If you have been pondering over the idea of booking a holiday to Athens, why not make it part of your 2017 travel plans? As the capital of Greece, Athens has a lot to offer its visitors. From its timeworn landmarks to its flourishing hilly terrain, Athens is considered the historical capital of Europe. Don't be fooled into thinking that Athens lacks a contemporary touch, however. The ancient capital is as quirky as it is historical, with modern conveniences tucked away near age-old attractions, like Syntagma Square and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Charming and alluring, the metropolis boasts some of the best archaeological sites on the planet. You’ll be reminded of the city's ancient settlement when you wander around enchanting temples and the Plaka neighborhood, which is considered a nucleus of the historic centre. It's not just the antiquity that makes a holiday to Athens so popular but also the cosy cafes and inviting tavernas, where traditional Greek food and drink can be enjoyed.
Most popular hotels in Athens
Athens Avenue Hotel
ST. George Lycabettus
Acropolis Ami Boutique Hotel
Grecotel Cape Sounio Exclusive Resort
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Greek
- Time Zone: GMT +2
- Average flight time: 4h 10m
When to go
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Imagine walking amid ancient monuments, temple ruins, and the only white marble stadium in the entire world. When you go on holiday to Athens, the cultural attractions will satisfy your sense of wonder and fulfil your curiosity, whether it is to visit a hilltop place of worship like the Temple of Hephaestus, or to splurge at Monastiraki shops and markets.
Perhaps one of the area's most prominent sacred landmarks is the Church of Sant Jordi, although you will come across a wide range of famous attractions whilst on holiday in Athens. The National Archaeological Museum is a must for anyone with a fascination for ancient Greece, whereas Syntagma Square is the ideal destination for a walking tour near the city's temples and monuments.
Spend a half day or full day revealing the history of Athens at the site of Acropolis. This ancient citadel rises above the city and the settlement is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Benaki Museum, the ruins of Parthenon, and the timeworn complex of Erechtheion are three other attractions to check out alone, or as part of a group.
Wine and Dine
If you didn't know already, Greece was one of the first countries in the world to start producing wine. On that note, you should schedule a trip to one of the wine bars in Athens, where vintage varieties are available by the glass or bottle. Build up your appetite by sampling wines at Heteroclito, By The Glass, or Cinque wine bar.
When you're feeling merry, order a plate of deep-fried zucchini, souvlaki, or Greek caviar spread on toast at one of the acclaimed eateries. Passionate chefs prepare a mouthwatering selection of gastronomic delights at high-class restaurants, like Gostijo Kosher Restaurant, Spondi Restaurant, and Strofi Tavern, which overlooks the Acropolis.
An Athens holiday presents families with sailing fun, stand-up paddle boarding, yachting activities, and nature/wildlife tours, among many other things. Hundreds of thousands of tourists will visit the nearby historical neighbourhood of Plaka every single year. The maze-like streets, colourful foliage, and art galleries make Plaka an idyllic destination for a family day out.
Step inside the Greek Folk Art Museum or Children's Museum, before dining at a restaurant on Platia Filomenon Eterias square. Fancy breaking a sweat with the family? If so, hike along the Delphi Ancient Trail and walk in the footsteps of ancient Pan worshippers. Alternatively, take flight on an air tour to capture a bird's-eye view of the iconic Greek capital.
Action and Adventure
The great thing about booking a holiday to Athens is that you can either kick back and relax with a cocktail in the sun, or get your adrenaline pumping by experiencing one of the many outdoor activities on offer. Cycling routes weave around the coast, so think about booking an electric bike tour or night time bike tour.
For a scuba or snorkelling experience, visit the Amphibious Diving Center. Alternatively, book a private sailing tour and jump off the boat when your captain stops off at secluded coves and bays. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are two popular water sports options. If you'd rather get active on dry land, play a game of tennis at one of the capital's courts.
Life's a Beach
Beach bums need not pack a whole lot for a holiday to Athens because with such a variety of local beaches based within close proximity to the centre, a swimsuit and light clothing are all that you'll need! Members of the public are granted access to most of the sand-fringed coastline, which consists of more than 20 beaches.
Soft sand coats the bay at Vouliagmeni, which is situated 23 kilometres south of Athens. This beach is organised and family-friendly, as is Varkiza, Cape Sounion, and Schinias. Popular with the local Athenians are the beaches of Kalivia and Lagonisi. Voula beach boasts sport centres and cafeterias for the tourists, whereas Kavouri beach has more of a tranquil vibe.
Should you be in search of nudist beaches, travel 64 kilometres southeast of Athens to Attica's southernmost section of coastline - Legrena.
To say that you will be spoilt for choice when seeking out a nightlife spot in Athens would be an understatement. In fact, the Greek capital is just as famous for its clubs and bars as it is for its rich history and ruins. Gazi is the famous party district, where you can dance the night away inside Dybbuk, Kitty Cat, or Enzzo de Cuba.
The sound of jazz music fills the air inside Ciel. Located in Monastiraki, this club is just a few footsteps away from Six D.O.G.S, where techno lovers gather for live gigs. A few other clubs to visit when on holiday in Athens include Pixi, Akrotiri DC Lounge, and Island Club Restaurant.
A luxury catamaran day cruise is an absolute must for couples visiting Athens on holiday, not to mention reserving a table at a romantic restaurant overlooking the ocean. Renting a scooter is one of the cheapest, easiest, and most enjoyable ways to explore Athens, where fitness-focused individuals can be seen participating in the Go! Running tours.
If you and your partner take pleasure in trekking, ascend to Mount Parnitha peak. This mountain range stands tall at 1,413 metres and the surrounding National Park is a playground for climbers.
Best known for being the birthplace of democracy, Greece is a country where the residents speak an Indo-European language. Greece's culture was not always the same as it is today. In fact, it has continuously transformed over thousands of years, with Mycenaean Greece and Classical Greece playing an integral role in the traditions you'll notice during your holiday in Athens.
Surprisingly, Western culture was deeply rooted in the ancient Greek culture, with today's culture noticeable in the food, fine wines, music, language, and religion. Wine is held in high regard and was once used as an item for trading.
The local people you meet while on holiday in Athens will be extremely proud of their lifestyle, which sees them practicing various traditions, such as village square dancing and dying eggs red every Easter. Food connoisseurs might consider planning a holiday to Athens when the Apokries Carnival takes place. A two-week feast, the Carnival is one of many cultural celebrations.