shutterstock_163361753View towards the Mount Lycabettus from the Areopagus in Athens

Athens’ big secret revealed

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22/9/2015
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Sea, sun…and the Acropolis

Behind the towering heritage and its bustling city life, Athens hides a wonderful secret. Look at the walls of the Acropolis or the temple of Poseidon at Sounio and you’ll see a shimmering light, a sparkle of summer. Sunlight dances over the ancient buildings and reflects the rippling waters of the Athenian Riviera onto the stone. The word is out and the secret is yours to own.What other European capital can offer sea, sun and beach in such profusion besides its other charms?

Making your way along the coast can reveal luxury marinas, graced by super yachts; tree-lined avenues, salubrious suburbs with elegant bars and restaurants, spacious parks, a lake with healing properties and naturally a plentitude of organized yet picturesque beaches, where you can take full advantage of your new-found stocks of energy, then cool off when it all gets too much!

Tips

#1 Take the southbound road out of the city and in under 30 minutes you can be bathing in the dazzling waters of the Saronic Gulf and making a splash in its thriving social scene.

#2 A short trip by tram from neoclassical Syntagma Square to the elegant Athenian Riviera. Poseidon welcomes you to his maritime realm!

#3 From the port of Piraeus, it’s but a short hop to Athens’ off shore island playgrounds.

#4 Don’t forget that these islands weave their own ancient tales right next to the sea and, sometimes, even in it..

 


Athens by night

When things really start to get going

If you’re planning a city break, you’d be advised to stock up on shuteye before you come. In Athens, the night demands your surrender to the ceaseless pulse from twilight to dawn. Stylish bars mix cocktails and fun, the clubs downtown in Psyrri with their factory chic have a distinctly New York vibe, while dancing till you drop by the beach then waiting for the sun to come up over the sea means hitting the summer night high spots in Glyfada. Wherever you choose, an exhilarating time is guaranteed right through to the small hours. Can you take the pace?

Tips

#1 Do as the Athenians do; take an afternoon nap to prepare yourself for the fun ahead.

#2 Join the ancients sipping your cocktails in bars that skirt the iconic Athenian monuments.

Sounds more like a utopia than a city break and yet, unbelievably, there it is, basking in the sunlight under its glorious sky.

Shopping therapy par excellence

A blissful whirl for any self-respecting shopaholic

No trip to Athens could ever be complete without a full-on shopping experience. The high-end boutiques of uber-chic Kolonaki offer the chance to indulge in a high-octane shopping frenzy with a stupefying array of clothes and luxury accessories to entice the customer. Ermou Street is no less exciting a prospect, boasting a cosmopolitan feel and brand names from all over the world.

Venture down to the coast and you lose nothing in the quality of goods or amenities to make your day at the shops as pleasant and carefree as possible. Then again, if it’s the thrill of the hunt you’re a er, you should make a beeline for the open market in Monastiraki, rammed with energy, not to mention exotic food stuffs and antiques.

Here it’s all about the allure of the unexpected as you search for that special curio to take home; perhaps, some memento of your trip which might magically store some of that Athenian vim and vigour and keep you topped up until the next time!

Tips

#1 For last minute shopping and high quality souvenirs, the airport will more than serve your needs.

#2 For a “short sharp shop”, head to one of the malls and get it all done in one hassle-free go.

So the next time you are planning a city break, you need look no further. Athens has it all: culture, history, amazing cuisine, shopping, nightlife you won’t want to tear yourself away from, any type of entertainment imaginable and beaches you will fall in love with.

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