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A heady mix of ancient history and contemporary cool, Athens is the largest and capital city of Greece. Touted to be one of the most romantic cities in the world, it has a recorded history spanning over 3,400 years. The birthplace of the city’s historic intellectual and artistic ideas, Athens has now become an attractive modern metropolis with unrivalled charm. Having a large financial sector, the area is one of the biggest economic centers in Europe and is sometimes called a Beta global city. A historic town with a modern touch with a large number of young people and tourists squandering around the streets, Athens has equal measures of grunge and grace.
Pottery found on and around the Acropolis is evidence of the site being inhibited since before 3000 BCE. The earliest buildings belong to the Late Bronze Age, particularly when the Acropolis was the citadel in 1200 BCE. Athens expanded exponentially in 6th century BCE during the tyranny of Peisistratus and his sons. Under the Roman Empire the city flourished imperially. In the 4th and 5th centuries Athens was resurrected and the city’s old outer circuit of the walls was restored, and many new fascinating buildings were erected. Occupied by German troops during World War II, the population of the Athens metropolitan area increased magnificently in the 2oth century.
These layers of history are visible everywhere in the city, with its thousand-year-old Byzantine churches which sit unruffled in the middle of streets and attached to hillsides. Traces of Ottoman empire can be found in architecture and in food. The city bustles with energy in art shows, political debates and even on the walls of derelict buildings. Creative surges can be seen in the numerous graffiti spread over the city, as Athens has become one of Europe's most noted spots for street art. From impromptu dance shows to impeccable live music at charming restaurants, everyone gets rewarded here. Admire the stunning Temple of Poseidon at Sounion and the site of Ancient Eleusis or spend a relaxing day sunbathing at the very good beaches, such as those near the historical Marathon. Or a fun-filled and idyllic road trip to a thermally heated lake or a monastery with dazzling Byzantine mosaics can be taken with close friends and family. A vast variety of attractive sights, for the curious monument lover to the adventurous sporty tourist, Athens provides something for everyone. Don’t forget to visit the magnificent Acropolis, whose views take breaths away. Built in the 5th century BC, this temple city is visible from almost every part of the city and is the hub around which Athens still revolves.
Travelling within Athens is extremely convenient while using public transportation. With an extremely organized system of buses, metro and trains, one is subjected to a completely different point of view of the city.
Public transport is extremely safe, smooth and efficient and connects every corner of the city. The Athens metro is extremely efficient in connecting all the tourist destinations in the city and is relatively modern. Two companies are responsible for the operation of the metro’s three lines. The line 1 is identified with green color and the major stations on this line includes Piraeus, Peace and Friendship Stadium, Karaiskakis Stadium. Line 2 is the red line connecting Athens railway station with Omonia Square, Syntagma Square and the Acropolis. Line 3 links the Athens International Airport with the city center, at Syntagma Square and Monastiraki and is identified with blue color. The metro runs frequently from 5:30am till 12:30am and on Fridays and Saturdays, the last train departs at 2am. It runs every 3 minutes during peak hours and every 5-10 minutes during the slowest hours
Trams provide comfortable and easy transfers to all the neighboring areas and the most popular lines run along the city's coastline. Admire the gorgeous views of the Saronic Gulf. The tram network consists of three lines with 48 stops. Line 3 connects the Peace and Friendship Stadium and Voula, Line 4 links Syntagma Square and the Peace and Friendship Stadium and Line 3 runs between Syntagma and Voula. Generally running between 5:30am and 1am, the last trams depart from Syntagma Square at 2:15am on weekends.
A huge variety of electronic tickets, monthly and yearly travel cards that can be recharged are offered. A 90-minute ticket costs € 1.40 a 24-hour ticket costs € 4.50 and a 3-day tourist ticket which includes return transport from the airport costs € 22.
Taxis can be handy when you want to avoid crowds and travel without any waiting time. Taxis are very easy to flag down, since there are over 12,000 vehicles in the city and taxis in Athens are extremely low-cost and accessible. All taxis are painted bright yellow and the average taxi ride costs between 4EUR and € 6. Don’t forget to make sure the tariff on the taximeter is correct and ask the driver for a receipt that includes the taxi operator’s information and the taxi number. For easy, stress-free travel, Rydeu provides private transfers in and around the city. Rydeu strives to make every journey safe and enjoyable.
Transfers from Athens International Airport are extremely easy and convenient. Your journey begins at the airport itself and a lot depends on the method of airport transfers chosen. The airport is located 33 km southeast of Athens and can be reached via the Athens ring road.
Athens’s public transportation system is exceptional. With an extremely organized system of buses and trams one is subjected to a completely different point of view of the city and easy transfers from the airports are provided.
Metro’s Line 3 connects Athens International Airport with the city center, Syntagma Square and Monastiraki. The price of a one-way ticket is €10 but €5 for children, teenagers, travelers over 65 years. The trip from the airport to the city centre takes approximately 40 minutes and the trains operate every half an hour from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm the whole week.
The airport is connected with the port of Piraeus and the Intercity Bus Terminal by 24-hour express buses. These non-stop buses run daily, even on public holidays and the buses can be found outside the arrivals and departure halls. The tickets can be purchased from the ticket booth outside the Arrivals hall, between Exits 4 and 5, or on board at no extra cost. The price of a one-way ticket is €6 but €3 for children, teenagers, travelers over 65 years. Four express bus routes from the airport connect different stops in the city. X93 provides transfers to the Kifissos Station whereas the X95 stops at Syntagma Square. X96 ends at Piraeus port and X97 connects the airport to Elliniko.
Alternatively, the suburban railways provide convenient transfers from Athens Airport connecting the Larissis Station, the central Athens railway station in 45 minutes.
Taxis are a convenient choice from travelling from the airport especially at night when there is no public transportation and you have a lot of luggage. You can find the taxi stand outside Exit 3 of Arrivals Level. It costs a flat rate of €35 from 5 am to midnight, and €50 from midnight to 5 am for a cab ride from the airport to the centre of Athens. Rydeu provides an easy solution for all your travel woes with easy airport transfers. They are cheap, affordable and leave you hassle-free to enjoy the journey to your destination.
A city full of modern designs, gorgeous architecture, atmospheric cafes, Athens leaves everyone dazzled. Below is a list of must-visit tourist attractions to explore to make your trip complete.
Situated at the foot of the Acropolis' southern slope, this fascinating museum displays invaluable treasures in its exhibitions. The surviving items date from the Archaic period to the Roman one but the majority emphasizes on the Acropolis of the 5th century BC due to the peak of the country’s artistic achievement. The museum excellently explores the history of this multi-layered city, from ancient ruins beneath the building, to the Acropolis itself.
The most famous monument of the country, the Parthenon attracts millions of tourists from across the world. Designed to be the pre-eminent monument of the Acropolis, this historic and dazzling structure glorifies the trajectory of ancient Greece. Literally meaning 'virgin's apartment', it was constructed as a temple dedicated to Athena Parthenos, the goddess embodying the power and prestige of the city.