Landmarks, Hotels and Restaurants in Athens
There’s just not enough time to appreciate all the beauty of Athens. One lifetime of non-stop sightseeing might do it and then again maybe not. New treasures are being discovered every year. A trip to Athens without seeing what’s left of the Acropolis would be a miss for sure. It’s the home of the Temple of Athena and the Parthenon, as well as a wonderful museum.
The Theater of Dionysus, which is at the foot of the Acropolis, is well preserved. The Plaka, just south of Syntagma Square, is the entertainment district. It is the home of tavernas which offer live entertainment, as well as grilled lamb and chicken and a lively dose of Greek music and unlimited shots of ouzo. The National Archeological Museum is a neo-classical building that houses an impressive collection of Greek, Roman and Neolithic artifacts. Constitution Square also known as Syntagama, is the home of luxury hotels, which includes the Grande Bretagne. The park in the middle of the square is a meeting place for tourists, as well as Athenians. On the east side of the square is the 19th century Royal Palace, which is adjacent to the beautiful Royal Gardens. The flea market also called Monastriraki, is worth a visit; vendors haggle over rugs, jewelry and antiques non-stop and the tiny Byzantine chapel of Kapnikarea stands in the middle of the street, because the road was built around it.
The Central Market sells everything from spices to cookware, as well as unusual pottery and produce. Lycabettus Hill towers over Athens and offers a spectacular view of the Aegean sea, the Acropolis and Athens on a clear day. Olympic Stadium is worth a visit and Piraeus the seaport of Athens is a great day trip. The fresh seafood and sunset are unforgettable. The oracle of Delphi where the Pythian priestesses’ prophesized the future and where the words “Know Thyself” and “Nothing in Excess,” have an eternal meaning, is one of the main tourist attractions in Athens.
The Hotels in Athens range from luxurious hotels and resorts to a room with 4 walls and a bed. The Grecotel Cape Sounio, which opened in 2004 is a resort on a famous archaeological site. The 154 bungalows with private gardens and private pools sits on a 75 acre estate on the edge of Sounio National Park. The Astir Palace Resort is 25km from the center of Athens and has a fantastic view of the Saronic Gulf. It also sits on 75 acres and is the epitome of luxury. The Grande Bretagne, which has been completely renovated, sits on Constitution Square and offers the best view of the Acropolis. It’s is walking distance of shops and boutiques and most of the city’s landmarks. King George Palace is known for it excellent service and accommodations and is the favorite hotel of international celebrities and world leaders. Other popular hotels include the Galini Palace, the Magna Grecia Boutique Hotel, the Attalos Hotel and the Plaka Hotel. All of them offer clean rooms and great service.
Athens is filled with places to eat. Athenians eat in small taverns that are filled with Greek music. Dinner is late, and it’s not uncommon to still be eating a meal at midnight in Athens. A couple of excellent Tavernas are Eleni located at 4-6 Anapirou Polemou Street; Agrio Rodo located at 15-17 Sarantapihou Street; Mamacas at 4 Persephonis Street and Cookou Food at 55 Themistokleous Street. Traditional Greek favorites are Daphne’s at 4 Lysikratous St; Ideal at 46 Panepistimiou Street and Maritsa’s located at 47 Voukourestiou Street. International restaurants like Spondi at 5 Pyrronos and Symposium at 46 Erectheiou are always in fashion and Mediterranean favorites like Astoivi and To Kouti, cater to Athenians and some lucky tourist that find them.