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Nestled in the heart of the Attica region, Athens is where ancient history meets vibrant modernity. Its ancient citadel, the Acropolis, appears impervious to time as it watches over the changing cityscape below. As well as being the largest city and capital of Greece, Athens is one of the oldest cities on Earth. With a culture and personality more than 5,000 years in the making, Athens continues to enchant visitors from all over the world.
Athens is bounded by mountains on three sides, with a number of historic hills inside the city itself. Mount Lycabettus (accessible via funicular or by foot) offers 360-degree views that stretch all the way to the Port of Piraeus and the sparkling waters of the Saronic Gulf beyond. In the centre of the city, a 15.5 hectare National Garden is filled with abundant greenery, ancient ruins, an aviary, a duck pond, busts of famous figures, and a botanical museum. An hour or so west of Athens, the resort town of Loutraki harbours a picturesque beach and world-renowned thermal springs.
There’s really no limit to what you can find in Athens, from crumbling temples to glitzy entertainment districts and almost everything in between. At once hailed as the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, drama, and the Western civilisation at large, Athens is a near-unbeatable destination for art, culture and history aficionados. Lovers of the arts musn’t miss the chance to watch an opera or play in the Herod Atticus Odeon, a 5000-capacity stone theatre built in 161 AD. Wander through the charming neighbourhoods of Plaka and Anafiotika before coming face to face with legendary landmarks such as the Roman Forum, the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Library, and the Acropolis.
The public transport system in Athens is both affordable and easy to navigate. Buses and electric trolleybuses run every 15 minutes from 5am until midnight. The city also boasts an extensive network of rail services which run frequently between 5am and midnight (and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays). Regional and international buses depart from Kifissos Bus Terminal A and Liosion Bus Terminal B, both located in the city’s northwest, while ferries to the Greek Islands depart from the Port of Piraeus. Those travelling to Faliro or Voula can also take the tram for a scenic journey at a leisurely pace. If you’re staying for a few days or more, a 5-day travel pass (€9) or a 3-day tourist ticket (€22, includes two airport transfers) can make getting around Athens even cheaper and easier.
Athens features a Mediterranean climate characterised by mild winters and hot—at times scorching—summers. Peak season coincides with the hottest part of the year, July and August, which is when rates are highest and nightlife is at its most lively.
Those looking for a more relaxed holiday should visit between late April and mid-June, when temperatures are milder and crowds are thinner. On the other side of peak season, mid-September and October once again give way to cooler temperatures and fewer tourists.
Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”
Athens International Airport is located roughly 40 km from Athens and should take about 35 minutes to reach by car or taxi. Flights travel to Athens International Airport from a wide range of destinations, including London, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul and Berlin.