Explore Athens

Athens Travel Guide

Athens exudes a unique charm; its lively character wins over tens of thousands of visitors every year. Street markets, vine-covered tavernas, souvenir stalls and ancient monuments are dotted among high-rise buildings in this capital city, which one out of four Greeks calls home. For tourists the greatest advantage is that most attractions are accessible on foot in the central area around the landmark Acropolis.<br /><br /> Athens was named after Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, who according to mythology won the city as prize after a duel against Poseidon. The city can chart its history back thousands of years and is regarded as the cradle of western civilisation; the place where democracy was invented and philosophy, art and architecture were refined. After a classical golden age when it was home to Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the city declined in the Middle Ages, dwindling to nothing but a town with a few thousand residents gathered in the colourful area that is now known as the Plaka, until its rebirth as capital of an independent Greece in 1834.<br /><br /> Nowadays the city is busy and bustling. While the pollution, frantic gridlock and dingy buildings are a striking contrast to the open beauty of Greece's coast and islands, Athens is truly the heartbeat of the country, and ancient wonders like the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Temples of Zeus and Hephaesus ensure that Athens will always lure travellers.<br /><br />

Acropolis

Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou Street Athens

Admission: €20 for adults, under 18s free. Other concessions available. Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 7:30pm, Monday 11am to 7:30pm (April to October); 8:30am to 3pm (November to March).

Telephone: +30 21 0321 4172

Those on holiday in Athens for the first time generally head immediately for the Acropolis. There are very few visitors who are not already familiar with the image of this distinctive citadel of ancient Athens, perched on its steep flat-topped rock above the sprawling city. It is the spot where Athens, and classical Greek civilisation, began, and the site of a collection of beautiful temples, most dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, Athena.<br /><br /> The ruins of the Acropolis that remain visible today date from the 4th century BC, most of them erected by Pericles after the Persians destroyed many of the original Acropolis buildings. Visitors toil up the slopes past the souvenir stands and enter the site through the monumental entranceway, the Propylaia, which in ancient times contained an art gallery. To the right of the entrance is the tiny temple of Athena Nike, reconstructed and restored. The Parthenon, the greatest surviving monument of Doric architecture, is the biggest drawcard of the Acropolis, built of Pentelic marble quarried from the distant mountains, which form the backdrop to the magnificent view of Athens from the Acropolis.<br /><br /> Alongside the Parthenon is another temple, the Erechtheion, which, according to mythology, bears holes on its northern porch where Poseidon's trident struck it during his contest with Athena to have the city named after him. There is a museum on the Acropolis where some of the carving and friezes recovered from the temples are on show, although many of the archaeological finds from the Acropolis are now housed in the British Museum in London.<br /><br />

Ancient Agora

Address: Adrianou, Athina 105 5 Athens

Admission: €8 for adults; €4 for those over 65. Summer: 8:30am to 7:30pm. Winter: daily 8am to 3pm.

Telephone: +30 210 3210185

Clustered below the Acropolis is the remains of the Agora, ancient Athens' commercial and civic centre, where once walked and talked the great philosophers Socrates and Plato. In fact, the disgraced Socrates committed suicide in a prison in the southwest corner of the Agora, by drinking poison. The area is littered with the ruins of numerous ancient buildings, including the Dionysos Theatre, the world's oldest theatre, where great plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were first performed. One building that has been restored is the 200 BC Stoa of Attalos (a stoa is a long, low-roofed promenade which served as a combination law court, municipal office and shopping arcade in classical Greece). The reconstructed building now has a museum on its ground floor containing artefacts covering 5,000 years of Athenian history. The best place to enter the Agora is from Odos Adrianou, east of Monastiraki Square. The Agora museum is small but very informative and will allow insight into the everyday lives, law system and religion of the people who once worked here. Now a peaceful, pretty area with wild flowers growing amid the ruins, it is fun to imagine the bustling life of the Agora in ancient times.<br /><br />

National Archaeological Museum

Address: Patission 44 Street Athens

Admission: €15 (adults); €8 (concessions). From November to March, Sundays are free. Monday 1pm to 8pm. Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 4pm. Closed on some national holidays.

Telephone: +30 213 214 4800

This is the largest and most popular of Athens' many museums, and is usually very crowded. Its vast collection includes treasures unearthed from Mycenae by Heinrich Schliemann; a staggering array of sculpture including the earliest known Greek figurines dating from around 2000 BC; frescoes from the volcanic island of Santorini; and so much more that it is recommended visitors make several visits to absorb it all. One of the most popular displays is the Mycenae gold, collected from ancient tombs, including Agamemnon's death mask. The museum is world-class and well-arranged and it hosts regular temporary exhibitions and educational programmes (lectures and workshops) for those interested. There is a gift shop and cafe for visitors to relax in if they get tired, which is often necessary as the museum can occupy one for hours and there is not much seating in the exhibition rooms. Photography is allowed in the museum and the glass display cases have been designed to make photography possible. There is a disabled entrance around the side of the building. By all accounts this is one of the most captivating and impressive museums in the world and it is a must on any visit to Athens.<br /><br />

Piraeus

Address: Athens

The port of Piraeus is the chief port in Greece, the largest passenger port in Europe, and the third largest in the world, servicing about 20 million passengers annually. Although not really attractive to tourists, the confusing, bustling port of Athens is the departure point for hundreds of island ferries and cruise ships, so most tourists will pass through it while visiting Greece. Piraeus has been Athens' port since ancient times and was for many years the chief harbour of Ancient Greece. Piraeus was a city, not merely a port, and was once separated from the mainland, occupying its own rocky island. Today it is part of Athens and the port actually consists of three harbours, with most of the tourist boats using the Zea Limani section. There are several good fish restaurants in the harbour precincts, and a sprawling street market. Visitors with time on their hands while waiting for ferries can also explore the Maritime Museum at Akti Themistokleous, alongside the pier used by the island hydrofoils, which features models of ancient and modern ships. There are also archaeological sites at the port, including the remains of some of the ancient fortifications of the harbours.<br /><br />

Plaka

Address: Athens

Plaka is the old historical neighbourhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, and incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture. Modern Plaka has been built on top of the residential areas of the ancient town of Athens and it is known as the 'Neighbourhood of the Gods' because of its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites. The old town is a very popular gathering place for travellers and tourists, particularly in the warm Athens evenings. Strolling the narrow streets of the Plaka flanked by ancient monuments, Byzantine churches and mosques, stately mansions, and inviting tavernas with vine-covered courtyards, makes a pleasant diversion. The Ancient Agora is a central feature of this area and the modern Plaka was built around it. Archaeological excavations have been taking place here continuously for decades and new ruins and artefacts are still being found. No cars are allowed in Plaka, which is completely pedestrianised. There is some great shopping to be done in the area but on busy days beware of pick-pockets who target market places and tourists. A visit to Athens is not complete without a long supper beneath the stars in Plaka.<br /><br />

Kolonaki/Lykavittos Hill

Address: Mount Lykavittos, Athens 114 71 Athens

Admission: The funicular runs Friday to Wednesday 8:45am till midnight, and Thursday 10:30am till midnight.

Lykavittos Hill juts a steep 984 feet (300m) right up from the centre of the city of Athens, and is a great vantage point from which to take in the scope of the city and its beautiful views. In fact, this is the best spot from which to view the city, in every direction, and a dreamy place to explore and take photographs. It is said that wolves once inhabited the hill, in explanation of how it got its name, because 'lykos' means wolf in Greek. Another popular myth explains that the hill was formed when Athena, the patron of Athens, dropped a rock she was planning to use for the Acropolis. The St. George Chapel and Lykavittos Theatre perch atop the hill, which can be reached by car, cable car or a healthy hike. There is a restaurant and cafe on the summit to refresh exhausted hikers or provide a romantic location for a dinner. The cable car departs every 30 minutes, from the corners of Aristippou and Ploutarchou Streets in Kolonaki. Those who plan to walk up - which is a really wonderful way to experience the hill - should begin their hike on Ploutarchou Street. After walking about half way up the hill hikers will come upon some steps that take them the rest of the way to the top.<br /><br />

Syntagma Square

Address: Athens

Syntagma Square, or Constitution Square in English, is named for the Constitution that King Otto was forced to grant to the people of Greece after a popular military uprising in September 1843. The square forms the heart of modern Athens and is home to the Parliament Building, built in 1840 as a royal palace. Tourists flock to photograph the unusually clad guards at the palace; the skirted and pom-pommed guard is changed ceremonially, every hour, in front of the memorial to the Unknown Soldier. There are two green areas planted with lots of trees in the north and south of the square which provide some welcome coolness on hot days. The National Gardens are around the Parliament Building and they are a delight in the heat. The square is a central point of access to all the major attractions of Athens, particularly 'museum mile' along Vassilissis Sophias Avenue, which runs from Syntagma Square. Here most of Athens' museums are clustered, including the Benaki Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art and the Byzantine Museum. Syntagma Square is also a transport hub with a metro station.<br /><br /> Recently, the square has been the gathering place for mass protests against austerity and during these demonstrations it is best avoided by tourists.<br /><br />

Cape Sounion

Address: 43 miles (69km) east of Athens Athens

Cape Sounion, about 43 miles (69km) east of Athens, is a popular seaside resort loved by locals and visitors alike. On the cliffs above the town is the 5th-century BC Temple of Poseidon, where, according to legend, King Aegeus waited for his son, Theseus, to return from Crete after slaying the Minotaur. According to the legend, Theseus' ship displayed the wrong colour sail on its return, leading the king to believe his son was dead. He threw himself from the cliffs in grief, which is how the Aegean Sea got its name. The temple is the main attraction of Sounion and there are some beautiful views from its vantage point on the cliffs above the sea. Lord Byron signed his name on the temple - visitors should spend some time trying to locate his mark. If possible visit the temple for sunrise or sunset as this is when it is reputed to be most lovely, especially for photographs. There is not much else to do in the little resort town except explore the coastline and eat out at one of the restaurants, but it is a picturesque area and the temple itself remains a very popular excursion. Cape Sounion is easily accessible by bus from Athens.<br /><br />

Monastery of Daphni

Address: Athinon Avenue, Daphni Athens

This great Byzantine architectural masterpiece dates from the 11th century AD and has been called the most perfect monument of that century. The monastery was built on the site of an ancient Temple of Apollo and one surviving column can be seen near the entrance. It is situated about five and a half miles (9km) west of Athens on the road to Corinth. The church and monastery have suffered the ravages of invaders and earthquakes through the centuries. During the Crusades Cistercian monks turned Daphni into a Catholic monastery, but today it has been reclaimed by the Greek Orthodox Church and its beautiful mosaic work depicting Biblical scenes has been restored. In between the monastery has had an eventful history - during the War of Independence it was officially deconsecrated and used as a barracks and even as a lunatic asylum. The monastery was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.<br /><br /> Tragically, the monastery was heavily damaged by the 1999 Athens earthquake and is still not completely open to visitors as restoration work continues with no set date of completion. However, you can still visit the monastery and see the mosaics through all the scaffolding. It is best to phone ahead to see if they are open to visitors and when you arrive you will probably have to ring the bell and be buzzed in.<br /><br />

Marathon

Address: 114 Plataion Street Athens

About 26 miles (42km) northeast of Athens, between the villages of Nea Makri and Marathona, is the site of the great battle between the small force of Athenians and the mighty Persian army in 490 BC. On the plain of Marathon today the burial mound of the 192 Athenians who fell in the fight can be seen, along with a small museum displaying archaeological relics from the battlefield. The battle is famed not only for the Athenian victory against huge odds, but also for the fleetness of the Athenian runner, Pheidippides, who was dispatched to Athens with news of the victory and fell dead from exhaustion after delivering the message to the city; thus the name 'Marathon' was given to long-distance running races. The marathon race in the 2004 Olympics started here, and followed the same route as that run by Pheidippedes in the legend, ending at the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens, which was built for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Marathon remains one of the most famous battlefields in the world and a visit to the site is a must for anybody with an interest in military history.<br /><br />

Delphi

Address: Delphi 330 54 Athens

In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god Apollo who battled and killed the Python, a dragon who lived there and protected the site. In ancient times pilgrims came from all over the Greek world to seek advice from the god Apollo, via his oracle, at the beautifully situated site on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, known as Delphi. The site was also the venue for the Pythian Games, a sporting tournament held every four years (beginning in 776 BC) which attracted famous athletes from all over the ancient Greek world. The Pythian Games were one of the four panhellenic games which are considered precursors of the modern Olympics. Today tourists flock constantly in the wake of the pilgrims of old up the Sacred Way to marvel at the remains of the marble Sanctuary of Apollo, the Castalian Spring and the Sanctuary of Athena. There is an excellent museum at the site, which is northwest of Athens in the prefecture of Fokida. Delphi is scenically spectacular and the views and photographic opportunities are enviable. The site is extensive and it is ideal to stay overnight to explore thoroughly.<br /><br />

Saronic Islands

Address: Located between the peninsula of Attica and the north eastern coasts of Peloponnese Athens

The Saronic group of islands are all within an hour or two of Piraeus by boat, making them ideal destinations for day trips from the city for those who want to experience a taste of Greek island life. Alternatively, visitors can use the islands as tranquil bases on which to stay while commuting to Athens to see the sights. Aegina is the closest island, sporting a sandy beach called Agia Marina, and a quaint fishing village called Perdika. Hydra has no sandy beaches, but the town is picturesque and offers good seafood restaurants. Poros can be reached from Piraeus in little more than an hour and sports beautiful forests that descend to the beach. It offers watersports opportunities and a lively café scene, as well as being a ferry hub offering connections to all the popular Aegean islands. Spetsi has an attractive old harbour and one of the oldest wooden boat-building yards in Greece. It is also renowned for its beaches and pine forests.<br /><br /> Piraeus port may be a little confusing or overwhelming at first but it is also exciting and the boat trips to the islands are usually wonderful experiences in themselves: most of the tourist boats use the Zea Limani section of the port.<br /><br />

Benaki Museum

Address: 1 Koumbari Street &amp; Vas. Sofias Avenue Athens

Admission: €9 (permanent collection), €7 (temporary exhibitions), free admission on Thursdays, concessions available. Wednesday and Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Thursday 9am to midnight, Sunday 9am to 3pm, closed Monday and Tuesday and for several holidays - check the website for details.

Telephone: +30 21 0367 1000

Established in 1930, the Benaki Museum is one of the most famous museums in Greece and houses artefacts ranging from the prehistoric to the modern. The permanent collection of the museum displays some 40,000 items illustrating Greek culture and history from antiquity to the present. The collection features Paleolithic and Neolithic relics, and covers the late Roman Empire as it merged into the Byzantine Empire, the centuries of Frankish and Ottoman occupation of Greece, and the outbreak of the struggle for independence in 1821, as well as the formation of the modern state of Greece. The Benaki also hosts temporary exhibitions, and gives interesting restoration and conservation workshops. There is also an attached Museum of Islamic Art, and separate exhibitions on Chinese and Coptic art. The museum Library holds a very valuable and extensive collection on topics relating to the museum's exhibitions and although you cannot borrow books the library is open to the public for study within the premises.<br /><br />

Attica Zoological Gardens

Address: Gallous Street, Spata Athens

Admission: €16 (adults); €12 (children aged 3 to 12, pensioners over 65, and students with valid ID); children under 3 are free. Other concessions available. Open daily from 9am until sunset.

Telephone: +30 21 0663 4724

The wonderful Attica Zoo is a must for children of all ages, and indeed for animal lovers of all ages. Featuring more than 2,000 birds of 30 different species, as well as exotic animals such as lynx, white lions, black panthers, snow leopards and jaguars, this zoo is the only one of its kind in Greece. The zoo strives to combine education with entertainment and takes visitors on a journey through five continents with more than 2,000 animals from 350 different species. It also features a reptile house and a children's farm as well as other walk-through enclosures, including a monkey jungle. There are no animal 'shows' or performances at Attica Zoo as this is not in line with their ethical code regarding respect for animals, but feeding times are entertaining - check the website for details. The zoo is clean and well-run and the animal habitats are impressive.<br /><br />

National Gardens

Address: Amalius Avenue Athens

Admission: Free The gardens are open every day, 6am to 9.30pm

Telephone: +30 21 0721 5019

Picnicking with the children at the National Gardens on a Saturday has become a common pastime for local Athenian families and is a great way to spend a sunny summer's day when the days are long. The gardens used to be called the Royal Gardens because they were the gardens of the king and the locals are very proud of this lovely green space in a city which doesn't actually have many parks. The gardens have a collection of plants and trees from all over the world and plenty of water features which add coolness in the heat. The Gardens feature a small zoo, duck ponds, resident cats, a Botanical Museum, a playground and lots of wide-open space for children to play in. For children who love books, the gardens are also home to a Children's Library. There are many beautiful areas to relax in the shade and get some respite from the busy city of Athens, and the gardens are also wonderful for walking or running. Locals enjoy playing games together at makeshift tables and often they don't mind if you want to join them. The gardens are located just behind the Greek parliament building, next to Syntagma Square, and are easy to locate.<br /><br />

Allou Fun Park

Address: Agios Ioannis Rentis Athens

Admission: Daily pass for all games is €16. Concessions available. Open Monday to Friday 5pm to 11pm; Saturday 10am to midnight and Sunday 10am to 11pm.

Telephone: +30 21 0809 2888

Athens' most popular theme park, and one of the most popular in Greece, Allou Fun Park offers children and adults the opportunity to enjoy some seriously exciting rides. There are rides to suit every age group and thrill threshold, from the serene and relaxing to the eye-poppingly scary. The views over the city of Athens from the top of the panoramic ferris wheel make great photo souvenirs. Children under 10 years of age will do better to go to the next-door section of the park called 'Kidom' which is tailored to younger kids. There are lots of games, activities and great meal and snack options available so it is easy to spend a whole day or night enjoying the park.<br /><br /> Access to Allou is technically free - which is wonderful for those family members who are keen to just soak up the festive atmosphere - but rides and activities must be paid for and there are a variety of payment options. For those planning to spend a few hours enjoying the rides the best option is the Allou Day Pass, which allows limitless access to almost all of the rides and games.<br /><br />

Hellenic Childrens Museum

Address: 4 Kidathineon Athens

Admission: Free entry. Open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 2pm. Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm. Closed on Mondays.

The Hellenic Children's Museum is a non-profit educational and cultural organisation that was established in Athens in 1987 and aims to encourage children to explore, learn, discover and question all around them. The museum is located in two houses which have been specifically designed for use by children, and kids will be excited to find a museum dedicated to their amusement rather than the more traditional ones they get dragged to. The space is full of games and interactive exhibits and a variety of activities are organised for visitors. An activity might be something like learning how chocolate is made, helping to make it, and then getting to eat it! The Hellenic Children's Museum is both educational and extremely entertaining and it is frequented by locals as much as by tourists. The staff are very friendly and capable and know just how to entertain their little visitors. The museum is best for children under 10.<br /><br />

Athens Festival

Where: Herod Atticus Odeon and other venues,Athens

When: 1 June to 31 August 2017

The city of Athens' cultural showcase is the two-phase Athens Festival, held every summer since 1955 at the magnificent 2,000-year-old Herod Atticus Odeon, built in 161 AD, as well as other exciting venues throughout the city. The ancient tiered theatre nestles at the foot of the Acropolis and during summer and autumn resounds each evening to the tune of symphony orchestras, classical drama and dance, and operatic performances. The large and varied programme of international and Greek artists is available from the Athens Festival office on Stadiou Street or on the official website listed below. The summer section of the festival runs from about June to July, while the autumn section covers August to October. The festival has been expanding over the years and now fills several new venues, aiming to promote support and love of the arts in Greece and to showcase young talent and trends in music, dance and theatre from Greece and all over the world.<br /><br />

Traditional Greek Dance Festival

Where: Dora Stratou Theatre,Athens

When: May to September 2017

The warmth and energy of the Greek people is nowhere better demonstrated than in their traditional dancing, and this can be witnessed in fine style each summer night (except Mondays and Tuesdays) at the lovely theatre established by Greek folk expert, Dora Stratou, on Philopappus Hill in Athens. The dancers in each show do full justice to the costumes and ancient routines that make up each packed performance. The dance theatre describes itself as 'the living museum of Greek dance' and the dancers are accompanied by traditional folk singers and musicians in their performances. The charming garden theatre can seat up to 800 people and is a great place to spend a hot night in Athens. For those who want to learn more about the dance and folk traditions on show the theatre is also a school and offers courses, lectures and workshops of Greek dance, embroidery and culture.<br /><br />

Rockwave Festival

Where: Terra Vibe,Athens

When: 1 - 2 July 2017

Since it was first held in 1996 Athens' Rockwave Festival has become one of Europe's most popular annual live rock music events, drawing the hottest performers and an enthusiastic crowd of tens of thousands. The music fest takes place over three days, featuring three stages offering different types of music: metal, rock and dance. Past performers include Ozzy Osbourne, The Prodigy, Machine Head and many more big names. The latest addition is the 'silent' dance experience, featuring the Silent Disco. The festival is well-organised with kiosks that work as meeting points with bulletin boards and helpful staff on permanent duty. There are first aid stations and loads of food and drink options. Cash is not used within the venue - there is a coupon system in operation. Sponsors of the festival run leisure areas where there are games and activities. The venue is in the Malakasa area which is known for its natural scenic splendour and is a protected environment so there is an emphasis on not littering and respecting the natural surroundings.<br /><br />

Daphnes

Address: Lysikratous 4 Athens

Food Type: Local

In Athens, Daphne's is one of the most well known Greek restaurants, the type that visiting celebrities and dignitaries are taken to for traditional and classic meals. The menu is consistently quality and even offers a few new tricks on old Greek favourites. The tables are idyllically set around a converted mansion home and a pleasant courtyard.<br /><br />

Chez Lucien

Address: 32 Troon Street, Ano Petralona Athens

Food Type: French

It can be hard to believe, but too much feta and olive oil can grow tiresome for anyone. Thankfully, this French bistro, tucked neatly into a cosy and intimate corner of Athens, can re-energise palates with a small list of French staples. In busy hours customers are expected to share benches with other diners, which can be a fun way to meet locals.<br /><br />

Spondi

Address: 5 Pyrronos Street Athens

Food Type: International

Voted the best restaurant in Greece by the 'Athinorama' Golden Chef's Hat Award for six consecutive years, Spondi may drain your wallet but it will fill your stomach and still leave you wanting more. Operating from a charming 19th-century townhouse with an open courtyard, the venue has a sense of grandeur tempered by friendly service.<br /><br />

Taverna Tou Psirri

Address: 12 Aiskilou Street Athens

Food Type: Mediterranean

A popular eating secret is Taverna Tou Psiri on Aiskilou Street, just up the street from Platia Iroon; hard to find but well worth the search. Delicious (lamb chops), (meat balls), and broccoli and cauliflower salad are accompanied by the warming sounds of , 1920s music of the brothels of Piraeus. This place is delightfully un-touristy and is a favorite with locals.<br /><br />

Giouvetsakia

Address: 144 Adrianou and Thespidos Streets Athens

Food Type: Mediterranean

Those looking to enjoy something delectably Mediterranean (but less pricey) will find Giouvetsakia, situated in the Plaka area, a welcome place for respite. A small family-run business, the restaurant specializes in its own Giouvetsi pasta and offers a complimentary fruit dish after any meal.<br /><br />

Vlassis

Address: Meandrou-15, Athens, Greece Athens

Food Type: Mediterranean

An extremely popular choice with the local crowd, with reasonable pricing and delicious foods. Order a platter of starters for a diverse sampling of Mediterranean cuisine, or treat yourself to mouth-watering <br /><br />

Varoulko

Address: 80 Piraios Street Athens

Food Type: Seafood

This pricey charges decidedly modern prices for its innovative take on traditional dishes. Offering seafood with a uniquely Greek twist, Chef Lefteris Lazaro creatively combines various Greek wines and olive oil in his exquisite creations. Situated in the city centre, with a striking view of the Acropolis, this is affluent dining at its best.<br /><br />

Oroscopo

Address: 42-44 Antinoros street Athens

Food Type: International

While you'll find the basic Greek staples like dolmedakia and lamb kleftiko at Oroscopo, this Athens restaurant is popular with tourists because it has a range of good food that will satisfy picky eaters, including more than 20 delicious pizzas and pastas.<br /><br />

Greece has earned a reputation in not only Europe, but across the globe, for its crazy island summer nightlife, but don't be fooled, the nightlife in Athens can rival just about any of its island resort counterparts. Athens boasts a hectic nightlife consisting of everything from sex shows and gay bars to traditional Greek music and dancing and classical concerts.<br /><br /> Taking an afternoon nap to rest up for the evening's activities is a good idea, as most parties don't really get going until well after dinner, which can be as late as 10pm in the summertime. The old Turkish quarter, known as the Plaka district, is a great place to start as tavernas and fast-food souvlaki joints bustle and diners sip on aperitifs on rooftop terraces overlooking the Acropolis to the sounds of violins, concertinas and bouzouki playing traditional urban Greek music like Rembetika and Smyrneika. Many tavernas have lively music and dancing.<br /><br /> After dinner, head to one of the many music bars, clubs, and rock and jazz venues in the city. Clubbing in Athens is expensive, with many large venues charging entrance of €15-20, and upwards of €10 per drink. For a less touristy option, head to the area around the port of Pireaus and explore the clubs and bars on offer here, but bear in mind that the port district can get a bit dodgy after dark.<br /><br /> Parafono, in the centre of Athens, is a live-music club dedicated to jazz and blues and a great place to watch a gig, while Sundays are dedicated to country, rock and acoustic jam. In the distance the red chimneys of Technopolis attract bourgeois bohemians who flock to jazz and comedy festivals in this former industrial area.<br /><br /> One of the most unique and breathtaking venues for a live concert is the theatre on Mount Lycavettos, which has hosted many world-famous artists. Visitors will find classical music programmes at the Megaron Mousikis Concert Hall, Olympia Theater, and the Pallas Theater. For traditional Greek theatre and dancing, head to the Athens Centre or the Dora Stratou Folk Dance Theater.<br /><br /> Grab a copy of the International Herald Tribune for its daily Kathimerini cultural and entertainment listings. This supplement is most helpful when looking for entertainment after dark.<br /><br />
Historically a crossroads for Middle Eastern and European traders, present-day Athens holds a treasure trove of goods from all over the world. This city boasts a plethora of boutiques, department stores, speciality shops and markets. Popular buys include antiques, ceramics, books, jewellery, shoes and olive oil (just remember that it is illegal to carry historical artefacts out of Greece).<br /><br /> In the centre of Athens there are numerous music stores and bookshops, some of which offer translations of the modern Greek authors and music records no longer in production. The Monastiraki Square flea market runs into Pandrossou and Ifaistou streets and is great for local produce and various antiques. While it is operational all week, the best bargains are available on Sundays.<br /><br /> Ermou Street is one of Athens' main shopping streets and hosts clothing, accessory and souvenir shops, trading in everything from old money and copper pots to fine ceramics, designer labels and sensational jewellery. Vildiridis and Bulgari jewellers can be found on Voukourestiou and the adjacent streets. Located beneath the Acropolis, the Plaka shopping area also has numerous jewellery stores, art shops, cafés and street vendors.<br /><br />
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