The Best of Athens, Greece: A Guide for Tourists

Before you get too excited, read below to find some great tips about travelling to Athens. If you plan ahead, you’ll ensure that your Athens vacation is the best it can be!

Getting to Athens: Using a Greek Travel Agent

You might be frightened about using a travel agent you’re not familiar with – especially from a foreign country. Have no fear, using a reputable Greek travel agent is probably the safest and most affordable way to schedule your visit to Athens.

There are several reasons why using a Greek travel agent can help your travels go more smoothly. One, they are very familiar with the Athens area and can direct you to the right hotel, activities and travel methods during your stay. A travel agent who is not located in Greece will not always be able to provide the best possible options. Second, a Greek travel agent often has access to more discounted packages for hotels, rental cars, cruises, resort packages, tours, airline tickets, etc. So, you will probably save money on your overall travel expenses by using a Greek travel agent. Third, if you run into problems during your stay, get lost or lose something, a travel agent who’s actually located in Athens will be able to assist you directly. If your travel agent is located thousands of miles away, you’re pretty much on your own!

Ferry Schedules and Travel Agents

Ferry schedules are a whole other ball park when it comes to planning your trip. By using a Greek travel agent, you’ll have access to the most up-to-date ferry boat schedules. Ferry boats are used to travel to and from the Greek islands, so you must be able to schedule your ride at the right times if you plan to visit any islands while in Athens. The problem with ferry schedules is that they’re are usually released and changed at the last minute. So, even using the Internet to research your own schedules will not always be accurate. The last thing you need is to be stranded on some island!

Recommended Hotels in Athens

When planning your trip to Athens, be sure you understand where your hotel is located, what rating it has and the expense of staying there. Many hotels and resorts are available in Athens, but you want to be sure it will meet your needs. The best way to know for sure is to talk with a travel agent and explain the type of room and price you desire.

Great areas to stay in Athens include Makrianni, Plaka, Thission, Syntagma, Koukaki and Monastiraki. These are within walking distance of many of the major attractions and sights in Athens, so you can avoid driving downtown as much as possible. Also these areas all border the Acropolis and its surrounding archaeological park. Shops, restaurants, taxis, ferry ports, buses, etc. are all nearby these areas as well.

Below is a list of some great hotels in Athens, some being upscale and others being family-oriented or inexpensive.

Avra Rafina

The Avra Rafina is a great three-star hotel that’s located near the ferries. It’s a great place to stay if you want to be away from the city life of Athens and take a visit to the islands.

Hotel Athens Plaza

This is a fine hotel that has a building on Syntagma Square as well as one building that sits away from the Grande Bretagne. It’s elegant and the price shows it!

Armonia Hotel The Armonia Hotel is located out of the center of Athens at a quiet beach location. It’s close to the airport with easy access to cruise ships and ferries. The rooms are of high quality, and it offers a swimming pool.

Electra Palace Hotel

The Electra Palace Hotel is an A-category hotel that has been renovated recently. It has an indoor pool, comfortable rooms and great views of the Acropolis. The location is in the Plaka and only two blocks from Syntagma Square.

Astor Hotel

The Astor Hotel is an A-category hotel that is located only a half a block from Syntagma Square. It offers a delicious breakfast at the restaurant, a roof garden, gift shop and more! A conference room is also available for meetings. The rooms are well-furnished and have central heating, air conditioning, color television and radio. Upper-level rooms have balconies.

Athens Cypria Hotel

This hotel is located on a small street just a couple of blocks from Syntagma Square, and near the shopping street that welcomes pedestrians – Ermou. It’s also close to the Plaka and the archaeological sites.

The Adams Hotel

The Adams Hotel is family-owned and operated. It has been completely renovated and all rooms now have television, bathrooms, air conditioning and some have balconies with a terrace. It’s located on a quiet street in the Plaka, and is only a block from Kydatheneon Street. Although not fancy, the renovation helped this hotel tremendously with comfort and appearance!

Cecil Hotel

This hotel is in a neo-classical building located in old Athens. It’s near the Ancient Market and the New City Market. The central pedestrian street is also nearby. The Lycabettus Hill, the Syntagma, the Acropolis and the Philopappus are all near as well.

Hotel Attalos

The Hotel Attalos is located near the Monastiraki Flea Market and Metro Station, and only a five-minute walk to the Acropolis and Plaka. It offers air conditioning for the rooms, breakfast and a rooftop cafe where you can view the Parthenon.

St. George Lycabettus

This is a deluxe hotel that has its own restaurant, bar, swimming pool and more. It’s located in Kolonaki and is only a 15-minute walk to Plaka. Rates are really good if you travel in August.

The Hotel Hilton

The Hotel Hilton is a deluxe hotel with four restaurants, a health club, shops, in-house movies and more! There are many great features about this hotel, but if you stay here, you’ll have a long walk to the Plaka.

Hotel Divani Acropolis

Another hotel in the deluxe category, the Hotel Divani Acropolis offers a restaurant, great rooms, a roof garden, a pool, air conditioning and heat and conference facilities. It is only a five-minute walk to the Acropolis and the Plaka.

The Athens Central

This is a lovely hotel located in the Plaka that has been renovated to a more modern style. It offers a great view of the Acropolis and city from the roof garden and many of the rooms. The rooms have air conditioning and television. The hotel has low rates also.

Hotel Royal Olympic

The Hotel Royal Olympic is located only ten minutes from the Syntagma and the Plaka. It offers air conditioned rooms with satellite television, a restaurant and bar, a garden pool and more!

Athens Intercontinental

This is another deluxe hotel with in-house movies, a health study, shops, a bank, four restaurants, etc. It is located 20 minutes from the Plaka if you go on foot.

Museums in Athens

While in Athens, don’t forget to tour some of the city’s unique museums. Athens has museums to suit all tastes. Whether you enjoy art, culture or a modern theme, a museum awaits. Below is a list of the most popular museums in Athens.

National Archaeological Museum

The Benaki Museum

The Goulandris Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art

Kerameikos Museum

Museum of Greek Folk Art

Jewish Museum

National Gallery

National Historical Museum

Museum of Popular Musical Instruments

Byzantine Museum

War Museum

Greek Historical Costume Museum

Theatrical Museum

Frissiras Museum of Contemporary Greek and European Painting

Acropolis Museum

Athens Nightlife

Athens has a nightlife that’s constantly on the move. You’ll never grow bored during your trip. In the evenings, you can dine at fine Greek restaurants, enjoy live music, go dancing or whatever suits your fancy. There are theatrical shows and dinner theaters where you can enjoy a variety of entertainment. Much of the activity at night can be found in the Plaka, Psiri or Thission areas.

Use the information above to make the most of your visit to Athens. You can enjoy a great getaway if you plan ahead!

Touring the Museums of Greece

Greece offers hundreds of museums, whether in the main cities, on the islands or in remote villages. There are museums everywhere in Greece, and they each focus on different aspects of Greek culture and history. Below is a list of museums with a brief description of each. Be sure to visit a museum in the area of Greece you visit.

Museums in Athens, Greece

National Archaeological Museum

This museum ranks in the top ten museums in the world and offers its collection display in a lovely building near Alexandras Avenue. The museum has a cafe, gift shop and sculpture garden.

The Benaki Museum

This is a multi-floored museum with every level moving up in history. The bottom floor displays the most ancient items.

The Goulandris Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art

This Athens museum offers a great collection of old Cycladic art. It opens daily except Sundays and Tuesdays.

Kerameikos Museum

This museum is located at the ancient Athens cemetery at the bottom of Ermou. It’s just past the Monastiraki Flea Market. The museum has tombstones and pottery.

Museum of Greek Folk Art

Here you’ll find wood carvings, embroideries, jewelry and traditional folk art. There are also fabulous ceramic collections.

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum in Athens offers a display of artifacts and art from Jewish communities. You can also learn about the Holocaust here, which makes the visit worthwhile.

National Gallery

At the National Gallery you’ll find a terrific collection from Greek painters and also international artists, which includes some impressive sculptures.

National Historical Museum

If you love learning about the history of war, you should definitely visit the National Historical Museum. Here you’ll get to learn about the Greek War of Independence and see some fabulous artifacts from the war.

Museums on the Greek Islands

There are also some great museums on the Greek islands. Every island has its own history and culture. The museums display these differences. Here are some popular island museums along with a brief description of each.

Archaeological Museum of Chania

This museum is located in the Venetian monastery of St. Francis and offers many treasures such as prehistoric artifacts from caves, finds from the city of Chania, Minoan finds from Chania and coins and jewelry from historic times.

Archaeological Museum of Corfu

Here you’ll find interesting exhibits from the excavations of the ancient town of Corfu, Cassiopi and Thesprotia.

Archaeological Museum of Paros

This museum was founded in 1960 and offers visitors a chance to see archaic and classical sculptures as well as pottery and sculptures from the Neolithic up to the Roman period. Also, there’s a Mosaic floor that dates back to Roman days.

Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

This Rhodes museum is located in the Medieval building of the Hospital of the Knights and contains collections of classical and Roman sculptures, Mosaic floors from the Hellenistic period and more.

While in Athens, Greece you will want a cell phone for use and with the local GSM service you’ll be amazed at how much better the service is in Athens than back home. Virtually everywhere in Athens and Greece, yes even islands and mountains, is covered by superb GSM cell phone service. With a local service provider all your incoming calls are 100% free and calling the states is just $.84 / minute. Or, to be 100% sure, you can rent a satellite phone and as long as you can point it to the southern hemisphere you’ll get service across Europe. Free incoming calls day and night from every country on earth and only $1.99 to call any country, always.

For more information on renting/buying these type of phones and getting this type of super low cost service take a look at http://www.planetomni.com or call 800-514-2984 inside the States or 925-686-9945 from outside. They ship worldwide and are based in California.

Athens Travel Guide For Tourists

Athens; the capital of Greece is renowned for its scenic beauty. This sprawling metropolis is not behind any city when it comes to offering tourists a variety of options and catering to the individual needs of different people who come to it for holidaying purpose.

Momentous Landmarks
Athens has its historical significance which is very well exemplified by the numerous ancient buildings constructed in the intricate style of architecture. The finest of all the landmarks of Athens are as followed. The Acropolis, The Ancient Agora and Syntagma Square are all very significant and prepossessing landmarks which tourists are a diehard fan of. Some other good alternative options are The Kerameikos, and The Temple of Olympian Zeus. These landmarks offer captivating scenic panoramas which is the prime reason for which they are a hot spot for tourists of all age groups.

Museums and Art Galleries
If you are an enthusiastic admirer of art or history, then Athens has much more to offer you then other places of this world. Some of the most important museums are National Archaeological museum and The New Acropolis Museum which historians have always loved visiting. Art is a very important part of the culture of Athens. National Art Gallery and The City of Athens Technopolis are two galleries that offer supreme taste of beauty in the paintings exhibited there.

Night Life and Shopping Malls
Athens is a city always buzzing with sparkling activities irrespective of the time factor. At night, Athens becomes the city of light and during day time, it becomes the place of workaholics. Clubbing is an important socializing event for Athenians, they need an excuse to party and will most probably do so without any reason too. The most happening areas in Athens for partying are Gazi, Psirri, Metaxourgio and Monastiraki. The largest mall of Athens is known as The Mall which includes shops of luxury brands and is inclusive of a diversified range of eateries, cafes, bars and restaurants. Other small memento shops consist of Plaka, Kolonaki, Golden Heart and the Athens Heart which are best loved for their small souvenirs which are a perfect reminisce of this whole enchanting tour to this wondrous city of beauty.

Transport
Athens is a city that is well connected on all accounts. Inter-city transport comprises majorly of buses, taxis, railways and for people who want to enjoy the picturesque allure of Athens, the option to travel slowly on foot or bicycle has also been given. Athens is accessible from water, sky and road. Hence you can avail cruises, five star rooms in first class trains or also a business class ticket on a leading airplane service in order to approach this city of an entirely beguiling landscape.

Parks
Athens is mainly defined by its dazzling landscapes and breathtaking scenery. It’s almost impossible to imagine a city of art being without manifestation of natural beauty of parks. Same goes for Athens. The National Garden of Athens has all the beautiful lush green scenery and mesmerizing flowers that will please your eye like none other.

Visit Athens and Stay in Kifissia

Kifissia is at the northern part of Athens, extends from Parnitha to Pentelicon mountain and is just 15 km away from the center of Athens city. It is the commercial center of the northern suburbs of Athens and famous for its luxurious villas, the healthy climate, the shops and the flower show. Today, Kifissia is an area with charming cafes and restaurants, shopping centers with attitude and great accommodation suggestions.

Let’s take a walk in Kifissia through the history and everything you need to experience in Kifissia today.

History

Kifissia was inhabited since antiquity. It was the homonymous municipality of Athens according to the administrative division implemented in Attica by Cleisthenes (5th century BC). Throughout the history of Athens, Kifissia was that point of Attica where wealthy citizens built their summer houses to take advantage of the healthy climate of the region and the tranquility that they enjoyed from the environment of the region, among them the famous Roman, Herod the Atticus. Kifissia lived intensely all the events of modern and contemporary history of Greece, as the fierce battle that took place here during the “December Events”. At his home in Kifissia, I. Metaxas said the brave “No” to the Italian ambassador when asked for the surrender of Greece. This event marked the involvement of Greece in the Second World War. In 1934 the famous Kifissia Flower Show began, which continues until today to attract the attention of many visitors.

Things to do

Today Kifissia is a large municipality of Athens and offers a range of interesting suggestions for dining, drinking and shopping. The urbanism of Kifissia with major pedestrian streets, many corners with green groves and recreation areas enable visitors to take long walks in nature, shop with comfort and enjoy coffee and food in different parts of the region. In Kifissia also you can visit museums, including the Museum of Natural History, who founded by the Goulandris family, and many cinemas. Finally, in Kifissia you can also take a ride on bikes enjoying the nature and your favorite sport.

Where to stay in Kifissia

The Kifissia has a long history in hospitality and luxury hotels. In the early 19th century the first hotel opened in Kifissia. Hotel Mela (now a shopping mall), the Plaza, the Aegli, the Pyrna are the first hotels opened in the region, followed by the hotels Apergi, Cecil and Pentelikon. Today the great tradition of hospitality continues with many hotels operating in this idyllic suburb of Athens.

A Guide to Athens City

Why go to Athens

Athens, the capital of Greece, is often referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization. Despite the recent economic downturn, tourism in Greece continues to grow and the 2500 old Athens City remains one of the main draws.

The archaeological promenade, a 2.5 miles long, treeline walkway now connects the Acropolis to the city’s major ancient sites making the visit to these places infinitely a much more pleasant experience.

While for most visitors Athens may be about its historical monuments the city has much more to offer. Athens promises one of the most happening nightlife options in Europe with everything on offer from the modern tavernas in the former district of Gazi to the sophisticated lounge-bars and eateries of Kolonaki.

Athens is well connected by Europe’s largest passenger port, Piraeus. The port serves more than one million of visitors who have the option of taking ferries, catamarans and hydrofoils to the various Greek islands. Piraeus is the gateway for short cruises around the Greek Islands and many companies stop here en route to their Mediterranean and world cruises. Visitors can disembark and explore the hilltop Acropolis, the Parthenon and Delphi.

When to go to Athens

Athens invites visitors all year round. For sightseeing, the best time to visit is during spring and autumn when the days are warm and sunny. The temperatures sore from mid-June to late August, while the whether remains unpredictable November and February ranging from bright to rainy to occasional snow.

How to reach

Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines operate direct flights from several countries. The cost of flights to Greece is highest from July and August when most Europeans take their holidays. For the rest of the year, prices vary according to demand.

Cruises

Cruise ships disembark passengers at the city’s port, Piraeus, which is about 8miles from Athens city centre. Shuttle buses ferry passengers from the port to the city centre. Their frequency and cost depends on the cruise ship company involved. The metro (green line) also runs from Piraeus to Monastiraki, below the Acropolis and taxis are also available.

Transfers

Athens International Airport is about 17 miles north-east of the city. The metro connects to Syntagma and Monastiraki in the city centre. Besides there are airport buses, operated by Athens Urban Transport Organisation that run to and from the city. Taxi services are also available.

Getting around

Athens is best explored on foot, however, public transport system is both efficient and cheap. It includes buses, trolley buses and the metro. You can also hire a car in Athens city centre. However, roads are congested and parking is difficult and expensive.

Accommodation

There are several options available including Greece villas, hotels and guesthouses. The peak months are July and August and so if you are visiting during this period, it is advisable to book accommodation in advance.