ATHENS, the cradle of democracy, rich in ancient monuments and Greek cuisine specialities
Athens, one of the oldest capitals in Europe. The city where you can find the most theatre stages in the world, even more than if you combined London’s West End and New York’s Broadway. You can go and check the exact number and see for yourselves...
Things to See and Do:
- Taste local specialties such as tzatziki, gyros, souvlaki, and moussaka. And don’t be too surprised if the food you get is lukewarm. According to the Greeks, cold food brings out the flavour better.
- Visit the Grande Bretagne hotel, the oldest hotel in Athens (1874). This hotel has a rooftop restaurant on the 8th floor with breathtaking views of the Acropolis and Syntagma Square.
- Enjoy the sun at the nearby Edem beach (Paralia Edem).
- Get a seat at one of the outdoor cafés and enjoy a cup of Greek coffee with a dessert, for example halva (from ground sesame seeds) or loukoumades (a Greek version of a doughnut).
- Visit the flea market in Monastiraki and buy souvenirs to take home.
When Athens is mentioned, everyone immediately thinks of the Acropolis and the Parthenon, but some are confused about what it actually is. Acropolis is a name for a fortified hill and Parthenon is an ancient temple that stands there along with other remains of temples.
Our Tip: If you want to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit is early in the morning after opening or about two hours before closing. If at all possible, definitely avoid midday.
If you are not very good at planning and researching and still want to learn as much as possible about the city, we recommend booking a tour with the locals (Athens Free Walking Tours). These tours, which the company offers in several European destinations, are free, but at the end of the tour it is polite to at least symbolically reward the guide with some cash, for example 5-10 euros. You won’t regret it.
The Panathenaic Stadium is the largest stadium in Athens and an architectural wonder of the world, thanks to the fact that it is all built of marble.
Those who like to run in the morning can take part in a regular run with the local athletics club, which takes place every morning from 7:30 to 9 a.m. The entire track is 185 metres long, so let’s see how many circuits you can get in.
Thanks to its location, Athens is an ideal vacation spot almost all year round and always delights with a higher temperature than Prague. The ideal weather for beach time is from June to August. During the summer holidays, when the area is the driest, there can be wildfires, which is not exactly something worth travelling somewhere for. However, wildfires are a risk factor in most holiday destinations, so there’s no need to worry too much.
The coldest weather in Athens is in January, but even in the winter months the temperatures are well above zero with occasional showers, so you will definitely be warm there even then.
If you’re heading to Athens to mainly explore the sights, be sure to go between March and mid-May, before the temperatures start hitting 30° C. It’s also the time of the year when you will be guaranteed to wait a shorter time in the queues...
The flight between Prague and Athens takes approximately two and a half hours.
Ticket prices depend on how far in advance you buy them and also if you go to Athens during the summer tourist season or in the less busy months, when not only the ticket prices are much lower.
The airport in Athens is located approximately 37 kilometres from the centre and offers several excellent ways of reaching the city centre.
Metro – One of the ways to get from the airport to the city centre is the metro. Line number 3 (marked in blue) will take you there in about 40 minutes. Taking the metro is usually the fastest way…after all, it rarely happens that it gets stuck in a traffic jam.
Bus – Another option to travel from the airport is by bus. There are four lines running between the airport and the centre (X97, X96, X95, X93). Taking the bus is cheaper than taking the metro, but the journey can be quite long.
The advantage of the bus over the metro and train is that it runs 24 hours a day.
Train – As a possible alternative to the metro, a local train connection can also be used.
Taxi – For those travelling with a lot of baggage, a taxi will be the best option.
Rental car – If you plan to move around the city and around Athens on your own, the best choice for you is a rental car that you can pick up and return directly at the airport.
Finally, you need to remember that you have to get an extra ticket to go back to the airport.
On foot: This is definitely the cheapest way to move around the city as the main sights are located in the centre and are quite close to one another. Overall, public transport in Athens is not terribly expensive; it is definitely best to explore all the options and see which is the most convenient (and cheapest) for you.
Metro – The fastest and most affordable means of transport around the city is the metro. Athens metro has three main lines, similar to the one in Prague. Some of the stations have permanent exhibitions of artifacts found during the metro expansion before the 2004 Olympic Games.
Tram – Suitable for transport between the centre and the coast.
Bus/Trolleybus – In the case of buses, it is good to study the route in advance, as confusion can occur, either when looking for stops or trying to get the connections.
Taxi – One of the pricier options, which will, however, always get you exactly where you want to go. Taxi prices are quite low by European standards.
Rented car – It pays to rent a car if you plan to get out of the city and explore the surroundings.
Plaka, Syntaga, and Monastiraki are some of the best areas to stay – even for families. Safety, availability of public transport, main sights within walking distance, restaurants nearby... in short, everything you need for happy holidays.
Koukaki is the place for those who want to blend in with the locals, with many traditional shops and places to eat, and also the closest to the Acropolis.
The Psiri area offers entertainment for those who come to Athens for the nightlife and don’t mind the noise all night.
Whatever you’re looking for, Airbnb.com or Booking.com are sure to offer something for everyone.