We use cookies to give you a better browsing experience. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our Cookie Policy.
OK thanks

Diane Geddie, Product and Short Break Specialist

"While the ancient wonders of Athens continue to draw visitors from around the world, there is plenty to experience in this city beyond antiquity. Visit one of the many street markets brimming with fresh foods and souvenirs or explore the northern Acropolis streets of Anafiotika with its bright, whitewashed mansions, then top your visit off with a climb to the Temple of Poseidon overlooking the sea for a spectacular sunset."

Athens at a glance

Notably one of the world’s oldest cities, Athens is a metropolis of imposing, majestic architecture, astounding museums and a vibrant city heart that beats true to both past and present. Juxtaposed amongst iconic, ancient sites, visitors will find a modern, chaotic shift in the city, striving to engage with a contemporary world.

Known as the cradle of Western civilization, Athens' political and cultural influences have been profound, while its heritage is widely recognised in iconic sites such as the Parthenon and Acropolis. With a history dating over 3,000 years, it’s easy to see why Athens is constantly working to renew its urban core.

A treasure, both ancient and modern, Athens is an unforgettable short break destination.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Iconic sites
  • Historical attractions
  • A bustling city break

Getting around

Much of Athens’ city centre has been pedestrianised, allowing many of the popular sites to be more accessible by foot. Public transport in the city centre includes buses, an underground metro and trams.  

Dining in Athens

Eating out in Athens is a popular past time. Taverna tradition dictates a smorgasbord of no-frills eateries where it is ordinary for dinner to be served as late as 9 or 10pm. Highend restaurants can also be found in the city, along with a mix of international cuisines.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Koulouri – a circular shaped sweet bread topped with sesame seeds, often eaten for breakfast.
  • Moussaka – a lamb and aubergine based dish served with a béchamel sauce.
  • Tiropita – a flaky cheese pie made with buttered phyllo pastry.

Shopping in Athens

The longest shopping street in Athens is Ermou Street which connects Syntagma Square and Monastiraki. This buzzing shopping avenue is good for midrange brands, department stores and souvenirs. The Monastiraki Flea Market is a colourful market selling all sorts, and on Sundays when it gets busier, the market brings out more fashionable items and local crafts.

Osprey Holidays top tips

We suggest a visit to the UNESCO Acropolis when the sun is lower before noon or after 5pm to enjoy the site without the blazing heat. There is also a shorter line into the Acropolis through the back entrance, this cuts down at least an hour from queuing through the main front entrance. 

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Athens designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Athens hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Customer reviews
Judith , January 2017

The hotel Plaka was very good with a great breakfast. The staff were all very nice and friendly. We would certainly recommend the hotel.

Important information
Population 11,306,183
Languages Greek
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for UK citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Go to the Monastriraki flea market on a Sunday morning for an eclectic shopping experience.

Distance from airports
Athens International 33 km
Railway stations
Stathmos Larissis

Things to do in Athens

  • The Acropolis: This UNESCO World Heritage Site rises spectacularly above the centre of the city.
  • Kanellopoulos Museum: An imposing mansion with artefacts from every period of Greek history.
  • National Art Gallery: Greece’s main gallery hosts major exhibitions and houses a fine collection of Greek art, including works by El Greco.
  • Varvakios Agora: This vibrant market is a sensory and gastronomic delight - great local tavernas!
  • Plaka: Below the Acropolis, this maze of narrow,  cobbled, medieval streets twists through ancient sites, squares and lovely Byzantine courtyards.

Tours and Excursions

Sightseeing and Acropolis Museum Tour

This tour is the ideal introduction to the fascinating city of Athens. Your expert guide will take you to Syntagma Square, the Parliament, Memorial to the Unknown Soldier and the National Library. En route to the Acropolis you will see the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch and once at the Acropolis highlights include the Temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon. Entrance to the New Acropolis Museum is also included. 

Aegina, Poros and Hydra Cruise

Cruise from Flisvos Marina to three beautiful islands off the coast of Athens; Hydra remains unspoiled by modern development, built on a rocky slope with cobbled streets lined with mansions and centuries-old churches; romantic Poros is lined with pine trees and sandy beaches with a charming town and Archaeological Museum; Aegina is the land of Achilles with the Temple of Athena perched on a pine-covered hill.

Delphi Full Day Tour

Delphi was the centre of the Ancient Greek civilisation and is now one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites. With your expert guide you will explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, home to the Temple of Apollo, and visit the Delphi Archaeological Museum. Learn all about Greek mythology and history and visit the pretty town of Arachova on your return journey. There is the option to include lunch at an additional cost.

Gourmet Food Tour

Delve into the delights of Greek cuisine as you explore the city’s culinary heritage on this 4 hour walking tour. Visit Varvakios Agora market where the food stalls are an abundance of colour and aromas. Discover hidden tavernas and delicatessens where you can sample specialities such as spanakopita, koulóuria and loukoumades as well as cheeses and olives all washed down with local wines and coffee. You will certainly not go hungry!


We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.