Introducing the city

£1.00 | 1.14 €

GBP | EUR

Gasoline £1.29 | 1.47 €

One-way ticket £1.23 | 1.40 €

Beer £3.52 | 4.00 €

Main Course £8.79 | 10.00 €

About Athens

The birthplace of modern civilisation with archaeological sights galore, Athens is an ancient metropolis with a contemporary soul.

If you've ever looked in the mirror and worried about ageing gracefully, take note: Athens is 5000 years old and still looks great. One of Europe's most ancient and important centres, the Greek capital lays claim to immensely rich traditions in culture, sport and politics. Home today to around 660,000 residents, Athens attracted over three and a quarter million visitors in 2014.

Dubbed the birthplace of democracy, many of Athens' impressive monuments remain well preserved, including the UNESCO listed Acropolis. A large part of the city’s historic centre has been converted into Europe's largest pedestrian zone - the beautiful streets of Plaka and Monastiraki flea market are also best explored on foot. Locals are pretty laid back; expect to see them enjoying round-the-clock coffees or an outdoor game of chess. Younger Athenians are happy to party late into the night, with many nightclubs, bars and restaurants still open well after other cities have gone to bed; now that's our favourite kind of anti-ageing regime.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

The city isn't overly crowded or too hot during June but has (almost) guaranteed sunshine. Plus, you can enjoy low season discounts too.

Athens enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with warm to hot summers and cool, mild winters. The hottest month is August with an average temperature of 29 degrees Celsius and the coolest is January at 10 degrees Celsius; the wettest month is December. Summers can get particularly hot, although it's possible to escape to the beach on the city tram.

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Travioor top tips

Monuments
Ancient Sites
Snack

Insider Info

  • Major monuments (including the Parthenon) are free on public holidays and the last Sunday of the month (excluding July, August and September).

  • Keep an eye out at Syntagma and Acropolis metro stations; they have archaeological displays of what was unearthed during construction.

  • Eat on the cheap with Greek style fast food; souvlaki or gyros are perfect for lunch, especially in the Psiri district.

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Food and drink

Main Course £8.79 | 10.00 €

3-Course Meal £30.77 | 35.00 €

Cappuccino £2.57 | 2.92 €

Beer £3.52 | 4.00 €

The Scene

Food is a big deal in Greece and nowhere more so than Athens. Given its Mediterranean proximity, seafood plays a big part in local dishes - expect plenty of calamari, swordfish and prawns. Popular meals for special occasions include pastitsio (layers of noodles and meat), stifado (meat stew), grilled melitzana (aubergine) plus the staple accompaniment of fresh Greek salad (feta cheese, onions, tomatoes, cucumber and olive oil). Greek wine is an 'acquired' taste, although there are plenty of local wine festivals held in the city so we'll leave you to make up your own mind. Finally, no trip to Athens is complete without a post dinner shot of raki. This incredibly potent local drink is like rocket fuel.

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History

Athens’s Story

Athens is known as the birthplace of western civilisation. With a history that dates back over 5000 years, it is also one of the world's oldest cities. As the capital of Ancient Greece in the first millennium, the city made huge advancements in infrastructure and culture; wonderfully preserved examples of many ancient sights are still dotted throughout the city today.

By the Middle Ages, the city had declined in prosperity due to various conflicts and wars. It began to recover during the Byzantine era and its economic agreement with Italy in the 13th century helped it grow its overseas trade. In the 19th century, Athens regained prominence as the capital of Greece and has since been celebrated as one of the most historically significant and cultured cities in the world.

Language

Yasu | Hello
Efharistó | Thank you

Greek

Greek is the official language of Athens and although it's a very cosmopolitan city, some people may not understand English (although most of the younger generation will). All tourist sights have English translations. The following phrases may help you get by:

  • Please: Parakaló
  • Excuse me: Signomi
  • Do you speak English?: Miláte angliká?

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Need to know

+30 DIalling Code
112 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Be wary of Athenian taxi drivers who occasionally try and overcharge – insist on using the meter.
  • Make your own way from the airport to the city centre on the Metro or Suburban Railway.
  • Student discounts and reduced price multiple entry tickets to major sites (Acropolis, Agora, Theatre of Dionysus, Keramikos, Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Roman Agora) are available from attraction ticket offices.  

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Greece here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Acropolis

Pay tribute to history at the hilltop Acropolis, an ancient citadel which is home to the Parthenon and nearby Acropolis Museum.

2. Monastiraki

Wander through Monastiraki flea market in the old town for gifts and bargain clothes.

3. Ancient Agoras

Compare ancient Agoras; Athens has both Greek and Roman Agoras, which served as public meeting places in both empires.

4. Food

Dine Athenian style in a Varvakios Agora taverna – if you're feeling brave, tripe soup is often on the menu.

5. Historic Plaka

Get lost in the historic Plaka district full of white-washed buildings, blue shuttered windows and bourgenvilla lined streets.


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