Visit Athens' historic centre to see the fifth-century BC Parthenon on the rocky Acropolis hill. Take in Ancient Greek art at the National Archaeological Museum in the central Exarhia district and the bustling shopping scene at the Central Market. Don't forget the glamorous nightlife in mainstream Psirri and trendy Gazi district, as well as the sandy beaches along the Athens coast.
Athens' birthplace, the Acropolis, is your best point of reference. Walk to the Acropolis' north-east-facing slopes to visit pretty Plaka, Athens' oldest residential quarter. Head north of Plaka to Ermou, Athens' main shopping street. Follow this east-west axis from Syntagma, home to the Greek parliament, to alternative Gazi. On the way, you'll pass through Monastiraki, where you can browse through its antiques market. Go north of Ermou for the mainstream nightlife district of Psirri, formerly an industrial area. Or travel north-east of Syntagma to Mount Lycavittos, which rises above Athens' upmarket neighbourhood, Kolonaki.
Begin with the Ancient Greek temples of the Acropolis, then lunch in an old-fashioned taverna (small Greek restaurant) in the pretty Plaka district. Visit the vast National Archaeological Museum with its displays of Ancient Greek jewellery, ceramics and sculpture. Watch the changing of the Evzone guards in front of parliament on Syntagma Square then stroll through the lush National Gardens. Light a candle in the tiny 11th-century Byzantine church of Kapnikarea. Eat seafood overlooking the quaint fishing harbour of Microlimano in Piraeus, and if it's summer, relax on the beach in Vouliagmeni.
Regain your bearings by climbing Mount Lycavittos for panoramic views over the city. Descend through smart Kolonaki, home to designer boutiques, then trace the history of Greek cultural development in the Benaki Museum. Walk the archaeological promenade, skirting the foot of the Acropolis to arrive at the Ancient Agora marketplace, and check out today's colourful Central Market near the gritty Omonia area. Take a boat trip to the nearby Argo Saronic islands. Reserve one evening for viewing contemporary art at the modern Technopolis complex in hip nightlife district Gazi. Stay there to party the night away in Athens' alternative bars and clubs.
Greece's newest and busiest airport was opened in 2001 and flies over 15 million passengers a year from two terminals. Voted European Airport of the Year in 2004, Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport is currently utilised by 61 international and domestic airlines.