To the first-time visitor, the city of Athens may seem like a concrete metropolis that has forgotten about its glorious past. Nothing can be further from the truth, as the traces and even customs of the many civilizations that have passed through this city over the millennia are still quite present to those who venture past the obvious.
Athens’ famous Acropolis and Parthenon are barely half-hour walk from the hotel, while other important sites such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch and the Tower of the Winds are even closer. Indeed, seen from a different light, the city reveals its layers like a book of spells, splendidly showcasing its prehistoric, Classical Greek, Byzantine, Ottoman and European faces.
Beyond the historic, modern Athens is also a delight. A 15-minute walk will take you to the upscale quarter of Kolonaki where the fine restaurants, boutiques and coffee shops should not be missed. A few steps away from the busy cafes of Kolonaki Square, walk to Milioni Street and Skoufa Street (past the grand Church of Ayios Dionisios) to discover what ‘outdoor’ Athens is all about. The fashionable cafes in these quarters are brimming with people day and night, and are considered as places “to see and be seen”.
Other spots famous for their nightlife are only three or four metro stops away (i.e. five or six minutes by underground transport), those being the trendy Gazi district with cultural flair and the re-gentrified neighborhood of Psyrri with its local restaurants (tavernas), colorful pubs and open air cafés.
On the cultural side, within a pleasant 15-minute walk from the Crowne Plaza there are a number of high-quality museums. Boasting various stunning collections from different eras, these include the Museum of Cycladic Art, the National Gallery, the Byzantine Christian Museum and the Benaki Museum. Also noteworthy five minutes away by foot is the Music Hall (Megaro Moussikis) which hosts world-class concerts all year round. Reached easily by metro or by cab, the new Acropolis Museum and the Archaeological Museum are also worth discovering if you want to take in the best of Greece’s ancient glory.
The capital’s most central area is Syntagma or Constitution Square, barely a 15-20 minute walk away from the hotel. Watch the change of the guard at the square, stroll through the National Gardens for a bit of peace in Athens’ bustling center, then walk down the paved shopping area of Ermou Street (named after the Olympian god Hermes) and admire the famous 1000-year-old church of Kapnikarea right in the middle of the street. From there on, another 10 minutes by foot will take you to an even more historic part of the city.
The area all around the Acropolis with its Parthenon towering high above is indeed very popular with visitors. Visit the Stoa of Attalos in the Ancient Agora with its small museum. The latter is the only completely restored building from Classical Greece and is worth a visit. Walk through the island-like streets of upper Plaka (Anafiotika) and the neoclassical quarter of lower Plaka, passing by the majestic remains of the Roman Agora and Hadrian’s Library before sitting down for lunch there. Wander through the colorful flea market of Monastiraki visiting the small ceramic museum on the square that was once an Ottoman mosque. Visit the relatively intact temple of Hephaestus in the neighborhood of Thisseo and enjoy the busy outdoor cafés in the area, which represent an unparalleled hangout for Greeks and foreigners alike. Luckily, all these attractions in the heart of old Athens are only five minutes away by Metro from the Crowne Plaza.
The Acropolis Museum, with its archaeological exhibits, presents in a unique way the history of Greece during classical times. In this Museum, one can admire the wonderful sculptural works of the 6th and 5th centuries BC, which became a prototype for many other artworks from European Renaissance onwards. Inside the exhibition galleries, visitors can view the creation of the first monumental architectural sculptures related to mythology, but also expressing the political perceptions of Athenians about this time period, as well as about themselves. Furthermore, visitors can admire the Korai, the magnificent sculptures depicting young women, which were offerings from important Athenian families, dedicated to the Goddess Athena. Finally, visitors are afforded the opportunity to view the famous Caryatid statues and the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon, the most significant temple of the Acropolis.
The archaeological excavation that lies beneath the Museum also provides the opportunity to visitors to appreciate the remains of the day to day lives of the people that lived in the shadow of the Acropolis over various periods.
More information: theacropolismuseum.gr
Do not miss this sacred rock with the ancient Greek temples that rises above the centre of the city.Is the greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens. The imposing Parthenon is the most magnificent creation of Athenian democracy.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Syntagma Square
Explore Syntagma Square. At 11 o’clock a.m. Sunday changing of the guards is a popular ceremony watching the evzones.
Take a stroll and enjoy the paved streets, neoclassical houses and make a quick souvenir shopping at many gift shops, which are filling this quiet neighborhood.
Enjoy a nice walking in the nature and get away from the madness of Athens city.