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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. Plaka neighbourhood is the heart of its historical centre, with labyrinthine streets leading to all manner of ancient wonders.

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The Acropolis and Its Surroundings
Acropolis, Athens

The Parthenon, the temple of Athena, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the major attraction of Athens. The Erechtheion displays the statues of the female Caryatids, though the original statues have been replaced by copies because of air pollution (the originals are in the new Museum). On the southern slopes of the Acropolis lies the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a Roman theatre with room for as many as 5,000 spectators. It is used during the annual Athens Festival for world-class ballet and music performances. The Theatre of Dionysus lies beside Herodes Atticus, and almost all the tragedies and comedies of Ancient Greece were written for this theatre.

Roman Agora
Roman Agora, Athens

In antiquity, the Agora played a major role as both a marketplace and a political centre. The Agora is dominated by the Stoa of Attalos and the Theseion, or Hephaisteion, dedicated to the God of metalworking and also to Theseus, one of the heroes of Greek mythology.

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, the tavern fisrt openedits doors in 1898. They 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 in the shade of the trees.

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 Plaka's 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. For something less known, grab a box of mastiha — natural resin obtained from the mastic trees of Chios island and used as the world’s first chewing gum. – knick-knacks: typical Greek objects include the "Evil eye" meant to drive away the "bad eye" and its negative effect, worry beads (or Kompoloi), an ornate set of backgammon.

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, Patriarchou Ioakim, Skoufa, Tsakalof, Kanari and the side streets around Kolonaki are other options for shopping. There are many designer clothes, more expensive boutiques and jewellers.

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 when the beaches around the capital are full of entertainment. If you love hiking, don't miss Athens in autumn.

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