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Top 5 things to do in Athens 2017

It’s that time of year again. Summer is upon us.The kids have broken up and you’ve saved up a couple weeks’ vacation time, so you’ve decided to go on a much-needed vacation. If you’ve chosen to go to Athens, you’ve chosen well. Athens is a city steeped in history, rich in culture, and full of things to do. Here are five things to do in Greece’s capital.

1. Parthenon. No trip to Athens is complete without a visit to the Parthenon. Sitting atop the Acropolis, the Parthenon is a majestic temple in the Doric style, surrounded by Doric columns and originally the home ofa number of marvellous sculptures (including the famous statue of Athena Parthenos). Though many of these statues were pinched by the infamous Earl of Elgin, who actually went so far as to chisel them off the walls, the site remains well worth visiting and, though the ascent is somewhat steep, you’ll be thankful once you get up there and actually see it.

2. National Garden. If you’re tired after schlepping up the Acropolis, the National Garden is a great place to rewind. A large park comprising thirty-eight acres in the centre of Athens, the National Garden is host to some towering palm trees and the site of a strange turning point in history. All I’ll say is, be on the lookout for any pet monkeys. Click here for more information.

3. Monastiraki. A mazy flea market selling a variety of products, ranging from touristy novelties to precious antiques, Monastiraki is the place to go if you need to a gift for grandma back home.

4. Lyceum. If you’re interested in philosophy, you’ll probably know that the Lyceum is the location of Aristotle’s peripatetic school. If you want to place your feet on parts of the earth on which, millennia earlier, one of the greatest thinkers of all time actually placed his feet, then the Lyceum is definitely worth visiting. Recently opened to the public as a garden, after excavations in the late nineties, the Lyceum is a place for spiritual refreshment and quiet contemplation.

5. Athens Festival. This is an annual festival that occurs every summer. Founded in 1955, it serves to promote musical and dramatic activities in the city. In its past it has hosted numerous famous orchestras and staged various classical plays. It takes place at such historic venues as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Athens Concert Hall.

Well there you have it. Those are my five suggestions for things to do in Athens. Just remember: a lot of the best times on holiday are when you go off the beaten track. You should strike the right balance betweenfamous monuments and lesser-known parts of the city. Athens is such an historic city that it would take more than one visit to do it justice, so pick the monument that interest you the most, make sure not to overdo the culture, and make sure to give yourself plenty of time to lounge by the poolside.