The birthplace of Classical Greece and a region that fostered the arts, philosophy, politics, athletics and drama at the heart of Western civilization, this sprawling, frenetic city is still very much the country’s cultural and economic capital. The rocky, fortified Acropolis, site of the Parthenon, Erechtheion and other renowned monuments, is just one of seven hills that made up the ancient city and today offer a respite from the commotion of the modern metropolis below. Spread around the foot of the Acropolis, the revitalized historic districts of Thissio, Monastiraki and Plaka invite visitors to stroll the stone walkways and explore their many tavernas, galleries and bohemian shops.
For thousands of years, Greece's capital city has been a center for politics, art, literature, and enlightened thought. These days,Athens is a madly bustling metropolis but the central point in town is still the Acropolis. The most recognizable ruin at this 8,000-year-old city hub is the Parthenon, but other famous ones include the Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea.To experience something else that hasn't changed much over the millennia, dive into the hectic, haggling Monastiraki neighborhood. Cut-price retailers run small shops here throughout the week, but on the weekends, the place turns into a full-on flea market/swap meet and is always thronged with people by midmorning. The neighborhood of Plaka at the foot of the Acropolis is the oldest part of Athens' "old city" and at this point is very pedestrian-friendly... in fact, most streets are pedestrian-only, chock-full of restaurants and shops.