• Photo: Nick Pavlakis / Shutterstock

Plan Your Athens Vacation

It's no wonder that all roads lead to the fascinating and maddening metropolis of Athens. Lift your eyes 200 feet above the city to the Parthenon, its honey-color marble columns rising from a massive limestone base, and you behold architectural perfection that has not been surpassed in 2,500 years. But, today, this shrine of classical form dominates a 21st-century boomtown. To experience Athens—Athína in Greek—fully is to understand the essence of Greece: ancient monuments surviving in a sea of cement, startling beauty amid the squalor, tradition juxtaposed with modernity. Locals depend on humor and flexibility to deal with the chaos; you should do the same. The rewards are immense.


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Top Reasons To Go

  1. The Acropolis A beacon of bygone glory rising above Athens's smog, this iconic citadel represents everything the Athenians were and still aspire to be.
  2. Evzones on Syntagma Square Unmistakable in tasseled hats and pom-pom shoes, Evzones act out a traditional changing of the guard that falls somewhere between discipline and comedy.
  3. The Ancient Agora and Monastiraki Socrates and Plato once discoursed at the Agora, and today you can do the same at the nearby Monastiraki marketplace.
  4. Opa! Whether jamming to post-Grunge in Gazi-Kerameikos—Athens's Greenwich Village—or dirty dancing on the tables at live bouzoukia clubs, the Athenians party like no one else.
  5. Benaki Bounty Housed in a neoclassic mansion, the Benaki Museum—Greece's oldest private collection—has everything from ancient sculpture to modern art.

When To Go

When to Go

Athens often feels like a furnace in summer, due to the capital's lack of parks and millions of circulating cars. Mornings between 7 am and...

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