You are in Athens. Whether as a quick stop before you embark for a Greek island, for a business conference, or just a brief holiday escape, Athens promises unforgettable experiences filled with history, culture and a thousand images that will excite your senses!
Athens has beaches less than half an hour from the city centre? And that alongside the museums displaying archaeological treasures are contemporary art galleries as well as parks and green spaces. An enduring symbol of democracy, philosophy and all those big-picture ideals of the ancients, Athens also has a unique way of living in the moment. It is versatile and inventive, alive with the power of possibility day and night and is a city filled with surprises.
Athens has one major airport: Athens airport. From this airport you are in the center within half an hour. Traveling between the airport and city center bus is one of the most economical options, especially if you’re traveling solo. There are four lines that offer this route, operating 24/7. Metro Line 3 departs directly from Athens International Airport every 30 minutes between 6:30 am and 11:30 pm.
Athens city has many different neighborhoods, each with its own atmosphere and culture. Every neighborhood is unique and sometimes it feels like you’ve ended up in a completely different city. For example, the Pláka district is busy, cozy and touristy, while the picturesque Anafiótika district is quiet and full of locals. Monastiráki is the most central district with several monuments, the long shopping street Ermeu and numerous shops and restaurants, including near Monastiráki Square. In the evening, the alternative Psirri district full of street art is a cozy neighborhood or the Gázi district, known for its nightlife.
- The Modernist Athens
This boutique hotel settled into the former Canadian Embassy on a quiet street that overlooks a leafy residential square in Kolonaki. We transformed the handsome corner building with its many balconies in signature Modernist style, combining casual, contemporary luxury with mid-century detailing and minimalist Danish design. It’s the perfect port of call for constant travellers who know how to live in the moment and are at home wherever they set down their bag. Flying light and often solo, expecting seamless comforts, a bit of local buzz, and highly professional yet completely unpretentious service, they’ll find nothing less than everything they need at the Modernist Athens.
- The Foundry Suites
Situated in the historic neighbourhood of Psyrri, The Foundry is a collection of Urban Luxury Suites in Athens that fuses industrial design with exceptional, mid-century modern stylistics. Featuring 12 distinctive, fully equipped, luxury suites and a stunning rooftop Picnic Garden, The Foundry can boast a central location and an unforgettable visiting experience.
- Ergon House
Situated at the foot of the Acropolis in the historical heart of Athens, Ergon House is a seventh heaven for food enthusiasts, complete with ‘rooms above the inn’. We’ve conceived a spectacular marketplace, a modern-day Agora with a constellation of greengrocers, a butcher’s, fishmonger’s and bakery, a delicatessen and roastery, along with a bar and restaurant which celebrate the best of Greek cuisine culture. And we have expanded on the unique experience of an epicurean boutique hotel by creating cool common ground in which to cook and lounge, a gym for good conscience, as well as a roof terrace planted with olive trees that has unbeatable views of the city.
Anytime you catch sight of it in Athens, the Acropolis steals every bit of your attention. And for good reason because it continues to bear witness to an ever-changing city that was named after the goddess to whom its most famous temple was dedicated.
What we admire today (together with the artefacts in the neighbouring Acropolis Museum) is the work of the greatest craftsmen and engineers of Classical times. Just look at the detail of the Parthenon (dedicated to the goddess Athena and without doubt the most recognised ancient Greek structure), the Erechtheion with its majestic female Caryatids holding up the porch) and the intricately designed Temple of Athena Nike. All are astonishing. But that’s only the start of what the Acropolis stands ready to reveal.
The Acropolis Museum
If an ancient Greek were suddenly to visit modern-day Athens, there’s no question where you’d find them. Not only would they feel right at home in the Acropolis Museum, but exploring its four floors would be for them – just as much as it is for us – one of the most privileged cultural treats anywhere in the world.
Kingship, aristocracy, tyranny and, ultimately, democracy – it’s all there, the complete history of ancient Athens in a museum built above a neighbourhood continually inhabited since 4000 BC. The 14,000 sq m of beautifully laid out exhibition space is specially designed to complete the experience of visiting the Acropolis of Athens, just next door. You’ll find beautiful sculptures and illuminating artefacts unearthed during the excavation of not just the Acropolis but the museum itself, culminating in the top-floor Parthenon Gallery – positioned to mirror the Parthenon itself.
National Archaeological Museum
You can appreciate the museum’s stature even before you enter, with its imposing 19th-century neoclassical facade and the spacious interior that once housed the Hellenic Parliament. Within are more than 11,000 artefacts (with a similar number in storage) presented in five permanent exhibitions that cover 8,000 square metres of exhibition space.
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By visiting the Archaeological Museum of Athens, you live the complete history of Greece. Simple as that. Neolithic, Cycladic, Mycenaean and on to Classical, Roman, Hellenistic … and then Byzantine, Venetian, Ottoman, Revolutionary and even some modern Greek history is in there. It’s a sweeping story of what makes Greece what it is, through objects that are as astounding in their number as they are in the breadth of time they cover. Along with the Acropolis Museum, this is the go-to museum in Athens to understand why Greece is regarded the cradle of our civilisation.
Benaki Museum of Greek Culture
The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture tells the story of Greece through artwork and collectables from the 6th millennium BC to the ancient Greek and Greco-Roman civilisations, the Byzantine Empire and the establishment of the Greek state in the early 19th century and beyond.
It is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building just by the National Garden and Hellenic Parliament, making it one of the most popular private museums in Athens. We have Antonis Benakis (the son of a prominent politician and an avid collector) to thank for its creation in 1930. Benakis donated his extensive collection, along with the family mansion, for the establishment of the museum. Tens of thousands of other works (including jewellery, ceramics, marble portraits, manuscripts, religious icons, household utensils, costumes and textiles) have since been added.
Goulandris Museum of Modern Art
Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, El Greco, de Chirico, Miro, Degas, Gaugin, Pollock… What sounds like a check-list of many of the biggest names in Modern Art also happens to be one of the most extraordinary collections of artwork in the world. That it’s the private collection of an art-loving Greek couple on display in an Athens museum makes it all the more incredible. You’ll find the Goulandris Museum of Modern Art fascinating and it’s an absolute must for art enthusiasts, whether you’re staying in Athens or you’re just passing through.
The Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Plaka, Anafiotika, Monastiraki… The famous ‘historic triangle’ of Athens is full of surprises. Scholars from the School of Fine Arts sit inside the Ancient Agora for hours trying to recapture a piece of antiquity. Classical, Hellenistic and Roman eras are all represented here. Walk upon the same pavement as that of the Panathenaic procession. Listen to the echoes of ancient Athenians that once voted against their political opponents, the roar of the fans at the athletic competitions, the sounds of ceremonies where gods and heroes were worshipped, the chisels sculpting some of the most important buildings in history, the footsteps of Romans and the concerts in the music conservatory.
Athens isn’t just monuments and hidden secrets, but living art that demands your attention. As you’re walking, be sure to turn and look at its walls. On these unique urban canvases, street artists have captured their vision of the city. They are all still works in progress, to be added to, modified, enriched with new adaptations of the story of this ever-changing city.
And when the natural light fades and the city is illuminated with the colourful lights of the bars and clubs in the centre, you will experience another side to the city. A bohemian side that emerges in the hotspots of Athens’ vibrant nightlife. A side of the city that is evolving and transforming constantly.