History & sightseeing
Athens’ Acropolis, meaning ‘The Sacred Rock or high city’, is the best known Acropolis in the world and visited by some three million tourists annually who come to stand in awe of the Parthenon – famed for its architectural symmetry and housing surviving friezes and marble metopes (though the best examples are still residing in the British Museum), the beautiful temples and the views of Athens stretched out before them. Located at the foot of the Acropolis is the Acropolis Museum, an architectural marvel which houses some of Greece's finest treasures, while the National Archaeological Museum is packed with ancient marble statues, jewellery and ceramics.
A must see in Athens is the striking ancient ‘Greek Temple of Olympian Zeus’, the largest of its kind in Greece. Visit this staggering site where 104, 17m high Corinthian columns once stood, of which now just 15 remain. Work began in the 6th century by Peisistratos, though the temple took more than a staggering 700 years to build due to lack of funds and various issues impacting the build. The grandeur of the Parthenon, a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, made it more of a showpiece than a working sanctuary. Instead, the Erechtheion, dedicated to Athena and Poseidon, was named after the mythical king of Athens, Erechtheus. Holding a truly fascinating ancient past, the site is ripe for exploring.
The Ancient Promenade – a grand pedestrian promenade – connects some of Athens most well known sights and is a great way to see modern and ancient Athens side by side. Start at the Temple of Olympian Zeus (the largest in Greece), wander up to the Acropolis and then stroll through Monastiraki – the flea market here is an amazing collection of small shops, like a Turkish Bazaar, especially on a Sunday when people come from the hills to sell their wares.
Get away from Athens central for a while and enjoy a coffee in the National Gardens. This shaded oasis, which used to be the private garden of the Greek Kings, comes complete with peacocks, deer and relaxed Athenians. Similarly, Mount Hymettus, famous for its thyme honey and beautiful marble, has long been a favoured refuge from the heat in Athens. Almost all of the city can be seen from here, including the mountains of Parnitha – the more adventurous should head up to enjoy the stunning sunsets.
Located on the south slope of the Acropolis, the 2nd century Odeion of Herodes, is a semi-circular theatre which plays host annually to the summer Hellenic Festival of classical drama, dance and music performances, including the occasional gig by the likes of Jean Michel Jarre.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
British Airways from London Heathrow to Athens. UK regional departures and charter flights are also available.
From London Heathrow to Athens: 3 hours, 35 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
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Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.