Athens, Greece Vacations


Our Opinion of Athens

The beauty of Athens extends beyond its iconic architectural and historic significance as the "Cradle of Western Civilization" which is crowned by the spectacular Acropolis that rises above the city. Through the maze of street, traffic, urban sprawl and acrid air, the oldest city in Europe has a mesmerizing charm that is not easily forgotten.

There really is only one place to start when you are in Athens and that begins with the Acropolis. It is visible from nearly anywhere in the city. The Acropolis is not only a significant link to the past but has become the identity of Athens. The climb up the hill is well worth the experience of seeing the majestic relics of stone and marble and the expansive view of the city.

Another ideal way to experience the city is to take one of the many walking tours that are available. Most of the archeological sites are located within the city centre and are now linked by the "Unification of Archaeological Sites" which makes the walking tours that much more accessible and enjoyable.

Whether you are navigating your way around the sites or just meandering through the streets, there are an abundance of places to stop and partake in one of the local refreshments. There is no need to rush and you can sit for hours sipping ouzo or the ever-present summer time refreshment - frappe, a refreshing drink made from instant coffee, water, milk, ice and sugar. Chances are you will find yourself in a kafeneio, traditional Greek coffeehouses. This is where the Athenian's social lives revolve around. To Athenians, the kafenenio is where the heart and soul is, home is just a place to sleep.

Things to know about Athens, Greece Vacations

Dining & Nightlife
The fervor for nightlife is shared by all Athenians. It is not uncommon to be out until 3am. And why not since 10 o'clock is not considered late to have dinner.  Within the city centre there are lots of clubs and bars to visit. For a taste of the Greece experience, seek out one of the musical tavernas where the entertainment is zeimbekiko. During the summer, there is a cache of clubs by the coast that come to life. 

There are an abundance of restaurants to pick from but if you are looking to temp your taste bud with some local flavours and have a little of money to spend, it is worth trying Varoulko. For something in the middle of the road and not too expensive, The Platanos Tavernas has been dishing up tasty spitiko fageto (home cooking) for almost 90 years now.

For something uniquely Greek, you wouldn't have to do much searching to come across the souvlaki. This tasty treat is a combination of lamb, beef or pork with spices but can also be kabob like nuggets. It is served with tomatoes, onions and tzatziki wrapped in a pita to go.

Shopping
Ermou off Syntagma Square is a pedestrian friendly shopping district which has all the latest clothing, accessories and souvenirs. In the Kolonaki shopping district, just off of Ermou, you will find the more up market shops and boutiques. Interwoven with the chic stores will be an abundance of quality Greek jewelers. Athens is known for its long tradition of silver and gold craftsmanship. If you are looking to purchase other items that are more indicative of the city, look for ceramics, spirits or leather goods. Also the flokati, hand-woven rugs, copper, coffee pots, virgin olive oil and honey would be good items to seek out.

Flying time from:
Toronto: Approximately 12hrs.
Montreal: Approximately 12hrs.
Calgary: Approximately 15hrs.
Vancouver: Approximately 16hrs.

Languages: Greek but most people in the tourist industry will speak English, French or German.
Currency: Euros.
Climate: Mediterranean Climate - characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz; round two- or three-pin plugs are standard.

Documents
A passport is mandatory for Canadian Citizens, although no visa is required. For other countries, please check the Hellenic Tourism Organisation Office to get a complete list.

Note:
Hellenic Tourism Organisation website - www.gnto.gr

Hellenic Tourism Organisation
1500 Don Mills Road, Suite 102
Toronto, Ontario
M3B 3K4
Tel : (001416) 9682220
Fax :(001416) 9686533
E-mail : grnto.tor@on.aibn.com

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