Athens, the cradle of Ancient Greece
Athens was the cradle of the Ancient Greece civilization, with many monuments such as the Acropolis, the Kerameikos cemetery and the Temple of Olympian Zeus still visible to tourists. Major museums in Athens include the New Acropolis Museum, the Agora Museum near Monastiraki and the important National Archeological Museum.
Getting the best out of Athens
The best seasons for visiting are Spring and Autumn, as snow falls in Winter and Summers are hot and dry. Annual festivals in Athens include the Feast of Saint Basil on January 1st and Carnival, which is between February and Easter. Easter in Greece falls one week later than in the UK, and is celebrated with processions. During Easter week some of the museums and archaeological sites close.
Useful information before travelling
Like all capital cities, pickpockets are always active in Athens, especially on the Metro and in crowded areas. Smaller shops and restaurants won't generally accept credit cards. Wi-Fi is widely available in public locations in Athens and many people speak good English. Costs are much lower than in London, with cheap meals amounting to around ten euros, while average prices for a taverna's set meal is between 18 and 25 Euros. A cheap alternative is Souvlaki, costing around 3 Euros.
Local information about Athens
The Metro from the airport to the city centre (the station is located near exit 3 of arrivals) costs around 8 Euros for a single ticket, which is valid for one and a half hours. The ticket needs validating before boarding. Suburban trains and the Express bus are slower but slightly cheaper. A taxi fare is around 35 Euros during the day and 50 Euros at night, with a journey time of around 1 hour. Taxis around the city cost approximately 14 Euros for the first 5 km, with extra charges for heavy luggage. Check that drivers start the meter.
One ticket, valid for 70 minutes, costs about 1.20 Euros for all forms of public transport in Athens. A day ticket is around 4 Euros, while a 5-day ticket costs about 10 Euros.
Hostel accommodation starts from around 10 Euros in dormitories, while double hotel rooms are about 80 Euros. Cheap hotels abound in Plake, while pensions and budget hotels are located around the Acropolis area, while upmarket hotels are found in the Syntagma district. It is best to book ahead during July and August.