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One of Europe's Ancient capitals, Athens has undergone significant change in recent years. A modern metropolis with an old town feel, this is where antiquity meets futurism, and ancient monuments fuse with a trendy, cosmopolitan scene. The heart of its historical centre is the Plaka neighbourhood, with labyrinthine streets leading to all manner of ancient wonders.

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Plaka, Athens

Plaka feels like a small village, at the very heart of the vibrant Greek capital. You will most likely walk through the neighbourhood on your way to or from the Acropolis, but do not stop at this: Plaka has a soul of its own, and its small streets, flowery corners and pretty stairs brim with uncountable coffee shops.

National Archaeological Museum
Patission St. 44, Athens

The National Archaeological Museum, in Exarchia, is home to Ancient Greece’s most spectacular pieces. One room contains Schliemann’s finds from Mycenae, another has the famous frescoes from Santorini on display. There is also a fine collection of idols from the Cyclades and ceramics.

The Old Tavern of Psaras
Erechtheos & Erotokritou St. 16, Athens

The Old Tavern of Psaras (meaning, the old fisherman's Taverna) is Plaka's oldest restaurant, indeed it exists since 1898. It serves delicious Greek food at a price befitting the area, but with the benefit of being seriously beautiful. You can choose to seat in either of the old houses that are now the restaurant, or even in the pleasant courtyard.

To Kati Allo
Chatzichristou 12, Athens

To Kati Allo is a simple family owned tavern in the area next to the new Acropolis museum. A real tavern, with a friendly staff and which is open so late the Plakas waiters may come and keep you company. It is very popular amongst local: always a good indication in touristic cities like Athens.

Greek products to buy

If you want to bring your loved ones, or yourself, a typically Greek souvenir here are a few suggestions: - alcohol: look for Ouzo, Tsipouro and Raki, local alcohols that come in small bottles so you can even bring them in your carry-on, - food: Greek pastries and loukoums are always a must. And of course, the olive oil here tastes nothing like what you can find back home, - souvenir: typical Greek objects include the "Evil eye" meant to drive away the "bad eye" and its negative effect.

Shopping Streets
Ermou, Athens

The ultimate shopping street in Athens is Ermou Street, departing from Syntagma square. There, you can find all the classic brands such as H&M and similar department stores. If you are not familiar with shopping in Greece, check out the Hondos Center—a local cosmetic chain with good prices compared to other European countries. Voukourestiou, Patriarhou Ioakim, Skoufa, Tsakalof, Kanari and the side streets around Kolonaki are other options for shopping. There are many designer clothes, more expensive boutiques and jewelers.

Passport / Visa

Greece can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.

Best Time to Visit

Greece is a tourist destination beloved worldwide, and summer is the most crowded season of all, especially in July and August. Spring is, perhaps, the best season to travel to Greece, as the main cities such as Athens are not so crowded and the prices are quite a bit lower. June and September are the best months to visit Athens and its near-lying beaches full of entertainment. If you are a hiking lover, don't miss Athens in autumn.

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