A trip to Athens is a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s like travelling through time, past and present. Visit Athens and go back to a 5,000 year-old-civilisation, while experiencing the dynamic, lively pulse of a modern metropolis in the Mediterranean. For some, Athens is not a city, but a cluster of many unique neighbourhoods, each with its own flavour.
Visit Athens and meet the city that gave birth to the concept of democracy and laid the foundation for the sciences and philosophy. Follow the vibe of the modern capital and discover the countless things to see and do, in one of the world’s safest cities.
Indulge in the delicious ingredients of the Mediterranean diet – right from the source. Discover the rich cultural panorama of Athens. Enjoy the city’s sea and sun and vibrant nightlife. Enter the magical world of Athens – a city that never sleeps – and let the city guide you…
Downtown Athens has a range of different vibes across its different districts, which are always buzzing with life. Syntagma Square is the city’s financial and trade centre, with almost half the city’s population having to pay a daily visit there.
The most memorable moment of a visit to Athens will be the ascent to the Acropolis - Unesco’s World Heritage - towering high above the city. On top of the hill stands the magnificent Parthenon, one of the greatest architectural masterpieces of all times that was built in the 5th century BC. A unique Archaeological Park surrounds the Acropolis, featuring famed monuments such as the Theatre of Dionysus, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Hephaestus, the Kerameikos, the Roman Agora and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Acropolis Museum (www.theacropolismuseum.gr). Athens is home to the National Archaeological Museum (www.namuseum.gr), where splendid examples of ancient Greek works of art can be seen, as well as to other great museums such as the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art (www.cycladic.gr), the Byzantine and Christian Museum (www.byzantinemuseum.gr), and the Benaki Museum (www.benaki.gr).
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Onassis STEGI, The Foundation of the Hellenic World (FHW), National Gallery of Athens and many more are worth visiting to discover more about Attica’s contemporary culture. are places where contemporary culture exists. For more info: thisisathens.org
Piraeus: Attica’s port city with the deep past and the fascinating present!
In just 15 minutes from the centre of Athens, the scenery has utterly changed and you find yourselves casually strolling by the water, in Zea and Passalimani. The sea has whetted your appetite and it’s time to head to the fish tavernas at Themistokleous Coast, that overlook the Argosaronic Gulf. Afternoon coffee at the picturesque hill of Kastela, socialite nights out and cocktails at Mikrolimano that resembles an island, before you return to your beautiful city hotel in Piraeus.
Piraes not only the biggest port of the country, it is also a fascinating city, cosmopolitan and hospitable, full of life and surprises that wait to be discovered!
As an important commercial, naval and industrial hub, Piraeus featured impressive buildings, with the neoclassical element being prominent at the beginning of the 20th century.
Piraeus is the main port of Athens, the biggest port in Greece and one of the most important in the Mediterranean. Here, there is a never-ending motion of people, ships and commodities. Ferries from and to the Aegean islands, stunning cruise and cargo ships moored at the piers, and parts of the ancient Long Wall fortifications revealing themselves upon a walk along the Freatida area.
Zea marina (Passalimani), Mikrolimano, Kastela are some of the areas of Piraeus that you must visit. For more info: destinationpiraeus.com
The southern parts of Attica, facing the sea, are forming the city’s ultimate summer destination. Here, the leading role is played by the suburb of Glyfada: heart of the commercial, financial, gastronomic and entertainment activity in the area.
Hotels, a multitude of stores, marinas, restaurants, cafés, bars and clubs, major attractions and the buzz of life compose the scenery of the Attica Riviera. The green of nature and the blue of the sea are the main elements of the suburb of Vouliagmeni, ideal for a walk and lunch by the sea. The south suburbs of Paleon Faliron, Kalamaki, Alimos and Ellinikon are also at the seafront, favourite summer destinations for swimming and fun.
Lavrio witnessed its own industrial revolution thousands of years ago, when it became the largest mining centre of the ancient world. People unearthed over the centuries its most precious natural treasures such as silver and other metals. The underground mining shafts of Lavrio and the silver that was extracted helped make ancient Athens a strong city-state and Lavrio a prosperous, wealthy community.
Testament to this wealth are the ancient theatre and other archaeological monuments located in the region of Thorikos. In the 19th century, the country’s first and largest industrial town would be located here, making Lavrio’s small seaside town a world-famous mining centre once again. Modern-day Lavrio got rid of its smokestacks to unveil a fresh contemporary seaside town boasting a buzzing seafront, port and marina, with traditional cafes and fish taverns. All this makes Lavrio an impressive mosaic of history, culture and entertainment not to be missed.
Cape Sounion is situated on the south-eastern side of Attica. The Temple of Poseidon, ever watchful for invaders from the sea, adds to the beauty of this historical site. Stone, marble, earth, sea and sky are the very core of Attica’s history and also contribute to the quality of the world-famous wine, fish and cheese found here.
Throughout the year, and especially during the summer, visitors flock to Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon to watch one of the Mediterranean’s most romantic sunsets and the full moon rise over the cape.
Marathon – The universal symbol of human ideals
Marathon carries a weight of human and historic significance. Its timelessness is documented by events both ancient and modern, such as the ancient Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. and the modern Authentic Athens Marathon Race. This agricultural town east of Athens is definitely worth a visit.
Take note of the artificial lake with its impressive marble-covered dam. The greater area features a variety of beaches, including the popular Schinias beach, located in an area of unique natural beauty that has been declared a National Park.
Voula, Vouliagmeni, Vari, Varkiza are also at the seafront, favourite summer destinations for swimming and fun.
Athens Marathon, The Authentic
The Athens Authentic Marathon is an epic athletic event that unites past with present, reminding us of the timeless values that bring together people and nations throughout the world!
The marathon race has its origins in the epic Battle of Marathon, which took place in 490 BC. At the battle’s conclusion, Pheidippides, the heroic soldier and messenger, is said to have run 42,195 metres non-stop from the battlefield to Athens with news of the victory. Upon his arrival he declared his famous last words, “we won”, and promptly died. The legend showcases the greatness of human will, and led to the creation of an event like no other, one that inspires athletes the world over to this day.
The race starts at the Tomb of Marathon and finishes at the Panathenaic Stadium, also known as the Kallimarmaro, in downtown Athens. In addition to the traditional marathon runners, thousands of athletes compete in 5 and 10-kilometre races, as well as in children’s races and the Special Olympics race. For more information visit: www.athensauthenticmarathon.gr
The mainland and islands of Attica will enchant you with their stunning mountain landscapes, the lush green mountainsides and the hills with the quiet paths.
Discover the four “guards” of Athens, the mountains that “embrace” the city, cool it off in the summer, produce and provide the vital oxygen, each with its own individual, beautiful and unique character.
Hike all the way to the top of the hills in the city and enjoy the breathtaking view, the dream-like sunset and the fragrant green pine trees.
Mount Penteli, Mount Parnitha, Mount Hymettus are some of the nearby locations that you can enjoy nature.
Attica is well equipped with excellent hotels, catering to groups of all sizes. Most have ballrooms and swimming pools, providing their guests with additional options for entertainment and relaxation. The hotels vary in style and category, ranging from 1 to 5 stars and from historic landmark buildings to contemporary high-rises. There is also a choice of furnished apartments, youth hostels and campsites.
For more information visit: www.all-athens-hotels.com
Located in the heart of the Argo-Saronic Gulf, the island of Aegina is a favourite destination for Athenians and the perfect choice for tourists who visit Greece. Just 17 miles from the port of Piraeus, Aegina’s rich history was born in the fourth millennium BC, when the first settlers arrived.
Although the capital was officially transferred to Nafplion in 1829, Aegina island remained a focal point of Greece’s vibrant social, political, financial and commercial life.
There is the temple of the Aphaia, an architectural masterpiece that towers over the majestic landscape – truly an attraction you cannot afford to miss.
Aegina has all types of beaches, organised or secluded, all easily accessible. The most popular here is the Agia Marina, a trendy, family-favourite with a multitude of beach bars.
Aegina is surrounded by incredible beaches to suit every taste – take your pick!
The island’s many hotels offer bargain prices, and there are also many rooms and apartments for rent, especially in the towns of Aegina, Souvala and Agia Marina.
The heart of this Greek island beats in the city of Aegina, with its restaurants, taverns, cafés and bars offering visitors a variety of culinary and entertainment choices. Though the island’s nightlife is not considered extravagant by metropolitan standards, the locals are friendly and hospitable. A leisurely drink accompanied by a romantic view of Athens, at one of the famous beach bars in Agia Marina, is guaranteed to help you relax and enjoy the summer scene. For more info: discoveraegina.gr
Agistri, literally fishing hook in Greek, is a green gem of an island in the heart of the Saronic Gulf. Located in between the island of Aegina and the ancient town of Epidaurus on the Peloponnesian mainland, Agistri is a destination that takes visitors back to simpler times.
The time when taking a holiday meant sea and sun-filled days, starry nights and good company. With its evergreen, pine-studded landscape, Agistri is the place for simple, yet fun memories. And its proximity to Athens makes it an ideal choice for a long weekend or a day-long excursion.
On Agistri, getting around on foot or bicycle is the preferred method of exploration.
This place is ready to be explored. Remember, you need only pack the essentials!
For more info: agistri-island.gr
Hydra is for romantics. Love birds and newlyweds seeking an idyllic get away; movie buffs longing to see the location where the beautiful actress Sophia Lauren emerged from the crystal blue waters in the 1957 movie, “Boy on the Dolphin;” music enthusiasts dreaming to visit the home of the late Leonard Cohen.
On Hydra, art, beauty and romance abound. As such, the small amphitheatrically built town has, over the decades, established a large international community of steady vacationers, many of whom have built homes on the island. Although often referred to as “cosmopolitan,” the island remains true to its seafaring tradition and pays homage to its rich naval heritage. Walk along the pedestrian-only streets and winding uphill paths and enjoy a breathtakingly beautiful sojourn of serenity.
Hydra Island is 38 miles from Piraeus, the major port of Greece at the entrance of the Saronic Gulf near the coast of the Peloponnese. Inhabited since the Neolithic era, Hydra takes its name from the numerous natural springs on the island.
The city of Hydra is surrounded by incredible beaches to suit every taste.
For more info: hydra.gr
Poros, meaning ‘passage’, is a beautiful island that is actually comprised of two separate islands: Sfera and Kalavria. Many visitors find Poros very interesting when they head to the island for their summer vacations, short escapes and day-trips, as it has a unique landscape of narrow sea passages. The island is home to many historical, contemporary attractions and beautiful beaches, and is easily accessible both by land and sea. Lying conveniently in close proximity to the coastal holiday resort of Galatas in Troezen, Poros is just three minutes away by private boat or a ferry ride.
For more info: visitporos.com
The island of Kythera, can be reached by a 50min flight from Athens International airport. Located in between Crete and the southern Peloponnese, Kythera is situated at the junction of where the Aegean Sea, the Ionian Sea and the Cretan Sea meet.
It has always been an important crossroads for the eastern Mediterranean.
According to Greek myth, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was born on Kythera. As such, it would be difficult not to fall in love with the island’s picturesque charm and friendly atmosphere: the evergreen mountains, the whitewashed alleyways of its villages, the flowered courtyards and the traditional cafés under the large plane trees.
There are so many places worth exploring on the island such as the blue-green crystal clear waters of Kaladi Beach and the little cave at exotic Diakofti, the ruins of the fortified town of Paleochora or the medieval village of Milopotamos, well-known for the Neraida waterfall and the 22 watermills.
The unique island of Kythera, makes visitors fall in love with its natural beauty, and select it year after year for their holidays; some have even decided to make it their permanent residence!
For more info: kythira.gr
Antikythera – A place of serenity
Tiny Antikythera, south of Kythera, with a population of about 20 residents – but increasing during the summer months – is a haven for visitors seeking tranquility and relaxation in a place with unspoiled natural beauty and fascinating hiking routes.
Migratory birds are long-time regulars of Antikythera that appreciate its location at the junction of the Aegean, Ionian and Cretan Seas for a quick stop before continuing their journey. For this reason, the Hellenic Ornithological Society has placed a monitoring station on the island for birdwatchers.
Embark on sophistication.
Visit Spetses and indulge in the island’s eclectic charm. Ideal for the discerning traveller, Spetses boasts a long history of catering to those who appreciate the aesthetics of old-world tradition with a cosmopolitan edge. Just two hours away from Athens’ main port of Piraeus by hydrofoil and three hours away by car, Spetses is an easily accessible destination.
However, cars must be left on the mainland, as traffic is limited to a few vehicles, thus encouraging visitors to explore the island on foot or on bike or by making use of public transport.
The green island of Spetses is an exquisite destination, an easy day trip from Athens.
Spetses is the ideal summer holiday retreat, showcasing nature with its lush landscapes and crystal-blue seas, but it is equally captivating in spring and autumn.With its elegant style, cobblestone streets and magnificent manors, Spetses is a place you won’t soon forget. In the main town, visit the Museum of Spetses, the Museum of Bouboulina and the Anargyros Manor. These are buildings of great architectural and historical significance, dating from the peak of the island’s history and revolutionary times. Walk to the lighthouse; the view will enchant you.
Spetses is the ideal location for walking and bicycling, a bike being perhaps the best means to tour the island. Fill your mornings with nature, sport and wellness, to atone in advance for an eventful evening as only the Greek isles can provide. Spetses is probably the most lively island -in the Saronic Gulf.
For more info: spetses.gov.gr
Salamis – The island easiest to reach
Salamis, Attica’s largest island with a long history, is so close to Athens’ main port town of Piraeus, that it could be considered one of its neighbourhoods. Just one nautical mile and a fifteen-minute ferry ride from Perama port, this pine-studded seaside community is graced with a unique past, beautiful beaches, ancient monuments, museums, churches, monasteries and archaeological sites. Its close proximity to Athens makes Salamis (called Salamina in Greek) an ideal destination for a day trip.
The historically significant naval battle of Salamis took place just off the island’s coast with the Greek fleet defeating the invading Persians in 480 BC. Explore Salamis and discover one of the most easily accessible islands of the Saronic Gulf.
Relaxation comes easily in this uniquely charming setting, with a host of ideas for diversion. Enjoy fresh seafood and local delicacies at the scenic taverns on the waterfront. For more info: salamina.gr
For more information on discovering coastal and island destinations of Attica by yachting,
sailing and cruising please visit the following: epest.gr, sitesap.gr, greek-marinas.gr
For more ideas and tourism information please visit: www.athensattica.com, www.visitgreece.gr