Athens: Ancient Appeal, Modern Charm

Athens, the capital city of Greece, is a modern, booming town with ancient architecture and structures all around. Athens mixes together a city of honey-toned columns with the modernity of cafes, restaurants and shopping. Ancient culture combines with the hustle of day-to-day business and life.LycabettusHillCultured History
Athens, Greece’s largest city, goes back at least 3,400 years. It is one of the oldest and most storied cities in the world, which welcomes travelers to explore its historic past.  A center for the arts, learning and philosophy, and trade, Athens grew with its Port in Piraeus, which continues to serve the city today transporting travelers to the local islands and importing/exporting of goods.Acropolis2Probably the two most well-known structures in Athens are the Acropolis and the Parthenon. The Acropolis stands tall above the city only being surpassed by Lycabettus Hill. The Areopagus sits just below the Acropolis offering a perfect place to rest and reflect. Each site has contributed to Athens’ historical  and cultural significance
Agora Socrates and Plato would speak from the Agora teaching their contemporaries. The site is well-preserved and hosts a museum that tells the story.
artBenaki Museum offers the largest private neoclassical collection of artifacts in Athens. It is one of the most insightful places to unlock a specific time period within Athens. Understand the city by wandering the halls learning from what has been uncovered.

Food and Coffee
Daily life of the Greek can be observed by sitting at the plethora of local cafes and coffeehouses throughout the Plaka and Syntagma areas. Athens food culture is centered around fresh seafood, grilled meats, fresh yogurt and vegetables. Dining in local restaurants can be adventurous even with an invitation to visit the kitchen to select your meal or observing the fresh, local catches of the day. Plaka, Kolonaki and Syntagma Areas are good starters for restaurants and cafes. These are a bit touristy, but befriend a local to get pointed to a more intimate spot.Brit_Taf5When visiting a recent cafe, I was asking the barista about life in Athens. He instructed me to sit at the bar and he would translate what was happening. In his words, “Greeks take life seriously. And, if it is serious, then it takes time and lots of conversation.” He was right, and I was able to listen with his help to understand Greek life more.

The Greeks do take their coffee seriously, as well. Taf Coffee is one of our favorite places to visit in Athens. Boasting a previous barista champion, they also offer some of the finest selections of coffees. Tailor Made is also a great micro-roastery that has high traffic since it is not far from the Acropolis. It was started by friends who simply wanted to do coffee their way.

What tips do you have for experiencing Athens?

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