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Things to do in Athens

The word acropolis literally means in Greek "upper city." While resting in Athens, take a hike to visit this historical destination. This outcrop of ruins emerged as a political center during the Mycenean period (15th-12th centuries BCE). During the 8th century BCE, the Athenians constructed this temple to honor their patron goddess Athena. The Acropolis then emerged as a political center in the Mycenean period (15th-12th centuries BCE).

The Parthenon, dedicated to Athens’s patron goddess Athena, is the pinnacle of the Acropolis—historically, artistically, and physically. This monument was designed by Iktinos at the height of Periclean democracy. Today, the Parthenon is recognized worldwide as a classic symbol of Western civilization. Although it took just nine years to build, many layers of the monument’s design went into its construction. The temple is predominantly Doric, but it also possesses Ionic architectural features. The Doric relief slabs portray mythic battle scenes between mortals and deities. The east pediment tells the detailed story of Athena’s birth, of when she sprang from Zeus’s head.

The National Garden is a lush oasis from the stark white architecture of Athens. The rows of palms that line the garden resemble the columns of the Parthenon. The National garden features a botanical garden, a turtle pond, romantic footbridges, vendors selling shiny oversized balloons, and a mini-zoo. The National Garden is a great family destination.

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    Acropolis Museum

    Athens’s New Acropolis Museum opened in 2009 with at least two missions: to display Acropolis artifacts in a modern setting and to regain the missi... More
  • Aegli

    One of the great pleasures of the Athenian summer is enjoying a movie (and a souvlaki and a beer) alfresco at one of the open-air cinemas. The swan... More
  • Akrotiri

    The road from central Athens to the sea is lined with open-air clubs that rage all night long to the strains of Euro pop. This glitzy option, where... More
  • Asteras Vouliagmeni Beach

    The shores south of Athens are known as the Athenian Riviera, with beaches spanning roughly 25 miles. One of the nicest of these belongs to the Ast... More
  • Athens & Epidaurus Festival (Hellenic Festival)

    Seeing an ancient Greek tragedy—or Swan Lake, The Magic Flute, or anything, really—performed at the A.D. 160 Herodeon (Odeon of Herodes Atticus the... More
  • Benaki Museum

    This art and history museum is taking over Athens, with a large modern art and architecture annex on Pireos Street near Gazi; a complex of Neoclass... More
  • Bettina

    The nouveaux riches of Athens love anything foreign—cars, TV shows, even coffee (some of Kolonaki’s snootier cafés refuse to serve café frappés, op... More
  • Brettos Bar

    If touring ancient sites all day drives you to drink, bypass the touts luring you into Plaka’s mediocre restaurants and slip into this narrow, 100-... More
  • Cape Sounion

    Perched on the edge of a cliff, this 444 B.C. temple with 15 still-standing Doric columns was dedicated to the god of the sea (a sort of consolatio... More
  • Eleftheroudakis

    An entire floor of the eight-story flagship bookstore of the publishing giant Eleftheroudakis is devoted to travel books on Greece; another one is ... More
  • Herakleidon Experience in Visual Arts

    Not all of the art in Athens is ancient; this stunningly renovated Neoclassical mansion holds the world’s third largest collection of graphic M. C.... More
  • Kombologadiko

    If seeing them in the hands of every old man sitting in the kafenion (coffee shop) has made you want your very own worry beads to click rhythmicall... More
  • Lalaounis

    Athens is full of jewelry stores whose creations range from whimsical to wow. Lalaounis is one of the most serious (you get buzzed in at the door) ... More
  • Lycabettus Hill

    Athens’s second most famous rock, this limestone cliff is 908 feet above sea level; imagine the view. You can ride the funicular up to the top ($9)... More
  • Mastihashop

    One of the most recent naturopathic products to sweep the globe is mastiha, or mastic; the chewy resin, which comes from trees grown and harvested ... More

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