The capital of modern-day Greece and the heart of Ancient Greece, Athens is a capital city like no other. With a strong mix of history, culture, and cosmopolitan life, Athens has equal measures of beauty and grunge.
Modern-day life plays out around ancient landmarks, with the amazing Acropolis, reminding everyone who lives there and visits of the city’s heritage and the incredible transformation the city has undergone. Everything you need to know about traveling in Athens, Greece. Check this out to learn the Modern Greece travel guide.
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Admittedly, the 2009 economic crisis took its toll on Athens, but eight years on and this incredible city is doing well. Renowned for its lively urban bustle, chaos and history, Athens is an incredible place to visit and explore. Home to some incredible ancient sites and attractions, as well as some more modern ones, Athens has plenty to offer its visitors.
The most important thing when planning a trip to Athens is to ensure you do plenty of research and organizing in advance. As there is so much to see and do in this lively city, one trip won’t allow you to do it all, so it pays to plan out an itinerary for everything that you must do, to ensure that you get to see and do as much as possible.
How to reach the city center
The easiest way to get to Athens is via plane, with the only other option being visiting via cruise ship. However, this would most probably mean that you would only get a day or two to explore the city. The best airport to fly into is Venizelos International Airport because it’s ultra-modern and super easy to get from here to the city center. Via road, it takes around 40 minutes to get from the airport to the city center if the traffic is good, on bad days it can take up to an hour.
There are various options when it comes to Athens airport transfers; you can either choose to use public transport, or you can book a private transfer. For a private transfer, using an Athens’ taxi service can work well, as that way you don’t necessarily have to book in advance. For public transport, there’s the metro or a bus service that runs from the airport into the center of the city. These options are both fast and affordable but aren’t to everyone’s tastes as they can be rather busy. The metro station is located opposite the airport; there is also a range of different bus stops outside of the airport.
Thanks to the wide range of transport options on offer, getting from the airport to the center of Athens and back again, couldn’t be easier.
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What is there to see and do?
Athens holds the world’s largest collection of ancient ruins, which is one of the reasons why it is such a popular place to visit, with millions of tourists descending on the city each year. Not only does Athens boast the world’s oldest ruins, but it is also one of the world’s oldest cities, dating back over 3000 years. Known as the beginning of Western civilizations, due to the fact that it has contributed to the development of the theater, philosophy, and democracy. Because of the heritage that this city has, for anyone with an interest in culture, history or art, it’s the perfect place to visit.
When it comes to the best historical sites in Athens, the Parthenon is a must-see, as is Acropolis, and Acropolis Museum, as well as the Temple of Hephaestus and the Ancient Agora of Athens. These sights are all ideal for history lovers, and they are a big part of the city’s rich and vibrant history.
Home to many museums, Athens boasts some amazing relics. Of all the museums on offer in this city, the National Archaeological Museum is one of the best ones. For art lovers, the Museum of Cycladic Art is also a great attraction, as is the Benaki Museum.
As well as being able to see each of the city’s landmarks yourself, there is also the option of booking a tour that takes you around many of the city’s most iconic areas. There are some tours that last for a few hours and others that last for a few days; there are plenty of different tour types to choose from. From walking tours and cycling tours to bus tours, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Aside from the cultural sights, there are lots of other Athens tourist attractions. There’s Allou Fun Park, which has all manner of things to do, from rides to slides, it has something for everyone. Close by to the city is the beach of Vouliagmeni, a beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear, warm waters ideal for swimming and playing in. There are also two water parks in Athens, On Aqua Seas Sports Park and Water Fun, both of which are packed full of pools, slides, and exciting rides, and are ideal for cooling off at on a hot day.
Best places to eat and drink
Aside from its incredible heritage, one thing that Greece is famous for is its incredible cuisine, and Athens is no exception. Greek food is incredible; it’s not only delicious but for the most part, it’s also healthy. Obviously, it’s impossible to try everything in one trip, but you can try a wide selection of dishes. The question is, what should you eat and where should you eat it?
One food that Greece is famous for is Gyro; this is a form of kebab, similar to souvlaki, another Greek meat dish. Meat is grilled on a spit, before being sliced off and served in a warm pitta bread with salad, chips, and tzatziki. In Athens, you will find Gyro sold almost everywhere, in every restaurant and on every street stall, but where is the best place to try it? The Grecos Project or Savvas both serve incredible Gyro.
Another food that you have to try if you love cheese is Saganaki. This is cheese in breadcrumbs that is deep fried. It’s delicious but highly calorific. One of the best places to try this delicacy in Athens is Filema Restaurant.
Love falafel? Then you will love Revithokeftedes, the Greek version of falafel. Made in a similar way to traditional Turkish falafels, the Greek alternative is just as delicious; the only difference is that the spice blend used is slightly different and unique to Greece. There are lots of places that serve delicious Revithokeftedes, but one of the best places has to be Strofi Tavern.
You can’t go to Greece and not try Moussaka; it’s one of the country’s most iconic dishes and one of the most delicious. Similar to lasagne, Moussaka is made with potatoes and aubergine instead of pasta and uses lambs mince rather than beef. Wherever you go in Athens, as long as you are eating in a locally run restaurant, you are sure to get a good Moussaka.
Other foods that you have to try while you are in Athens include stuffed vine leaves, Greek salad with feta cheese, spanakopita, loukoumades, and halvasi. Greek cuisine is totally delicious, so while you are visiting Athens, it makes sense that you try as many different types of it as possible.
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There you have it, everything that you need to know about traveling to Athens and making the most of your time there. The fact is that Athens is an incredible city that has a lot to offer any visitors, from ancient ruins and art galleries to fine dining and beautiful beaches, which is what makes it such a popular travel location.