Home And Away Guide: Athens Greece
Athens the capital of Greece is one of the world’s oldest cities. With a history spanning four thousand years there are a number of archaeological treasures to explore. The city in fact has been going through something of a rebirth in the last few years emerging with something for everyone: a contagious energy, amazing food, iconic sights and a fascinating history making it an incredible destination that begs for more than a few days to explore.
A trip to Athens wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Acropolis. The large hill lies in the centre of the city and contains a cluster of ancient ruins. The Acropolis Museum houses important Greek statues – pop in after seeing the Acropolis itself. See ancient artefacts at the National Archaeological Museum or visit the impressive Temple of Olympian Zeus. Cape Sounio and the Temple of Poseidon are one of the most majestic day tours you can take near Athens. Lying on the Attica coastline, a scenic road trip that can lead you from the seaside idyllic towns and beaches of Athens to the exceptional archaeological site of the Temple of the God of Sea.
Athens is a shopping lover's paradise. Keen prices combined with a rich variety makes shopping in the Greek capital attractive all year round. Central Athens has whatever you desire from high-end designer stores and malls to traditional flea markets and street markets. If you are searching for an exquisite arty experience, Plaka and many of the museums’ gift shops will satisfy your appetite for true copies of ancient art as well as modern original works of art inspired by ancient Greek heritage. If modern art is your thing, pay a visit to the Herakleidon Museum Gift shop where you will find remarkable objects for sale or pass by Kolonaki, a district full of art galleries with works of art by famous contemporary artists. At the Museum of Greek Folk art you will find traditional hand-embroidery, shadow puppets, children’s toys, jewellery, scarves, books and decorative objects, inspired by the museum’s rich collection.
The culinary landscape is peppered with unique destinations that push the boundaries of Greek and international cuisines. In fact I found Athens to be a foodie's delight, from the old-fashioned tavernas to the trendiest gourmet eateries; world cuisines are nicely represented as well. The plethora of dining options is dizzying and the settings range from city sidewalks, quiet courtyards, gardens and verandas with breathtaking Acropolis and city views to dining on the beach.
A meal in Athens, particularly dinner, is to be relished, never rushed and preferably enjoyed alfresco. Dining will rarely come cheap at the quality restaurants and reservations are highly recommended on weekends. We stayed in a suite at the quirky Pallas Athena Grecotel Boutique Hotel a short walk from Monastiraki which incorporates local street art into the room design. Artists were specially commissioned to decorate some of the rooms (most of them suites and many of them family rooms) with happy graffiti works and unique design pieces. Facilities include a restaurant and a bar. Omonia Metro Station is a 5-minute walk away. Featuring hand-picked items and individually designed, all air-conditioned rooms and suites of Pallas Athena come with a flat-screen, satellite TV.
Each has a minibar and a hairdryer, while free Wi-Fi is included. For best rates, visit www.grecotelpallasathena.com
Aer Lingus fly three times weekly to Athens ex Dublin. www.aerlingus.com
Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio.