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Athens

 Of all Europe’s historical capitals, Athens is probably the one that has changed the most in recent years. But even though it has become a modern metropolis, it still retains a good deal of its old small town feel. Here antiquity meets the future, and the ancient monuments mix with a trendier Athens and it is precisely these great contrasts that make the city such a fascinating place to explore.The heart of its historical centre is the Plaka neighbourhood, with narrow streets mingling like a labyrinth where to discover ancient secrets.

currency

1 € (Euro ) = 100 cent

phone

Police: 100
Fire&Rescue: 199
Ambulance: 166

newspaper

Athens News is an English-language newspaper published every Friday.

hours

09.00-14.30.00 Mon and Wed.
09.00-14.00 / 17.30 - 20.30 Tue-Thur-Fri;
09.00-15.00 Sat.
For further information, visit the stores websites.

population

Approximately 4 million

info

Athens Centre
26A Amalias Avenue, Athens
+30 210 3310 392 / +30 210 3310 716
Opening Hours: 09.00-20.00 weekdays / 10.00-15.00 Weekend
www.athensinfoguide.com/gentoursimoffices.htm

Acropoli Hills, Athens

The City

Athens’ heyday was around 400 years BC, that’s when most of the classical monuments were built. During the Byzantine and Turkish eras, the city decayed into just an insignificant little village, only to become the capital of newly-liberated Greece in 1833. Ahead of the 2004 Olympics, almost the entire infrastructure was transformed: the Metro, trams, new ring roads and viaducts have eased the pressure of the heavy traffic.

Athens is still a rather messy and chaotic place—it wouldn’t be Athens otherwise—and despite all the improvements, still retains a great deal of its oriental charm. The whole coastal stretch from Piraeus to the old Hellenikon airport has been improved with new plantings, viaducts and paths for walking. The Plaka district is becoming more and more popular and it is on the way to catching up with Psyrri, Gazi and Rouf as regards restaurants. Discover the beauties of the Anafiotika district, at the feet of the Acropolis, and visit the ancient village still housed in the midst of the city. In Exarchia, there is still a somewhat in-your-face anarchic atmosphere around the Technical University. Meanwhile, Kolonaki is becoming more and more chic.

Traditional houses in Plaka area under Acropolis,Athens

Do & See

Dive in perhaps the most historically rich capital of Europe and discover its secrets. Athens' past and its landmarks are worldly famous, but the city offers much more than the postcards show: it is a vivid city of culture and art, where the streets have as much to show for as the monuments and antique statues. The difficult years it has known with the economic crisis have only deepen the city's artsy soul and not a day goes by that Athens does not amaze its visitors.

National Archaeological Museum

The Acropolis and its surroundings

Roman Agora

Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

Mount Lycabettus

The Acropolis Museum

Temple of Hephaestus

The Erechtheion

Museum of Cycladic Art

The Panathenaic Stadium

Megaron Concert Hall

Temple of Athena Nike

Filopappos Hill

Cine Paris

Monastiraki

Glyfada and the seaside

Famous Acropolis with Greek salad in Athens, Greece

Dining

Food is at the centre of all activities in Greece and you will soon find out why! The Greek cuisine, Mediterranean at heart and influenced by their Turkish neighbours is fresh, honest, filling and absolutely gorgeous. Whether you are in for a tour of the best Greek Tavernas in town, looking for the most tasty Gyros or want to try the new Greek cuisine, you might take the local rhythm and spend a lot of time around the table! Good news, in Athens and in the whole country you can eat at any time of the day and late at night. Tavernas and Ouzerias (where you can drink local cocktails and usually hear traditional music) are also a key place for social life - not that you would need additional reasons to go!

To Kioupi

The Old Tavern of Psarras

To Kati Allo

Spondi

Funky Gourmet

Avocado

GOSTIJO Kosher Restaurant

Oroscopo

Vezene

Piazza Duomo

O Kostas

CTC - Restaurant Urban Gastronomy

A cup of coffee on table with old street at the background, Southern Europe

Cafes

Drinking coffee in Greece is an institution, and Athens is no exception. You will find the cafes and their terraces full of people, laughter, cigarette smoke and animation everyday and all year long. Cafes here are the place to meet up with friends, to relax, to have long conversations about life and politics, or to play backgammon (when in Greece, call it "Tavli"). To the local Frappé and Freddo Capuccino or Espresso are added more and more coffee specialities and you can choose to sit at a trendy or alternative cafe, at a traditional kafeneio, or even at one of Greece's coffee chains.

Plaka

Exarcheia

Cafe Peros

The 7 Jokers Coffee & Cocktail Bar

Fresko Yogurt Bar

Louis Cafe

City Zen

The Dark Side of Chocolate

Six d.o.g.s

Evening in Mikrolimano marina in Athens, Greece.

Bars & Nightlife

Athens' bar scene is a never ending surprise, and as it is custom in Greece, the nightlife extends way beyond the first morning lights. The Greeks know to drink and to party, and Athens is the living and breathing image of this happy and joyful spirit!
From alternative bars to fancy dance scenes, pubs and traditional "ouzerias", follow the flow and you are in for some of the best nights of your life!

Psyrri and Gazi

Palenque

360 Degrees

Gazarte

Brettos Plaka

A for Athens Cocktail Bar

The Gin Joint

Mosaiko

Speakeasy

The Clumsies

Baba au rum

Girl choosing souvenir at a Greek market, Athens

Shopping

It is almost unbelievable that Athens is not yet consecrated as one of the best Fashion and Shopping destination of Europe. It has everything the other capitals are so proud of - international brands, luxury products and major names, designer shops, smaller and more original boutiques - showcased in pleasant streets and neighbourhoods, usually with lower prices than cities such as Paris, Milan or London. Although the city was hit hard by the crisis and many small shops had to close, it still offers plenty of shopping opportunities, in and around the centre.

Greek products to buy

Shopping Streets

Athens Heart Mall Emporiko Centro

Athinas Street

Notos Gallery

Gucci

Shopping with a sea view

The Loom

Melissinos Art

Aphrodite Jewellery

Pantopolion

Forget me Not

The New Bridge connects the National main road from Kalamata city to Athens - Greece

Essential Information

Passport / Visa

Greece can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.

Best Time to Visit

Greece is a tourist destination beloved worldwide, and summer is the most crowded season of all, especially so July and August. Spring is, perhaps, the best season to travel to Greece, as the main cities such as Athens are not so crowded and the prices are quite a bit lower. June and September are the best months to visit Athens for near-lying beaches and entertainment. If you are a hiking lover, don't miss Athens in autumn.

Athens International Airport

Athens International Airport is located at Spata, 33 kilometres (20 miles) southeast of Athens. A taxi ride to the city-centre will cost a flat rate of 38 euros between 05.00 and 00.00 and 54 euros between 00.00 and 05.00. The fixed fares include the basic fare, VAT, extra luggage charges and road tolls.

The Metro goes to the centre. The journey to Syntagma takes around half an hour. There are airport buses to Syntagma (X95), Pireaus port (X96), Kifissou Avenue (X93) and Elliniko (X97). Travel time to Syntagma and the other areas in town takes around 1 hour, to Pireaus port around 1,5 hours. Check: www.athensairportbus.com/en

Address: Athens International Airport, Athens

Phone: +30 210 353 0000

Website: www.aia.gr

Public Transport

The Metro stations are well worth seeing as they are kept spotlessly clean. At the Syntagma and Acropolis stations you will find a large collection of antiquities on display. There is a tram from the centre (Syntagma) running along the coast to Glyfada (50 minutes) and Voula (60 minutes).

Buses, trolley buses and the Metro run until around midnight. The tram runs between 05.30 and 01.00 (until 02.30 on Friday and Saturday). Airport buses all run H24. The airport bus tickets are not valid on other public transport services but only for a single journey.

Ferries out to the island leave from the harbour in Piraeus or from Rafina.

Website: www.athenstransport.com/english/

Taxi

There are lots of taxis, but it is normal to share one with other tourists in order not to be surprised if the driver picks up additional passengers along the road who are going in the same direction. The drivers have taximeters and fixed prices.

Website: www.athenstaxiquality.com

Post

Stamps can be bought in most tobacconists and kiosks selling postcards.
Athens Central Post Office is located at:

Address: Eolou 100, Athens

Pharmacy

Mpakakos Georgios:

Address: Agiou Konstantinou 3, Athens

Phone: +30 210 523 2631

Electricity

230V

Telephone

Country code: +30

Area code: 210

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