"Believe us when we say that the ancient monuments are just the beginning"
Slide across Santorini and move over Mykonos! Athens is utterly picturesque, bursting from the seams with passionate Greek culture and enough rich ancient history to take you back over two thousand years. As the capital of Greece, Athens is known as the cradle of Western civilisation and believe us when we say that the ancient monuments are just the beginning. The contemporary culture in this European beauty is booming, from the thriving arts scene to the happening nightlife and the out-of-this-world culinary establishments. We all know that when it comes to holidays, short European city breaks are all the rage and you certainly can’t go wrong with Athens. Winged Boots has got you covered with the fabulous highlights this Grecian stunner has to offer in just a mere 48 hours. Sound like a bit of you? Well, keep reading…
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The main event! A visit to Athens without a trip to the iconic Acropolis is a wasted flight so trust us when we say that this is a must-do attraction. Sitting at the centre of the city and visible from nearly every area in Athens, the Acropolis is a glorious landmark that stands strong at the top of the hill overlooking the concrete jungle in ways that a camera simply won’t do justice. It dates back to roughly 300 BC and offers an insight to Athens’ fascinating past so it’s definitely worth the heart-pumping climb up to the peak. The sculpted formations of the three temples sparkle brilliantly underneath the midday sunshine but the Parthenon, the largest temple, is by far the most impressive. The stunning formation is supported by 46 Doric columns and has been established as a World Heritage Site since 1987 – we told you it was impressive! Although it’s a sight for sore eyes during the day, at night is when it’s at its most majestic, bathed in golden flood lights that will truly take your breath away. The Acropolis is open daily from 8am to 8pm during the summer and 8:30am to 3pm in the winter – oh, and it attracts more than three million visitors a year so be an early riser to beat the crowds!
Don’t want to make the trek up to Acropolis Hill? The next best thing would be a trip to the Acropolis Museum, located at the foot of the monument and on the edge of the Plaka. The attraction was officially opened in 2009 and the glass and concrete building itself is architecturally gorgeous, boasting an airy yet modern feel designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi. Here you’ll find classic displays of the Acropolis site featuring statues of the ancient Greeks and realistic animal stone carvings. What’s more, if you’re here around a meal time, you’d be a fool not to grab a bite to eat at the museum’s second-floor restaurant for decadent cuisine and even better views.
Greeks are all about having a good time so if you can’t beat them – join them! Athens’ emerging nightlife scene, although not as full-on as its lively cousins Kos and Zakynthos, is still a competitor when it comes to having an experience to remember. 48 hours in Athens only means one thing – bar hopping of course! The party starts in the city centre, kicking off at the aesthetically pleasing Brettos known for its shelves of brightly coloured bottles and the flavourful liquors made on-site. Oh, and we can’t forget about the classic Greek ouzo which definitely packs a punch. Next on the agenda is the Seven Jokers, an energetic bar that certainly lives up to its name. Serving expertly shaken classic cocktails, the colourful venue is brilliant for those in the mood to dance until the early hours of the morning. We all know that rooftop bars are where the Instagram likes really roll in – the combination of delicious looking drinks and a city view by night is guaranteed to stun your timeline. Next up, A For Athens is the place to be, popular among locals and visitors alike and boasts an incomparable view of the city awash with golden hues at sunset. Saturday night is when the bar is bustling so expect a brilliant DJ, flowing drinks, a 3am close and sore feet from all the dancing.
Do you remember the magic of the 2004 Olympic Games held in Athens? What if we told you that the magic is non-stop in this Greek capital? The Panathenaic Stadium is one the most historical attractions throughout Europe and is the only stadium in the world made entirely out of marble. The venue hosted the first modern Olympic games in 1896, where it was used in four out of the nine contested events and currently is the finishing point of the annual Athens Classic Marathon. Another must-visit is the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the largest temple in Greece and located directly in the centre of Athens. Taking more than 700 years to complete, the majestic monument was originally made up of 104 Corinthian columns of which only 15 remain, making these ruins truly iconic in every way possible. Ancient Olympian history is in every nook and cranny in Athens, perfect for culture vultures and those with a soft spot for the every-four-year event.
Admit it, you came to Athens to eat. Well, if you didn’t then you’ll certainly leave the city with a new-found love of Greek cuisine. From Michelin-starred eateries to traditionally charming tavernas, there’s certainly no such thing as going hungry here so we hope you packed your appetite! Let’s start off with seafood – Athens is surrounded by that beautiful blue water for a reason. The extremely popular Michelin-starred Varoulko Seaside restaurant should be your go-to, known as one of the finest seafood eateries in the city. The utterly incomparable waterside location at Mikrolimano marina provides mind-blowing views that sparkle underneath the Grecian sunshine, making this the perfect venue for a romantic meal with a loved one. Expect dishes such as squid couscous, crayfish moussaka and mango and shrimp risotto to send you dizzy with pleasure and trust us when we say that no meal here is complete without a glass or two of Greek wine.
If you’re after authenticity, a charming setting and a restaurant that’s loved by the locals (that’s how you know it’s good), Klimataria is the top choice. A step back in time, this rustic taverna is often bustling with customers and along with the open-plan kitchen, gives a genuine homely feel that every diner simply adores. The staff treats each guest like family and the venue’s authentic character is enhanced by the live Greek music playing softly in the background while you indulge on decadent local fare. Casseroles, pies and other Greek delights await you along with fine barrelled wine available by the carafe. Klimataria is located nearby to Athen’s Central Market and is open daily from 12pm to 2am.
Athens is certainly a culture lover’s dream, full of endless ancient history, glorious monuments that have to be seen to be believed and cuisine that’s just waiting to be devoured. Whether you want to take it easy or pound the pavement as fast as you can, there’s no such thing as boredom in the Greek capital so don’t hesitate! Start planning your adventure now by calling one of our personal travel managers on 0203 816 0985 and you’ll be in Athens faster than you can say “opa!”.
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