Athens, Greece

The World's Ancient Capital. The Cradle of Western Civilization. The Neighborhood of the Gods. Athens is a city of many names lauding its ancient and mythological history—yet it's not all antiquity.

In Athens, Greece's capital and largest city, the past and present merge. A modern, cosmopolitan metropolis built among ancient ruins, iconic monuments and lavish architecture, it captivates visitors with history and mythology, delectable Greek cuisine, shopping, entertainment and a vibrant nightlife.

Surrounded by golden, sandy shores jeweled with turquoise waters, Athens might just make your clients feel like gods and goddesses themselves.

The World's Ancient Capital

History unfolds with every step in Europe's largest Archaeological Park. Reigning over the city and crowned by the Parthenon, the Acropolis is considered the most important ancient site in the Western world. A pedestrian path skirts the foot and connects all the city's major archaeological sites—from the temple of Olympian Zeus, past the Theatre of Dionysos, to the top of the "sacred rock."

A little over 300 yards away, the Acropolis Museum houses 4,000 priceless monument artifacts in one of the city's most important contemporary works of architecture, while the National Archeological Museum exhibits one of the richest collections of Greek art in the world.

The Cradle of Western Civilization

A walk around the old neighborhoods—Plaka, Makriyianni, Monastiraki, Anafiotika—reveals the coexistence of eras in Athens. Ancient Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman remnants such as the Ancient Agora and Roman Agora endure among flea markets, chic luxury department stores, stylish boutiques, classy cafés and traditional taverns.

The Cradle of Western Civilization has grown with the times.

Travelers could relish Greek cuisine's fresh ingredients, famous olive oil, herbs and spices in acclaimed restaurants that rival for the best view of the Acropolis.

As the sun sets and casts the marble columns of the Parthenon in a golden hue, the city's buzzing nightlife awakens. Travelers could find after-dinner cocktails in trendy bars—such as Bretto, the oldest distillery in Athens, known for its iconic, brightly colored bottles. Nightclubs of Psiri, Gazi and Kolonaki in the city center never sleep.

The Neighborhood of the Gods

Greece shorelines are known for crystal clean and clear waters—and with nearly 10,000 miles of coastline, the country boasts one of the longest shores in the world. The beautiful small beaches, charming bays and coves that trim the islands combine with year-round warm and sunny weather for the perfect beach experience.

The diverse variety of shoreline offers myriad activities—from lounging in the sand to indulging in watersports such as swimming, fishing, water skiing, diving, windsurfing and parasailing. There are hundreds of beaches across the islands, but a few favorites lie close to Athens.

Legrena: Located along the coastal road that leads to the Temple of Poseidon, Legrena beach is picturesque and so quiet, your travelers might think you arranged their own private beach.

Lake Vouliagmeni: While technically not a beach, Lake Vouliagmenis lies beneath the remains of a limestone cavern, and is fed by underground springs and is inviting for relaxing swims.

Schinias: Among the most popular coastal resorts, Schinias' long and pine curved beach offers comfortable facilities including restaurants, beach bars and volleyball courts. Often affected by strong winds, this is an ideal location for windsurfing.

"Sea" Athens … and More.

Help your travelers to explore Athens by land, or sea. Cruise lines offer quintessential Mediterranean voyages, with Athens as a port.

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
The 15-day Mediterranean cruise from Athens to Venice allows passengers to relax in the sun while diving deep into the history, culture and magic of the Mediterranean. |

Regent Seven Seas and Cruises
Passengers can spend 12 nights exploring the Mediterranean at 10 ports, from Athens to Rome. |

Oceania Cruises
Cruises feature a multitude of itineraries—stretching from Miami, Florida, to Venice, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain—and include Athens as a port. |

Written by Cassie Westrate.

Photo courtesy of the Greek National Tourism Organization.