Athens Travel Guide

Breathtaking and endowed with myriad cultural and historical attractions, Athens is definitely worth a visit. Greece's capital is charming, challenging and captivating, and its store of Classical Greek remains are an eternal drawcard for history buffs. Foodies, fashionistas and party-animals will relish its array of restaurants, diverse shopping opportunities, and energetic nightlife. Athens' hectic traffic and frenetic pace may make it too daunting for very young children, or travellers who don't fancy bustling crowds, but the destination certainly has storied upside.

Best time to visit Athens

For travellers looking to avoid tourist crowds, winter is the best time to visit Athens. Hotels offer great deals, though the odd rain shower may intrude on day-to-day plans. Most visitors come during summer, in July, August and September, when conditions are hot and muggy, making hotel air conditioning a must. Spring and autumn may be the best times to see Athens, as the weather is still warm, but most tourists have gone.

What to see in Athens

-Explore one of the best museums in the world: The National Archaeological Museum.

-Wander through the ruins of the Ancient Agora, where Plato and Socrates once spoke.

-Visit the breathtaking Benaki Museum.

-Enjoy a sunset and spectacular views from Lykavittos Hill.

What to do in Athens

-Relax in the lush National Gardens for a break from the heat and crowds.

-Go shopping and dining out in the historic neighbourhood of Plaka.

-Watch the traditional change of the guard at Syntagma Square.

-Take the kids to Allou Fun Park for thrills and giggles.

Beyond Athens

Athens is the travel hub of Greece and boasts one of the largest passenger ports in the world, providing the perfect means for visitors to island-hop to their heart's content. The famously lovely Saronic Islands are all an hour or two away from Piraeus Port by boat, and Cape Sounion is a very popular day-trip from Athens. There are also many wonderful excursions out of Athens into mainland Greece, including trips to the mysterious site of Delphi, and the splendid Monastery of Daphni.

Getting there

Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, often just called Athens International Airport, is the main gateway to all the delights of Greece and is situated 20 miles (33km) southeast of Athens city centre.

Did you know?

-Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history dating back at least 3 000 years.

-Over 40 percent of Greece's population lives in Athens.

-Athens is considered the birthplace of democracy.