>> TOP 10 Of ATHENS GREECE
>> TOP 10 Around ATHENS
>> TOP Destinations from ATHENS
A Day Around Omonia
Start at Greece’s greatest treasure storehouse: the National Archaeological Museum. Spend around 90 minutes, making sure to see the Mycenean Treasure, Thira Frescoes and Classical statuary.When leaving the museum, turn left on Patission, noting the neighbouring Polytechnic, scene of 1973’s historic protests. Outside the building, a marble figure lies on the ground, memorializing the fallen students.Turn left on Stournari, and head for Plateia Exarcheia for a frappe and to watch the punks, anarchists and models go by. In summer, head to Yiantes for an alfresco lunch.
Venture downhill on Themistokleous, where most of Greece’s independent filmmakers have their offices. Go through Plateia Omonia, just to see Athens’ most chaotic spot, but get out as quickly as possible, on Athinas.You’ll pass Athens City Hall (see Athens City Hall) on your right before turning left on Sophocleous. Go down this street to see the National Bank of Greece, built on stilts over part of the Themistoklean Wall.Double back to get to the city’s real heart - Central Food Market. Lose yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the stalls. If it’s not summer, finish up at Stoa Athanaton, the city’s best rembetatiko, for fantastic music and a delicious traditional meal.
A Morning in Plaka
Hike up to the Acropolis first thing to beat the heat and the worst of the crowds. Then spend an hour or so admiring the temples.
Come down from the Acropolis and turn left onto the Dionisiou Areopagitiou Walkway. Your Acropolis ticket gives you free entry into the Theatre of Dionysus, where many of the great Classical dramas were first staged.
Head back out to the walkway and turn right on Makrigianni to visit the New Acropolis Museum. Next, head to Plateia Lysikratous, named after the unusual monument to the winner of a 335 BC choral competition.
Stop for a frappe in one of the leafy cafes overlooking Lysikratous - O Diogenous has the best view.
From the square, head up towards the charming 19th-century quarter of Anafiotika to explore its twisting alleys.
Leave by Prytaneiou, stopping in the quiet garden of the Byzantine Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and lighting a candle from its famed extra-holy flame.From Prytaneiou, turn right on Mnisikleous and left on Kyrristou for a choice of either the tiny but delightful Museum of Greek Musical Instruments or the Roman Forum and Tower of the Winds. Finally, head back a block to O Platanos, for a hefty Greek lunch under a huge plane tree.
An Afternoon in Chic Kolonaki
Start at Plateia Syntagma a few minutes before the hour to see the changing of the guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then head up Vasilissis Sofias to the Museum of Cycladic Art to ponder the mysterious prehistoric marble sculptures. Be sure to check out whatever temporary exhibition is on at the adjoining Stathatos Mansion - they are usually small but world-class shows.Then it’s on to Plateia Kolonaki for a frappe and a pastry at one of the roadside cafes and some stellar people-watching. The parade of wealthy wives, pretty playboys and Greek starlets provides recompense for overpriced drinks - just sip slowly!
Afterwards, fan out from the square for some serious shopping or browsing of the shop windows and eyeing patrons at Folli Follie, Prasini and Elena Votsi, as well as familiar international stables such as Gucci, Armani and Versace.
Towards the end of the day, go to the funicular station at the foot of Lykavittos Hill. Though close to Plateia Kolonaki, the walk is quite steep, so if you’re feet are tired you can take the 060 minibus from the square or a two-minute taxi ride. From the hilltop at dusk, watch the sky turn violet over Athens, while enjoying a drink at the cafe, or a truly special meal at Orizontes restaurant.
A Tour of Attica
Start early with a drive out of Athens to Marathonas. Survey the plain where the Greeks won history’s greatest military victory, and pay homage at the warrior’s tomb. Then head to the romantic ruins of Ramnous, ideally concentrating more on the scenery than the site’s original purpose: praying for revenge.Drive south down the coast, stopping in Loutsa for a grilled fish lunch at Xypolitos.
After lunch, continue south to the well-preserved Sanctuary of Artemis at Vavrona, dedicated to the huntress goddess. From there it’s a little over an hour’s drive to one of Greece’s most splendid sights: the Temple of Poseidon at Sounio. If there’s still plenty of daylight, first head to one of the two nearby beaches. The one on the left of the temple requires an athletic scramble down but offers scenic seclusion; the hotel beach on the right is easily accessible but covered with sun loungers. An hour or two before sunset, wander up to the temple, and watch as twilight deepens the Aegean to purple and the marble columns turn to pink and gold.
Returning to the coastal drive to Athens, consider two dinner options. The nearby taverna Syrtaki or, closer to the city, the elegant seaside club Island, where you can end your day of beautiful scenery with a vista of beautiful people.