T(R)IPS TO CHERISH
SAILING AROUND ATHENS
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?
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.
CYCLING AROUND THE BEAUTIES OF ATHENS
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.
DINE AT THE ACROPOLIS MUSEUM RESTAURANT
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.
WINES OF ATTICA
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.
MUSEUM OF GREEK GASTRONOMY
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.
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.
THE NATIONAL GARDENS
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.
ARCADES IN ATHENS
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.