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Athens

Athens

Cheap city breaks to Athens

 

Athens is probably the one that has changed the most in recent years. But even though Athens has become a modern metropolis, it still retains a good deal of its old small town feel. Here antiquity meets the future, and the ancient monuments form a classical backdrop to a new and trendier Athens – and it is precisely these great contrasts that make the city such a fascinating place to explore.

Athens heyday was around 400 years BC—that’s when most of the classical monuments were built.

During the Byzantine and Turkish eras, the city decayed into just an insignificant little village, only to become the capital of newly-liberated Greece in 1833. Ahead of the 2004 Olympics, almost the entire infrastructure was transformed—the Metro, trams, new ring roads and viaducts have eased the pressure of the heavy traffic.

Athens is still a rather messy and chaotic place—it wouldn’t be Athens otherwise—and despite all the improvements, still retains a great deal of its oriental charm. The whole coastal stretch from Piraeus to the old Hellenikon airport has been improved with new plantings, viaducts and paths for walking. The Plaka quarter is becoming more popular and is on the way to catching up with Psyrri, Gazi and Rouf as regards restaurants. Discover the right places in the Anafiotika district, at the feet of the Acropolis, and you will find it still has a village feel in the midst of the city. In Exarchia, there is still a somewhat in-your-face anarchic atmosphere around the Technical University. Meanwhile, Kolonaki is becoming more and more chic.

Discover the right places in the Anafiotika district, at the feet of the Acropolis, and you will find it still has a village feel in the midst of the city. In Exarchia, there is still a somewhat in-your-face anarchic atmosphere around the Technical University.

In the Psyrri district, the former handicraft workshops have been converted to trendy restaurants and cafés, and this has continued out to Gazi and Rouf. Many chefs came ‘home’ from Australia or America, carrying granny’s recipes in their luggage, and were appalled at the Turkish menus. You can still find simple taverns serving good home fare, but it is the ”new” Greek cuisine that has been winning all the laurels.

Athenians love to sit in a kafeneion, sipping Greek coffee or frappé, iced coffee. But these days the new fashion for caffe latte and cappuccino is gaining ground. Try also an ouzerie- an establishment specializing in small dishes (mezes), mostly served with Greek ouzo, hence the name. They are not that common any more, usually they come in combinations such as mezedopolio-ouzerie (more like a restaurant), Café/ouzeries or kafeneion-ouzerie (serving coffee and ouzo).

Athens is not really a city of fine bars – for that you should visit some of the international hotels. On the other hand, there are lots of combined bars/cafés that serve both. Often combined with some food, as it is the Greek custom to eat a little snack to go with drinks. In the summer, much of the night life moves out to Glyfada and Vouliagmenis along the coast.

The best shopping streets are Voukourestiou, Patriarhou Ioakim, Skoufa, Tsakalof, Kanari and the side streets around Kolonaki. There are many designer clothes, expensive boutiques and jewellers. Try, for example, Emporiko Centro, an exclusive galleria of several floors with gold, ties, clocks and watches, glasses and a Gucci boutique. In this area is also Old Athens—a shoe and handbag shop with a 1960s flavour, when ladies wore gloves and pearl necklaces à la Jackie O and Maria Callas. The shop owner was a fashion editor before setting up on his own, putting Greek handmade accessories on the map.

In the middle of Athinas street which runs between Monastiraki and Omonia square is the covered market hall which occupies a whole block, with a fish market in the middle. All around are butchers and spice shops, and around the market are several simple but good places to eat. Like onion soup in the Paris markets, here you eat patsa or tripe soup to ease the effects of ouzo. You will also find little shops selling specialties like Pastourma (a kind of Pastrami) and Armenian and Russian specialties brought here by the Greeks who once resided in the Black Sea region and now belong to the Greek cuisine. This is the area to go if you are a foodie.

 

Situated in the up and coming area of Psyri which neighbors the Plaka area. The hotel is two streets off Monastiraki square in the Plaka area providing the perfect base for a stay in Greece's capital. It's only a two minutes walk from Monastiraki underground..
This charming city hotel enjoys an ideal setting in the Psiri quarter of the enchanting Greek capital. The hotel is located just 2 streets away from the Monastiraki Square in Plaka, providing the perfect setting for travellers who are eager to explore..
The Arion Athens Hotel enjoys a prestigious location in the beating heart that is central Athens. Within walking distance of most if not all of Athens major tourist attractions and great shopping centres this modern bright contemporary hotel sits in a..
Arion Hotel has a friendly atmosphere and they care about the little details. This charming hotel is set in a quite square overlooking the church of St Dimitrios. Guests may dine in the fully air conditioned breakfast room- which offers a continental..
Located a mere 2 streets from the beautiful monastiraki square in plaka area, we can easily say that the arion hotel is just perfectly located providing the perfect base for a stay in athens. The acropolis, the parliament, the national garden, the temple..
Aristoteles Hotel Enjoy a value holiday in Athens by booking your stay at the comfortable Aristoteles Hotel. The award winning Aristoteles Hotel is conveniently located right in the heart of Athens, providing easy access to the Parthenon, Plaka (the Old..
Located in the centre of Athens, the Aristoteles Hotel Athens is a 3 star property combining all the comforts of modern life. The hotel possesses comfortable rooms which provide A/C, TV, phone and private facilities (bath or shower), all for the complete..
Astor hotel is located 1 km from the Acropolis, 500 m from the National Garden and the old city quarters of the historic Plaka area, as well as next to museums, the main sights, monuments and the business centre. The main Port of Piraeus is 10 km away..
The hotel Athens Atrium is located within easy access to all museums, archeological sites of Athens and all the areas of touristic interest. The hotel has a spacious lobby area with reception, TV room, business center/meeting rooms, banqueting facilities,..
Athens Center Square is a new concept in hotel accommodation, breaking away from the traditional standards of 3 star hotels. Paintings of artist Corinna O\'Brien are adding a special touch and feelling.Just a couple of minutes from Plaka and the famous..

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