Athens, Greece’s historic capital, is the heart of Ancient Greece. Once a powerful and dominant empire, the remains of its reign can be explored throughout the streets of the modern day. Home to 5th-century BC landmarks such as the Acropolis and Panathenaic Stadium, the history of Athens is just as intriguing as it’s current culture. Experience their local cuisine by visiting the restaurants in Psirri, or swim in their crystal blue water surrounding the Akti Vouliagmenis beach. Located in a roof garden above Philomousou Etairias Square, one can even watch an outdoor movie screening at Cine Paris. Indeed, the charm of Athens is never-ending, and while there is so much to explore in this historic city; listed below are considered to be some of the best:
Enjoy an Expresso in The Plaka
Plaka, the oldest district in Athens, is an explosion of colourful storefronts and shadowing trees. Surrounded by the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, the cobblestone streets of the neighbourhood are scattered with various restaurants and bars. The Melina Mercouri Cafe, a coffee shop dedicated to the Greek actress Melina Mercouri, is considered to be one of the more charming restaurants in Plaka. Located on a corner along Lisiou Street, this inviting cafe offers grand selections of coffee and stuffed crepes. An outside patio is available, where guests can even enjoy their cuisine with a view. Other notable coffee shops include Meliatros, Yiasemi, and the Kydathinaion Cafe.
Have a Picnic in the Diomedes Botanical Garden
In Greece, locals often refer to small public fields as an “oasis of green”, and the Diomedes Botanical Garden is one of those that deserve the title. Located in the western suburbs of the city, the Diomedes garden features 500 plant species in a large and wide landscape. It is one of the largest gardens in Greece, and the upkeep of it is just as grand. The plants are divided into the categories of ornamental, medicinal, aromatic and historic, though the sight of them simply offers no words to describe. Visitors can choose from either strolling under blooming pergolas or signing up to join an official tour, though perhaps the most relaxing alternative would be to prepare a picnic. With picnic tables scattered across the garden, all that is needed from you is some sandwiches, wine, and a high-quality camera.
Explore Greek Theatre History at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Constructed in 161 AD at the base of the Acropolis, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a historic landmark recognized across the globe. An ancient amphitheatre also known as the Herodeion, the monument was initially built for musical contests and artistic performances. It seats more than 6,000 people in its semicircular venue, where the stage and seating area was once laid with marble structure prior to its renovation. Since it’s modern re-opening, the theatre has hosted iconic performances ranging from Frank Sinatra to Luciano Pavarotti. Currently, guests can attend various events from May to early October when the theatre is open. Some of these events include the Athens Art Festival, musical concerts, and other classical tragedies.
Experience Fine Dining at Aleria Restaurant
Located in the upcoming Metaxourgeio area of Athens, Aleria Restaurant is a highly-rated establishment in Greece. Designed with stunning artistic decor and set within an ancient villa, Aleria offers guests sensational cuisine in a sensational setting. The mosaic tables are used to prop a selection of dishes from gourmet seafood to lemon-flavored meats. The restaurant’s chef, Gikas Xenakis, is part of the Greek Creative Cuisine movement and cooks his delicacies with influence from traditional homemade meals. Adding to this fine-dining experience is the inner yard, where the restaurant is moved to in the summer. The freshness of the location allows guests to enjoy privacy and relaxation apart from the bustling city centre.
While Greece is home to numerous alluring cities, Athens remains one of the most beloved tourist destinations in the country. Its ancient influence is felt throughout the streets of Monastiraki, and the sculptures found in the National Archaeological Museum. Considered as the historical capital of Europe, the city also offers travelers exclusive glimpses at a peaceful lifestyle, where the locals are always met with food, wine, and sensational views. While the past of the city is strong in its presence, so is their restoration; and modern day Athens still has plenty to offer. With equal measures of past traditions and current customs, expect a weekend in Athens, Greece to be an experience filled with both adventure and relaxation.