Flight and hotel Athens
Introducing package holidays in Athens
Athens is the capital city of Greece, which is famed for its ancient civilizations of centuries past. Today, the city boasts some of the world's most impressive archaeological sites, including the majestic hilltop citadel, the Acropolis. A flight to and hotel in Athens aren't all about the past, though. Today, the city is brimming with cosmopolitan restaurants, hip bars and trendy shopping districts. The city also has plenty of outside spaces to enjoy on warm Greek afternoons. Head to the National Garden of Athens or Parnitha National Park and traverse the paths surrounded by lush vegetation, exotic plants and a collection of wildlife. After a day of sightseeing, settle in at a traditional Greek tavern and dine on local cuisine as you regale the tales of this magnetic city when you book a flight from Dublin to Athens.
What to know before visiting Athens
A weekend in Athens starts at Athens International Airport (ATH), which is connected to the centre of town by the Athens Metro line 3, making for a quick and stress-free onward journey. Taxis are also readily available.
As Greece is part of the Eurozone, the euro is the accepted currency. Exchange offices are available at the airport, and there are plenty of ATMs around the city where you can withdraw euros. While Greek is the primary language, most people who work in the travel industry will have enough English to get by. However, a few words of the local language is always appreciated. Greece is two hours ahead of the United Kingdom.
When is the best time to visit Athens?
Without question, the best time for package holidays in Athens is spring and autumn. During this time, temperatures generally hover around the mid-to-high twenties, perfect for exploring the area's sights and attractions. In the height of summer, the mercury often rises to over 40 degrees. While the winter months are typically considered offseason, the weather is rarely cold – visit between November and March and you'll feel like you have the city to yourself and you can avoid peak-season queues.
What to do in Athens
The undisputed draw for a weekend in Athens is its rich cultural heritage. Known as the birthplace of democracy, the city has numerous magnificent buildings and museums that explore its influential past. Sitting high above the city streets is the imposing Acropolis, which dates back to 400 BC. Other ancient structures to add to your itinerary include:
- Ancient Agora, a wonderful example of ancient Greek architecture
- Herod Atticus Odeon, stunning stone theatre constructed in 161 AD
- Erechtheion, an ancient temple dedicated to the Greek gods Athena and Poseidon
- Parthenon, an imposing temple dedicated to Athena and one of the icons of the city of Athens
- the Acropolis Museum, which explores the history of the building in greater detail with numerous artefacts
Keen shoppers should head to Ermou Street, which hosts local Greek designers as well as larger international stores. Athinas Street, also home to clothing shops, has a more casual vibe, with plenty of markets and stalls to explore on city breaks in Athens.
What to see when you visit Athens
In addition to historic sites, Athens boasts a wealth of museums where you can learn about its history in greater detail. The Acropolis Museum, one of the most important in Greece, hosts thousands of artefacts from the Acropolis itself. Head to Syntagma Square to see the changing of the guard, which occurs daily in front of the parliament building. The guards, donning traditional Greek military uniforms, rotate every hour in a short but fascinating ceremony.
Philopappou Hill is a city park with protected heritage status. As well as having its own attractions such as the Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris, it offers stunning vistas across Athens. Explore Varvakeios Central Market when you book a flight to and hotel in Athens. The city's most popular market, it's a charming place to spend a morning drinking coffee and shopping with the locals when you fly to Athens.
What to eat when you visit Athens
Souvlaki, skewered grilled meat, is a staple of Greek cuisine. Often served in a pita bread or simply on a plate with a hearty portion of salad, it can be picked up at food stalls or restaurants. Street food is common in Athens, and kebab reigns as the ultimate snack on the go. Far from being a late-night, post-drink indulgence, kebab is a fresh, healthy meal in Greece and perfect for a quick lunch.
Mousakka is a must-try on city breaks in Athens. Tuck into a hearty bowl of this Greek treat, which is similar to a lasagne without the pasta sheets, with a glass of red wine on a warm evening. For a real treat, add a side of sfougata (croquettes made from local cheese) and a portion of feta me meli, filo pastry filled with feta cheese and drizzled with honey and pistachio nuts.
What souvenirs can you bring back home from Athens?
Tavli, the Greek form of backgammon, dates back to the Mesopotamian era. The traditional game can be picked up at many stores across Athens and is a wonderful gift to remember your trip by. Other mementoes that make ideal souvenirs when you fly from Cork to Athens including olive oil soap (which is great for sensitive skin), Greek coffee (head to Miseyiannis Café to pick some up), ceramics and pottery.