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Located in the central part of Greece, Athens is both the nation’s capital and biggest city. Thanks to its rich history there are many things to see in Athens. Some of these include the Agora, the Acropolis, the Roman Agora, the Hellenic parliament and the Neoclassical trilogy. An ancient city full of history and things to see.
What to see in Athens, an open-air museum
Athens is so rich in history that choosing what to visit may be difficult at first. One of the places that you absolutely shouldn’t miss is the Tower of Winds, built more than 2000 years ago. This is one of the oldest meteorological sites in history; the tower reaches a height of 12 meters and has a diameter of 8 meters, the upper part of the tower has a decoration that represents the 8 winds. You will also have the chance to admire mt. Licabetto located in the city center.
There are also many medieval churches and buildings around besides from the temple of Efesto, one of the city’s most famous monuments.
The museum of the Acropolis has a great collection of unique and precious historical artifacts. The monastery of Kesariani is also a rather popular attraction that is worth visiting. Last but not least there are the old buildings and the old Cathedral that are a reminder of the old architecture of this city. Inside the cathedral there are also many frescos that were donated to the monastery at the beginning of the XVII century.
Hotels and accommodations in Athens
Since most of the archeological sites and attractions of the Attica region are located in the city’s center most hotels in Athens are concentrated there. Syntagma square, Plaka, Acropolis, Monastiraki, Thission and Panepistimiou Avenue all have five star hotels with lovely suites.
The cheapest hotels and hostels in Athens can be found in the side streets perpendicular to the main road. Most of them are surrounded by shops, restaurants and cafes and since the port of Piraeus is one Greece’s biggest and most important ports you can find all types of hotels and accommodations, from the most expensive to the cheapest.
You can also find luxurious hotels and apartments with private swimming pools and spas in the southern part of Athens in places like Voula, Glyfada, Alimos and Vouliagmeni. These areas are a lot quieter than Athens but you will have to travel 30-40 minutes by bus to reach them. If you decide to only stay in Athens for a few days before venturing to other cities or islands we recommend you find an accommodation close to the places and monuments you want to see in the city or close to an underground stop.
The cheapest places where to find an accommodation are Syntagma square, Plaka, Acropolis, Monastraki, Thission and Panepistimiou Avenue. Also the regions of Omonoia and Metaxourgio are rather cheap but also very crowded, especially during the evening.
How to get to Athens
The easiest way to get to Athens is by plane but there are also other alternative routes by train, ferry or car to reach Greece (for example if you are leaving from Italy you can sail from one of the following ports: Venice, Ancona, Bari, Brindisi and Otranto).
Athens’ new airport: Eleftherios Venizelos is located in Spata and it is one of the best airports in Europe. The airport receives both national and international flights, it has a very modern design and it was built by a famous German company. Inside the airport there are many shops, bars, fastfoods, restaurants, pharmacies, duty free shops, free Wi-Fi, cash machines, kiosks and news agents.
The underground called Proastiakos and both the taxi and bus station are located just outside the airport. The bus trip is rather cheap and will take you from the city center to Syntagma (parliament) square in 40/45 minutes. If you wish to rent a car there are also many car rentals in the airport. The train trip has become less and less popular because of the length of the trip and the fact of having to change quite a bit of trains across the Balkans.
Getting around Athens
There are a total of 4 million people living in Athens and Piraeus combined. In the last years a lot of the city has been rebuilt and modernized with new infrastructures and means of transportation. There are also many accommodations to choose from in Athens.
Taking the underground is the quickest and easiest way to move around Athens. It connects all the main points of interest that a tourists may want to see in the city. It also connects Athens’ center to the port of Piraeus. Inaugurated in 2001 the underground is very modern and reaches the most famous parts of the city besides from the smaller and less famous ones.
Trains run every 3 to 5 minutes and the line is constantly renewed and made larger. There is also a tram-line that connects the center of Athens (Syntagma square) with outskirts in the north of the city. Unfortunately the trams are very slow compared to underground and for this reason it is a lot less popular.
The tram stops at the following stops: Athens (Syntagma), Nea Smyrni, Paleo Faliro, Alimos, Helliniko, Glyfada, Neo Faliro, Voula and Proastiakos. The trams run on a daily basis and usually run on time. Taxis in Athens are yellow and can be found at any time of night and day. There are taxi stations/stops just outside the airport, the train station, the underground station, the hospitals, museums, theatres and in many other areas. The ride costs double as much between midnight and five in the morning. There is also an extra charge if you take a taxi.
The KTEL busses connect the outskirts of Athens with the central part of the city and the other cities of continental Greece (for example bus for the beaches close to Athens). These are the most popular busses to travel around Greece but they are also the most expensive. The two main bus stations in Athens are in Kifissos and Liossion street. The station of Kifissos is the most famous one and all the busses that reach northern and central Greece leave from there.