Athens Travel Guide
Athens gets a pretty bad rap…a sprawling concrete jungle, traffic choked, smog infested, overcrowded and unbearably hot. But in all honesty Athens is a city well worth a visit. Ignore the gripes and go there with an open mind, for beyond the urban chaos there is a whole world of wonders to discover. Athens is both an ancient and modern city. The mixture of utilitarian looking concrete structures and magnificent ancient monuments can be disconcerting and the sometimes furious pace can seem somewhat out of step with the rest of Greece, but around 40% of the country’s entire population choose to live here and it is nothing if not an exciting place to go.
Of course you simply have to visit the Acropolis, one of the most important ancient structures in the world. The Panthenon is considered the greatest monument of Doric architecture in Greece and will not disappoint as the atmosphere is nothing short of awe inspiring. The Acropolis has it's own museum (there are over 40 in Athens) which contains fascinating finds from the site. Other great museums include the Agora, the Benaki, Byzantine and National Archaeological museums. The site of the Agora is a history lesson in itself and includes some of the best-preserved examples of ancient Greek temples in the world along with Roman relics and the monumental Stoa of Attalos - a predecessor of today’s shopping malls.
Greeks love to eat and Athenians are no exception. In Athens it is possible to get a full meal on the street where stalls sell delicious snacks – Koulori, Tyropitta and the ubiquitous Souvalaki. Of course, in the evening you are treated to a fantastic choice of fine restaurants serving traditional Greek and international Cuisine. Athens’ nightlife is legendary and Athenians take their revelry seriously. Bouzouki bars are the hot spots but don’t expect a snoozy little bar with a moustachioed crooner. Bouzouki has been catapulted into the 21st century with high tech style. The modern equivalent of this most traditional form of Greek entertainment often means imposing cavern like edifices playing an overproduced, discofied version sung by hot young acts complimented by table dancers and high prices. Some of the city’s largest Nightclubs around Leofros Poseidonos can accommodate up to 5000 customers.
It may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect Greek holiday; Athens is certainly a force to be reckoned with, a metropolis somewhat out of control. But lest we forget, it is also the place of Greece’s origins, where the legends began and you’ll probably learn more about the culture from a visit to Athens that any number of holidays sunning yourself on the islands. So brace yourself… it’s going to be a wild ride but I guarantee you’ll be glad you hopped on board.
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