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Athens: 5 things to do in Greece’s capital and surrounds

Athens has one of the longest histories in the world. Over the centuries, different conquerors have taken control of Greece’s capital, with each leaving their own impression on the city.

Today it’s one of Europe’s prime tourist destinations, which reels in 4.5 million tourists every year. The best way to explore this vibrant place starts with finding a hire car from Athens Airport. Once you have that, get set for an ultimate adventure and check out these attractions!

The jewel of Athens: the Acropolis

Marvel at what’s considered to be Greece’s crowning glory. The “high city” dominates the Athens skyline and is an absolute masterpiece. Ancient structures like the Temple of Athena Nike and the fifth century BC temple ruins of the Parthenon make for a true reminder of the country’s Golden Age. But most of all the views from the summit are well worth a steep climb to the top.

Lake Vouliagmeni

If you’re feeling up for a drive then detour about 45 minutes south of Athens. You’ll discover the magnificent Lake Vouliagmeni, which sits beneath the remains of a limestone cavern. The water temperature is usually around 25 degrees Celsius, making it a great place to swim year-round. Find your little slice of heaven by the tranquil water.

Plaka district

It’s touted as one of the city’s most attractive districts. Plaka is also right under the slopes of the magnificent Acropolis and Greek literature references it as “the neighbourhood of the Gods”. There are neoclassical mansions to admire, small winding roads, quaint balconies and gorgeous flowers. It’s a special place where you can enjoy a bite to eat and also pick up souvenirs.

Monastiraki Flea Market

Athens is home to many markets but Monastiraki Flea Market should be the one at the top of your list. It’s a traditional market, with modern souvenir stalls, antique shops and collectables stores. Locals will also gladly entice you to buy their jewellery, crafts and other unique goods.

Mount Lycabettus

At 277 metres high, the Mount Lycabettus summit is the highest in the city. Its mighty limestone peaks rise from a pine tree forest in a fairly flat cityscape. From the top you can gaze upon the ancient temples and the gorgeous Aegean Sea. If you start your climb from Aristippou Street, take the zigzagging paths for around 20 minutes to get to the top. However, for those wanting a more relaxing option, it’s probably better to take the cable railway.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Brianna Piazza is an Australian television reporter and part-time travel blogger. Originally from Melbourne, she's currently living in Cairns where she works for WIN News and spends her weekends exploring the outdoors Far North Queensland.

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