Athen (EN)

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Athens is the capital of Greece and is located in the southern part of the mainland near the Peloppones.
Few cities have more interesting sights than Athens. Athens is a fantastic city that Greeks are very proud of.
In addition to being the capital, Athens is also the largest city in the country. There are approximately 650,000 inhabitants in the city of Athens, and if you include the surrounding areas, it is around 3.8 million people.
Athens is a real big city. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and the place where Western civilization was founded.
The Athens port city of Piraeus is located approximately 12 km southwest of the center of Athens.
The biggest attraction in Athens is undoubtedly the Parthenon. The Temple  is the huge acropolis building located high on the 150 meter high Acropolis rock and is the landmark of Athens. The Acropolis Rock rises steeply from the plain of Attica with steep cliffs on three sides. It is only accessible on foot and only from the west.
You can find a link to more information about the Akropolis here:  There are several ancient ruins on the Acropolis rock and also the theater of Dionysos is very impressive.

“It is one of the oldest cities in the world and the place where Western Civilization was founded”

“The Plaka area is similar to a town on one of the Greek islands”

Under the Acropolis rock you will find the district of Plaka, which is one of the most popular area for tourists. Many believe that the Plaka area resembles a city on one of the small Greek islands, and that is probably not entirely wrong.

There are lots of museums, shops, cozy taverns and lots of street vendors and people performing in the many small squares. There are also beggars, flea markets and a large food market and much more. We have stayed in several places in Athens, but like hotel Attalos, which is well located very close to Monastraki square. The hotel is nice and clean with a reasonable breakfast buffet. We asked for a room high up and with a view and got the room right under the rooftop. There was a nice view directly to the Acropolis, but unfortunately far too hot to stay on the terrace except in the evening.

Below I will try to describe the neighborhoods in the center of Athens:

Plaka – A fantastically lovely district which, as previously mentioned, is centrally located in Athens. It is located right next to, or below, the major attraction “Acropolis”. The district has a cozy antique and perhaps a little rustic appearance. The Plaka area has small cafes, cozy cobbled streets and generally just a kind of “village-like” atmosphere. There are a lot of tourists in Plaka in the high season, where it can also be unbearably hot on windless days.

Monastiraki – lies almost completely merged with the district of Plaka. Monastiraki belongs to the older part of Athens. It is lively here and there is a really good opportunity to shop. This district is also known for Monastiraki Square – which has a large flea market. It’s a pretty nice place to sniff around. It is also in this district that you will find several Roman ruins.

Psiri – is also a cozy and lovely district, with small streets, cozy cafes and music. Here you will also find good restaurants and lots of cozy shops in the small streets. I mean also Psiri is known as “artist’s area”

Kolonaki – It can best be described as the exclusive area of Athens. Here you will find large, fine designer shops. Here the streets are bigger and people are dressed a little nicer. Not as cozy as the other areas, we think.

Thissio – This area is on the other side of the acropolis hill and west of the Plaka area. We think it can be a pretty good place to live, as there are significantly fewer tourists here, and it is still centrally located within walking distance of everything. Nice quiet Greek atmosphere in this area.

Makrigianni – Located south of the Plaka area and can also be a good place to stay, if you want to avoid the worst of the crowds. Here is still a good location to get around and see the many sights. It is also in this quarter that the new Acropolis museum is located. Cozy area with a good local cozy atmosphere.

It is quite easy to get to and from the center of Athens and its surroundings, as there is a very well-developed metro network.

Many will probably also think that one of the many citybus sightseeing buses is a good idea. Such a trip gives a good overview of the area and on some of the trips you can get all the way to the coast and, among other things, experience Glyfada, where there is also a large shopping centre.

“The guarders in their mildly strange dress”

You should also visit Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament. Here you can be lucky to experience the shift of the garden in their mildly strange attire. Very entertaining (-:

Finally, you must also visit the large food “Central market”. The address is: Νο68 Βαρβακειος Αγορα, Athina, Greece. Use google maps and search for “central market” We used that, when we got lost in the many streets (-: This market was a great experience. Two huge halls. One with fresh meat and the other with fish. All locals and restaurants shop here. There are also a few very local places to eat as part of the Central Market. Unfortunately they close in the evening, but a good place for lunch even if it’s indoors. Outside the market halls fruit and veg spread the square opposite. Absolutely a lovely and exciting place.

Lycabettus hill, or Mount Lycabettus as it is also called, is also an option to get a little away from the center. You can take a cable car up there, but as it is a very nice trip to go up there, it is definitely recommended. The area below Lycabettus is Kolonaki and it takes about 30 minutes to go up to the top from here. The trip up there is beautiful and with fantastic views along the way. From the top there is a fantastic view over the whole of Athens. The peak is more than twice as high as the Acropolis rock and the highest point in the area.

Lake Vouliagmeni is a very beautiful natural area, if you want to get out of the city for a cool down and a swim. You can get to Vouliagmeni by bus, but remember to check opening times and entrance prices. There are a lot of local Greeks here who enjoy the sun and water in the middle of summer. Link to more about lake Vouliagmeni here:

National Garden.–We have only visited Athens in the high season, in connection with a holiday on one of the islands. We would probably immediately recommend the off-season for a visit, as it can be insanely hot in the middle of summer. Especially on calm days. If you think it will be too hot in the middle of summer, a small visit to the national Garden in the middle of Athens is recommended. Certain parts of the park are very beautiful and here it is nice and cool under the big trees.

If you visit any of the Greek islands and have Athens airport as departure / return, it is often convenient to take a day or two to experience Athens on your return trip. Note that the metro ticket for Athens city does not apply to the airport. Here you must buy a ticket that has more zones.

Athens offers many opportunities to travel on the Greek islands. Either with domestic flights or with the many ferries departing from Athens port city Piraeus

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