Citrus Holidays
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Athens’ heyday was around 400 years BC, that’s when most of the classical monuments were built. During the Byzantine and Turkish eras, the city decayed into just an insignificant little village, only to become the capital of newly-liberated Greece in 1833. Ahead of the 2004 Olympics, almost the entire infrastructure was transformed: the Metro, trams, new ring roads and viaducts have eased the pressure of the heavy traffic. Athens is still a rather messy and chaotic place—it wouldn’t be Athens otherwise—and despite all the improvements, still retains a great deal of its oriental charm. The whole coastal stretch from Piraeus to the old Hellenikon airport has been improved with new plantings, viaducts and paths for walking. The Plaka district is becoming more and more popular and it is on the way to catching up with Psyrri, Gazi and Rouf as regards restaurants. Discover the beauties of the Anafiotika district, at the feet of the Acropolis, and visit the ancient village still housed in the midst of the city. In Exarchia, there is still a somewhat in-your-face anarchic atmosphere around the Technical University. Meanwhile, Kolonaki is becoming more and more chic.
Dive in perhaps the most historically rich capital of Europe and discover its secrets. Athens' past and its landmarks are worldly famous, but the city offers much more than the postcards show: it is a vivid city of culture and art, where the streets have as much to show for as the monuments and antique statues. The difficult years it has known with the economic crisis have only deepen the city's artsy soul and not a day goes by that Athens does not amaze its visitors.
Food is at the centre of all activities in Greece and you will soon find out why! The Greek cuisine, Mediterranean at heart and influenced by their Turkish neighbours is fresh, honest, filling and absolutely gorgeous. Whether you are in for a tour of the best Greek Tavernas in town, looking for the most tasty Gyros or want to try the new Greek cuisine, you might take the local rhythm and spend a lot of time around the table! Good news, in Athens and in the whole country you can eat at any time of the day and late at night. Tavernas and Ouzerias (where you can drink local cocktails and usually hear traditional music) are also a key place for social life - not that you would need additional reasons to go!
Drinking coffee in Greece is an institution, and Athens is no exception. You will find the cafes and their terraces full of people, laughter, cigarette smoke and animation everyday and all year long. Cafes here are the place to meet up with friends, to relax, to have long conversations about life and politics, or to play backgammon (when in Greece, call it "Tavli"). To the local Frappé and Freddo Capuccino or Espresso are added more and more coffee specialities and you can choose to sit at a trendy or alternative cafe, at a traditional kafeneio, or even at one of Greece's coffee chains.
Athens' bar scene is a never ending surprise, and as it is custom in Greece, the nightlife extends way beyond the first morning lights. The Greeks know to drink and to party, and Athens is the living and breathing image of this happy and joyful spirit! From alternative bars to fancy dance scenes, pubs and traditional "ouzerias", follow the flow and you are in for some of the best nights of your life!
It is almost unbelievable that Athens is not yet consecrated as one of the best Fashion and Shopping destination of Europe. It has everything the other capitals are so proud of - international brands, luxury products and major names, designer shops, smaller and more original boutiques - showcased in pleasant streets and neighbourhoods, usually with lower prices than cities such as Paris, Milan or London. Although the city was hit hard by the crisis and many small shops had to close, it still offers plenty of shopping opportunities, in and around the centre.
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