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Although Athens is now a very modern city its history reaches back over more than 3,000 years, to when the first prehistoric settlement was established on the rock now known as The Acropolis (highest city). During the golden age (when Pericles ruled from 495-429 BC) monuments such as the Parthenon were built. Of course, the city would inevitably rise and fall in importance, but today that all lends to its charm and historic appeal. It was in 1834 that Athens became the official capital of Greece and it has since grown into the city that we know and love today.
Despite being so rich in ancient history, Athens now has a new airport; new tram line, new metro line, a new railway, sports stadiums, shopping centres, and just about anything else you can think of to be found in any modern city today. The city's port at Piraeus has now become one of the most important in the Mediterranean. As the city has expanded over the years many locals have moved to the outskirts, making Athens even more sprawling in nature.
The setting of Athens is certainly a beautiful one. The city lies in the basin of Attica and is surrounded on most of its sides by mountains. Mount Aegaleo to the northwest, the Parnitha and Penteli mountains to the northeast, and Mount Hymettus on the southeastern side. What's left is a wonderful border with the Saronic Gulf, not far from the beautiful, deep blue Aegean Sea.
Because Athens is so rich in history, many people visit the city every year to spend time exploring the historical centre. There is simply so much to see that you may want to spend at least two days to really enjoy it and take it all in. The Democracy of the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and all the other monuments, theatres, and museums left behind by the ancient Greeks are great sights to see. In fact, you can walk the entire historical centre by using the Pedestrianisation, which is surrounded by a triangle comprised of Dionysiou Areopagitou, Plaka, and Keramikos streets. The Acropolis museum is included in this area, so be sure to stop by for a visit. Nearby you will also get a chance to explore the ancient Agora that is home to the Temple of Hephestus.
The architecture is another outstanding thing to behold in Athens. With many neo-classical buildings, it is hard to choose just one or two to visit. A walking tour of the city will help you get a glimpse of the dazzling architecture. If you don't opt for a tour you should make the effort to see the Athens Academy, the Historical Museum, the National Library, and the Archaeological Museum. Panepistimiou, Stadiou, Patission, and Athinas streets surrounding Omonia Square are also the location of some really fabulous buildings and neo-classical homes.
Getting around Athens is quite easy as it has a good variety of transport services. Of course you can take a taxi, but many visitors find it much easier on their wallets to take the trolley tram, bus, or metro, all of which run on schedule and are easy to use. Walking is a great way to get around town as well, and you really get a feel of the city that way.
Though many people book flights to Athens simply to get a look at some ancient history, others still come for the beaches. Remember that it is a Mediterranean city, which means some deep blue sea and white sands await your arrival. During the warmer months, the beaches, especially those of Glyfada and Sounion, are prime destinations. They also lead you to ports where you can sail to the popular destinations of Crete, Mykonos, and Rhodes.
The shopping is also very good in Athens. From the famous shopping areas on Ermou Street and Aiolou Street to the area of Kolonaki, you will be able to find all sorts of treasures; books, music, art, and some of the latest fashions are all available right here. The authentic Greek markets for local fare and produce are also worth some time, especially if you have rented a house or villa and are self catering.
When booking flights to Athens, you will definitely need to consider the time of year in which to visit. Spring and late autumn are the best times to enjoy the weather, as the summer can be extremely hot. Winter, though sometimes quite cold with some days of rain and snow, does allow you to find cheap flights to Athens, as it is the off-peak season. Many people opt for the winter simply because there are less tourists around and it is far more affordable. However, no matter when you choose to visit, Athens is a wonderful place for a holiday.
The best prices our customer have found to Athens in the last 7 days
The cheapest direct flights to Athens our customers have found in the last 7 days