Luxurious Destinations
Greece
Destinations Within Greece

Greece Trip Itineraries

Greecian Delight

Destination(s): Athens

What fun!

National Library of Greece (The)

National Library of Greece (The)

  • 32 Panepistimiou Street
  • tel:+30 210 338 2541
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 106 79

Called the "three temples of learning", the National Library, the University of Athens and the Academy of Athens are outstanding examples of 19th century architecture - all in a row. All three buildings were constructed by Danish architects Theophil Freiherr von Hansen and Christian Hansen and each is set out on a city block. Unfortunately no one but officials and researchers are granted admission.

Closest metro is the Panepistimio station. Other points of interest nearby are the Numismatic museum, the museum of the City of Athens (Vouros-Eftaxias) and the National History Museum (Old Parliament). read more about National Library of Greece (The)

Classical Baby Grand Hotel

Classical Baby Grand Hotel

  • 65 Athinas Street
  • Ominia
  • tel:+30 210 3250900
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 10552

Ever walked into a hotel to be greeted by stuffed monkeys swinging from paper vines? What about finding the receptionist sitting behind a full size MiniCooper, retrofitted to serve as a desk? The Classical Baby Grand Hotel has a wildly unique vision, filling each of its 76 rooms with unexpected touches. The "Graffiti" rooms have original artwork painted directly on the walls by ten international Graffiti artists. Kids are made welcome with many amenities directed toward parents, including the use of Bugaboo strollers and Stokke baby cots. The colorful breakfast room and indoor swimming pool are also popular with the younger generation. There's even a Spiderman room.


Classical Baby Grand is part of the Classical Chain of hotels, operated by well-established Grecotel.

Location.
In Athens's Omonia neighborhood, this hotel is close to Athens City Hall, Kotzia Square, and Omonia Square. Also nearby are National Archaeological Museum of Athens and Roman Agora.



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Melilotos

Melilotos

Located inside a small lobby (back and to the left) not far from Syntagma Square, you won't quite understand why a little place like this has been featured in the New York Times. This is not a place you go for atmosphere, though they do offer you a seat at the one table in the midst of the happy, busy buzz of the kitchen if you would like to dine there. It's a place you go for genuine, delicious food prepared with love and extreme attention to quality. The cheeses, olives, oil and bread all come from trusted producers in some of the best agricultural regions of Greece, including Amorgos Island, Kithera and the Macedonia. All of the food is prepared by award winning chef, Konstantinos Siopidis, though you would never know it by the prices. Even the most complicated dishes are not over twelve euros. The pastries and savory pies are made by his mother in law, Irini, who has given demonstrations of her cooking on television shows. 
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Pendeli Mountain

Pendeli Mountain

  • Ippokratous 15, Exarcheia
  • tel:+30 6944919189
  • Athens Ece

Want to see a chapel built directly into a cave, once a shrine to Pan? Care to walk on the ancient road used to transport the marble for the Acropolis? You have to journey to Pendeli Mountain.
There are many people living in Athens that have never explored the richness of Pendeli Mountain, also spelled Penteli, one of the three mountains surrounding Athens and not even half an hour from the city center.

This private tour will cover the strange history and unusual places, a great number of legends, stories, and factual accounts that swirl about its marble-covered mountainside. Call George for availability throughout the year.



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Eric Kayser

Eric Kayser

  • 17 Iraklitou, Kolonaki
  • tel:210 3607 384
  • Visit website
  • Athens Ece, 10673

A little French pastry shop and bakery in Greece combines two very, very good things. The house of Eric Kayser, already famous in France, is now franchised in other select capitols, Athens included. Athens isn't complaining. Residents and visitors near the select shops in upscale neighborhoods are delighting in the French quality butter croissants, baguettes, petits fours, in-season tarts, fresh salads and sandwiches and decadent cakes.

Other locations in Kolonaki, Flisvos, Pendeli, Maroussi, and Voula.
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Galaxy Bar

Galaxy Bar

  • Hilton
  • 46 Vassilissis Sofias Avenue
  • tel:30 210 728 1000
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 11528
Paradosiako

Paradosiako

  • 44A Voulis
  • The Plaka
  • tel:210/321-4121
  • Athens
Brettos

Brettos

  • 41 Kydathineon
  • tel:+30 210 32 32 110
  • Athens
Lykavittos Hill

Lykavittos Hill

  • Corner of Aristippou & Ploutarchou Streets
  • tel:+30 210 722 7065 (Cafe) / +30 210 331 0392 (Tourist Information)
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 106 76

From first glance, the little white 19th century church of St. George looks like a castle from a fairytale  perched atop Lykavittos, the highest point of the city. Lykavittos one of the most treasured green spaces of Athens, woven with paths used by the residents of underlying Kolonaki for jogging and dog-walking. A modern funicular provides access for those who prefer to climb up to the top without huffing and puffing, but all appreciate the dazzling cityscape of Athens spread out below and one of the best views of the Acropolis. Just before the large parking lot of the Lykavittus Theater (still used for rock concerts and a festival) near the cave and shrine of Agii Isidori, there are a couple of benches along the ledge for contemplating. More often they're used by amorous couples on a clear night.

The church is very popular for weddings, so road access could be tough on Saturdays. The funicular operates 365 days a year, 19 hours a day and costs 6 Euros round trip. It goes through the hill and lets out just under restaurant Orizantes, frequented by many tourists who have read of the extraordinary view of the dining room. There is an adjacent cafe with lighter fare as well as a cantina on the theatre parking lot with sandwiches and soft drinks.

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Acropolis

Acropolis

  • Theorias
  • Dionissiou Areopagitou. Ticket booth, small post office, and snack bar are located slightly below the Acropolis entrance
  • tel:+30 210 321 0219
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 105 58

Quite possibly the most famous symbol of Athens, if not all of Greece, the Acropolis crowns the city and provides a romantic focal point amidst the modern-day noise and mess. The word "Acropolis" comes from "Acro" meaning "High" and "polis" meaning city.

History

The Acropolis
as we know it was masterminded by Pericles in the fifth century BC after the original Acropolis was burned to the ground by the Persian army. The sacred rock was dedicated to the goddess Athena since Neolithic times, but was also used as a gathering place during times of danger due to its strategic positioning. The rebuilt grouping of temples, framed by the Propylaea, or gateway, was intended to be a testament to human achievement and unique in the world in their beauty. They include the demure Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheum or Erechtheion, hallmarked by the Porch of Caryatids (maidens) and the queen of them all, the Parthenon. The Parthenon and the Propylaea were completed first, in under ten years. The temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheum were built after the death of Pericles.

In the centuries that followed, the sacred rock was used as a church, a fortress, a mosque, an arsenal, and pillaged frequently by invaders and travelers taking advantage of the instability of the Ottoman-occupied city throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The most famous of these looters was the English Lord Elgin whose grand booty is the source of a modern day controversy between the British Museum and the Greek State, who have been asking for their treasures back for the last thirty years. The New Acropolis Museum, located across from the entrance to the Dionysos Theatre, was partly created to provide a home for the artifacts. There is still no official word of their being returned to Greece.

Visiting the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis

It is one of the most memorable things you can do while in Athens, and you're sure to note the absence of ropes or glass, bringing you up close and personal with one of the greatest works of art in the Western hemisphere. Get inspired by the great humans that walked there before, the history that happened after, the mystical rumors of being aligned with the stars, or simply the breathtaking view of the city. It's a place that touches the heart of Athens and the Athenians. All of the site is encircled by a cobblestone pedestrian path, the streets of Dionysou Areopagitou and Apostolou Pavlou. Areopagitou street runs along the South slope and is where both entrances to the sites are located, the first just on the Theatre of Dionysos, the site of the festival dedicated to the god of wine, ecstasy and theater. The second is further up past the Roman-era Odeon of Herod Atticus, where the Athens Festival takes place every summer. Go up the steps or the ramp (a bit further) and you'll find the main gates.

All of these sites can be accessed with the €12 admission of the Acropolis, as well as the Temple of Zeus, Keramikos Cemetery, Roman Agora and Ancient Agora.

What's Around the Acropolis

Facing the Acropolis are Pnyx, Areopagos and Philopappou hills which offer commanding views over the city. Areopagos Hill is the site of a famous sermon from St. Paul to the Athenians. Opposite the Acropolis is the unique Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry museum. Plaka, the oldest neighborhood of Athens, sprawls out at the base of the Acropolis rock. Delve in to explore its quaint streets and shops or spend an hour walking through the Ancient Agora.

Necessary Information for Visiting the Acropolis:

Admission

€12 except for minors. Teenagers under 19 should carry an ID to prove their age.
Seniors are not offered a discounted rate unless members of the EU.
Journalists and Government officials are granted free admission.

Days the site is free of admission

All Sundays between November 1st and March 31st. After that, the first Sunday of every month except July, August and September (peak season.)
All Greek national holidays ~ all religious holidays of the Greek Orthodox Church including Easter Monday and Tuesday as well as the Monday after Pentecost.
March 6 ~ Melina Mercouri Day
April 18 ~ International Monuments Day
May 18 ~ International Monuments Day
June 5 ~ International Environment Day
September 27 ~ International Tourism Day
The last weekend of September ~ European Heritage Days

And most spectacular is the annual late-night opening for the full moon of August, an event that is usually accompanied with live music and theatrical events.

Hours
Winter (November 1 - March 31) 8:30am - 3:30 pm
Summer (April 1- October 31) 8am - 7:30pm except Mondays 11am - 7:30pm

Amenities

Both upper and lower entrances offer water fountains and toilets before entering the site. There are no opportunities once on the site. A small snack bar is just outside the upper entrance, though the prices are high and the quality poor. If you can, wait to refresh yourself with things found in the adjacent neighborhood of Thission or along Makriyannis, the road connected to Areopagitou.

A lift entrance is offered to those in a wheelchair. Ask the official at the upper entrance for assistance.

Words of Caution and Greek Reality

Please use caution while on the site, which is entirely out of marble that can be incredibly slippery! Those with limited mobility might have trouble, though it's certainly possible to see everything if you take your time and move carefully.

Be on guard for pickpockets. Keep phones, wallets, and money in places that are difficult for the nimblest of hands if not completely under your clothes.

There might be a number of vendors of cheap novelty gifts and/or umbrellas, fans, bottles of water. These are mostly illegal immigrants who are routinely chased off by the police. As of now there is no law penalizing those who patronize them but it has been discussed.

The Scaffolding

Try not to be too disappointed when you get to the Acropolis and find most of the temples surrounded by scaffolding. They are part of a restoration and conservation effort that will keep the site strong for generations to come. The Parthenon was temporarily scaffold-free in the summer of 2010, but since November is being worked on again for an indefinite period of time.

The Strikes

Greece is a country known for expressing itself and being politically active. Should you arrive and there is a strike that has closed the entrance of the Acropolis, there is little that can be done. Go to  nearby Areopagos Hill and the area of Philapappou Hill for outstanding views of the Rock and history that's equal in importance. Neither are manned by ministry officials and therefore always open, and always free.

The Dogs

Those sun-loving mongrels you'll see lounging around the entrance, while stray, are typically friendly and laid back. Still, use caution when approaching one and don't reach toward it unless it's approached you first with a wagging tail. Under no circumstances should you inspect one that's sleeping. It isn't dead no matter how much it looks the contrary. We promise.

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Museum of Greek Folk Art

Museum of Greek Folk Art

  • 17 Kidathineon
  • Plaka
  • tel:+30 210 322 9031
  • Visit website
  • Plaka, 10558

Take a look at what comes from Greece outside of Athens at the Museum of Greek Folk Art in Plaka. The museum's collection includes items from the 1700s to present day. On display are folk paintings, pottery, costumes worn for religious and wedding ceremonies, weavings and masks to name a few. A lot of what is on display was used in homes every day, while the more formal items were used when families entertained. The museum has a library with 5000 volumes of folklore and ethnology in addition to photo, film and sound archives. Other points of interest are the Museum of Greek Children's Art, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Vlassis Frissiras Museum of Contemporary European Art. The closest metro station is Syntagma. read more about Museum of Greek Folk Art

Irida

Irida

  • Ippokratous 15, Exarcheia
  • tel:+302103688275
  • Visit website
  • Athens Ece

In artsy Exarcheia, cinematography students group inside of this worn-around-the-edges old movie theater and watch cult classics and obscure films for free. The website is entirely in Greek but does list a weekly program. Email ahead of time if you want to be clear.

Screenings are usually once per day sometime in between 17:00 and 21:00.



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To Koutouki

To Koutouki

  • Lakiou 9 Ano Petralona
  • tel:+30 210 3453655
  • Athens Ece

Passing through the backroads of Philopappou, skirting the bluecollar neighborhood of Ana Petralona, you will pass a candy-colored taverna that looks like it's been made out of decoupage and leftover housing materials. To Koutouki has the most offbeat "roof garden" in Athens, home style food like deep fried zucchini, tzatziki and boiled greens with lemon and olive oil, and a staff that may be limited in their English but makes up for it in enthusiasm.

To find it, start from the Dora Stratou Theater parking lot and walk up the road, across the bridge. You'll see it then.
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Odeon of Herod Atticus

Odeon of Herod Atticus

  • Dionysiou Areopagitou Street
  • tel:30 210 323 2771
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 10558
Lithos Jewelry

Lithos Jewelry

  • 20 Mitropoleos
  • tel:30 210 32 55 144
  • Athens Ece, 10563

It's a pleasure to be tempted by the goods at Lithos, the fine jewelry store of Michigan native, Michele. Most of her customers have turned into friends by the time they've been in the shop for an hour. She eases the pain of decision-making between classical and byzantine designs or her own, more modern designs with some tea or a glass of wine and a lot of easy conversation. She's honest, frank, and head-over-heels in love with Greece and the rich tradition of jewelry-making.



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G.R. Louis Hotel

G.R. Louis Hotel

  • 22 Timoleontos Vassou Street
  • tel:30 210 641 5000
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 115 21
Cafe Zonar's

Cafe Zonar's

  • Panepistimiou & Voukourestiou st
  • tel: (+30) 210 3211158
  • Athens Ece

Cafe Zonar's (Le Cafe D'Athenes) got a face lift a few years back. Now it's back to its former glory as THE place to be seen drinking a coffee or partaking in an elegant pastry. Its proximity to the Grand Bretagne and the Attica Department store should give you a clue to the prices (a bit steep) but here, you get what you pay for. Not to mention that the person at the table next to you is likely of grand importance.

Closest station, Syntagma.

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Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum

Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum

  • 12 Kalisperi
  • At Karyatidon
  • tel:+30 210 922 1044 / +30 210 922 7260
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 11742

Anyone who appreciates attention to detail, artistry and craftsmanship will enjoy a visit to one of the world's only jewelry museums where 4,000 creations of its founder, Ilias Lalounis, gleam brilliantly from display cases. You'll see all of the cultural and historical points of reference from which he drew inspiration, such as earrings inspired by an ivory plaque from Samaria, decorated with the motif of the sacred tree of life, or a pendant taken from the folds of a "chiton" an ancient Greek garments. The third level is given to temporary exhibitions by local artists and the first level has a protected courtyard for refreshments, rooms for special workshops (some directed specifically toward children) and a gift shop that sells fashion books, children's books, hats, t shirts, ceramics, silk scarves, and, hm... oh yes! World class jewelry.

Hours are 9-9 on Wednesday
Thr, Fri, Sat 8:30-4
Sunday 11-4
closed on Mondays

Acropolis Metro is a two minute walk. Located on Karyatidon and Kallisperi streets, just off of Dionysiou Areopagitou St.
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Odeon of Herod Atticus

Odeon of Herod Atticus

  • Dionysiou Areopagitou Street
  • Acropolis
  • tel:+30 210 323 2771 / +30 210 322 1459
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 105 58