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Hotels Crete Chania - Iraklio - Agios Nikolaos - Rethymno - Hersonissos  - Bali  etc. Hotels Athens - Attica Hotels North Aegean Lesvos - Chios etc. Hotels Cyclades Islands -  Santorini - Myconos - Milos - Paros  -  Ios  -  Naxos etc. Hotels Macedonia Pieria - Olympus - Thessaloniki - Litochoro - Chalkidiki - Kastoria etc. Hotels Dodecanese Rhodes -  Patmos - Kos etc. Hotels Central Greece Delpi - Theves - Itea - Galaxidi - Arachova - Karpenisi  - Evia etc. Hotels Peloponnese Patra - Olympia - Nafplio - Pyrgos - Kalamata - Sparti  - Monemvasia - Porto Heli etc. Hotels Thessalia  Pilio - Volos  - Larissa - Karditsa etc. Hotels Sporades Islands Skyros - Alonissos - Skopelos - Skiathos Hotels Thrace Alexandroupoli  etc. Hotels Aegina  -  Spetses  -  Hydra etc. Hotels Epirus Ioannina - Parga - Konitsa - Arta - Preveza etc. Hotels Ionian Islands Zakynthos - Corfu - Kefallonia - Ithaki - Kythira - Lefkada etc.
Athens METRO
Operation hours

For the optimum service of the residents, the two lines, i.e.

Line 2

Line 3

operate every day from 5:30 am until 12:00 midnight.

Line 1 (ISAP) Line 2 (METRO) Line 3 (METRO)
05.00-00.30 05.30-24.00 05.30-24.00

International Airport


The Athens International Airport is located 33km southeast of Athens and is easily accessible via Attiki Odos, a six-lane motorway constituting the Athens City Ring Road.

Public transport to Athens and the port of Piraeus is provided by express airport bus connections on a 24 h basis, ensuring efficient transport for air travelers and facilitating linkage to key tourist attractions.

Future developments such as the Suburban Rail and the Metro, to be completed in 2004, in combination with existing sections of Attiki Odos and extensions under construction will further improve airport access and enhance intermodality.

By Metro
Combine the Attiko Metro with the public bus express services to the airport.

Metro line 3:
| "Ethniki Amina" station
- Express bus E94

Metro line 2 & 3:
"Syntagma" station
-Express bus E95.

Athens - Piraeus Electric Subway:

"Stadium of Peace and Friendship" station
- Express bus E96

By bus
Public Buses

Four public bus routes serve exclusively the airport, connecting the greater area of Athens and Piraeus with the airport.

E92 Kifisia - Athens Airport Express
E93 Kifisos Coach Station - Athens Airport Express
E94 Ethniki Amina - Athens Airport Express
E95 Syntagma - Athens Airport Express
E96 Piraeus - Athens Airport Express
E97 Dafni Metro Station - Athens Airport Express



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Athens city
General Travel Information for Athens

With thousands of years of history and mythology under its belt, Athens - named for the olive-tree-loving Athena (goddess of wisdom) - is more than a concrete jungle. It's an affable city enlivened by outdoor cafes, pedestrian streets, parks, gardens and characters aplenty. If you get into the spirit of things, you might not even notice the layer of nefos (smog) hanging overhead.

Though its streets buzz with a unique and chaotic blend of east and west, the city once known as the 'Paris of the Mediterranean' is experiencing something of a European renaissance. As EU-driven modernisation and preparations for the 2004 Olympics propel the city forward, there's a refreshing note of optimism in the air. Add its recently built metro system and airport into the mix, and you've got an old Athens with a sparkling new sheen.

Area: 15 sq mi (39 sq km)
Population: 3.7 million
Country: Greece
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +2
Telephone area code: 210

Free GTO e-mail, get news from GreeceCENTER Hotels in Athens

Free GTO e-mail, get news from GreeceLUX and A' CATEGORY Athens hotels

Free GTO e-mail, get news from GreeceB' and C' CATEGORY Hotels Athens

Free GTO e-mail, get news from GreeceAthens General information



Map of Athens
Map of Athens

Click on the map to enlarge

Athens hotels BY LOCATION

Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Alimos
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Athens Center
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Glyfada
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Haidari
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Halandri
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Kastella
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Kavouri
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Kifissia
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Koridallos
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Melissia
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Moschato
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Nea Erithrea
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Nea Smyrni
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Neo Faliro
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Nikea
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Paleo Faliro
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Piraeus Town
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Skaramangas
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Voula
Free GTO e-mail, get news from Greece Vouliagmeni


To appreciate
Athens, it's important to be aware of the city's traumatic history. Unlike most capital cities, Athens' history is not one of continuous expansion; it is one characterised by glory, followed by decline and near annihilation, and then resurgence in the 19th century, when it became capital of independent Greece.

Accounts of Athens' early days are inextricably woven with mythology, making it difficult to be sure what really happened. We do know, though, that the hilltop site of the Acropolis, endowed with two copious springs, drew some of Greece's early Neolithic settlers. Later, with the rise of city-states, the Acropolis provided an ideal defensive position, and by 1400 BC, it had become a powerful Mycenaean city.

Around 1200 BC Greece fell into a long dark age, of which very little is known, but in the 8th-century BC a peaceful Athens became the artistic centre of Greece. Next came a period of social reform, followed by unrest and subsequent tyranny. Athens didn't shake off oppression until 510 BC, when Sparta stepped in to help. Following the defeat of the Persian Empire, Athens' power grew enormously. It established a confederacy on the island of Delos, demanding tributes from islands for protection against the Persians. The money was used to transform the city. This was Athens' golden age: monuments were built on the Acropolis, and drama and literature flourished. Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides; sculptors Pheidias and Myron; and historians Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon all lived at this time.

Sparta, however, wasn't prepared to play second fiddle, and increasing hostilities triggered the Peloponnesian Wars in 431BC. After 27 years of fighting, Sparta gained the upper hand, and Athens slid from its former glory. The century wasn't a total loss, as it did produce three of the west's greatest orators and philosophers: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

Under Roman rule, Athens continued to be a major seat of learning, and Roman emperors graced the city with many grand buildings. After the subdivision of the Roman Empire into east and west, the city remained a cultural and intellectual centre, until its schools of philosophy closed in 529 AD. Between 1200 and 1450, Athens was overrun by a motley crew of opportunists, including Franks, Catalans, Florentines and Venetians. The Turks invaded in 1456 and settled in for 400 years.

In the early stages of the War of Independence (1821-27), fierce street fighting saw the city change hands several times between Greek liberators and Turks. In 1834, Athens replaced Nafplio as the capital of independent Greece, and King Otho set about repairing the war-torn city. Bavarian architects created a city of imposing neoclassical buildings (most of which have since been demolished) and tree-lined boulevards.

The historical event which, more than any other, shaped the Athens of today was the compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey that followed the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. The population of Athens virtually doubled overnight, necessitating the hasty erection of concrete apartment blocks to house the newcomers.

Along with the rest of Greece, Athens suffered appallingly during the German occupation of WWII and in the civil war that followed. The expansion of Athens accelerated during the 1950s and 60s, when the country began the transition from an agricultural to an industrial nation. The colonels' junta (1967-74) tore down many crumbling old Turkish houses and the neoclassical buildings, all the while failing to tackle the infrastructure problems resulting from the rapid, chaotic growth of the city. By the end of the '80s the city had developed a sorry reputation as one of the most traffic-clogged and polluted in Europe.

Since the 1980s, fundamental changes have taken place, the most dramatic in the '90s. The city's failed bid to stage the 1996 Olympics served as a wake-up call to authorities, who launched an ambitious program to prepare the city for the 21st century. In 1997, the city's bid to stage the 2004 games was successful. Although the Olympics created a momentum of its own, with confidence riding high as billions were poured into development, infighting and bureaucratic red-tape caused delays so great that in 2000 IOC chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch warned that the games were in danger. By the end of 2002, the IOC was more confident about the progress Athens had made, but still concerned about whether everything would be finished on time. The years 2003 and 2004 will be critical, with all eyes on the city. In the long term, the Olympics could prove the greatest gift for Greece, and Athens, fast-tracking long-overdue infrastructure improvements. In the short term, they present the greatest challenge - as events of the last few years have shown, delivering an event of a scale the nation has never seen may well exhaust all the country's resources.

Greek Tourist Organizer
Guide of Greek Hotels and numerous travel related resources in Greece
Athens Attractions
Theatre of Dionysos
Ancient Agora
Tower of the Winds & Roman Agora
National Gardens
National Archaeological Museum

No trip to Athens would be complete without a visit to the Acropolis. It is the most important ancient monument in the western world. Inspiring as the monuments are, though, they are but faded remnants of Pericles' city - a city of temples with colossal buildings, lavishly coloured and gilded, and of gargantuan statues, some of bronze, others of marble plated with gold and encrusted with precious stones.

The Propylaia, which formed the towering entrance to the Acropolis in ancient times, boasts an architectural brilliance ranking with that of the Parthenon. The Parthenon, however, is unsurpassed in its grace and harmony. It is the largest Doric temple ever completed in Greece, the only one built completely (apart from its wooden roof) of Pentelic marble. The Parthenon had a dual purpose - to house the giant statue of Athena commissioned by Pericles, and to serve as the treasury for the tribute money that had been moved from Delos. It was built on the site of at least four earlier temples, all dedicated to the worship of Athena. Beside the Parthenon is the Erechtheion, immediately recognisable for its much-photographed Caryatids, the six maidens who take the place of columns. The onsite Acropolis Museum houses a collection of sculptures and reliefs from the site.

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Theatre of Dionysos
The enormous dimensions of the Theatre of Dionysos, on the southeastern slope of the Acropolis, give testament to the importance of theatre in the life of the Athenian city-state. The first theatre on this site was a timber affair erected in the 6th century BC. Here goatskin-clad performers sang and danced during the Festival of Great Dionysia. During the golden age of the 5th century, dramas by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes were commissioned for the festival. The theatre was reconstructed in stone and marble by Lycurgus between 342 and 326 BC. The auditorium could seat 17,000; of an original 64 tiers of seats, about 20 tiers still survive. The 2nd-century reliefs at the rear of the stage depict the exploits of Dionysos. The two hefty, hunched-up selini were worshippers of the mythical Selinos of the oversized phallus, who charged up mountains in lecherous pursuit of nymphs. He mentored Dionysos - with whatever energy he had leftover.

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Ancient Agora
The Agora (market) was the focal point of administrative, commercial, political and social activity back in the day. All roads led here, and it was bustling and crowded. Socrates could be seen expounding his philosophy, and in 49 AD, St Paul disputed here daily in an attempt to win converts to Christianity. A good place to begin an exploration of the site is in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, originally built in 159-138 BC; its expensive shops were a popular stamping ground for monied Athenians. In the vicinity is the Agora Museum, where there's a model of the Agora upstairs along with a collection of finds from the site. The Temple of Hephaestus, on the western edge of the Agora, dates from 449 BC and is the best-preserved Doric temple in Greece. To the northeast of the temple are the foundations of the Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios, one of the places where Socrates spoke to the masses.

Near the southern entrance of the market is the Church of the Holy Apostles, which was built in the early 11th century to commemorate St Paul and his teachings. Have a look at the Byzantine frescoes inside.

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Tower of the Winds & Roman Agora
The octagonal marble Tower of Winds, built in the 1st century BC by Syrian astronomer Andronicus, was several monuments in one: it served as a sundial, weather vane, water clock and compass. Each side of the monument represents a compass point and has a relief of a figure floating through the air, depicting the wind associated with that point. The weather vane, which disappeared long ago, was a bronze Triton that revolved upon the top of the tower.

The Roman Agora, though little more than a heap of rubble to the average eye, does hold an interesting nugget or two. Its entrance is through the well-preserved Gate of Athena Archegetis, flanked by four Doric columns. To the right of the entrance are foundations of a 1st-century public latrine, and in the southeast area are the foundations of a propylon and a row of shops.

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National Archaeological Museum
The bad news is that the museum housing the world's finest collection of Greek antiquities closed for major renovations in October 2002. The good news is that the 1874 museum will be transformed into a modern facility, befitting the guardian of such a priceless collection, reopening in April 2004 in time for the Olympics.

Despite all the pilfering by foreign archaeologists in the 19th century, this museum still has the world's best collection of Greek antiquities. The museum's tour de force, the Hall of Mycenaean Antiquities, is filled with gleaming gold. The star attraction is the Mask of Agamemnon. The Neolithic Collection includes finds from Thessaly, as well as pottery, figurines and jewellery from Troy, and the Cycladic Collection includes the largest Cycladic figurine ever found. Other rooms hold archaic, classical, late classical, Hellenistic and Roman period sculpture; bronze; pottery; and other exquisite objects and antiquities, including elaborately decorated mummy cases. The Thira Exhibition, consisting of spectacular Minoan frescoes unearthed at Akrotiri on Santorini, have been returned to the island.

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National Gardens
The delightfully shady National Gardens, featuring subtropical trees and ornamental ponds with waterfowl, are a nice refuge from the heat of the summer months. They were formerly of royal status and were designed by Queen Amalia. The botanical museum houses interesting drawings, paintings and photographs.

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Getting There & Away

Athens is a busy European hub, well serviced by flights from most parts of the world. The swish new Eleftherios Venizelos international airport at Spata (21km/13mi east of Athens) opened in March 2001, making air travel to and from Greece a far more pleasant experience than it used to be. Departure tax - included in ticket prices - is US$23 for domestic flights, US$26 for international flights to EU countries and US$36 for other international destinations. The quickest (25-35 minutes) way to the airport until the suburban rail network is finished in 2004 is to take the metro to Ethniki Amina and catch the E94 express airport bus. Otherwise, take the E95 airport express bus from Amalias Ave in Syntagma, outside the Parliament (1 hour) or bus E96 from Plateia Karaiskaki in Piraeus. Taxis can take longer than public transport if traffic is bad. Expect to pay around US$16-19.

There are two main intercity bus stations: Terminal A, about 7km (4.3mi) northwest of Omonia at Kifissou 100 and Terminal B, 5km (3mi) north Omonia off Liossion. International coaches from Albania, Bulgaria and Turkey arrive and depart from Peloponnese train station.

Trains to other parts of Greece leave from Larisis station and Peloponnese station, conveniently located near each other about 1km (0.6mi) northeast of Plateia Omonias. Trains also depart Larisis for Turkey, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and northern Europe.

Ferries, hydrofoils and catamarans bound for a bewildering array of islands depart from Athen's nearby port, Piraeus. For the latest departure information, pick up a weekly ferry schedule from the tourist office in central Athens. Services to Italy leave from Patras, three and a half hours west of Athens and Igoumenitsa, in northwestern Greece. Weekly services go to Cyprus and Israel from Piraeus. Boats to Turkey leave only from the Greek Islands. Port taxes are included in ticket prices and vary according to the destination.

Brazen drivers or motorcyclists can enter or leave the city via National Road 1, the main route north from Athens. Cyclists will find Athens a nightmarish proposition, with manic traffic and serious air pollution; a far better idea is to catch the train between Athens and Corinth or Thebes and start cycling from these comparatively sedate cities.

Getting Around
Many of Athens' ancient sites are within easy walking distance of Syntagma and many museums are close by on Vasilissis Sofias, so chances are you won't have much need for public transport. But if you do, you'll find that the city's sparkling new metro system has made getting around the centre of Athens far less painful than it used to be. Journeys that used to take an hour above ground take just minutes below ground. Another phase of expansion is due to be completed before the 2004 Olympics. Suburban Buses (blue and white) operate every 15 minutes, 5am-midnight and are inexpensive. Cable trolleybuses run the same hours.

With 1.7 million cars in circulation, it goes without saying that driving is an exercise in aggravation. And that's without mentioning the confusing signs, one-way street systems, cavalier attitudes to road laws and lack of car parks. As for cycling, don't even think about it. Athens' taxis are inexpensive - though you should always check the meter is set to the right tariff - but hailing one can be incredibly frustrating. To try this from the pavement, shout your destination as one passes. If a taxi is heading your way, it might stop even if there are passengers already inside. But don't count on it. If you absolutely must be somewhere on time, a more expensive radio taxi will save you the hailing headache.

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