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.