Athens, Europe’s oldest city
A flight to Europe’s oldest city means communing with a civilization more than 3,400 years old while simultaneously revelling in the vibrant process of its renewal. The things to do and see in Athens take visitors on a time-warped journey through history.
Keeping watch over Athens is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world and a universal symbol of the beginnings of Western civilization. A visit to the Acropolis includes a tour of other buildings of great historical significance, like the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike.
Athens has no shortage of archaic monuments to visit, but a must-see is the Ancient Agora, the famed marketplace that was the pulsing heart of the city in Socrates and Plato’s day. Excavations include temples and a concert hall, and the museum houses fascinating smaller pieces sometimes thousands of years old.
For a glimpse of picture-postcard Greece, tourists make their way up to Anafiotika, a 19th-century neighbourhood on the Acropolis hill. Cascading bougainvillea against whitewashed walls baking in the sun feel miles away from the hustle and bustle down below.
Pláka is a popular neighbourhood, and many of the stores along its narrow streets are filled with mass-produced souvenirs. Not so at Byzantino, where the exquisite jewellery replicating ancient Greek pieces is handcrafted in an Athens workshop. The Greek Olympic team even sport their jewels at the opening and closing ceremonies.
Delightful Greek cuisine
A bright and modern mezedhopoleio (or appetizer bar) in central Athens, Tzitzikas & Mermingas serves deliciously unique variations on Greek dishes, like Lamb with Haloumi Cheese in Pastry.
Located in Gazi, the hottest new Athenian district, the Butcher Shop is the trendiest psistaria (roast house) in town. Food lovers go wild for their free-range boar.