With it's historic centre and over two thousand years of history, Athens seamlessly blends the past and present into one cosmopolitan city. Famous landmarks meet world class, museums, exhibition halls and resturants. With great weather and friendly locals, Athens makes a great city break.
After the Olympics and the recent greek financial crisis, Athens is emerging as a city more cosmopolitan than any time in recent memory. The city has many historical quarters and newer edgier districts, outside the main tourist centers a new alternative scene has been growing.
Short trips outside the city also hold some suprises too, the local region of Attica is home to the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, exquisite shorelines and the ancient city of Marathon.
I have visited athens twice now and on both occasions I have found it a fantastic and vibrant city. Although my blogs normally focus on my tough nomadic adventures I have always been interested in Athens due to the ancient history.
I like the way that the alternative scene has been growing in Athens over the last few years; street art has been appearing on the sides of concrete buildings and live music in cafes is now starting to become common place.
Although those of traditionalist temperament may see this as destructive I see it as a natural part of the culture that created the orginal systems of philosophy and democracy in ancient times.
After 15 years working as an investment banker on Wall Street back in the states, I decided to have a career change and moved to Athens to become a travel writer! I have been living in Athens for three years now and it has made a great home. Anyone with more than a slight interest in history will be fascinated by the sights and monuments.
Greece is a country where people live to enjoy life and Athens is city that has kept the same character since ancient times. I would recommend staying in a hotel that has a rooftop bar, theres nothing quite like winding down the day with a small glass of Ouzo and watching the sun set over the ancient city.
I also highly recommend a visit to Plaka, just near the acropolis, the cobbled narrow streets will take you back in time to a bygone era.
Athens is a city that has always been a destination for tourists and as a result it can get very busy in the high season. However once you get beyond the main tourist areas you will find that Athens is a city with a strong identity and undeniably fascinating history. Shoppers will enjoy the food on offer in the central market and retro items at the Sunday flea market. I often like to go to the Plaka district, find a nice cafe and sit down with an iced frappe coffee (a Greek favourite). Restaurants in Athens are also worth checking out as great food isn't usually too expensive here. For some traditonal Greek food I would recommend the Aleria Restaurant (on Meg. Alexandrou near Monstiraki).
As a local Athenian I welcome you to my city! I grew up in the Omonia neighbourhood and have lived here for most of my life. I went to school here and still to this day attend the local Church of Theotokos. While you stay in Greece make sure you try the local food such as Mousaka/Tzatziki/Souvlaki, you should also try the Greek wine and Ouzo.
I highly recommend that you try the traditional Greek restaurant in Omonia and some of the street food in Monstiraki.