A city of legends – legendary heroes, legendary beauty and legendary hospitality – Athens is a place to delve into ancient history and to be immersed in Europe’s exciting contemporary culture. Known as the Cradle of Western Civilization, city breaks to Athens offer access to a metropolis like no other. Set in the Attica region of Greece with a history spanning over 3,400 years, Athens attracts visitors from all over the world with its iconic temples, ancient monuments and cosmopolitan centre.
Simply put, The Acropolis is one of the most important historical locations in the world. Thousands of visitors from all over the globe flock to see the remains of this iconic citadel; nestled on the top of a rocky outcrop that looks out over the hustle and bustle of contemporary Athens. Although there has been human settlement on the site of The Acropolis from around 4000BC, it wasn’t until the 6th century BC that that area was designated an area for the gods. There are several must-see sites in The Acropolis, the most famous of which is The Parthenon. Dedicated to the goddess Athena, this building is a key remnant of Ancient Greek civilisation and was built between 447BC and 438BC. The temple of Erechtheion features the awe-inspiring Porch of the Caryatids, while the Propylaea serves as a monumental gateway to the Acropolis.
You could very easily spend your entire break in just one of Athens’ many world-class museums and galleries. Set in the southern foothills of The Acropolis is the Acropolis Museum, where the majority of the historical treasures from The Acropolis are preserved. There’s more ancient history on display at the National Archaeological Museum – one of the world’s finest archaeological collections with over 11,000 different items. The Benaki Museum has a rich diversity of ancient Greek and Islamic art, or for an insight into the contemporary culture of Greece, make your way to the Pireos Annexe of the museum, where you’ll find a range of exhibitions and live performances.
Another thing to thank ancient Greece for is the creation of theatre. Make your way to the historical Roman amphitheatre, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, where you’ll find a range of plays in spectacular outdoor surroundings. For a taste of contemporary Greek performance, the Technopolis centre has an eclectic line up of live music, dance and theatre, while the Olympia Theatre is regularly home to ballet and the Greek National Opera. Athens is proud of its artistic heritage and visiting the National Theatre in the birthplace of the art form is a treat.
Greek cuisine is amongst the greatest in the Mediterranean, and there are plenty of options to choose from in Athens when it comes to food and drink. One of the most famous areas for food in the city is Plaka, at the foot of The Acropolis. If you’re travelling on a budget there’s Kostas, home to the self-titled ‘best Souvlaki in Athens’, while Platanos is one of the oldest tavernas in the area and serves a mouthwatering selection of Meze.