Visit Athens is run through the highlights of the history of Western civilization: the Parthenon, of course, but also the Agora, the Pnyx or the theater of Dionysus. Without omitting the National Museum and the Acropolis, which maintain countless masterpieces. Athens is thus a major cultural step for all lovers of ancient history. Do not forget to much modern Athens, also of interest, whether the old alleys of Plaka or long-lined arteries neo-classical buildings, a sometimes surprising style.
Strolling in Athens
The summer months (June to mid-September) are often hot and long walks quickly become an ordeal. One more reason to start early morning visits at the opening of the sites. Then do as the Greeks spend the hottest hours in the shadow of your hotel room (you choose preferably with air conditioning) before emerging at the end of the afternoon. The most pleasant times are spring from March to May with chance of rain and cool at the beginning of the season, and autumn, from mid September to November. In winter, it is cool and wet, which does not prevent great way to explore the city, relieved of the summer tourist traffic.
There are many excellent hotels in the outskirts of the city, but traffic problems are such that reach the center of Athens in the morning calls (except August) long patience and time. Our preference therefore goes to establishments situated in the city center, which earn walk leisure objectives.
Traffic is extremely problematic in the center, and more difficult parking. To come from the airport, opt for private shuttles Adonis to circulate unhindered. Downtown, you can take taxis, numerous and cheap. The Athens metro, convenient to connect the major axes, now has many rows.
At 156 m above sea level, the Acropolis dominates the Athenian landscape. On its plateau just under 3 hectares, the Greek genius has built one of the most remarkable architectural ensembles in the history of mankind. The Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaea, the temple of Athena Nike were once adorned with sculptures due to the most illustrious artists of their time. Some have survived and have been on the line, in a museum of which we should not miss visiting. Other adorn foreign collections, including the famous frieze of the British Museum, whose tireless Melina Mercouri was constantly asking, consistently but unsuccessfully repatriation to their homeland.
The most prestigious and the most evocative of the Athenian democracy. In a green, planted myrtle, cypress and olive trees, in terms of buildings and layout are still very readable, as well as the outline of the evolution of the site. Two monuments remain with their elevation: the Temple of Hephaestus, improperly called Theseion, and the museum in a Hellenistic portico faithfully restored by the American School of Archaeology, head of excavations.
Athens survived her past. Once discovered the great ancient sites, it remains to browse through the main thoroughfares of the modern, dynamic capital where luxury boutiques rub shoulders with Western popular markets still feels the influence of the nearby East. The visit of the city center also offers the opportunity to discover the neoclassical buildings that were erected in the first decades of independence. This walking tour can be quickly tiring because of the heat, crowds and noise, one or more stops at the terrace cafes will be required. A pleasant way to look at ease the bustling street.
It is true that the Athenians in the know have long deserted the streets of Plaka. They have them discontinued the flow of tourists, souvenir shops of dubious taste and countless taverns in the evening, improbable orchestras massacre diligently music from Zorba the Greek and Children of Piraeus. Yet these old areas of Athens have in recent years been the subject of a pardon, and the old houses stand again crisp façades. As long as one departs the main arteries, one can easily find the quiet deserted streets lined with houses and gardens fragrant. If we go back in the evening, when the animation is in full swing, it is always possible to find plots withdrawn on small and popular family restaurants, which serves simple food, no frills. Perhaps it would be time to suggest the Athenians to make a turn back toward Plaka?