ATHENS, the capital of Greece, is one of the oldest cities in the world.
Athens, took its name from the goddess Athena. Its first name was Kekropia deriving from its mythical founder and first King Kekrops until the competition between Poseidon and Athena was won by Athena, who became protector of the young and rising city, to which she offered the gift of the olive tree, symbolising serenity, and her name, symbolising wisdom.
Plaka is the most popular neighbourhood of Athens, with narrow streets, picturesque churches and old mansions. The best traditional tavernas are here to be found. It is the heart of Athens, and we recommend that you book your Hotel as much as closer to Plaka, in order to be within walking distance to all the sights. Few other places are as cramped with historic sites as Plaka. Ancient monuments, Byzantine churches, mosques and stately 19th century houses stand side by side. Scattered throughout these quarters are sidewalk cafes, taverns hidden in vine, and numerous shops.
Plaka is a place to be visited day and night. Another part of Athens you should not miss is the Lycabettus Hill. The most spectacular view can be found on top of the Lycabettus Hill in central Athens. Lycabettus can be reached either by car or by cable car. Athens is the ideal stop over before visiting the Cycladic Islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Ios, Syros, Tinos or any other Greek Island. But you can also book a beautiful hotel in the nearby island of Poros, where from you can explore Athens without having to stay in an Athens hotel.
Athens, the cradle of democracy, philosophy and the Western civilization as we know it today, begun as a small fortified village built on top of the Acropolis rock as far back as 3.000 years B.C. Through the years, Athens became one of the most powerful city-states of the ancient world and produced the first and most influential philosophers, poets and scientists, like Plato, Sophocles, Euripides and Socrates. Athens became the symbol of freedom, thinking and art.
ATHENS is a city with a great night life, romantic walks, and many museums, such as one of the world's greatest museums The "National Archeological Museum" where you can see splendid examples of ancient works of art, from Athens and other places of Greece, or the "Byzantine Museum", the Benakis Museum" and the "Museum of Cycladic Art".
Just next to Plaka is the Monasteraki neighbourhood. Right in the feet of the Acropolis hill, in Monasteraki, you must visit the famous Flea Market. It is difficult to decide what to buy, but even more difficult is to forget the experience. The Flea Market of Athens, is the center of traditional craft and creation of original Greek art. Gold and Silver jewellery, ancient type pottery and sculpture. Fur coats, leather goods and carpets. Books, ceramics and sandals.
The many sights found in the near Athens, allow for a full program during a stay of several days. Escorted tours of Athens (half day and full day tours), can be booked through Greek Island Tours by visiting our Athens Tours web pages. By joining one of the tours we offer, you can explore the Greek Mainland, visit Delphi, Meteora, even Ancient Olympia. By joining a daily cruise you can visit the Saronic Islands of Poros, Aegina and Hydra.
Athens is the ideal stop over before visiting the Cycladic Islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Ios, Syros, Tinos or any other Greek Island. But you can also book a beautiful hotel in the nearby island of Poros, where from you can explore Athens without having to stay in an Athens hotel.