The Ancient Capital of Greece
Athens is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, with a history dating back 3400 years and a wealth of awe-inspiring ancient buildings, ruins and archaeological remains. Chief among these is the Parthenon, perched atop the Acropolis which still dominates central Athens, while the Ancient Agora, Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Tower of the Winds are among the many reminders of the antiquity of this unique city which continue to attract crowds of international tourists. Meanwhile, first class museums such as the National Archaeological Museum with its Mycenaean, Classical Greek, Hellenistic and Roman treasures, and numerous smaller museums like the Byzantine Museum with its collection of medieval art and the Greek Folk Art Museum, which houses traditional costumes, embroideries and woodcarvings, are on every visitor’s checklist.
However, Athens isn’t just about ancient history and monuments. Athens is a modern, vibrant city with a lively cultural scene, including many music, drama and dance festivals, and it’s a great place to go shopping, whether you’re searching for designer fashions in upmarket Kolonaki or browsing for bargains in the busy and always intriguing street markets. Tavernas and restaurants in Athens serve some of the best Greek cuisine in the world, and the city’s ouzeris – the Greek equivalent of tapas bars – are enjoyable places to try local specialities in an authentic setting.
If you get tired of the hectic pace of city life, the seaside resort of Glyfada is just a short distance along the coast from Athens, where you can indulge in a spot of swimming and sunbathing, and the pretty little island of Aegina is a short ferry ride across the Saronic Gulf.