T(R)IPS TO CHERISH

Athens does not restrict itself to its unique archaeological sites and ancient treasures that you will discover while you stroll around its historic neighborhoods and alleys.

The city offers a wide range of enchanting experiences, seldom found in other metropolises, which will meet all tastes and preferences. Athens’ landform is unique by nature; a landscape with mountains and fertile plains (home to vineyards) as well as its seascapes compose the beloved Athenian scenery with its unique features and characteristics. Go sailing, cycling, enjoy an Athenian summer night by watching a movie in an open-air cinema, sip your beverage in the backyards of cafes resembling small oases, savor the wines produced in wineries nearby and drink in the spectacular views of the city while dining.

SAILING AROUND ATHENS

An escape to the Saronic Islands, the Argolic Gulf and the nearby Cyclades

Are you visiting Athens and searching for a fun, relaxing, “once-in-a-lifetime” experience? If sailing is your thing or you are open to new challenges, sailing around Athens will satisfy your demands for a safe trip in calm waters. In close proximity to Athens there are some wonderful sailing routes that offer ideal sailing conditions, clean and calm waters, splendid mainland coasts and different islands to explore.

The Saronic islands of Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses and Methana are the most popular sailing destinations, along with the east coast of the Peloponnese and the nearest cycladic islands of Kea (Tzia) and Kythnos. In the Argosaronic gulf and along the east coast of the Peloponnese you can make use of superb sailing and well-organised port facilities in the historical cities of Nafplion and Tolo as well as marinas in Porto Heli, Astros and Leonidio.

In the serene atmosphere of the islands you will see what real Greece is all about while you mingle with the locals in tavernas and kafeneia (traditional cafés). Feel free to create your own itinerary; certainly sailing is THE way to get away from it all! Don’t you agree?

Sailing around Attica is not only a summer activity. Winter and spring sailing is also a rewarding experience you shouldn’t miss. During the Halcyon Days (‘Alkyonides’ in Greek), the so-called “short summer” in the middle of January, you can enjoy sailing while exploring the beauty of stunning seascapes, picturesque villages on the islands and the coasts, archaeological sites and wonderful pine-clad landscapes.

OPEN-AIR CINEMAS

Movies with stars, under the stars!

An essential characteristic of Athenian summer nights is the love for open-air cinemas (also known as summer cinemas).

If you happen to be in Athens between May and the end of September, don’t miss the opportunity to spend an evening in a true summer Athenian style and enjoy a film in one of the numerous summer open-air cinemas in the city centre. Most of them are small gardens with jasmine trees and bougainvillea flowers around, a real treat for hot summer nights. The atmosphere is absolutely dazzling! Relax, sip on your cold drink and enjoy the movie under the Athenian sky!

Each open-air cinema has its own distinctive character, with Cine Thision being among the top 10 of the world’s most enjoyable movie theaters, according to CNN.

Attend the open-air film festival from June to September, when some of the most breathtaking locations around the city of Athens are instantly transformed into open-air movie theaters. The Athens Open-Air Film Festival infuses the city with film screenings and other cultural events against a unique urban backdrop: Athens’ most characteristic monuments! Note that no entrance fee is required.

CYCLING AROUND THE BEAUTIES OF ATHENS

Discover the magic of the city on two wheels!

With the joys of the mountain and the pleasures of the sea, Athens can really thrill bike lovers. It’s an exciting activity for the young, for families and for the young at heart. There are lots of parks and cycle lanes where you can make the most of your spare time with fitness.

Enjoy a ride in the environmental awareness Park “Antonis Tritsis” at Ilion, the pristine Syggrou estate in Kifissia, the forest of Tatoi and the Technical University’s park in Zografou. Note that many Municipalities around Athens provide cycle lanes such as Kifissia, Chalandri and Moschato (Tavros) to just name a few. What’s more, cycling has recently become a very popular way to discover the city’s long history and its picturesque backstreets. Take a ride along the pedestrian walkway of Dionysiou Areopagitou, keep on through Apostolou Pavlou Street up to Thiseio, Monastiraki and Assomaton Square and find Ermou Street where you can go as far as the neighborhoods of Gazi and Plaka.

If you have cycled around the city centre but are eager for more, take your bike on the tramway and head for the coastal area of Athens’ Southern suburbs. There are different routes to explore; from the “Floisvos” marina to the Eden beach and from Faliro to Glyfada.

While in Athens, you can also experience unforgettable mountain biking moments. The national park of Parnitha on Mt Parnitha will thrill and revitalise you! The very well-marked trails will satisfy the demands of all levels, fitness and stamina. In the eastern part of Athens, Mt Ymittos is another option with many trails that run into the forest.

DINE AT THE ACROPOLIS MUSEUM RESTAURANT

A delicious meal with the most panoramic views of the Acropolis

One of the top 10 things to do when in Athens is to offer yourself the unique experience of a lunch or meal with fresh products and traditional Greek tastes at the Acropolis Museum restaurant.

Go up and take a seat on the 2nd floor of the Acropolis Museum, where you can taste selected daily dishes inspired by local recipes and covering all regions of Greece. Most of them are renewed according to the season! You can also enjoy traditional Greek breakfast that is served every day until noon (except Mondays).

Taste homemade jams, yoghurt with thyme honey, milk pie, fried eggs with traditional smoked ham, and many more delicious dishes, such as Greek pancakes with grape molasses and tahini, omelets with Cretan gruyere, just to name just a few.

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On Friday evenings the restaurant stays open until midnight, on all other days it operates during the museum’s opening hours; The place undoubtedly offers one of the most panoramic views of the historic hills of Athens.

WINES OF ATTICA

Explore the birthplace region of Retsina

Did you know that Athens is the only European capital where vineyards and wineries lie within a stone’s throw of the city centre? While in Athens, seize the opportunity to discover the birthplace region of the renowned Retsina wine.

Give yourself the chance to take a journey through memorable wine routes in one of the world’s oldest grapevine plantations and try old classic or new labels in the cellars of local wineries. 6,500 ha of grapevine fields, modern wineries and indigenous superior quality varieties will take you on a unique palatable journey across Attica.

Visit the wineries for a tour and get to know native and selected foreign varieties that grow in the vineyards of Attica. It is clear that white grape varieties have prevailed over red ones in the area.

Savvatiano and Roditis, two Greek varieties, flourish in 80% of Attica’s fields. Other cultivated varieties are Athiri, Vilana, Assyrtiko, Robola, Muscat of Alexandria and Malagouzia, to name just a few. Try the well-known Retsina wine that is produced from Savvatiano as well as kokkineli – its rosé “counterpart”, which is made from Roditis.

MUSEUM OF GREEK GASTRONOMY

A museum with delicious exhibits!

If you are interested in culinary heritage, drop by the new Museum of Greek Gastronomy, housed in a delightful restored late 19th century mansion off Athinas Street, in the Psyrri neighborhood, only five minutes’ walk from the Central Market.

You are invited on a journey of flavours, aromas, culinary traditions and cooking methods around the country. Get to know local products, recipes from different eras and the nutritional value of Greek gastronomy. You will learn about how local products are made and how traditional recipes are prepared through screenings, audio-visual material, photography exhibitions and presentations of traditional folklore objects used in production. The exhibition area of the museum hosts temporary exhibitions focusing on the Greek gastronomy.

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Apart from the museum’s exhibits, there is an excellent courtyard/restaurant bordered by potted plants and fragrant herbs waiting for you where you can spoil yourselves with a cup of Greek coffee, a drink with mezedes or a delicious full meal. Access: 13 Agiou Dimitriou Street.

ATHENS METRO

An underground museum

Did you know that you can visit an underground museum in Athens with replicas of the famous sculptures of the Parthenon, thousands of ancient objects like pottery, statues, ancient toys, funeral monuments and parts of one of the oldest bridges found in Attica? Just visit the Athens Metro, where many of the stations display archaeological finds like a museum.

The exhibition of these antiquities is open to the public and free of charge. In order to visit it, simply board the next train and make a quick stop at the most significant metro stations. These are Syntagma, Monastiraki and Acropolis. Start your journey through time at Syntagma and take a good look at the stratigraphy of Athens from the early 5th century BC till the Ottoman times. Explore the layers of soil and see the skeleton of a young lady who lived in the 4th century BC. At Monastiraki station, the huge photograph of an underground tunnel full of pottery fragments will give you a picture of the archaeological treasures found during the metro underground digging works. If you are travelling towards Kifissia, don’t miss the riverbed of Iridanos.

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At the Acropolis Station, walk along the metro platforms and admire the replicas of the Parthenon frieze created by the great sculptor Pheidias. Up the escalators, on your way out of the station, take some time to visit the small exhibition of items of everyday use, such as children’s toys, amphoras, a model of a vertical Greek loom, fragments of pottery and many more.

THE NATIONAL GARDENS

A hidden paradise

Behind the Parliament building, the National Gardens offer a much needed - especially in the summertime - patch of green and shadow in the capital. Whether you want to take a romantic stroll, or you’re searching for a welcome respite from the heat and noise of the city, the National Gardens are definitely to be visited during your stay in the Greek capital!

These gardens were created and designed in the 19th century by Queen Amalia. With more than 47,000 trees and plants and 500 different species of plants, trees, birds and animals, this is one of the most important habitats in Athens. In a vast area of 150,000 m², you will find a Botanical Museum, a zoo, a pond with fish and ducks, a playground, a children’s library, a traditional café, and as scattered ancient monuments and statues.

At the southern side of the gardens, you’ll find the Zappeio Mansion, a donation of the wealthy Konstantinos Zappas in the 19th century, today used as a conference centre.

The gardens are open from dawn to dusk and are accessible from Vassilissis Amalias Avenue or Irodou Attikou Street. Have a rest at the pleasant and always shady coffee shop where you can sip your favourite beverage or taste a refreshing sorbet.

ARCADES IN ATHENS

The hidden treasures of the city

In downtown Athens there are many indoor passages, the famous arcades that were built some decades ago, when imposing, grand buildings were constructed in the city centre. At that time no one could imagine that those buildings would later be a part of Athens’ most striking modern sights! They have an innovative interior design and unique character and are among the favorite choices of both visitors and Athenians.

The Spyromiliou arcade (the so-called City Link) in the Hellenic Army Pension Fund, is one of the most historic buildings in the famous quarter defined by Panepistimiou, Amerikis, Stadiou and Voukourestiou streets. It’s definitely the most luxurious arcade in Athens, distinctive for its unique architectural style and its amazing glass roof. Around the gallery you will find some of the best-known theatres in town, gourmet restaurants, stylish cafés, luxury boutiques and expensive jewelry stores.

In the beautiful preserved building of Arsakio, at the quarter of Panepistimiou, Pesmazóglou, Stadiou and Arsaki streets, you can enter the Books’ arcade, which is a thinker’s paradise, and rub shoulders with Athens’ artists and intellectuals. A number of publishing houses line its interior and several fascinating cultural events and educational seminars take place all year round.

At 25 Kolokotroni Street lies Praxitelous arcade, built in the1920s. Its modern character attracts younger crowds who enjoy themselves in its fancy cafés and bars! Mingle with the locals and experience the buzzing nightlife of Athens!

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