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Greece : Athens - September 2010

Country Code: Dial ++30 for Greece

Athens is a great city to explore when the temperatures begin to cool. This month, Pláka is one of the districts to host events for the Attiko Woods Festival, the city’s most important festival of culture. Carole French is our city guide

Getting around

The nearest airport is Athens International Airport, 33km southeast of the city.

Bus: Six express bus routes serve Athens and Piraeus. Buses leave from arrivals. Tickets cost €3,20 and are valid for 24 hours on all public transport.
Taxi: You can pick up taxis from exit 3 at arrivals. A journey to the city centre costs from €25 to €36, and takes about 30 minutes.
Tourist information: The main office is at 26 Amalias (tel. (0)210 331 0392, gnto.gr).

PLÁKA

With its array of traditional tavernas and antique shops housed in centuries-old buildings, Pláka lies at the foot of the Acropolis and is the city’s historic heart.

Sleep soundly – Known for the modernist art that adorns its walls, the boutique-style Magna Grecia Hotel (54 Mitropoléos Street, tel. 210 324 0314, magnagrecia hotel.com, rooms from €90) is minutes from the Acropolis and an ideal base.

Culture vultures – Love theatre? Head for the Dora Stratou Theatre (8 Scholíou Street, grdance.org), on Philopappou Hill opposite the Acropolis, which this month hosts performances for the Attiko Woods Festival.

Must eat – Vegetarian and health-conscious diners will love Eden (12 Lissíou Street, tel. 210 324 8858), with its extensive menu of organic dishes and juices. Nearby, Sholarhio (14 Tripodon Street, tel. 210 324 7605) is known for delicious homemade moussaka and taramosalata.

Must drink – Housed in a period building full of carved wood and stone walls, To Kafeneio (1 Epicharmou Street, tel. 210 324 6916) serves strong Greek coffee made in copper jugs known as a Mpríki.

KOLONÁKI

Upmarket Kolonáki boasts elegant architecture, galleries, museums and haute couture fashion houses.

Sleep soundly – Luxurious St George Lycabettus Boutique Hotel (2 Kleomenous Street, tel. 210 729 0711, sglycabettus.gr, rooms from €150) has a rooftop pool – perfect after a day’s sightseeing.

Culture vultures – See major works from 17th to 20th-century local and European artists, including Rembrandt and Canaletto, at the National Gallery of Art (50 Vasiléos Konstantínou Street, tel. 210 723 5937).

Must eat – The cosy and super-chic Kolonáki Restaurant (23 Ploutarxou Street, tel. 210 722 6333) serves oven-baked pizzas and imaginative pasta dishes.

Must drink – Serving colourful cocktails, 45 Strofes (15 Irodotou Street & 9 Kapsali Street) is popular with the creative set.

Shop til you drop – Voukouréstiou Street has been a shopaholic’s paradise for over 60 years and hosts the likes of Dior (18-20), Louis Vuitton (19) and Ralph Lauren (11).

PSYRRÍ

Full of artists’ studios, trendy wine bars and restored Neo-classical mansions that house live music restaurants known as rebetadika, Psyrrí has a distinctive vibe.

Sleep soundly – Modern with spacious rooms, the Arion Athens Hotel (18 Agios Dimitríou Street, tel. 210 324 0415, arionhotel.gr, rooms from €90) is handy for the sights.

Must eat – Traditional Greek dishes can be enjoyed at the Kouzina-Cine Psyrrí (40 Sarri Street, tel. 210 321 5534), or for a different taste sensation try Godzilla Sushi Bar (Riga Palamídou Street, tel. 210 322 1086) for Japanese cuisine.

Must drink – Tango Café-Bar (21 Agios Anárgiron Street) is a contemporary place with comfy sofas, lounge music and a host of local hot and chilled beverages.

Dance the night away – Psyrrí is the spot to head for if you prefer to party away from the tourists. Move to Cuban sounds at the Cubanita Havana Club (28-30 Georgiou Karaiskaki Street).

PIRAEUS

The suburb of Piraeus, 11km from Athens, is the ancient port of the city. From here you can take a day trip along the coast or head for one of the island groups that lie a few kilometres off the mainland.

Sleep soundly – Overlooking the harbour, the Hotel Poseidonio (3-5 Charilaou Trikoupibi Street, tel. 210 428 6651, hotel poseidonio.com, rooms from €150) is ideally placed for an excursion.

Culture vultures – One of the district’s finest archaeological sites is Syrangion (Kastella Hill), believed to have held a sanctuary dedicated to the ancient hero Syrango. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus (31 Charilaou Trikoupi Street) to see treasures from such archaeological sites on display.

Must eat – For a taste of traditional Greek cuisine check out Amvrosia (135 Luka Rally Street, tel. 210 410 1211). Be sure to try the delicious skewered pork cooked with herbs known as souvláki.

Must drink – For a range of local beers and the chance to play tavli – Mediterranean backgammon; the rolling of dice is a common sound in the city – head for Piraikon (147 Néorion Street).



Compiled by Carole French

Previous issues for Athens
 
   
Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy,
please confirm event/venue details in advance.

 

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