Each year, more and more travelers are choosing Athens for their leisure and business travel all year round. There are several reasons; Athens offers a variety of things to see and do, and most of the times, under favorable weather conditions. Athens is considered one of Europe's safest capitals; its transportation network is user-friendly; there are numerous museums and archeological sites and hundreds of restaurants to satisfy every taste.
Surrounded by a lining of stunning seas and mountains, Athens is filled with gems just waiting to be discovered. Located at the crossroads of three continents, the capital of Greece with an overall population of close to four million has often been the hub of many cultures. Characterized by a culture and people that are welcoming and hospitable, every visitor just feels at home. Furthermore, a factor that is driving Athens' destination popularity is the increasing number of international carriers that fly into its new and award-winning airport, easily connecting Athens to the rest of the world.
Athens is an ideal congress destination, combining state-of-the-art infrastructure, excellent conference facilities and easy access from all over the world with world-class cultural attractions, modern amenities, diverse entertainment and natural beauty. Most hotels in Athens underwent extensive renovation in preparation of the 2004 Olympic Games, a great benefit for contemporary visitors that can enjoy comfortable and stylish accommodation combined with outstanding services… No matter how long your stay in Athens, the time is never enough to discover the numerous pleasures the city offers. Well known worldwide for its entertaining nightlife, Athens invites you to discover her bars, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes. Familiarize yourself with the city's many shopping districts and don't forget to get information on the city's cultural life.
HERITAGE & CULTURE
The establishment of Athens as a city dates back to mythological times. Despite the length of the city's history, it is still evident throughout Athens in the form of many Ancient, Roman, Byzantine and Modern monuments. Today's capital is a result of integration of ancient and medieval history into the contemporary era. Ancient Athens monuments can be found all around the city center, side by side with contemporary construction such as buildings, roads and train stations.
In the lower level of Monastiraki metro station, the visitor comes face to face with a part of the ancient city. Many Byzantine Athens monuments such as churches still operate as religious venues. Monuments such as the Roman Agora and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus host cultural events. All you have to do is just take a walk in the city and you will find innumerable monuments on your way.
Museums operating in Athens can be divided in two categories. On the one hand, there are the important institutions hosting world treasures from antiquity and the Byzantine era. These include the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine Museum. Next to them, there are a number of state thematic museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and the War Museum.
One the other, there are a large number of thematic, public and private museums with smaller collections in a variety of fields ranging from history to ceramics and from railway to music instruments.
The visual arts enjoy a big share in the Athenian cultural and everyday life. Next to big institutions such as the National Gallery and the Benaki Museum, a big number of small private galleries are spread within the city centre and the surrounding areas, hosting the works of contemporary visual and media artists. In recent years a number of bar galleries have sprung up, where you can have a drink or a coffee whilst visiting an exhibition
LEISURE & RECREATION
Shopping in Athens
A showcase for its traditional and modern culture and lifestyle-- can be a fascinating and satisfying experience for all. Amidst the many well-known and international name brands and traditional Greek art and folklore shops, are hundreds and hundreds of chic boutiques and specialty shops blossoming with great fashion finds for every taste and budget. The "new kid on the block" are the glitzy department stores that have won the hearts of the natives and visitors who shop there. The close proximity of each shopping district means that a weekend in Athens can combine a stroll on a cobblestone path amongst the locals buying fresh produce at traditional markets and bazaars, with browsing elegant displays of haute couture, prêt a porter clothing, shoes and accessories by talented Greek and foreign designers that are sure to impress.
A day of shopping in Athens is a delightful way to immerse yourself in Greek culture. Make sure to stop in at one the many wonderful year-round outdoor cafés and restaurants, to make your experience of shopping in the Athenian way complete!
Athens is famous for its vibrant nightlife. The Athenians like to party and will do so almost every night of the week. The choices are plenty and they appeal to all tastes and lifestyles. In general, things get started pretty late: after midnight for bars and clubbing and after 10:00 p.m. for dinner at the city's tavernas, Athens Restaurants and bar-restaurants. Athens nightlife is also affected by the people - The Greeks are known for their love-of-life lifestyle; a sort of "OPA!" mentality that includes good food and good company, regardless of age. In Greece, life is for living and leaving your worries behind. The result is a good-hearted, energetic city with bars and restaurants to match.
Hip areas include Gazi, Psirri, Metaxourgio, Monastiraki, Theseion and Kolonaki. Traditional Greek evenings can be spent in Plaka.
At Psirri you will find some of Athens' hottest clubs and bars. Large and small, they play all types of music from Greek, rock and ethnic to Latin, pop and jazz. Psirri has become an Athenian favourite. A tour to Athens nightlife would not be complete without a visit to the industrial district of Gazi. Most of the galleries, mainstream bars, restaurants, clubs and Greek nightclubs here (featuring live Greek pop singers), are trademarked by their industrial design as many of them are housed in remodelled -- and once abandoned -- factories. Gazi is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods of Athens nightlife. Plaka - Monastiraki are two ancient, historic and all-time classic Athenian neighborhoods popular with visitors, they do not have many big dance clubs and bars, but offer lively, traditional places to enjoy Greek culture year-round as well as several rock and jazz clubs. To truly experience modern Athens nightlife, we recommend spending a few hours at a Greek nightclub with live Greek music. You will find plenty nightclubs with live Greek music along Syggrou Avenue and at the industrial strips of IeraOdos and Pireos Street in Gazi. In the summer months, the action moves to Poseidon Avenue and the coastal towns of Glyfada, Voula and Vouliagmeni. Kolonaki is a staple dining and entertainment destination, catering to the city's urban working professionals who enjoy an after work cocktail at many of its bars that are open - and busy - until after midnight, even on weekdays. The clubs here are also very chic. Exarchia is where to go for smaller more bohemian style haunts that cater to artists and college students. At the foot of Strefi Hill is where you will find most of the bars and clubs, many of which play rock music. An alternative option of Athens nightlife.
Athens nightlife is just overflowing with modern, bohemian, ethnic, Latin, dance, rock, fashion and mainstream bars, lounges and clubs. Go out and have fun, Athens nightlife is waiting for you.
Well known for its leisure industry, Athens offers you the opportunity to fill your days with relaxation and pleasure. If what you are looking for is fun, try one of the fun parks and enjoy the many activities they offer.
Wild life lovers shouldn’t fail to pay a visit to the Athens Zoo, which hosts amongst others one of the biggest varieties of birds.
The Philopappou Hill is an ideal place if you want to relax. Walk up the hill and enjoy the distinct scents of Athens’ plant life.
Sports And Recreation
The birthplace of the Olympic Games has a tradition of athletics. The great outdoors is what recreational sporting in Athens is all about - yachting, sailing, windsurfing, beach volleyball, trekking and skiing. Who can forget the cyclists whizzing past the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill, the breathless marathon runners crossing the finishing line at Panathenaic Stadium or the windsurfers, sailors and rowers finessing the blue, Mediterranean seas during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games?
Of course, the gorgeous summer weather is ideal for sea and sun sport enthusiasts with crystal clear waters just minutes away from the center of Athens. But the fall and winter also have their sporting charms such as trekking and hiking on mountain trails, horseback riding, mountain biking and skiing. Regimented health buffs are also accommodated by the many state-of-the art fitness centers at many leading hotels and throughout Athens in Kolonaki and around Syntagma Square.
But with such a spectacular environment in which to enjoy recreational sports, why stay inside? Here are just a few suggestions of how to experience Athens the natural and healthy way.
Here you can find a complete guide to all Athens restaurants. There is a large variety of restaurants in Athens, ranging from Greek and Mediterranean cuisine to Asian and Arabic. Any cuisine you want to try, you will find it in Athens: from budget to luxury and mainstream to exotic, it's all there waiting to be savoured. Discover the great range of restaurants in Athens and enjoy a delicious meal.
At Syntagma Square, you will not only find plenty of fast foods but also many chic Athens restaurants and stylish cafes to enjoy a sandwich with a coffee while overlooking the Athens cityscape. In the elegant Athens neighbourhood of Kolonaki, you will find stylish eateries, such as all day tavernas, grills, international restaurants, bistros, brassieres and many other wonderful places to dine and relax. In Plaka, Thission, Psirri and Monastiraki, there are many places to enjoy a Greek meze with some ouzo; many of them are outdoors and others feature traditional Greek music. Kerameikos and Gazi are among the trendy neighbourhoods of Athens where many chic, modern, ethnic restaurants combining modern and traditional cuisine can be found. Piraeus is a place with many waterfront tavernas for freshly caught fish of the day. In Glyfada, you can find Biftekoupoli, a "town" of restaurants with delectable meat-based menus and also some of the best restaurants in Athens Greece.
Enjoy the wide variety of restaurants in Athens and don't miss the opportunity to enjoy Greek cuisine, which is famous worldwide for its fresh ingredients and rich nutritional value.