Athens

INTRODUCTION
Athens is an amazing city.  Whether it’s your first time visiting or your umpteenth there is always something fresh and new to experience.  The city is undergoing a cultural rebirth, rediscovering itself in the process and reevaluating what is important for its people and its future.  Regardless of one’s interests and tastes there is something here for everyone.  Below a short review of what the city has to offer its visitors.

HISTORY
Athens throughout the ages has always been a destination for those wanting a historical experience.  With the Acropolis being the city’s natural center and the Parthenon perched above looking to Piraeus and the surrounding mountains, the city is filled with historical remnants of its glorious past.  While these monuments are old, their cultural value never gets old, and their importance in the development of western civilization is undisputed.  With the professional guidance of our tour guides, we promise you to see these UNESCO World Heritage Site in a new light.  Don’t miss the Cycladic Museum of Art and the National Archeological Museum with its exhibition on the Antikythera Mechanism.

CULTURE & ART
This cultural rebirth is first and foremost evident in the city’s museums and cultural institutions.    The New Acropolis Museum, the Onassis Cultural Center, the New Benaki Museum have all opened in the last five years with raving reviews worldwide.  Add to these the forthcoming Museum of Modern Art at the old Fix brewery, the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera by the Niarchos Foundation at the old horse track in Palaio Faliro and you quickly have a strong line-up of world class cultural institutions.  If you build them, they will come… and indeed this has happened with the institutions bringing world class exhibitions and artists, these venues are packed every night with Athenians and visitors alike.  We of course have access to the best tickets for all shows and openings, so don’t worry about getting in.

ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation is something we are very serious about and this is why we only work with a very small select number of the best hotels in Athens.  We know the city very well and we know the hotels even better.  The hotels we recommend offer above all impeccable service and meet the international standard for this.  Depending of course the experience our guest is looking for, as the city has three totally districts with three different experiences.  The center of the city is perfect for those looking to have quick access to the city’s history and urban lifestyle.  The southern coastal part is perfect for those for looking a bit of beach resort in the city.  While the northern district offers a crisper mountain experience in the posh northern neighborhoods on Mount Pendeli.

DINING
Another area where this rebirth is immediately evident is the city’s restaurant scene.  Fueled by a younger and more internationally experienced generation of chefs, Athens’ dining map has been redrawn.  The result has been the opening of a multitude of new restaurants featuring mainly contemporary Greek cuisine and focus on customer service and satisfaction along with value for money.  This foodie movement has focused on highlighting three facts of Greek gastronomy.  First is the fact that Greece produces a very high quality of fresh ingredients.  The second is that the Greek diet based on olive oil, vegetables, legumes, and fish have been connected to life longevity.  And third, Greek cuisine is very diverse with many local recipes and delicacies and other regional influences from Italy, the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East.  You will not be short of choices when dining in Athens, that’s for sure.

NIGHTLIFE
Nightlife in Athens has always been vibrant making it one of the top European destinations for partying.  From the exclusive bars and clubs of posh Kolonaki, to the bouzoukia around Peiraios street, and the bars in Gazi and Monastiraki, Athenian nightlife is still something one must experience.  As the weather is great all year round, many of the places spill out in the squares making the city itself livelier and in the summer most clubs are open.  We always secure for our guests the best tables and there is never any waiting in lines.  Bouzoukia are live music venues where Greece’s top singers perform every weekend in front of crowds of up to 1000 people sitting in tables.  Having the first table near the stage and showering the musicians with flowers (carnations) is an experience to remember.

FAMILY
With all the monuments around, Athens is perfect for families with children.  While adults have a better comprehension of the importance of these monuments, it is children who are most impacted by their grandeur and left with an impression for the rest of their lives.  Our expert guides make the history come alive as to make the children interested and not bored with some old rocks, so to speak.  With interactive activities at many of the museums and educational programs, all children should learn a few things before heading off to the islands to spend their days in the beach and sun playing and swimming from dawn to dusk!

OTHER ACTIVITIES

  • See the city from up high either by going up in a helicopter for an aerial tour or by going up Mount Lycabettus for coffee with a view.
  • Visit Attica Park, Athens’ zoo, with the third largest collection of birds in the world, and the usual lions, giraffes and monkeys.  Make sure to also check out the dolphin shows.
  • Go swimming all year round at Vouliagmeni Lake which has a year round water temperature of 24 Celsius.
  • Take a cooking class with one of Athens’ top chefs and learn the secrets of Greek cuisine all in view of the inspiring Parthenon.
  • Go shopping at Golden Hall for luxury brands, or McArthur Glenn for the outlets.
  • Sit for lunch at the famous kebab restaurant of Thanasis just off Monastiraki square.
  • Check out the Dora Stratou Dance Theater to get a taste of Greek music and dance from all over the country.
  • Watch a movie in the city’s most classic outdoor summer cinema, a quintessential Athenian experience.
  • Play a hand of golf at the Glyfada Golf club.
  • Take a private tour of the Deste Foundation’s collection of contemporary art, one of the most exclusive collections worldwide.

AROUND ATHENS

Greece is a small country and many interesting day trip options are available a small distance from Athens:

  • Charter a luxury yacht and cruise to the nearby islands of Poros and Aigina or venture a bit further to Hydra and Spetses.
  • Take a guided tour of Poseidon’s Temple at Cape Sounio, then go for a swim at the beautiful beach just below, and then a late lunch at a five star hotel restaurant.
  • Take a day trip by car or helicopter to Delphi and visit the famous oracle on the steep slopes of Mt. Parnassus.
  • Head to the Peloponnese for the day.  If you are into sports head to Ancient Olympia the site of the ancient Olympics going back 2800 years.  If you are into theater, visit the Epidaurus to experience a perfect acoustics system 2500 years old.  Whichever you choose you may also visit either Mycenae or Ancient Corinth.

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