So, you want to come to Greece in the summer but you have heard a bunch of stories that revive scenes out of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ in your mind: you are being baked by the scorching sun, in a barren archeological site, dying of thirst, seeing mirages of oases and ice-cream-offering Karyatides girls, holding iced beer kegs on their heads…
There are many ways to see Athens. The city with the many faces also has many different, themed tours on offer. But this one is brand new and as stylish as they come. Riding a bicycle around the most colorful part of the center, graced by beautiful neo-classical buildings, is the main idea. It is a proposition with strong practical advantages, as you can cover a wider area and still enjoy the views and explore the various places at your own pace, while at the same time it is as cool as it gets. But, “cycling around the city is nothing new”, you might note and you could be right, if we were not talking about this specific tour.
There aren’t many places which showcase so perfectly the multi-layered mix of cultures which we call Greek civilization, like Monastiraki square. It is situated north of Plaka, the traditional neighborhood under the Acropolis, and right next to the busy junction of two central streets, Ermou and Athinas.
Got a sunny day in Athens, but you are already fed-up with “ancient” stuff? We got you covered with a modern, state-of-the-art architectural jewel built on top of a park. Situated right next to the city’s waterfront, the brand-new, spectacular Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre is not to be missed by anybody who has more than a few days to spend in Athens; a space ideal for all outdoor activities like walking, jogging, enjoying a picnic, relaxing among plants and trees, it also regularly hosts concerts, exhibitions and other events – usually with free admission – in the vast gardens which surround the main building.
Three must-see places in walking distance from Acropolis and the city’s center.
A few years back, it was a quiet neighborhood with cheap, old apartments rented by students in the nearby Panteion Social Studies University and small local businesses. Koukaki was named after George Koukakis, a business man that in the old days opened his shop, dealing in metal beds, there. One of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, once full of neoclassical houses – with some of them still standing – it used to be called “little Paris” in the past. The place always maintained a rhythm of its own as it was kept hidden from the speeding world by Filopapou hill and the buzzing noise of Syngrou Avenue but at the same time alive, thanks to the students of the nearby University. Being such a cheap and quiet area near the center, it attracted artists who set up their studios and workshops, next to the commercial center of the town, until the economy folded.
It stands in the middle of the city, bearing the same name since the age of Pericles. Lycabettus – in Greek “Lykavitos” – means “the path of the wolves” or “where the wolves go”, indicating it was populated by wild beasts in the distant past. It is the highest hill within Athens and it’s the ideal observation point. You can’t miss it, if you lift your head up, while walking around the city’s center. And, yes, there have been no wolves up there for a long time now…
by Athens Insiders
So you threw your dart on the map and it hit Greece, but you only have a weekend to spend in Athens? It is not a rare scenario, as Athens is the gateway city for nearly 16 million people visiting Greece’s countless tourist destinations every year. But the burning questions are “what to see?” and “how to maximize” your Athens experience?
You can come to Athens and not spend a single hour indoors. But these are the top 5 reasons you should not:
Built to fulfill the need for a space that can accommodate all the great exhibits that were found on and around the Acropolis rock, it is not named “New Acropolis Museum” by accident. Delivered in the summer of 2009, it is the third museum built for this purpose as the first two –much smaller ones- got full pretty quickly. Soon after the liberation from the Turks, Greeks started to excavate, salvage, collect and restore whatever Acropolis antiquities had not been destroyed – or carried away – during the Ottoman rule.