacht marinas, hotels and nightclubs.
Athens is one of the most bustling cities in the world, especially in the summer season the nightlife is truly amazing. One can find excellent restaurants and night clubs in nearly all major areas of Athens. We suggest you drive along the Corniche of the Athenean Riviera, with perhaps a candlelight dinner in one of the sea front restaurants which can range from the quiet and traditional to the ultra sophisticated and even lively Bar- Restaurants bars where one can see the sea on the one side and people chatting or dancing on the bar , on the other.
Whatever you want from a city break, you will find it in Athens, the ultimate city of contrasts.
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