The birthplace of democracy, the cradle of western civilisation, the home of philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and more. So much is heaped on the shoulders of the Greek capital, but it doesn’t disappoint. Even if you only have a passing interest in history, there’s much to see and do here – so let our young Athenian insiders show you round their neighbourhood.Read More
If you’re starting with the old stuff, the Acropolis of Athens comes top. This ancient citadel looming over the whole city is where you’ll find the Parthenon. Imagine, if you can, the statue – now lost – of Athena Parthenos, Athena the maiden, who gave the city its name. The views go for miles up here – to the west you can see the Aeropagus, a huge rocky outcrop that is mentioned in the Bible, and to the east is the Temple of Olympian Zeus, near modern-day Syntagma Square. Remember, this is the southernmost capital city in Europe, so start early to avoid the heat. The cool, air-conditioned Acropolis Museum on your way back down is where the marbles, exterior friezes that wrapped the Parthenon, are laid out. The museum itself sits over a Roman villa that you can admire through glass under your feet. For culture lovers, the National Art Gallery specialises in Renaissance and post-Byzantine art, while the Technopolis, housed in a former gasworks, is now a museum and cultural venue. Opera fans can come here to enjoy the museum space dedicated to Maria Callas. The historic centre, or Plaka, is pedestrianised, so easy to amble through and enjoy the delights of Greek food and drink. And if all that sounds too slow, head to Glyfada for a banging night scene, with bars and clubs lining the beach. This is a party city, too, you know. Read on for our local insider tips.