There is a divine element in the name of tise city. According to mythology, the Olympian gods chose places which would serve as the best settings for people to worship them. This city was the battleground for a conflict between Athena and Poseidon. It’s obvious who won the battle, but both gave special gifts to the area. Poseidon caused a spring to gush from the rocks, and Athena planted the first olive tree, which has become the symbol of Greece.
Athens constantly remains one of the most popular tourist destinations. This shouldn't be surprising to anyone, since it is, after all, the cradle of Western civilization and democracy. But apart from history, which dominates the entire centre of Athens, this capital city is, above all, Greece in a nutshell.
Even for those who are not particularly interested in history or mythology, in Athens it's impossible to skip the most important buildings of antiquity. The entire centre of the city was designed to be observed from the windows of a bus, or at least this is what the native residents say, and it's hard not to agree with them. However, the spot with the greatest concentration of monuments is completely cut off from car traffic, which makes it possible to visit on foot. If we add wonderful weather to this, nothing more is needed for a recipe for happiness. Spots on the "must see" list are certainly: the Acropolis with all of its buildings - the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion, the Agora (which was once the centre of power and trade), the Museum of Archaeology, the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Bow and the Odeon of Herodes.
Additionally, one must go to Syntagma Square, an important place for Greeks since it's here that all of the most important cultural and political events take place, and below ground level there's one of the largest transport junctions in Athens. The main attraction of the square is the parliament building with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which sentries of the presidential guard stand next to, dressed in historical uniforms. The changing of the guard takes place every hour, but the most ceremonial one is on Sunday at 11:00. Nuts are sold on the square which can be used to feed pigeons, an attraction enjoyed by children.
ALLOU! FUN PARK
An excellent place, especially if were travelling with children, is the Allou! Fun Park located on the outskirts of the city. This place is the most popular fairground in all of Greece. Although it's not the largest, we’ll find attractions here both for children and for fans of intense experiences. The park offers about 25 different kinds of rides, including the classic Panorama Ferris wheel with a view of Athens, a wild roller coaster called the Big Apple, the extreme Star Flyer which twists and turns 72 metres above the ground, and Shock & Drop which reveals the power of gravity. Additionally, there’s a mirror forest and a haunted house. It's worth noting that due to favourable weather, the park is open every day, all year round.
RELAXATION AMONG GREENERY
Let’s not forget that for most of the year, temperatures are very high in Greece and the sunshine is intense, which is why after visiting the city it's worth resting in the shade of tall trees. Behind Syntagma Square, directly behind the parliament building, there are the National Gardens which were planted when the parliament building was a royal palace. This place is open to the public from dawn to dusk and takes up an area of 15 hectares. Trees and plants from all over the world cover a huge tract of land, transporting us to a completely different world. There are moments when we have the impression that we are somewhere else and only the remnants of ancient buildings and Roman mosaics remind us of the ancient history of the place. The gardens also offer attractions for kids in the form of a mini zoo and a pond inhabited by a large number of turtles. It's a wonderful place to find shelter from the sun, to rest and maybe even have a picnic.
Another attraction of Athens are the numerous summertime film screenings which are extremely popular among both residents and tourists. These places are not well-advertised, so in order to find them, it's best to ask local residents. The cinemas screen films from Greece, as well as the rest of Europe and the USA. Because in most cases the cinema is combined with a garden cafe with tables, we can find more sophisticated snacks and drinks on offer than what is usually served at such events. The cinemas are mostly located in the Glyfada district on the outskirts of Athens, but there are also many in the city centre. It’s a wonderful way to spend an evening beneath a starry sky among inhabitants of Athens and to make new friends.
THE CUISINE OF ATTICA
The Greek dishes known throughout the world always taste the best here, because they're fresh and prepared with ingredients of the highest quality. Every corner of this country has its own specific culinary traditions and it’s no different in Attica, the region Athens is situated in. Specialities which can't be overlooked are dolmades - a dish similar to cabbage rolls, though the filling contains rice, onions, garlic and pine nuts. Another speciality is musaka, a delicacy found throughout Greece, although it's particularly outstanding here. A wonderful combination of ground lamb meat with red Greek wine, potatoes, eggplant fried in deep oil and bechamel sauce with kefalotyri or feta cheese creates the unique flavour of this baked dish. Of course, these are the specialities of this region, but when going to a traditional tavern or restaurant, we can sample much more.