Category: Top Athens posts (page 2 of 4)

The enchanting beauty of Athens

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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

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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 Acropolis and the Parthenon … 10 years after our first trip to Athens

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 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

Extended opening hours lead to big spike in tourist visits to Greece’s top museums & historic sites

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the Propylaea at the Acropolis in Athens

Tourists climb steps to the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis of Athens, on the morning of Sunday June 1

 

 

Wise move: A decision to extend operating hours for 33 of Greece’s top museums and archaeological site this summer is proving to have been a wise move, sparking a significant surge in the number of visitors to each of the attractions.

As I reported in a March 4 2014 post, the Greek Ministry of Culture recently implemented longer opening hours for nearly three dozen major museums and historic sites, including the Acropolis in Athens and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion in Crete.  From April 1 to October 31, each of the sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week. (Many had previously been closed to the public on Mondays, and were not open for nearly as many hours on other days of the week.)

A May 30 news report on the Greek Travel Pages website says government data for the month of April has shown significant double- and triple-digit increases in visitor numbers and revenue at each of the venues offering extended hours.

 

Ticket sale increases ranged from 14% to 116%

The smallest increase was the 14.12% rise in ticket revenue reported for the Archaeological site of Sounion, while sales of combined entrance passes to a group of central Athens historic sites, including the Acropolis, also hit double digits, climbing by 17%.

The biggest increase in revenue was achieved at the Archaeological Site of Akrotiri, on Santorini, which reported a nearly 116% rise in sales compared to April 2013. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion posted a 109% increase, while revenues rose slightly more than 100% at the White Tower in the city of Thessaloniki.

I was in Athens from May 30 to June 2 and saw substantially more tourists in the central area of the city than I recall seeing at the same time last year and in 2011 and 2010. In fact, in many parts of the city I heard more people speaking English, Italian and French than I heard speaking Greek. And during my June 1 visit to the Acropolis, visitors from China and Japan almost outnumbered tourists from other countries.

Greece had been anticipating a record 18.5 million visitors for 2014, but the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) last week predicted that the number will surpass 19 million.

Click here to read a June 3 Globe and Mail newspaper report on Greece’s tourism rebound…it includes comments by the Greek minister of tourism, Olga Kefalogianni.

 

Parthenon and Acropolis

Throngs of tourists explore the area around the Parthenon on June 1.

 

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