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Athens ~ The Acropolis and Beyond

Begin with the ancient history of the Acropolis

Picture this…you wake up to an Athenian sunrise at a hip downtown hotel with an amazing view of Central Athens and soak in over 4,000 years of history. You head over to Koukaki to the wonder of the Acropolismeet your Acropolis Premium Tour group, enjoy some authentic Greek yoghurt and begin the climb up to the ancient Acropolis. The Parthenon, the ancient temples, sanctuary’s and surrounding theaters walk you back in time with stories of Greek mythology brought alive. With the restorations constantly in progress, multiple visits to the Acropolis are a must. It’s a destination steeped in both history and mythical mystery!

But once you’ve seen the Acropolis, what are you going to do next? 

Athens - a travel gateway offering limitless activities

When planning a trip to Athens, the Acropolis is a definite must-see, but did you ever consider the city’s water activities, mountain hikes, and natural wildlife waiting for you just outside the city? With beautiful weather all year round, Athens is perfect for every occasion - family trips, active getaways, romantic honeymoons – and it’s pretty much a direct flight from all major international airports!

Windsurfing and Kitesurfing around Athens

Best spots for windsurfing and kitesurfing around Athens: Active couples, friends, and families will have a splash catching waves.

windsailing in Athens (pic courtesy ThisIsAthens)Varkiza Bay (Best for beginners, intermediates, and families) - Athens’ closest windsurfing hub. The beach is divided into two sections. Half is taken up by Yabanaki Beach Resort, home to the water-sports club Yasurfaki. They offer windsurfing rental, as well as lessons with experienced instructors, together with a full range of watersports (wakeboarding, banana boats, SUPs). Yasurfaki opens only from May to late September/early October.

Artemida – Loutsa (Best for all levels) - this stretch receives the steadiest (and strongest) winds when they come from the north, making it suitable for kitesurfing as well as windsurfing. All of the clubs here are open year-round.

One of the largest clubs, Athens Watersports Club, offers a full range of windsurf and kitesurf rentals and lessons for all levels. Near the beach, the water is flat (with a sandy seabed) making it good for beginners and intermediates, while the more experienced can head further out and upwind to play in the waves. SUP and kayak (surfski) lessons and rentals are also available.

Hike Mount Penteli and the Acropolis quarry grounds

Historic hike on Mount Penteli: Couples who love nature, hiking, and all things outdoorsy would find this hike fulfilling and satisfying.

hiking Mount Penteli (pic courtesy ThisIsAthens)Mount Penteli is one of the four ranges that cradle Athens and at 1,006 metres (3300 ft), is the second highest summit after Mount Parnitha. Those who welcome a nature walk with historic purpose and the chance to explore lesser-known Athens. While the route is moderately challenging and manageable for most, it’s a steady uphill trek, so best avoided by those with back or knee issues.

Highlights: Getting high on sublime mountain and sea views; edible flora (such as wild asparagus and sage); and treading across marble-strewn screes that literally paved the way for the Parthenon and much of ancient Athens.

Ground Covered: A 6km (4 mi) round trip on the northern slopes of Mount Penteli, from Aloula, to the Dionysos open-air marble museum, with stops at Prophet Elias, Agios Loukas and Agios Nikitas.

Experience Athens in a new way, getting in touch with its nature and history with insane views.

Pro tip: pack some snacks for a picnic once you get to Hanging Rock, the highest point of the hike. 

Bird-Watching around Athens

Best Places for Bird-Watching in Athens: The perfect adventure for families, animal lovers, and photographers.

The National Garden

birding in sight of the AcropolisAn incredible variety of vegetation provides the perfect habitat for birds. Look up, look around and with luck, you might spot the white wagtail (Motacilla alba) pumping its tail up and down as it chases insects. The Troglodyte troglodyte, one of Europe’s smallest birds and the only wren species on the continent, also makes its home here. Another unusual bird: the wryneck, or Jynx torquilla, a woodpecker that twists its neck when frightened. You can spot them in old nests high in the trees or flicking insects off the ground with their tongues.

Philopappou Hill

Sparrowhawks seems especially fond of Philopappou Hill—you’ll often see them soaring overhead. This pine habitat also attracts kestrels, small grey owls, and the swift goldcrest with its colourful plumage. In spring, the chirping can rival the summer cicadas: it’s the chatter of the European serin, a small bird that’s easily mistaken for a canary.

Other activities around Athens to consider:

Athens is a year-round destination thanks to its beautiful weather and varied activities for different travellers.With easy flight access from almost everywhere and wonderous Greek mythology to explore, what’s not to love about Athens!

Has Athens been a gateway city springboard for your Mediterranean adventures? Where have you explored around and within Athens. We’d love to hear more of your adventures to add to the suggestions here. Drop a comment below and connect with our social channels – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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