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Athens Greece

INTRODUCTION

Athens has been in existence ever since it was named after the Greek goddess Athena 3,000 years ago. Athens is probably Western Europe's most historical and important city, producing democracy, landmark philosophy, the Olympics, and epic art that still has influence today. Athens was involved in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and is home to The Parthenon and The Acropolis.

Today, Athens is the capital of modern Greece, as well as its largest and most important economic and cultural city. It is Europe's 8th largest urban area and an important member of the European Union.

Many ancient Greek monuments still stand in and around the city's center, making the city a great stopping point for history buffs.

HISTORY

Athens has the longest continual history in Europe, having been inhabited for over 3,000 years. During its Golden Era it produced the foundations of democracy, Western philosophy and classical art. The city went into decline under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, but re-emerged independent in the 19th century and went on to host the first modern Olympics in 1896. Most recently, it re-hosted the Olympics in 2004.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Athens's population is about 3/4 of a million within the city proper and about two million more in the surrounding areas.

ATTRACTIONS

The Parthenon

The Acropolis

Constitution Square of Athens?

National Garden of Athens?

Ancient Agora?

Theater of Dionysos?

RESTAURANTS

Athinaikon - Greek mezedes are similar to Spanish tapas – savory appetizers ordered in combination to make a meal. This spot has specialized in them since its inception in 1932 and is a favorite lunch and dinner haunt with local lawyers who work in the courts near Omonia Square.

Ideal - Ideal specializes in Greek comfort food, just like Grandma used to make. The house specialty is silky avgolemono soup; other popular dishes include stuffed peppers, leek croquettes, and lamb with spinach. For something really memorable, try Smyrnaika tsouotsoukakia, which flavors spicy meat patties with ouzo and cumin.

Kalokerinos - This jubilant spot can be a bit touristy, but it is all in good fun. Diners are treated to authentic folk dances and songs, which perfectly complement traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Stuffed grape leaves, fried eggplant, and lamb dishes are tasty choices, as is the grilled octopus.

Karavitis - Near the Panathenaic Stadium and across the street from the statue of Harry Truman sits this cozy, traditional eatery. Relax and enjoy fried zucchini dipped into zingy tzatziki, bekri meze or lamb in spicy tomato sauce, which is the house specialty.

Kollias - It isn't easy to find this legendary fish taverna, but the search is worth it. Located in Piraeus on the outskirts of Athens, this restaurant serves extremely fresh, innovative seafood dishes at affordable prices.

Strofi Tavern - Two blocks south of the Acropolis, this taverna is the perfect place to refuel after a day hiking through the ruins, or after a show at the nearby Odeon Theater.

LODGINGS

Grecotel Cape Sounio - Grecotel Cape Sounio is more than just a resort, it is an experience. Like the Temple of Poseidon, clearly visible from most bungalows, the resort echoes the Attica landscape, the brilliant blue sea and the clear skies of the Aegean. Set amphitheatrically on a 75-acre estate on the edge of Sounio National Park, Grecotel Cape Sounio has 154 bungalows with private gardens (many with private pools).

Astir Palace Vouliagmeni – Just 25km from central Athens, Astir Palace Vouliagmeni is set in a unique natural environment and has breathtaking views over the Saronic Gulf.

Hotel Grande Bretagne - Occupying the most prestigious block of Athens city center, the Hotel Grande Bretagne stands across from Constitution Square, the House of Parliament and the National gardens. Built in 1862, this former private palace represents the essence of hospitality in Greece.

St. George Lycabettus Hotel - The views of the Acropolis, from the south-facing balconies and from the rooftop restaurant, are breathtaking, and the Byzantine, Victorian and modern Greek art displays echo the attention to detail throughout the hotel. The Hotel has an unrivaled location in Athens. The exclusive shopping area of Kolonaki and the forest walks of the Lycabettus Hill are just on the doorstep, while the Acropolis and the city-center are only minutes away.

Hotel Hera - Completely renovated in a neoclassical style, Hotel Hera combines impeccable service, comfort and the exceptional atmosphere of a boutique hotel. It is located right at the foot of the Acropolis Hill.

Hotel Plaka – Hotel Plaka offers reasonably priced accommodation within walking distance of all of Athen’s main attractions.


 
 
 
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