Home of the Gods and named after the Goddess of Wisdom Athena herself; Athens is nothing short of a visual tale of ancient civilisations and the birth of western philosophy and democracy.
Iconic structures and sights adorn this spectacular city from the once majestic ‘high city’ of the Acropolis, the world’s most perfect building, the Parthenon – now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Temple of Zeus who dwelled on Mount Olympus to the Ancient Agora, a gathering place for the ancient Athenians.
The mythical culture and spellbinding history can be delved into in the Museums and galleries that abound in Athens. The Goulandis Museum of Cycladic Art, the National Gallery, the Museum of Greek Folk Art and the Acropolis Museum are just a few to choose from.
On foot is the best way to explore Athens - from the National Gardens, the perfect place for a peaceful stroll, to a climb up Mount Lycavittos for breathtaking views. Wander the charming streets of Plaka, Monastiraki and Thisso with their picturesque architecture and quirky shops, Kolonaki’s fancy boutiques and galleries, Bohemian Metaxourgeio and around the Royal Palace in Psiri.
Those wanting to embrace the hedonistic lifestyle of the ancient Greeks can do so in the restaurants, outdoor cafes, atmospheric and acoustically perfect amphitheatres, chic cocktail bars and glitzy waterside nightclubs in the city.
Set to a backdrop of Mediterranean sun and a shimmering Aegean Sea, Athens is a place for dreamers and thinkers, food lovers and families, party-goers and outdoor enthusiasts, beach bunnies and culture vultures.
The following information is correct as of October 2014 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Athens International Airport (also called Elftherios Venizelos Airport) is just 12 miles east of the city centre of Athens and has excellent transport links. Metro line 3 ‘Aghia Marina’ departs not far from the arrivals hall and takes passengers to the centre of Athens in just 40 minutes. There is also a suburban rail service running to Athens Central Railway Station (Larissis Station), the Port of Pireaus and Kiato.
Express buses X93, X95 and X96 also depart from outside the airport, taking just over an hour to reach Athens city centre. Various taxi services operate from outside the terminal building.
What you need to know
Currency: The Euro (€)
Visas: British nationals or citizens of the European Union do not require a visa to enter Athens. A valid passport valid is required by all travellers. Nationalities from countries outside the EU may require a visa. More information can be obtained from a local embassy or the Foreign Office website.
Laws: It’s illegal to smoke in all indoor public places in Greece. The penalty for violating this law is a fine of up to €500. Make sure receipts are kept for any goods or services bought as purchasing a pirate CD or DVD could lead to imprisonment. Drink driving can result in a heavy fine and/or imprisonment. The legal age for consuming alcohol in Greece is 18. Indecent behaviour is not tolerated in any part of the country.
Best Time to Visit
Spring and late autumn are the most pleasant times to visit Athens as summers can be extremely hot and dry. Winter is low season, meaning cheaper travel and fewer tourists, with the occasional rain or snow shower.
With so many cultural events and festivals on offer, there are plenty of good times to visit Athens. January sees the country-wide Festival of Epiphany of Festival of Light with feasting, folk music and processions a plenty. March sees parades that celebrate the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire. In April, a 40 day carnival takes place called Apories where street parties and fantastic local food take centre stage. The summer months bring European Music Day, Rock and Jazz festivals, a Feast of Flowers and a Book Festival.
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