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Overview

Of the 15 million Greeks spread across the face of the globe, almost a third of them reside in or around Athens. And Greeks are like Americans, in that they come from all over. And they all come, sooner or later, to Athens. So this is where you will find the entire Greek world in microcosm. Italian influenced Ionians rub shoulders with Bulgarian accented Thracians, people who learned their English in Sydney chat with relatives from New Jersey. As the residents say, "Ours is a city with many hearts." It's a new city. Largely destroyed in WWII, it was hastily rebuilt, without much planning or quality control. Broken sidewalks and staggering ...

Of the 15 million Greeks spread across the face of the globe, almost a third of them reside in or around Athens. And Greeks are like Americans, in that they come from all over. And they all come, sooner or later, to Athens. So this is where you will find the entire Greek world in microcosm. Italian influenced Ionians rub shoulders with Bulgarian accented Thracians, people who learned their English in Sydney chat with relatives from New Jersey. As the residents say, "Ours is a city with many hearts." It's a new city. Largely destroyed in WWII, it was hastily rebuilt, without much planning or quality control. Broken sidewalks and staggering air pollution and traffic are testimony to it. But the history, the art, music and cuisine are as life-giving as air.

So take an antihistamine and watch your step. Check the low prices in the student district off Omonias Square in the northwest. Or go upscale around Syntagma Square in the southeast, in view of the Parthenon. Discover the birthplace of European cookery in the countless tavernas. Wherever you hear live music, follow it. Order an ouzo or a retsina and let this ancient courtesan seduce you.

Richard Sterling
About the Expert

Richard Sterling is the author of Lonely Planet's World Food: Greece, Eyewitness Travel Guide Vietnam, and many other books.

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Richard Sterling for Triporati

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Now Happening in Athens, Greece

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece and sprawls across the central plain of Attica and is built around a number of hills. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy.
  • Language: Greek
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Easter week for a total Greek experience; summer for partying; winter for lowest prices.