Attica, Athens

Greece / Attica

Attica is a peninsular region in the south-eastern part of mainland Greece. When people speak of Attica, they mean the city of Athens (the historical center of the country) and the surrounding suburbs. Even the Greeks themselves sometimes can’t find the clear boundaries of their cities. A city with a rich history, Athens is not only the capital of Greece, but also the historical capital of Europe, starting with the first settlements in the Neolithic period. Over the years a lot of conquerors occupied Athens. Each new nation tried to build its own unique, magnificent monuments - a rare historical heritage of Athens today. In 1834 it became the capital of the modern Greek state, turning later into an attractive tourist modern metropolis with unrivaled charm of antiquity.

A big part of the historic center of the city is transformed into a 3-kilometer pedestrian area (the largest in Europe), preserving ancient landscape. Take the time to meet with all the sights of Athens and you will never regret it! In the end, the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus along with the ancient treasures of the National Archaeological Museum - they are one of the most significant milestones in the history as a whole and in the culture of the western world in particular. The main attraction and hallmark of the city is the sacred Acropolis and the Parthenon - that grandiose monument of architecture. In close proximity to the Acropolis you will find the Temple of Athena Nike, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus performing the world-famous tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides. In the Archaeological Museum you can see the masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture. We also encourage you to visit the Temple of Athena, the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Plaka (the oldest historic center of Athens), Mount Lycabettus with St. George’s Chapel, as well as numerous museums: the National Archaeological Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, the National Pinakothek, the Byzantine Museum and many other exciting places.

If you are looking for the perfect view of the entire peninsula of Attica, Mount Parnitha is the place where you definitely need to get: you will be able to admire Egaleo mountain in the south, Mount Pentelicus in the southeast and simply breathtaking views of the sea. Parnitha became a national park in 1961. This mountainous area is situated in the immediate vicinity of Athens, 35 km north of the city center. Parnitha is an ideal place for hiking, trekking and mountain sports. Parnitha National Park has an extensive network of paths and trails, so that the visitors have the opportunity to spend hours wandering around, admiring the beautiful and soothing landscape of spruce and pine forests. If you're lucky, you can even see a deer - rich flora and fauna makes this place unique. 42 species of mammals, 1,000 species of plants and many species of birds live in the National Park of Parnitha. In the forests of Parnitha you can find the springs of admirable quality, rock caves (Pan’s cave, the fortress of Fili), ancient chapels and other places of interest.

There is another attraction in the east of Athens - Hymettus mountain - with peaks reaching over 1,000 meters and a length of 16 km. It offers stunning views of the entire city of Athens. This mountain range is covered with thick pine forest with hidden historic monasteries, amazing caves, quaint walkways. This place is ideal for mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing. Since ancient times, the mountain was noted for its thyme honey. Wildflowers, poppies, daisies, rosemary and thyme - it is not surprising that the local thyme honey is considered one of the best in the world. The area of Kaisariani Monastery is probably one of the nicest and quietest places around Hymettus mountain. Built on ancient foundations at a height of 350 m, this monument of medieval architecture is known for its cathedral and old paintings inside the church. Around the cathedral there are many secluded areas that are perfect for picnics.

Mount Pentelicus is situated to the north of the center of Athens. It is easily recognizable from a distance due to its vast quarries. The cave of the same name is known for its mythical catacombs, stretched for many kilometers. The mountain is famous for white marble that was used for the construction of the Acropolis and other ancient monuments. Today, the ancient quarries are used only to get material for restoration work in the Acropolis. The best time to visit this place is at the beginning of spring, when wild flowers bloom. There is a cave which is popular among young researchers and those who wish to test their skills in climbing. The artificial Lake Marathon with marble dam is located immediately behind the mountain, in a picturesque location close to the city center. Not far from here there is the burial mound of Marathon - the site of the legendary Persian battle. There is also Penteli Monastery - one of the richest and largest still-functioning monasteries in Greece, founded in the XVI century. Mount Pentelicus is rich in mineral springs and green forests, famous for white marble and fascinating views.

Take an excursion to the southern tip of Attica - Cape Sounion. This cape is known for fantastic views over the Aegean Sea and the sunsets of amazing beauty. The road to the cape runs along the idyllic beaches of the Saronic Gulf - Glyfada, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza - as well as along numerous caves. The beautiful slopes of the exciting Cape Sounion hide the Temple of Poseidon which was built millennia ago. The ancient temple of the lord of the sea was built in 440 BC, and many of its original Doric columns have survived. Lord Byron carved his name in the marble of one of these columns. Now the cape houses the remains of columns and roof of Athena sanctuary. Cape Sounion is known for important ancient monuments and unique landscapes. Make a wish in the Temple of Poseidon at sunset and be sure it will be fulfilled!

Do not forget about the center of world shipping in Athens - Piraeus port. Piraeus is the main port of Athens, the biggest port in Greece, one of the leading ports in the Mediterranean, an important center for the marine fleet of the country. The city of Piraeus is divided into three smaller ports: the central port (from where cruise ships depart to the islands), Zea (dock for ships and luxury yachts) and Mikrolimano (little bay for yachts and fishing boats). From here you can take the ferry and go to the Greek islands. You can also stroll along the harbor and see the amazing yachts and ships. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus to see the bronze statue of Apollo, or the Naval Museum which exhibits a huge number of models of ancient ships. Piraeus is famous for its award-winning restaurants, one of which boasts a Michelin star. Here you can taste the best seafood in all of Athens. A huge number of taverns will not leave you indifferent. From Piraeus you can bring locally produced olive oil and organic honey, as well as true Greek treasure - great local liqueurs.

Explore the small charms of Athens before the city immediately captivates you. Take a trip into the past, visiting archaeological sites and historical places. You will experience an unforgettable feeling following the footsteps of thousands of ancestors and visiting the sites of numerous battles. In addition, it is perhaps the only capital where you can enjoy a vibrant nightlife of the city and swim in the sea just a few kilometers from the city center. The combination of incongruous things will make you fall in love with this city forever.

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