Athens Travel Guide & Information
Athens is one of the largest and oldest cities in the world; it’s also the capital of Greece. Athens has a resplendent, proud history spanning thousands of years. Rooted in mythology, tradition and culture, Athens has been described as the birthplace of civilization, attracting scores of travelers from all over the world each year.
Find cheap flights to Athens and travel back in time to witness Athens rich history. Breathtaking adventures await, visit attractions where great historic events actually took place, centuries old structures and museums, among other things. The heritage of the classical era is still evident in Athens, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous being the Parthenon on the Acropolis.
Athens has always been and still remains a center for the arts, learning and philosophy. Home to Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles and many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. Widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization, Athens is also the birthplace of democracy. While preserving the integrity of the city, improvements and modern amenities have been instituted for visitors, especially after successfully hosting the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.
Things to do in Athens
The Acropolis: A must visit in Athens; the UNESCO World Heritage Site was the ancient fortified town of Athens, dating back to the Late Bronze Age and the site of the best buildings of the Greek Classical age, like the Parthenon, the Erectheion and Temple of Athena Nike. Visitors to Acropolis can see the Kerameikos, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Roman Agora, Ancient Agora and the nearby Theatre of Dionysus.
Syntagma Square: Syntagma Square is home to the majestic Parliament Building, which was built in 1840 as the Royal Palace. The hourly changing of the guard in front of the Parliament building by soldiers dressed in colorful, traditional costumes is a great photo opportunity.
Ancient Agora: Ancient Agora of Athens is the best known example of an ancient Greek agora. The site of the Ancient Agora offers a very beautiful view of the Acropolis. You can also see the Temple of Hephaestus- the best preserved ancient Greek temple and Attalos Stoa - the museum of the agora which is a reconstructed ancient building.
National Archaeological Museum: The National Archaeological Museum is the largest museum in Greece and one of the world's greatest museums. The museum offers abundant collections, with more than 20,000 exhibits, providing a surplus of Greek civilization from prehistoric to Late Antiquity. New Acropolis Museum: The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on its feet, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece.
Museum of Greek Folk Art: Founded in 1918, the museum owns magnificent collections of objects representing all branches of folk art, like embroidery, weaving, costumes, masquerades, shadow theatre, metalwork, pottery, paintings and stone carvings. The collection in the Museum of Greek Folk Art dates from 1650 to present.
Where to Stay in Athens:
Being a premier tourist destination, Athens is filled with numerous hotels, from cheap hotels to 4-Star Hotels Under $99, resorts and hostels. Here is a brief overview of the neighborhoods in Athens to choose hotels that best suit your needs.
Syntagma Square Area: There are several hotel clusters in the Syntagma Square Area. Dominated by the old Royal Palace, Syntagma Square is the business district of Athens, complete with major hotels, restaurants and attractions. It's an ideal choice for travelers who want to stay close to the attractions they’ll be visiting. Also, it’s a preferred location for business travelers for its excellent hotels and numerous evening entertainment options.
Plaka Area: The Plaka Area is a charming historic district at the foot of the Acropolis, with restored 19th century neoclassical homes, pedestrian friendly streets, multiple shops and restaurants to choose from, as well as picturesque ruins from the city's Roman era. Travelers looking to stay close to all the action while staying within their budget might enjoy this area.
Omonia Square Area: Recently, this area has received a "Face lift". The Omonia Square Area is lined with ethnic restaurants and retail shops boasting local artisans work, giving the area a bit of an international appearance. Many cheap hotels can be found on the streets surrounding Omonia Square. It's a perfect choice for budget travelers.
Passport & Visa Requirements
For US Citizens:
Athens is a part of the Schengen Agreement; U.S. citizens may enter Athens for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa.
* If you are traveling for any other purpose, you may need to obtain a visa.
* Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay.
* The 90-day period begins when you enter any of the Schengen group of countries.
For Canadian Citizens:
A tourist visa is not required for stays of less than 90 days within a 6-month period.
* A Canadian passport is required for Canadians intending to visit Greece.
* The passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of the expected departure from the country.
This requirement applies to all travelers, regardless of age, including children.
We strongly recommend you to check out the latest travel alerts, various airlines baggage policies and travel safety tips.
*Kindly note that we take the utmost care in providing you with correct information at all times. However, the passport and visa regulations are subject to change and we strongly urge you to check the requirements directly with the US passport office and, or the Canadian Passport Office before traveling.
When to visit Athens
Regardless, of the season, Athens is primarily sunny and warm, a perfect year-round destination. However, there are “Best times” to visit Athens, when the weather is the most accommodating and schools are on break.
The best times to visit the city, are late fall and spring, when you can avoid extreme heat and hordes of tourists.
Planning your Visit:
High season: (April - October)
Low season: (November - March)
Athens is characterized by a Mediterranean climate. The city is known as one of the sunniest cities in Europe, with a semi-arid climate and low average annual rainfall.
* Winter is the low season, with the occasional rainy or snowy day, but an ideal time to travel and save money while enjoying the city. You won’t find many travelers during this time.
* Summers are very hot and heat waves are common during July and August.
Currency and Language:
The currency used in Greece is now the Euro or €. Traveler’s Checks in US Dollars, is accepted at change bureaus in hotels and banks.
Most major banks have branches around Syntagma, and there are ATMs all over the city.
* Greek is the major language spoken in Athens. However, most of the hotel and restaurant staffs speak English, French or German.
* Consider learning some basic Greek phrases prior to departing for your trip to Athens.