Athens, the world’s ancient capital where the Olympic Games were born has the history stretching for over 3,400 years. It is the capital of Greece with the population of 4,173,542 inhabitants, located in central Greece in the Attica region which offers additional antiquities, not only Athens. Some of these are the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, or magnificent beaches near historic Marathon.
A today global city and the biggest economic centre of South-East Europe has once developed from a powerful city-state that grew as a result of the conjunction with the significant city - port of Piraeus. Often referred to as a cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy Athens have given to the world the heritage of indescribable value in form of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum that continue to influence our culture until today.
Each year, more and more travelers choose Athens for their leisure and business travel all year round. There are several reasons; Athens offers a variety of things to see and do, and most of the times, under favourable weather conditions. Athens is considered one of Europe’s safest capitals; its transportation network is user-friendly. Athens is an ideal congress destination, combining state-of-the-art infrastructure, excellent conference facilities and easy access from all over the world with world-class cultural attractions, modern amenities, diverse entertainment and natural beauty.
Ancient monuments that can be found around the city remind its visitors of the richness of the Greek culture. Acropolis, built in the honour of goddess Athena, dominates Athens, and can be seen from almost any part of the city. With Parthenon on the top it mesmerizes visitors by the brightness of the Pantelic marble during the day, and rises radiantly illuminated above the city during the night.
On the southern side of Acropolis, world’s first theatre can be found. Introduced by the tyrant Peisistratos it started being used as a venue for the annual Festival of the Great Dionysia, god of wine and joy, in the 6th century BC. As the Festival was one of the major state’s events, governments sponsored dramas that were considered as a high form of art. Some of the most significant writers of that time whose plays were popular among audiences were Aeschylus, Sophocles or Euripides. At the time of construction the theatre had a capacity of 17,000 spectators with some of the seats remaining standing until these days.
Although Acropolis was, and still remains, the major site of Athens, the actual heart of the city in the ancient times was the Agora. Lively and crowded meeting point of administrative, social, commercial and political life where Socrates used to share his philosophy.
A can’t-miss site that has to be mentioned is a colossal Temple of Zeus which for the lack of funds took over 700 years to build. Started by Peisistratos, had to be abandoned and only later finished by Hadrian. With formerly 104 Corinthian columns of which remaining are 15, the site still breaths visitors with impresivness.
Moreover, Athens preserve also Roman, Byzantine or Ottoman monuments that all keep attracting still growing number of visitors. The city is a home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Acropolis and the medieval Daphni Monastery.
Today, the city lively also due to the favourable weather conditions throughout the entire year. It is surrounded by breath taking seas and mountains and filled with welcoming and hospitable local citizens who are ready to accommodate every guest so that they feel just like at home.
The Greece’s capital is also often chosen congress destination for international meetings for its convenient location within the South-East Europe, rich cultural attractions and excellent venue facilities.
Arts & Culture
The city’s rich classical tradition and its geographical location - at the crossroads of cultures - have always lent it a formidable platform for artistic expression. That high regard for the arts continues today, with a mushrooming of modern innovations. Every year, the city’s cultural calendar presents exhibits and festivals of international scope, original productions and notable artistic happenings.
Athens takes the fuss out of sightseeing. It is a user-friendly town thanks to the pleasant demeanor of the English-speaking Athenians and the easy to use and manageable transportation system. The visitor can see a lot in one day. Archaeological Sites & Classical Greek Monuments, Byzantine Monuments & Ottoman Monuments, Museums, Art Galleries, street performances, festivals. Needless to say, The Acropolis remains a "must see"...
You may explore Athens here
A state-of-the-art metro system, wide avenues, an efficient public transportation system and a compact city center, all make moving around Athens easy and convenient. The Athens transportation network now includes new buses, pollution-free trolleys, tram and a revamped electric railway system that connects to two metro lines. Piraeus’s port, in short distance from the Athens city center, serves national and international sea lines. The modern highways make driving to and from the city, a pleasant experience.
Gourmet and traditional Greek cuisine, in the past decade, has become one of the most popular in the world as it has been proven to provide a flavourful healthy and balanced diet. Culinary aficionados are encouraged to delight in the myriad of sophisticated restaurants that boast tastes and interiors inspired from all parts of the world. The local and traditional outdoor seaside taverns and cafes are plentiful and a cultural mainstay.
Shopping in Athens - a showcase for its traditional and modern culture and lifestyle - can be a fascinating and satisfying experience for all. Amidst the many well-known international name brand outposts and traditional Greek art and folklore shops, are hundreds of chic boutiques and specialty stores blossoming with great fashion finds for every taste and budget. Make sure to stop in at one of the many wonderful year-round outdoor cafés and restaurants to make your experience of shopping in the Athenian way, complete!
Sea & Sun
Athens is the only European city surrounded by pristine beaches, where you can swim for many months during the year. Visit a beach in Athens and you are likely to feel like you’re on a Greek island, as you are greeted with stretches of crystal sands, fine pebbles and breathtaking, blue clean waters. Some beaches boast barren rocks and cliffs that carve caves and coves you can explore. Other beaches have floating bars, music and seaside spas, while others are secluded for romance. Most offer beach amenities, such as lounge chairs, umbrellas, lifeguards, fun playgrounds, restaurants and water sports for all ages. In Athens, enjoying a sunset stroll or a seaside meal is a part of daily life. Walk on the many Athenian esplanades lined by tropical palm trees. Beach hopping is made possible by the new tramway. Hop-in from the center of Athens and watch the sun set over the Saronic Gulf.
Athens City Facts
Weather: Athens is an ideal year-round destination with comfortable and favourable climate conditions for travel and sightseeing. Rainfall is minimal and the summers (June through August) are dry and hot with temperatures ranging, on average, from 78° to 94°F or 20° to 34°C. The Mediterranean climate makes for mild winters and even milder autumns in low-lying areas, with the coldest temperatures reported in January at a very temperate 41° to 55° F or 5°to 13°C.
Language: Most Athenians speak English and those in the hospitality industry are likely to speak French and German too. Signage, menus and transportation signs are written in Greek and English.
Currency: Euro €
Shopping Hours: Major outlets Monday-Friday. 9:00-21:00; small shops Monday, Wednesday 9:00 to 15:30; Friday, 9:00 to 20:30; Saturday 9:00 to 15:30. The airport: The new award winning Athens International Airport, Eleftherios Venizelos, serves 83 international destinations. Its close proximity to the city centre, 30 minutes by car and 40 minutes by train, makes Athens easily accessible.
For more information, you may visit the official site of the Athens International Airport
Transportation: Network includes new buses, pollution-free trolleys, tram and a revamped electric railway system that connects to the metro lines. Taxis are inexpensive by European standards.