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View of ancient ruins in Athens

Discover the birthplace of western civilisation on city breaks to Athens, where ancient temples overlook bustling shopping streets and family-friendly Greek tavernas.

Athens swells outwards from the Acropolis, a flat-topped hillside that's crowned by the tall white pillars of the Parthenon. In its shadow is Plaka, a warren of music-filled streets lined with restaurants, bars and gift shops. You can stop here for an icy-cold beer, or buzz straight down to the Ancient Agora to wander among crumbling stone ruins. Modern Athens begins at Syntagma Square, with the National Gardens and the Greek Parliament both just a stone's throw away.

Best of Athens city breaks for...

  • Families: At Hellenic Cosmos, a hands-on museum about ancient Greece, almost everything is interactive. Take the kids on a walk through ancient Olympia, or step inside the towering Temple of Zeus.
  • Active types: Love your sport? Then you'll get a kick out of visiting the U-shaped Panathinaiko Stadium, birthplace of the modern Olympic Games. Built from pearly white marble, it could once seat up to 80,000 people.
  • Shopping: Kolonaki is the trendiest shopping district in Athens, and a great place to spend an afternoon searching for that new leather handbag. Keep your eyes peeled for bow-topped designs by local icon Vassilis Zoulias.
    Sun shining on sculptures
  • Romance: If you're looking for romantic weekend breaks in Athens, you can't beat a Greek spa overlooking the Athenian Riviera. Have a long soak in the silky, magnesium rich waters, then sip a fruity cocktail as you watch the sun setting over the city.
  • Free & cheap: Athens' Central Market gives you a flavour for the real Greece, and it's one of the city's cheapest places to eat and drink. Even if you're not hungry, it's worth having a good mooch around!

Getting into Athens from Athens International Airport

  • A walkway connects the airport terminal with the Athens Metro system, which leads directly to central hubs like Syntagma Square.
  • Taxis are the best option if you want to avoid rush hour on the Metro. Cars wait by the arrivals area.

Getting around on weekend breaks to Athens

  • Public transport The Metro is fast and easy, serving destinations across the city. Listen out for the music piped into downtown stations!
  • Taxis Bright-yellow taxis are a common sight across Athens, and they're easy to flag down. Just ask for the meter to be switched on before you start moving.