Category: Top Athens posts (page 1 of 3)

Athens nightlife: Where to party with the locals

Millenium GAZI club in Athens

Scenes from Millenium GAZI, one of dozens of clubs, bars, restaurants and cafes within walking distance of the Karameikos metro station in the buzzing Gazi entertainment district of Athens

 

After dark: Wondering where to find a great party scene while you’re visiting Athens? Check out the article Athens nightlife: where do locals go? published recently on the Odiporikon travel tips website.

Written by an Athens-born blogger, the article notes that Athens offers “a very rich variety” of places to enjoy a night on the town. “Avoid the tourist traps and try out places a little further from the usual path,” the article advises.

To that end, it describes the top Athens party districts and how to reach them using the local public transit system and taxis.

Areas listed in the blog post include:

♦ Thissio

♦ Ag. Eirini Square

♦ Kolokotroni Street

♦ Gazi

♦ Psirri

♦ Exarcheia

♦ Chalandri

♦ Glyfada, and

♦ Mikrolimano

Be sure to bookmark the guide to keep on hand for your trip to Athens.

OPUS Inner Pleasure Glyfada

OPUS Inner Pleasure is one of many hot hangouts in the Glyfada coastal suburb of Athens. It’s a restaurant-cafe by day and a party club at night.

 

Top smoke-free Athens bars and restaurants for non-smokers

Mama Roux Athens

The open-air terrace at Mama Roux is shown in a  photo from the restaurant’s Facebook page. Mama Roux is among 10 top Athens cocktail bars & restaurants that expressly forbid smoking on their premises, according to an article from the Greece Is culture and gastronomy website.

 

Breathe better: From a visitor’s point of view, there are very few negative things I can say about Greece. I love going there, and wouldn’t publish this website if I didn’t. But like any place on Earth, it’s not a perfect paradise and it does have some drawbacks. The biggest, from my personal perspective, is the wide prevalence of smoking — not just by locals, but by tourists, too.

I’m seriously allergic to tobacco smoke — it makes me intensely nauseous, and it hinders my breathing. It also stings my eyes and sticks to my contact lenses, leaving them scratchy and uncomfortable. And it doesn’t matter if I’m inside a building or outdoors — if someone lights up nearby, the impact of their smoke is just as severe.

It seems I have plenty of company: I’ve received messages from other people with smoke allergies, and I’ve spoken to numerous travellers (mainly from the USA and Canada) who have commented on the pervasiveness of smoking even in places where it’s supposed to be illegal. 

Happily, I have found cigarette smoke less of a nuisance in recent years than it was during each of our Greek holidays prior to 2009. That was the year Greece enacted legislation to ban smoking in many public places, and though the law has often been ignored since it took effect, I have encountered far fewer people puffing in places where I can’t easily escape their smoke, such as in shops, restaurants and hotels, or on public transit. I still have occasional problems, but I breathe much easier in Greece now than I did up to 2009.

Nevertheless, a meal in a restaurant or a coffee break in a cafe can be ruined for me if another customer or someone on staff lights up. No matter how far away I sit from a smoker (and I actually have changed tables to avoid some), their smoke will waft in my direction and give me grief. 

 

Since I’ve often wondered if there’s anywhere I could go where I could be guaranteed someone wouldn’t be smoking at the table beside me, I was glad to find an article entitled Athenian Hangouts Without Smoke, which was published at the end of March on the excellent Greece Is culture and gastronomy.

Written by Maria Coveou, the article profiles 10 Athens restaurants and cocktail bars “which are smoke-free in theory and in practice, and where exceptions are never made.”

I haven’t been to any of the establishments yet (though I have walked past one — the legendary Zonars restaurant and lounge), but I have bookmarked the article to keep on hand for my next trip to Athens.

If you’re planning to visit Athens and you’re a non-smoker yourself, click here to read Maria’s article and save it for future reference. 

And if you happen to know of other bars and restaurants in Athens (or anywhere else in Greece) that steadfastly forbid tobacco smoking on their premises, please let me and my non-smoking readers know by adding a comment to this post (simply click on the word “comments” under the headline at the top of this article, and write your response in the “Leave a Reply” box.) Those of us with cigarette smoke allergies will be immensely grateful for the information!

 

Zonars restaurant Athens Greece

One of the city’s most famous restaurants and lounge bars, Zonars is another establishment where non-smokers can enjoy a drink or meal in an environment free of tobacco smoke. This street-view photo of Zonars was shared on Facebook by Aspasia Taka Architects.

The enchanting beauty of Athens

Athens is a gorgeous 5-minute promotional video produced by Visit Greece, the website of the Greek National Tourism Organisation. With its fabulous high-definition and time-lapse photography showcasing top attractions and historic monuments in Greece’s capital city and points beyond, such as spectacular Cape Sounion and beautiful beaches on the Athens Riviera, it’s one of the best Athens videos I’ve ever seen.  Click the arrow on the image above to start the film and take “an enchanting trip around the beauties of Athens.” 

 

 

“I’m an Athenian too” campaign lets visitors show the world what they love about Athens

This Discover Greece video shows how its “I’m An Athenian Too” campaign lets Athens visitors stamp their personal “Athenian identity” on their favourite travel photos to share with the world — and possibly win them a trip back to Greece. Click on the arrow to watch the video.

 

 

Be an Athenian: It happens every time one of our holidays in Greece comes to a close: I’m at Athens International Airport, waiting for our flight home to Canada, yet part of me feels like Athens is a home I’m about to leave behind. It’s an intense, heart-felt emotion that gets even stronger if I start reviewing vacation photos on my camera in the departure lounge to pass time before boarding the plane.

The people who promote tourism to Greece understand that millions of other tourists feel exactly the same way, so they have created a clever new promotional campaign that invites Athens visitors to show the whole world what they love about the fabulous Greek capital city — using their own holiday photos.

Called “I’m An Athenian Too,” the campaign is an initiative of Discover Greece, conducted in collaboration with Athens International Airport.

The promotional program is based on a smartphone app that “lets you express the Athenian inside you” by sharing personal travel photos on social media. Users simply download the special app from the I’m An Athenian website, choose one of their favourite Athens photos, and then select a hand-drawn stamp to apply to the image to describe how it captures their feelings for the city. When they share their stamped photo on social media, the picture will automatically appear in the campaign, and their name will be entered into a contest to win great prizes, including trips for two to Athens.

 I'm An Athenian Too

This image from the I’m An Athenian Too campaign shows some of the hand-drawn stamps that contest participants can attach to the Athens travel photos they plan to post and share on social media

 

 If you’ve been to Athens and want to enter the contest, click here to obtain further details and to download the app.

For those of you who haven’t been to Athens before, here are some photos from the I’m An Athenian Too campaign that just might inspire you to book a trip to this amazing historic city:

 I'm An Athenian Too

Three must-see Athens landmarks include the world-famous Acropolis and Parthenon plus Lycabettus Hill (upper right)

  I'm An Athenian Too

A vine-shaded passageway in the National Garden, my favourite place to visit when I want a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Athens. The 15-hectare National Garden is a tranquil oasis of parks, gardens and ponds located directly behind the Greek Parliament Building in Central Athens.

 I'm An Athenian Too

The lanes, alleys and streets of the historical Plaka neighbourhood are packed with delightful cafes, bars, tavernas and shops

 I'm An Athenian Too

Besides its energetic city core filled with museums, galleries, historic ruins, shops and restaurants, Athens boasts an amazing natural attraction — the Athenian Riviera, an extensive coastline dotted with beautiful parks, footpaths, beaches, marinas, restaurants, nightclubs, and spectacular scenery.

 

Revisiting the Parthenon … 10 years later

 The Parthenon

Crowds were so sparse the first time we visited the Acropolis in Athens (on the afternoon of Friday June 11 2004, to be precise)

 

 

the Parthenon

that we were able to get this shot of me standing in front of the Parthenon — with nobody else in sight!

 

 

The Parthenon

However, it was impossible to get photos of the Parthenon without any other people around during our return visit to the Acropolis on Sunday June 1 2014

 

 

No all-by-my-selfies possible: We practically had the Acropolis and the Parthenon all to ourselves when we visited the historic Athens monuments for the first time late on the afternoon of Friday June 11 2004. Even though it was only two months before the opening of the Athens Summer Olympics, the site — one of the most famous tourist attractions in the entire world — wasn’t crowded. In fact, Dan managed to take a photo of me standing by myself in front of the Parthenon — with nobody else around.

There was no chance of getting another photo like that when went back to the Acropolis for a repeat visit two weeks ago. It was late in the morning on a Sunday this time (June 1), and we were among hundreds of people who kept jockeying for prime positions to get the perfect Parthenon picture. With huge throngs of tourists all around, including some guided groups with dozens of participants apiece, there was absolutely no way to take a frontal photo of the Parthenon without getting a bunch of people in the shot. Or without getting constantly jostled and bumped while making a valiant attempt.

 

34% increase in foreign tourists to Athens

We shouldn’t have been surprised to find the Acopolis so busy — tourism in Greece is booming this year. In fact, statistics reported by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) show that 500,000 more foreign visitors arrived in Greece during the first five months of this year than during the same period last year — an increase of nearly 21%.  Specifically for Athens, the number of foreign visitors surged by a whopping 34% between January and May (compared to 2013), and rose by nearly 31% in May alone.

SETE expects that Greece will reach its target of 19 million international visitors for 2014 — a tourism record for the country.

Based on the number of tourists we saw wandering around Athens during the weekend of May 30 to June 2, I’m certain Greece will set that record.

Below is a brief videoclip I shot showing a few of the tourists who were visiting the Acropolis at the same time as us on June 1. Notice that almost everyone is moving briskly — no doubt to quickly find the perfect place to take selfies with the Parthenon in the background!

 

Tourists at the Athens Acropolis on June 1

 

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