Athens, the cradle of Antiquity

Located at the far edge of Europe, Athens is one of those eastern Mediterranean historical cities whose splendor never changes yet remains definitely modern. The name of Athens comes from a glorious past rooted in mythology. It was named for Athena, the city's protective goddess, in about 800 BC. The city's golden age was in the 5th century BC. Many of the remarkable buildings were constructed during that period in the Acropolis, such as the Parthenon. Since that time, the city has experienced a tormented history with many influences from the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires. Athens was destroyed many times, particularly during the war for independence during the 1820s and the civil war that began in 1946.
Today, the Greek capital is one of the major cities in European culture. It has a small population of only about 745,000. However, the greater region includes more than 3 million inhabitants. Air France offers daily flights to Athens via Paris, departing from JFK New York and other major US airports

Athens and its monuments

Athens is known for the Acropolis, its impressive ancient monuments and cultural heritage. Famous people like Socrates, Themistocles, Pericles, or more recently, Constantin Papachristopoulos, have walked its streets. Whatever your reason for traveling to Athens, don't miss the chance to walk in their footsteps while visiting the city's legendary sites.
The Acropolis is the sacred area in the center of Athens, which used to be a large sanctuary dedicated to Athena. It is very impressive, perched on top of a high hill. The Acropolis includes the city's most famous monuments and ruins:
  • The Parthenon,
  • The Temple of Athena,
  • The Erechtheion,
  • The Temple of Hephaestus,
  • The Propylaea
  • The Odeon of Herodes Atticus

It is on UNESCO's World Heritage list. Ancient history and archeology buffs must visit the Acropolis Museum.
Near the Acropolis, the theater of Dionysus is also remarkable. It was built to honor Dionysus, the god of wine, theater and tragedy. It could hold 17,000 spectators.
The Agora, located at the foot of the Acropolis, provides insight into how the city of Athens operated. The square was the center of public and political life, used both as a market and a place where political decisions were made.
Those who love ancient history will be satisfied with the city's numerous museums.

Experience Greece's easy-going lifestyle

Alongside the historical city, there is a second city that is just as fascinating. The Gazi quarter is known for its trendy, festive nightlife. It has become one of the main quarters in Athens. During your trip to Athens, don't miss the tasty tavernès or mezedopoleios which serve mezes, varied typical dishes. Greek cuisine uses lots of olives in all ways, as well as vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and zucchini. Savory, healthy cheeses made with sheep's milk, such as feta are also essential to Greek cooking.

When to go to Athens?

Before reserving a flight for Athens, check on the period for your trip. Greece has a Mediterranean climate with very mild, damp winters and dry, hot summers. If heat is a problem, avoid traveling during the summer months. Temperatures are usually more pleasant in the spring and fall, allowing you to go outside during the day.
Greece is a member of the European Union and the currency is the euro. As a US citizen, you do not need a visa to visit Greece for up to 90 days, but you must have a valid passport.

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