Summer is now gone but the transformation of Athens as a central European hub for fun, openness and innovation remains in full swing in the fall. The weather is still giving a helping hand for walking and the city’s sun guarantees that your photos will not need to be filtered so as to be uploaded in your social media accounts!
Athens, as a whole, is a city culturally on the rise after having sustained years of recession. But which are the neighborhoods that carry this transformation on their shoulders? What are the new areas in the Greek capital that have become seed beds for this positive change?
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…
Well that’s a tough one. We will try to warn you about driving on Greek roads and at the same time not scare you away from the wheel (or handlebars).
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.
Of all the little islands in the Saronic gulf, this one is kept off the tourist map as an Athenian’s little secret; a small island just 35 kilometers from Piraeus, covered easily with a 40-minute Flying Dolphin (hydrofoil) ride or a 75-minute trip with a ferry. Such a short trip means it is “no big deal” for Athenians to get there, while the island itself is so beautiful that it had the Huffington Post declare it “the most beautiful Greek island that you haven’t heard of”. Being so near the Greek capital, it is ideal for a day-trip but, at the same time, it is an interesting place where you can easily spend a couple of weeks.
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.
Athens with kids & no nagging?
Totally doable! You get them walking like an infantry soldier from archaeological sites to “must see” places and countless museum halls. Places they don’t understand or simply don’t consider “cool”. So at some point your kid’s patience might run out and the nagging is inevitably going to start. To make your life a lot easier we gathered a handful of ideas, for things you can put in your visit and sightseeing program to avoid underage mutinies during your vacations.
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.