General Information & Reviews

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One of the most ancient cities in the world, Athens Greece is famous as the birthplace of democracy.
With a history of over 3,000 years, it is the best town for sightseeing.
The city took its name after Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and daughter of Zeus. She was the protector of the city and in fact, the temple of Parthenon on the Acropolis is dedicated to her.

The first traces of Athens date from the Mycenaean period, but the town reached its peak in the 5th century BC. This period is known as the Golden Century of Pericles, the Athenian statesman who managed to gift the town with meridian power and glory.
From as early as the 8th century BC, Athens was gradually developing into an important city-state for Greece, giving emphasis on culture and its naval power.
But it was in the 5th century BC when great political formations were made and new buildings were constructed, including the Acropolis, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, and the Ancient Agora, and victorious imperial wars took place so that the Athenians would obtain new economic sources.

However, after the Peloponnesian War and the win of the Spartans, the city-state started to decline.
In the 2nd century BC, it was conquered by the Romans and gained some of its old glory, but in Byzantine times, it was frequently raided by northern tribes and fell into decline again.

Athens became the official capital of the country in 1834, after King Otto's decree.
At that time, Greece had survived a long fight for independence, the modern Greek state had just been formed and the people needed a symbol to connect modern Greece to the glorious ancient years. This is why this particular city became the capital of the country and reformation plans started immediately.
European architects were called to come to the country and rebuild the capital.
At that time, impressive Neoclassical buildings were constructed, including the Greek Parliament, the University and the Academy of Athens.

All these Ancient, Byzantine and Neoclassical sights make Athens a great town to visit.
The Olympic Games of 2004 improved the image of the town, with good transportation means and the reconstruction of old buildings.
Although the city's center might discourage visitors with its disorganized appearance at first, there are several places of historical beauty to visit, such as Plaka, Monastiraki, and Thissio.

A trip is not complete without a visit to the Acropolis and the New Acropolis Museum, the Ancient Agora, and the Roman Agora.
A very convenient town for walking as all sights are in proximity to each other, Athens is also a great place to travel with kids.

Except for the capital, Athens is also a transportation hub, as it hosts an International Airport and is located very close to the port of Piraeus, the main gateway to the islands. In the region of Attica, there are two more ports, Rafina and Lavrion, where ferries to the Greek islands depart from.

More about Athens


28 Reviews
  • Mark 04 Jul 2021
    Athens - Do not go!
    I could have give 1 but because of the antique aspect of the city I still have a lot of respect for this! Appart from that this city is going down so much it’s hard to know what to start with:
    Dirty, unsafe, cheap tourism, bad quality of food, ugly city in terms of architecture, too hot, etc…
    On the positive side, people in contact with tourists are pleasant even though we know why but they are trying nicely
    The city feels under siege constantly with army squads ready to attack in many places of the city! Seems like something is waiting to happen!
    We stayed at the new Athens Capital hotel, pretty nice, in front of the Britania which is also falling appart!
    The Greeks have an amazing tool between their hand but they have no idea how to use it! It’s very sad to see this population going down this way! Time to wake up guys!
  • snigavinash 22 May 2018
    City with amazing sights.
    We stayed for five days at The Stanley in Athens and saw the historical sights and museums that will forever stay etched in our memories. One bad memory that needs to be shared with travellers, is our experience of being pick pocketed in the metro on the last day of our stay. As we entered the metro, we were surrounded by six men who blocked our passage to enter further into the compartment. My husband (70 years old) stood with his back to the seating area to protect his wallet in his back pocket. One guy started twisting right arm, and kicking his feet with his boots, which hurt so badly that he had to shift and position in which time the pick pocket had taken out the wallet from his back pocket. The train was still moving when he realised his wallet was missing and screamed, holding on to the man nearest him who was twisting his arm. I (66 years old), disabled, held onto the man and demanded he return the wallet. Meanwhile the train had stopped and the guys were talking in Greek and in that melee one of them shouted in English that the guy who had the wallet had already disembarked instructing us to follow him. Panic stricken we got out of the train, to follow this person (a false alarm to get us out of the train) and ofcourse with our mobility being slower we never got to catch him. Shell shocked we stood while some tourists kept asking us what had happened. From nowhere a good Samaritan appeared and wanted to know what the commotion was all about. He offered to accompany us to the railway police at the station, to ask for the CCTV coverage of the incident to catch the culprits. The man spoke to the police in Greek, and all that they had to say was they could not show us the CCTV coverage as it was not a criminal case.
    Disappointed and dejected, he then took us walking to the nearest police station to lodge a complaint. It was then that I opened my sling bag to find that the culprits had taken away my wallet too. Presumably while I was holding on to the culprits arm, another guy from behind had done this job. It was shocking to visit the Police station, a first in our travels, to see guys sitting handcuffed and hookers shouting obscenities. Here too the Police said we would have to wait if we want to register a complaint of robbery, but would cooperate if we lodged a complaint for loss. Even a fool can deduce why the police offered us these options, knowing very well as reporting robbery would not be favourable for the country and for tourists visiting the country. The good Samaritan (or so we thought) left us at this point and the police gave us the address of another tourist police office two stations away where such cases were handled for tourists. Left with no option, and as we were leaving early next morning for Mykanos, we took the metro and reached the tourist police office. While the Police cooperated and told us to make calls from their lines to block our cards, which we did, eventually they too did not register a case of robbery, and issued a loss certificate to us. It was the most harrowing experience in our life and being seasoned travelers, came as a huge shock. Not only did we lose all our credit cards, driving licence, and other personal documents, but substantial amount of euros and Indian currency that was kept in the wallets, and most importantly our faith in the country and its administration. Such a beautiful country with so much potential for tourism should take more stern measures to stop the racket of pick pocketers roaming all over the place quick to grab whatever they can and spoil everything for tourists. When we narrated the incident to our hotel, they shared their opinion that while the government had in the past jailed the gang that was operating, apparently some influential people had got them released. Obviously the racket was being run by influential people for pecuniary gains; but in the long run was bringing bad name to the lovely country. This is to warn all tourists visiting Athens, to beware of their personal belongings. The crooks are everywhere in trains, at historical sites, and the police do nothing about it. Many tourists we met later on during our travels, shared similar incidents of being pick pocketed. Wake up Greece!! You have so much to offer, don't spoil it by spitting on the plate that you eat from. Cutting the branch that you sit on. I hope this message reaches to make the authorities sit up and take appropriate measures to make Athens a safe place for tourists to visit. We will certainly not visit again.
    Even after returning to our home country, the culprits are desperately trying to make fraudulent transactions on our blocked cards, as we keep receiving declined transactions messages on our mobile phones.

    Another pertinent observation:- in some stations the entry gates are always open which means, there are rogues entering the platforms and travelling without tickets. A pointer to the mess that exists in the country.

  • giorgo49 15 May 2018
    Filth, Squalor and Lawlessness
    After visiting Athens several times for family reunions I have drawn the line on this hole.
    This city is the outright gold medallist for filth, squalor and lawlessness.
    Roads and footpaths are at times impassable as a result of uncollected garbage. It is a place that has no consideration for the disabled access or otherwise. The metro or underground rail system is a haven for criminal gangs that will stop at nothing including violence to steal in particular from vulnerable tourists. Wait there is more. The street corners are full of persons communicating on mobile phones doing drug deals and setting up robberies and other criminal activities.
    In the meantime those charged with keeping law and order are in groups of 5 or 6 loitering on corners, unshaven, dishevelled, scratching their posterior and totally immersed with their mobile phones.
    Unfortunately, and it hurts to say the whole country is 20 years behind as a result. If I cannot go to a place where my security is assured then I go elsewhere to leave my hard earned. It is a place where one requires bodyguards to move around. Oh, lastly as if the heavy pollution was not enough everyone takes no notice of the no smoking laws at almost every venue and it is deliberately ignored by corrupt officials charged with upholding these laws.
  • chinaik89 15 Oct 2017
    Unsafe city and Fake Euro beware of pick-pockets
    We (as a couple) travelled to Santorini and had a very good stay there. After that we stay in Athens for 5 days. The city feels unsafe with people touting and looking at you with a very weird manner. We even received €50 fake note from a restaurant at Metropolitan Cathedral, Plaka. The entrance fee for Acropolis is €20 which is not worth the price, too many people there and you cant really enjoy the place. Other tourist attractions are also very expensive. There's only few places you can visit in the city and they look about the same. Regret for going to Athens. The people are not nice to tourists. Should have visited Italy (Venice) or Istanbul as they are not too far from Santorini.
  • erikht12 20 May 2011
    Athens April 2010
    After one week on Naxos is was time to move on to Athens. I had an uneventful flight to Athens, and like always a taxi friend of mine was there waiting for me. A quick transfer to my hotel, I had chosen Airotel Parthenon again after my stay there for Christmas-New Year, when I liked it so much and decided this should be my future hotel in Athens whenever it is available for my visits.

    I was in for my first big surprise. The staff made a warm welcome for me, like an old friend returning home, and I was truly expected. The lady in the reception then told me that they were doing some major renovation and modernisation of their room and that she would like me to have one on the upper floor to give them my evaluation of the changes. A much bigger room than the one I originally had booked, but there would be no extra charge. A few minutes after entering the room the phone rang, and they asked me if I would be staying in for some minutes. I confirmed, a knock on the door and a waiter brought me a nice bottle of wine and a fruit bowl with compliments from the management... Great!

    The room was brand new, nice and much brighter than the rooms used to be, some earth colours the main theme in between and even all the furniture had been changed. A big surprise also awaited me when I went out on the balcony, which turned out to be a spacious terrace on the very top of the building, two tables and several chairs.

    I was aware that the next week I would be in Athens when my local friends were working or being away, and was prepared for a relaxing time on my own, doing further exploring in the city, taking photos which both would ensure my memories as well as being helpful for making easy guide support for others visiting Athens later on. I met up with a friend in James Joyce for a couple of hours, and for Saturday lunch I did an appointment with my newlywed friends. They also brought Maria from Naxos along, together with some other girls I had met in their wedding, and the girls were off shopping. The two males of us walked down Adrianou, and found a nice and quiet cafe for some refreshment in the shades. After a long while the girls also came along, and not having found what they were looking for we had to join them walking through the Flea Market for eventual options.

    What was supposed to be a lunch rather turned out to be an evening meal in the end. My newlywed friends would introduce me to a nice restaurant in Psirri, but coming there people were waiting in line to get a table. I told them about Oineas, where they had never been, and it was approved. Coming there Katharina (the manager) soon spotted me, and came running for all the usual greetings, kissing and hugging, and before we actually knew what happened a table was ready for us with a big bowl of crab with spaghetti, and a large bottle of white wine. My friends were very surprised, and I had to tell them that this is my favourite in Athens, having visiting it regularly since it opened in 1999. Another star in the book came when they realised that this was the restaurant used for a popular TV show a while ago, and both Katharina and her husband came to our table to tell all about it.

    More friends came along (all of them nice, young girls), and we had a great meal with sharing all of the most tasty dishes. More wine came along (on the house), and it turned out to be a great event until late in the evening. For sweets we walked to the ice cream cafe around the corner from Psirri Square, another place that was new for my friends, and another great success. When we quite late decided to leave for home we two guys had the great company of 9 content young girls!

    On Sunday, I decided to visit the Eros exhibition in the Cycladic Museum branch in Stathatos Mansion along Vassilis Sofias. The exhibition had been extended for the public for some extra days, and this Sunday was the last day they were on display before closing. When I got there and entered the building I soon changed my mind. It was absolutely crowded, and waiting in line for more than an hour to enter didn't fit in with my (lack of) patience that day.

    Have you ever tried to act as a Bond-like secret spy? I was very eager to get some night photos, and set out to do so. Walking around, trying to keep it clandestine, and yet having a big camera as my main subject when doing so at 1 am? Imagine what Athens were like in these days with demonstrations and security alerts... I made careful plans, had a walk through the area during the daytime to see what it was like and to find out how much time I needed for getting around. My strategy would be that I first approached the Evzones outside the Parliament taking photos, if anyone asked why I was doing this after midnight my explanation would be that I liked to have some night photos of them, and that I also did my own training on nights photos with my new camera. By doing the Parliament first I guessed it would be told further on to those at the Presidential residence, then not making my appearance there so suspicious.

    I had barely taken a few photos when the square, which was totally empty except for the Evzones, their supervisor and me, had several police men approaching. They stopped me, asked what I was doing and asked for my ID. I didn't carry one- my passport was in the hotel, and all I kept with me was some money, my photo gear and the keys to my room... After the police had chatted for a little while between themselves they gave me a reprimand, told me to always carry an ID and let me go when I showed them my hotel key...

    Approaching the Presidential residence I saw there were a couple of military persons doing extensive training of the Evzones being on duty. I asked one of them if it was possible to do some photos, and was told I was very welcome as long as I didn't disturb their training and kept outside a white line in the pavement. I had some photos of those who were on duty and of the supervisor and trainer performing, before sitting down for a rest on the opposite side of the street. The trainer then came over to see me, sat down and told me all about the Evzones, their training and qualifying procedures (they were originally 130 and appr. 55 would be approved as Evzones), and he also revealed all the secrets of how they communicate and synchronise their movements. A very interesting chat, and I was fully approved to be around. Having taken many photos already of different Evzones and their procedures, I was advised to stay on for a while to see the changing of the guard. They were delayed for quite some time because of the training issues going on with those Evzones already there, so I could stay on the trainer's recommendations. A little while before the others were about to arrive a senior officer came along and asked me not to use the flash, it was disturbing for the Evzones, and the training efforts they were doing... Of course I just had to obey, but it meant a poorer quality for the remaining photos.

    At long last, appr. 1:45 am, the changing of the guard was on. Some very formal Evzones were marching down the street. They looked very determined when passing me, they crossed the street and the procedures were on. It all went according to their orders and the procedures, and they were on duty. When I was about to leave the trainer and the supervisor both came along and asked if I could take their photo as well, which I did.

    The day before my departure I got a nice invitation from a friend to go on a trip along the Attica coast. We set off early from a metro station close to where she lives, and headed for Paleo Faliro and the main road along the coast. First stop was Averof, where we saw the old war ship and the reconstructed trireme, very interesting.

    Then we went on to Vouliagmeni, where she showed me a small lake with volcanic heating, making it usable at all times of year. Then further on to Varkiza, where we stopped for a coffee at Alkyonides before returning towards Athens.

    When we approached the Faliro area, my friend stopped and told me we were at the Phaleron War Memorial Cemetery. It was very moving. It is made in the honour of those allied who fought in Greece, and who died there on the battlefields without getting a grave with their name, offering their ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Crosses with their names, country and age have been erected in a large field, together with monuments with the names of the forces participating and their nations engraved. It is a place you approach in silence, and it made a deeply felt impression.

    When I returned to the city the announced taxi strike was on, and I went to the top of Syntagma to see what it was like. No riots, only many people gathered, some in their cars blowing their horns, others with megaphones calling out slogans. Riot police were there but they kept back in a small force, apparently just standing there enjoying the scene.

    The taxi strike coincided with strikes on the metro and for the bus services, also taking in the next day, when my departure back home was due. My special taxi driver friend made a cover action to get me to the airport, using his private car, going the backstreets until we were out from the city and I was there in due time. When checking in, I was told that some volcano in Iceland had an eruption and ash clouds were interfering with European air traffic, but they reckoned I should be able to make it back home. The rest of my trip turned out to be neither from Athens nor from Greece, but an unintentional stay for two nights and nearly 3 days in Copenhagen, Denmark, before having a 10 hr bus ride back home to Oslo...

    However, another great holiday in Greece!
  • erikht12 23 Apr 2011
    For the love of Greece and Athens
    I love Greece. The contrasts from city to island, the contrasts between an island to another, the sceneries and the landscapes, the sea...

    I love Greece. The cradle of democracy and the template of present day civilisation, the feeling of respect and humility by seeing major historical sites around every corner, the sense of being where some of the most important parts of our common history started, and the foundations of our communities of today were laid. Not to forget the cradle of science and art.

    I love Greece – and most of all the Greek people. Their ever present hospitality, their openness and including attitudes, their ever present aim to connect and to please. Not to forget their very special Greek peculiarities, which makes them true Greek in their own?

    I have travelled Greece for the last 28 years. It all started with a girlfriend finally succeeding in making me accept "to go south" for a holiday, and we ended up on Rhodes on a package tour for two weeks. I suddenly realised I was in heaven.

    History has always appealed to me, and here I experienced old temples and medieval towns, the sense of why a myth has come into life by watching the scenery and surroundings – it was out of this world, all in one country. I also made friends with some locals, and one of them told me about the islands – how easy it is to travel on your own and explore, how different they all are, how much to see and how many different people to meet.

    Since then I have been every year – mostly twice, and some years even three times. Up to three weeks at a time. I have been lucky enough to visit small islands populated by a few and been offered their most precious gift – a glass of clean water – upon arrival.

    I have seen how these islands have developed, and I can understand that they all want to take part in earning a decent living – however heartbreaking it is to see a small islet of the old days turned into a day excursion site for sun and bath lovers from the surrounding islands.

    Most of all – I have met people, and I have made friends. Greece is like a second home to me, and on many islands there are doors open to me, people welcoming me "back home" even when there has been years since my last visit in that specific area. It makes me feel very grateful, and in many ways it makes me feel to belong...

    In this report I put emphasis on my experiences and the feelings I get when I am there. When I first came to Athens – after travelling the islands for some 10-12 years – I made my homework and had some ideas where to start and what to look for. I found out there is a central triangle to start with to learn the city centre – the triangle of Syntagma, Thission and Omonia. I easily found the two main streets out of Syntagma – Mitropolis and Ermou – and made my way down these until I reached Monastiraki. Going further down Adrianou from Monastiraki I reached Thission, and all the time I had the Acropolis above with the Ancient Agora in front. It was all very stunning and made me pay deep respect.

    Then I had Athinas to Omonia, and made my way back to Syntagma along the big avenue. This gave me an idea of distances and what to cover.

    Every time I come to Athens I make this walk from Syntagma along Mitropolis to Monastiraki and Thission – sensing being there, stopping at a corner to have a frappe and have a look at everyday life – I'm in many ways back home. An alternate route is walking Mitropolis a short way from Syntagma to Volos str., turn left and walk up the hill to a small church, then turn right – and I am in the heart of Plaka. Then follow Adrianou to Monastiraki.

    Exploring major cities I visit requires to get out of the beaten tracks – looking up places and neighbourhoods where people live and everyday life goes on, meeting locals and adapt to their ways to learn to know both the people and the country. Athens has been no exception to this. Of course – I have done all the major sites – not once, but many times – and I still will do them from time to time – there is always something new to discover. But I also turn my back on them and look in another direction at times.

    Walking down the Ermou towards Thission there are lots of old houses and blocks which seems to be in a state of decay, with some dirty and dark narrow streets leading in behind. Small local shops in between, a filthy house with spindleback chairs of a small taverna. I walk in, have a meal in one of these tavernas and it is the genuine Greek food, hospitality end enjoyment far from the big crowds. The area next to Ermou, Psirri, has since my first visit done major renovation – especially in connection with the 2004 Olympics – and is now one of the major in-places in Athens. Still you can sense some of what it was like when you enter from the Thission end of the area and walk your way a couple of hundred meters in to reach the Psirri of today.

    Likewise I have also strolled through the backstreets of Omonia, often advised not to approach, and I have found a living part of town like mentioned for the early Psirri – and not met any problems at all.

    This also means that I meet real people. I adapt, and many nice meals and evenings have been spent in company with locals. You learn their way, you learn and appreciate their way of life and their culture. I do not speak much Greek, but I have never had any problems in finding ways to communicate when visiting these areas – or even when visiting other parts of the country and the islands. People show you genuine interest – questions may seem very personal at times, but I have learned that this is not because they are curious – they just like to get to know you to show you their hospitality in the best way possible.

    Take the piece of bread offered you, have a bite when they get another plate for you to share their meal – that is when you learn to know Athens and Greece.

    The main attitude I try my best to keep – always – is like these words which greets any visitor when arriving in Patmos: "Welcome to Patmos. Enjoy its beauty – Respect our traditions."

    I recommend everyone to spend adequate time in Athens – not only to scratch the surface by seeing the top attractions, but to get down to learn to know the people and the places.

    That is when Athens shows to be something else than what the day excursion tourists see on their 8 hour visit, or what Athens is more than the top 5 attractions to those who are travelling through on a transfer.
  • beyatall87 12 Mar 2011
    City with great contradictions
    I have been living in Athens for the past three years now. As a historian, it was a dream for me to come in this cultural town. Initially, I had plans to stay for a few months just to visit the archaeological monuments and basically broaden my horizons. By the first year I had visited many historical places, however a job came up so I decided to stay a bit longer.

    I must say that Athens is a beautiful city visited by thousands of people every year. In the downtown where I live, there are a lot of places such as cafeterias, bars, luxury restaurants and the best traditional taverns anyone could find here. On some mornings, I spend a couple of hours in the National Gardens, a huge area full with vast vegetation with plants over the world.

    A favourite visit is also to Plaka, a historian district, with many shops and great food. During the night, the monuments in Plaka are lighten up and it is magical. Unfortunately, there are some areas where you shouldn't go (especially the late hours) due to the crime rate. Include Omonoia and Metaxourgeio in these places. It is surprising though that most tourists stay in these squares, probably it is because hotels have good offers, but certainly I wouldn't recommend them to tourists.
  • tweetty 22 Jun 2010
    Amazing day and night
    This was my first trip to Athens. I was on official work, but decided to stay the week end and see something of this ancient city with the glorious past. I took the metro to the Acropolis, one of the most magnificent archaeological monuments in Europe which never fails to evoke feelings of admiration. The ancient monument was built in the 5th century B.C and it is an enduring symbol of Greek culture and civilization. I wandered along Syntagma Square and the heart of Athens was equally impressive with its imposing government buildings and the Parliament.

    A walk around the historic triangle of Monastiraki, Thission and Plaka is not to be missed. Old mansions intermingling with modern department stores, little shops, stylish restaurants and traditional taverns reflect the coexistence of different eras in this city. The best part of Athens Metro is: it has made Athens a pedestrian-friendly city. But Athens is much more than an ancient city. There are islands, beaches and towns of the mainland. Perhaps, on my next visit, I shall take daytrips to see more of Athens.

    After sunset, Athens rocks. I found an astounding number of options when it came to Athens after dinner. Techno clubs with giant outdoor and indoor discos, concerts spinning out everything from blues-rock-jazz to traditional Rembetika or laika makes the city after sunset. I was so confused with the choices! Most important, I was travelling along and felt safe! Except for the ill-famous squares of Omonoia and Monastiraki at night, all other places were much safer than all cities I have visited!
  • samer43gt 19 Mar 2010
    Wintertime in Athens
    An international conference brought me to Athens in the middle of the winter. I had been to Athens twice before but I was always in the hurry to get a ferry to the islands, so didn't usually spend more than to days in the city. But this time, the cold winter had trapped me inside the walls and I could see the sea only from a long distance, from the top of the Acropolis or seating for coffee in Piraeus.

    The good thing is that finally I got the chance to actually SEE the city. The noisy, polluted, full-of-begars Athens. The Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, the ancient cemetery of Keramikos, the Archaeological Museum, the Parliament, the Temple of Zeus. The lovely cafeterias in Marina Zeas Piraeus, the large shopping centre in The Mall, the open market in Monastiraki, the hill of Lycabetus.

    Take the metro, step in every station in the centre and you will have seen all that you need to see. Athens is actually a small city for a tourist because all attractions are gathered in the city centre, everything is a short walk from the other. Fortunately, the weather was good for walking. Mid-February and the sun was shining. Does it ever rain in Greece? Don't ask about food, souvlaki is the best! Plaka and Monastiraki have plenty of souvlaki taverns.
  • 123ytre 05 Mar 2010
    Most about sightseeing
    To me Athens has just been an important city in Greece from my history classes at school. In fact, I somehow had the impression that it would be a rather solemn place filled with museums and ruins of a glorious past. But after travelling around the ancient city state for a few days, I realized that a trip to Greece would have been incomplete without a trip to this great city.

    Athens today is as much for the history buffs, as for the modern travelers who are looking for fun and excitement. Thanks to the 2004 summer Olympics, the city now boasts the best of everything. It has an underground railway, tram to the southern seaside towns along the coast, good buses.

    All the historical landmarks of the city are unified with pedestrian walkways, streets and parks. It was great to walk the pedestrian street from Acropolis to Thissio and to climb up to Philopappos Hill with the impressive monument. We visited the Acropolis Museum and the Archaeological Museum. Nice places, could be better organized and labelled in English, but it is a shame that most museums in Athens are open only in the morning.

    The red sightseeing bus is very convenient and passes through all importand sites. The Roman stadium made all of marble was also very impressive. Our hotel was just opposite and from the balcony we could see it with lights at night. Although the city has not many things to do apart from sightseeing, it is worth to visit even for a couple of days. It is a pity to come to Greece and miss Athens.
  • nikolang 13 Jan 2010
    Have trainers for walking
    As most tourists, we stayed only for a couple of nights in Athens before we went to the islands. I suggest you to stay at least one more night because there are so many things to do and to see that you always have to be in a hurry to have time for all, which ends up very tiring and stressful, and for me this is not vacations! Vacations should be relaxing, not exhausting. Anyway, the good thing about Athens is that most things you need to do is around the town centre, so jut have relaxed feet and comfortable trainers for walking!

    The Acropolis is surely a must and probably the most impressive site in the city. All this elegancy will amaze you, be sure of this! I was mostly amazed with the details of the statues and the temples. How could they be so punctual when they were actually working marble?

    The new Acropolis Museum is just opposite the site. The idea to built it on top of an archaeological site and to use the glass on the floor was truly brilliant, but the organization inside was poor. Labels were only in Greek and English and in most cases, we couldn't understand both of them. Couldn't there be an audio system in many languages to explain visitors what they see? I have seen this system in many museums of the world, why not in such an important place?

    The rest of the sites in Athens are found around the Acropolis. On one side, there is the temple of Zeus and the Arch of Hadrian and a bit further Zappeio and the impressive Panathenaic Stadium. On the other side, there is Thissio with the beautiful cafes and Monastiraki with the Ancient Agora. The temple of Hephaestus in Agora was equally impressive with the Acropolis, maybe because of the size. It must be the best preserved ancient temple in Greece and I was surprised that I hadn't known of it before. You should really advertise more monuments like these!

    Plaka and Monastiraki are the places to be in the afternoon. Days can be exhausting in Athens with so much walking under the sun and you will surely get a headache from the car noise and the horns. Why people in Greece are so obsessed with horns? But Plaka and Monastiraki are two quiet places to be. Roads are paved and cars are not allowed to enter, so at least you save yourselves from this trouble. You can walk around and around and surprisingly you don't get lost. Every road will have something new to see but all will lead you to a familiar place: a metro station, a square or the road you passed before. In Plaka, there are some small places to eat. I like those places better than the kebab-venues outside the station of Monastiraki. Food was better in Plaka, I think.

    The second day we took the tour to Sounio, a cape in the south with the temple of Poseidon on it. Yes, the temples was impressive, but the view was out of belief, almost equal to the view of the volcano in Santorini. I could almost get dizzy from all this blue sea. Next summer we will book a tour in Delphi or Mycenae. It is an easy and trouble-free way to see places. If we have more time, we might rent a car and drive in the mainland a bit. We have seen so many Greek islands, but almost no mainland at all.
  • luca29 15 Nov 2009
    Lovely flower pots in Plaka
    This time in Athens, we stayed in Plaka in a small family hotel. The entire neighbourhood is very charming and picturesque. The historical buildings and monuments tell us about the past of the town, All the houses here have beautiful architecture and the flower pots that the locals keep on their verandas are too unique. It was bizarre how the atmosphere changed a few blocks further with the busy streets of Syntagma and Monastiraki. But in the centre of Plaka, everything seemed quiet and nice, almost only tourists walked there.

    The underground fortunately was close because it is very difficult to move in Athens with buses and taxis. Buses are always packed and taxis rarely take the ride if you are the only passenger and stop to take other passengers on the way. This is very irritating and can result in extra charge, so be careful with taxis.

    As I have been to Athens a couple of times before, I can tell you that this is a nice town if you like history or nightlife. I had seen all ancient monuments, except for the Acropolis Museum which opened a few months ago and the temple of Poseidon in Sounio. We rented a car to go to Sounio so that we can stop at the coastal towns, like Vouliagmeni for a coffee and Lavrio for lunch.
  • laurrench 06 Oct 2009
    Charming town
    The trip to Athens was amazing for our entire family. Most of my friends do not like Athens, but I do! The city is bustling with tourists, immigrants and local people and seems so alive. The shopping zones are the most crowded areas. We stayed at a apartment at Monastiraki. It is a charming place and there are lots of traditional style buildings. For enthusiastic shopaholics, a visit to the Sunday flea market is advised as there are plenty of things to buy in a very affordable price. There are also many spice shops in the vicinity that sells aromatic spices used for cooking Greek dishes.

    Over a cup of coffee at a local cafeteria, we got an opportunity to interact with some Greek people. They seemed friendly and warm. Through signs and broken English, they pointed a couple of places for us to visit. My children really enjoyed the tour of the Attica Zoological Park. It is well maintained and has neat surroundings. For us adults, the romantic sunset at Sounion was extraordinary. The surrounding landscape filled with orange and golden hues of the setting sun was picturesque. I also liked the Acropolis Museum, although my kids got boring with all those antiquities, but you expect that from kids, don't you?
  • christen34 02 Sep 2009
    Puzzled my senses
    I would have to say that one visit to the magnificent city of Athens is not enough. There are countless things to experience and explore at the same time. We had been there for a week, last year. The city was bustling with tourists, immigrants and local people. The noise was unbearable, on top of that traffic was incessant and the smell of food at each and every corner was overwhelming. The city completely puzzled my senses.

    We had chosen a hotel in the quaint Plaka region of Athens. This part of Athens is also famous for gyros and we used to eat it, every time we stepped out of the hotel for dinner. This city steeped with ancient history offers a lot of touristy places to visit. We had been to the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Keramikos, Temple of Zeus and also to the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion. We were fortunate enough to watch the beautiful sunset amidst the temple ruins in Sounion. It was a wonderful romantic experience for us.

    We also visited the Archaeological Museum. But it was tremendously time consuming since it was so big. We had to cut short the museum tour as we had other plans for the day. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the National Art Gallery that had paintings by Greek artists. I hadn’t heard them again of course, but their work was nice and pale. Amidst all these tours, I squeezed out some time to buy some souvenirs to take back home. My mug with the Acropolis on it is truly my favourite.
  • saralob 10 Aug 2009
    Nice impressions
    We stayed for three days in Athensand it didn't seem to us as dangerous as we believed. Yes, there were many immigrants in the streets and some neighbourhoods seemed like ghetos, but they wouldn't hurt or threaten you. Omonoia was a bit scary after sunset but nothing happened to make us feel uncomfortable or suspicious. My best area was Thissio and then Monastiraki. This is the historical centre of Athens and streets are actually paved. It is a pity that some motorbikes get in there and distrurb people. Motorbikes, even bikes, should be banned from there. It was surprising that we didn't see any policemen patroling all the days we were in Athens!! You have really delicious souvlaki in Monastiraki. Whether it is 11 o'clock in the morning or midnight, the minute you get off the metro station of Monastiraki, you will catch the smell of grilled souvlaki. It is a must to sit in the taverns there and most easters seemed to be tourists, rather than Greeks. We visited the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, the New Acropolis Museum (which was very impressive by the way, but don't wear skirts!! it has plexy glass in all the floors!!) and the War Museum (we didn't meant to, but we found it by luck, it is very close to Syntagma). If you have time, take the tram and go for a coffee till Glyfada or Voula, this is the coastal side of Athens and very different from the centre.
  • draga36 17 Jun 2009
    Busy and dangerous
    Busy, busy, busy... Do not stay in Athens for more than 2 days, you will get crazy from the car noise and the people yelling. I noticed that the Greeks have loud voice and talk really fast. If they want to tell you something, they talk loud and use gestures much. Our hotel was in Omonoia. This was the centre of Athens and when we arrived, the receptionist told us that we better come by taxi at night, otherwise it would be dangerous. Indeed, there were many immigrants in Omonoia, this must be one of the most declining neighbourhoods of Athens.

    Be careful and always go in company. Buses in Athens are crowded and someone stole my pocket one day inside the bus. Fortunately, my passport was not in it, I had only my money and an HSBC credit card, which I cancelled immediately. In Athens all you have to do is see the Acropolis, probably a couple of museums, have a coffee in Thissio and then leave... Step to the islands, you will like Greece better there...
  • koklt 16 May 2009
    Beware of hotels and taxi drivers
    Things are strange in Athens, you will find calm areas where noise is not at all heard like Thissio and other areas where your ears will get pain from loud. We stayed there for three days before we go to Mykonos and had the chance to see amny ancient sites (the Acropolis of course, the Ancient Agora and the temple of Zeus). Fortunately, these sites are close and the transport is very convenient. The Metro of Athens is much better than undergrounds in all European cities. Of course it is newer, but it seems like they pay a good care of them.

    I was surprised to see so many foreigners in Athens. I don't mean tourists, but immigrants mostly from the Middle East and the Balcans. You could see them almost everyhwere, but they seemed to have their ghetos in the downtown (Omonoia and Monastiraki). The square of Omonoia seemed to me dangerous in the night. Always be with company there, otherwise it is very dangerous. Our hotel was in Omonoia (I know that most hotels in Athens are there), but if I go again in Athens, I will book a room in a nicer suburd, maybe Piraeus to be close to the port. After all, there is a train to Piraeus from the centre of Athens every 10 minutes and the trip is only 20 minutes and very comfortable.

    I don't want to speak about the sites, you will probably know about them. Another thing to pay attention is the taxi drivers. We took a taxi twice in Athens and both our experiences were bad. In our first ride from the airport of Athens to our hotel in Omonoia, the driver was an old man that would speak very bad English and our communication was very difficult. I wonder, why would a man whi doesn't speak English get clients from the airport? Anyway, apart from that, he was driving so fast that we got scared. I asked him to go slower, but he couldn't understand what we were saying, so he kept driving wild. In general, you will notice that most Greeks don't pay attention in driving, but this man was something crazy.

    Our second taxi ride was from Kifisia to Omonoia (we lost the last night train, so took a cab to get back to our hotel) was also bad. The driver was almost rude to us and seemed to have a lot of nerves. Also, he charged us 20 euros from the ride that didn't last more than 30 minutes. Almost a euro a minute! The fare was double because it was after midnight, but still 20 euros seemed much for us.
  • gina21sp 27 Apr 2009
    My month in Athens
    The Acropolis is the symbol of Athens, of course, but there are so many other things to discover in this town. I stayed there for almost a month last winter as my boyfriend in on an Exchange University Program and studies there till the middle of summer. The weather was pretty good for winter, not too cold but quite rainy.

    Yes, we visited the sites, but I was not that impressed. Forgive me for saying that, but except for the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora, the rest of the sites didn't hit me that much. The temple of Poseidon is also nice and they say that this is the best sunset in Greece, after Santorini. Well maybe, it was just a shame that the area around is not organized: not a tavern, not a cafeteria, not even a kiosk to buy a glass of water.

    We also visited a couple of museums. I searched the web for any special and unique museums. We didn't want to see the usual archaeological and historical museums that you find in all countries. So, we found that there is a Tactual Museum in Athens, which is actually for the blind people. This was very nice, the tour guide is a lovely, blind woman and the exhibits are actually excellent copies of famous pieces of work, from the Hermes of Praxiteles, Aphrodite of Milos to many other works of international artists. If you are not blind, you wear a mask around your eyes and touch the exhibits, like the blind people do. Pretty nice, right?

    Athens in the daytime may be noisy and frustrated and tiring, but in the night it gets better. The Greeks are cool people and my boyfriend's Greek friends would make sure we see Athens by night: bars, clubs and bouzoukia, of course. I most liked bars in Gazi, a central area which is said to be a gay place. Bars were small but music was loud. Once, we went to bouzoukia to see really Greek entertainment! People actually sit in tables around a dancing floor, where a single singer sings for many hours. Guests drink whiskey and there is an unusual costum there: if they like the singer, they throw flowers to him (without the scapes, of course)!

    In Athens, we also tried some fun sports, like mini football and paintball. Also visit the Zoo, many rare animals are kept there in a nice environment.

    Another good thing about Athens is that it gets close to many islands: one weekend, we went to Salamina and stayed int eh cottage house of a friend. Another weekend we went to Aegina. This is a beautiful island only one hour away but pretty remote in winter.
  • adcan 04 Apr 2009
    Take care of stray animals
    This was my first time to Athens and I was really disappointed by the terrible treatment of animals in Athens and Greece, in general. Stray cats and dogs suffer every day. It is a shame that they don't have a home to take care of them, give them food and warm. Something must be done because the situation is really sad. I saw the same treatment not only in Athens, but in Santorini, too, where donkeys are made to work hard under the hot sun until they are exhausted.
  • abdulahab 17 Mar 2009
    A church in every corner
    As I am Turkish (and Muslim), I don't see Christian churches often, so apart from the ancient sites, the churches of Athens impressed me the most. I was in the Greek capital about 2 months ago for a conference in wine making and stayed only three days, but they were enough to see the historical centre and some easy-to-go suburbs. I think the most beautiful churches in Athens are found in the centre, such as the small church along Ermou st (I don't know its name, but you will certainly meet it when you go down Ermou st from Syntagma to Monastiraki or back, it looks tiny but dominates the entire square). I also liked the church on top of Lycabetus hill and its tall tower bell. One thought stroke me when I saw the bell tower, that it looks like a minaret, which proves once more that religions are not so distant after all :)) Do not look specifically for churches in Athens, just walk and in the next corner you will see one, then 100 m down you will see another. Churches are almost as frequent as cafeterias in Athnens :)) The Greeks are very religious.
  • rossrf 17 Dec 2008
    Only for a few days
    I expected much from Athens, but when I got there I saw that the city is not as superb as I thought. The archaeological sites were certainly interesting, but the organization needed impovement. A tourist needs to know exactly when the archaeological sites are open and this was quite difficult because there were not adequate information. That is how we missed a couple of places, like the temple of Olympian Zeus, which we saw only from a distance. The general view is that you should visit these sites in the morning, better week day, because in the afternoon it is not sure if they are open.

    The town itself was fine, but too busy and too noisy. Transportation was excellent, the Metro system very modern and helpful, but avoid buses. Also pay a lot of attention to pick pocketing, especially in crowded places and buses. I had my pocket stolen in a bus from Piraeus to Omonoia. The bottomline is that Athens is certainly a place to be in Greece (it is like going to England without visiting London!!), but stay only for three or four days, spend more days on the islands.
  • usa77trs 05 Dec 2008
    Lovely sunset from Sounio
    On our last visit to Athens, we rented a car and made the tour of Attica. We didn't want to stuck in the centre of the town again, as we had seen almost all of it in our two previous visits. So, we explored new neighbourhoods, the beaches till Sounio, the town of Lavrio and the lake of Marathon. My favourite site in this tour was the temple of Poseidon in Sounio. It is at the southernmost site of Attica and although the temple actually lies in ruins, it is a perfect sunset site (not better than Santorini though!). The sun met the sea in a lovely, pale orange colour with some pink reflections. Such a romantic site! The only pity is that there isn't a cafeteria close by to sit and have a coffee. The rest of the landscape is excellent.
  • orsolya27 26 Oct 2008
    Great for sightseeing
    Not one of the most beautiful European capitals, but certainly a must see in Greece. You can't go to the Greek islands, without spending at least four-five days in Athens. Athens is a great place for sightseeing as there are many ancient, Roman and Byzantine remains spread around the city. The Acropolis is the most famous but there are also many other sights to see, such as the Ancient Agora, the National Garden close to Syntagma, the temple of the Olympian Zeus and the temple of Poseidon in Sounion. To go to the Temple of Poseidon, better take part in an organized tour. Do not go swimming around Athens, save swimming for the islands, as beaches seem to be overcrowded and I doubt if they are clean. Best activities: buy souvenirs in Monastiraki, have a coffee in Thissio and eat gyros in Plaka.
  • mail 06 May 2008
    Athens is the place to be for me when I go to Greece.
    Since Eurovision and Games, a lot changed, but it is still nice to be there.
    Long walks around the Acropolis, a lot of museums, nice restaurants and wonderfull bars, and always good wheather. What else do you want more?
    Enjoy it.
  • freddycost 24 Apr 2008
    Too much traffic and angry people
    Athens is the typical capital city. Extremely big, with too much traffic and some angry people. I think the Greeks are in general friendly people but in Athens they get mad too quickly, especially when they are driving. I went to Athens for the third time last month on a business trip and it was as if things hadn't changed a bit since last time, four years ago. The only special feature this time was the visit to Philopappou hill, one of the few green spots of Athens. It was nice to walk through the paved paths and see archaeological sights all around you. Also I enjoyed my coffee by the sea in Varkiza.
  • johnkar 12 Mar 2008
    Stay for a few days and then move to the islands
    I spent a few days in Athens last August. I am American and I think it is necessary to spent time there as a comfortable transition between the US and the Greek islands. First time visitors to Athens will find much to enjoy among the ancient ruins and more than one excellent museum; some neighborhoods are also enjoyable to visit. There is much lovely architecture and you can enjoy sidewalk cafes. Greeks are a welcoming people. Visitors who enjoy shoe shopping will love Athens and in August the sales are good for many items. In the more touristic areas, there is a variety in the quality of food but it wasn’t difficult to find excellent food at reasonable prices in wonderful outside settings. My favorite activity was visiting Acropolis, the Benaki Museum, the Cycladic Museum and Keramikos neighbourhood. I was also amazed by the nice subway system.
    I generally think Athens is a safe city and very comfortable for pedestrians. However, we did see drug use in Plaka, late after midnight, and it was very off -putting. I must also mention that it is much too difficult to get taxis in Athens during the peak hours of the day. I would certainly recommend someone to go, but only for a few days, to rest and move on to the islands.
  • jasondickinson2 13 Aug 2007
    Value for Money
    We recently stayed at the Amyrillis Inn, Athens My wife had booked the flights through Last.minute,and the hotel direcly via its website. On our return to Piraeus after 2 weeks on Paros and Naxos, we got a yellow taxi back to the Amyrillis inn, for one nights stay before our flight home the following day.I must warn other travellers about the attempts of the driver to overcharge more than double the fare. Always make sure it is a metered Taxi or agree a price or get the metro as we did to Athens airport the following day.
  • kzar99 22 Jan 2007
    Athens has a superb nightlife
    I was resently in Athens on a business trip and i wanted to go to dinner and then maybe for drinks with live music. I dicovered a fantastic restaurant in Kolonaki. The food and the service were top quality. Then walked over to the Psiri area and found a bunch of bars. So I went to a couple of them I was great each place had its own look and style of music. Athens truley is an amazing city because you can practiclly walk anywhere you want to go and you can find anything you want for entertainment