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?
You’ve booked your late summer vacation to Greece and you still have your mind set on statues, beaches and sun? Well, maybe you should think again, because there might be something that has slipped your attention… We are, obviously, referring to food; one of the fundamental elements of Greek culture, the delights of which you should not miss.
Cycladic figurines are certainly the most enigmatic, abstract, and evocative objects from Greek prehistory, that also inspired the art pioneers of abstraction and cubism of the early 20th century.
Unlike the other Aegean islands, with their harsh, forbidding terrain, Aegina is much more hiking-friendly. The island’s small size and particular shape, combined with its relatively mild slopes – its tallest peak, Ellanion Oros, is only 532 meters high – and the many villages which are spread around, make the place ideal for hiking.
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).
Let’s make Dolmadakia.
What do we need?
Lots of patience, before everything else, especially if it’s your first time trying it.
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.
So, let’s make “gemista”!
- 8 medium-sized tomatoes – not too soft
- 4 big bell peppers
- 1½ teacup of olive oil
- 2 big onions, grinded
- 1 water-glass of rice
- 2 heaped soup spoons of pine seeds
- 2 heaped soup spoons of black raisins
- 1 small cup of mint leaves, minced
- 1 small cup of parsley, minced
- ½ a kilo of potatoes
- 1 cup of rusks or toasted bread, grinded
- Salt and pepper
It sits under the sun, a bit less than 70 kilometers south of Athens, like a rock thrown in the middle of the Argosaronic gulf; popular among Athenians for the perfect romantic getaway, or a calm, relaxing weekend in a soothing place of such beauty. Hydra is a place bursting with architectural character, history and – most interestingly – devoid of cars. Yes, it sounds strange but motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island. Two small garbage trucks and some fire-fighting units are the only motorized vehicles allowed on the island. A host of ever-posing Greek donkeys – their modeling careers challenged only by the island’s hundreds of well-fed cats – is responsible for most transport services. Water taxis can take you around the island to – otherwise inaccessible – beaches or to the coast of the Peloponnese.
If you enjoy performing arts, and especially theater, this is an opportunity like no other. Visiting Athens and central Greece offers the unique opportunity to experience a theatrical performance at the birthplace of this art-form. Watch gods and humans struggle against their passions and fate, as the warm Mediterranean night covers a two-thousand-years-old stone-made theater or a modern dance show at a contemporary open-air plaza.
One could say that their name itself betrays the attraction. “Meteora” means “things suspended in mid-air”. But nothing can prepare you for what you are about to experience after a four-hour drive north from Athens. Truth be told, it could be the set for a futuristic film or trippy video clip. But it is real and it has been there for millions of years, overlooking the, otherwise ordinary, town of Kalambaka. And there they are; not one or two, but twenty-four gigantic, pillar-like sandstone rocks standing next to one another, reaching up to 400 meters high. Unfortunately, no photographic effort has yet captured the full majesty of the place, the breathtaking 360°-scenery of a rare geological phenomenon.
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.