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It’s OK to admit you snoozed your way through history class. From Aristotle to the Roman and Ottoman Empires, it’s all Greek to you. Allow us to school you—you’re headed to the capital city of Greece. To further your future reign as master of history, you’ll need to get yourself to the birthplace of modern civilisation STAT. Let’s start with the basics: get flights to Athens from lastminute.com.au, and for extra credit check out our Athens accommodation while you’re at it.
Pop quiz: What’s the difference between a Doric and Corinthian column? (Psst: find out at the Acropolis where the Parthenon, the largest temple in Athens, showcases examples of classic Doric architecture. To see the flashier Corinthian style, search for Hadrian’s Library on the north side.) Don’t worry, it’s not all facts and figures: this high-up spot overlooks the whole city and provides the most photo-worthy views. Send some snaps to your old professors and prove you can still learn a thing or two.
Become an expert at the many museums of the historical neighbourhood, Plaka. Take in more ruins amongst charming neoclassical homes, shops and cafes in the Monastiraki and Thissio districts that also skirt the Acropolis. You can head to school, literally, in the Kolonaki neighbourhood, home to several universities. Here you’ll also find trendy boutiques and upscale cafes. To hang with the intelligentsia, should you head to A) Exarcheia, home to bookshops and organic markets, B) Psyri, housing live music and some of the most charming hotels in Athens or C) Syntagma, the central hub, where you’ll find the most luxurious accommodation in Athens? (Hint: the answer is in the question. Ahem, bookstores, ahem.)
Once you’ve aced the sightseeing test, it’s time to reward yourself with a study break. Ancient ruins are all well and good, but Athens also prides itself on its nightlife. The Greek people get top marks for their vibrant social skills, and Athens is abuzz until long after midnight. Clubs that feature traditional and new Greek music are called bouzoukia and are the heart and soul of the scene after dark. You’ll find multiple choices along Syggrou Avenue and in the Gazi area. Put your party hat on and prove it also pays to have a good time.
Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH) gets an A+ for efficiency and quality. Bone up on the history of the city at the on-site museum before heading out in search of Athens hotels. Pick up a transportation map to study your options. Choose from metro, suburban train, express bus, taxi or private car hire, any of which will take you right to cosy, upscale or modest Greece hotels.
The Athens Metro is head of its class. Greece is so full of artefacts, even its metro stations have them on display. Line 3 will take you from the airport right to the centre, while Lines 1 and 2 reach most parts of the city. For busy sightseeing days, buy a 24-hour ticket, which you can ride until midnight weeknights and 2 a.m. on the weekend.
Who needs a drab classroom when Athens holidays can show you the heart of where modern civilisation all began? (Answer: not you! Let lastminute.com.au excuse this absence—you’ve got better places to be.)