An exciting city of unusual places to explore behind closed doors and an array of food that will keep you salivating throughout your stay!
Maximim temperature between 22°C and 24°C, the perceived temperature is <30°.
Little or no rain (less than 1.5mm per day).
Sunny (over 80% sunshine).
High air temperature (>24°C), sea temperature between 20°C and 22°C, moderate winds (between 7 mph and 12 mph).
Optimal comfort: optimal wind speed (between 7 mph and 12 mph) in a warm environment (>24°C).
Before heading back down the hill make sure you stop off at the Agora, where Socrates was said to have carried out his numerous discourses. Next on your list should be the Plaka area, or the charming village that wraps around the Acropolis hillsides - get lost in its winding streets and make sure to stop by for a spot of lunch or dinner before heading off to the markets of Monastiraki (meaning 'small monastery' in English), the district past Haidrian's Library. Here is a popular area for shopping due to the large market lining the cobbled streets (beware that while Greece is renowned for its handmade leather goods, a lot of items on sale here actually come from China).
Do make the trip up the Mount Lybacabettus for a 360° view of the sprawling city and surrounding districts including Attica, which you will soon enough realise is a lot bigger than one would have envisaged. On the way down make sure you pass through Exarchia, also known as the anarchists' district. Here you will find a range of independent arty shops, cafés, restaurants and artist squats.
In the evenings the best area to explore if you like house music, is Gazi when there are events on at the renovated factory complex and its surrounding bars. For a more local scene try Psiri, the neighbourhood in the backstreets of Monastiraki. If house music isn't your scene, you are best off exploring the bars hidden from the beaten track in Monastiraki like the TAF (The Art Foundation) and Six Dogs.
If food is your main preoccupation during your visit to Athens, then you won't be disappointed (unless you decide it is a good idea to try your luck off Syntagma square, that is). Try small restaurants that don't look like much from the exterior as these are usually your best bet for authentic Greek food. Alternatively try Thissio just past Monastiraki where you will find a string of lively restaurants lined up one after the other. You will have to trust your instinct to avoid the tourist traps among them - a good way to tell is by spotting the locals; the more locals at the restaurant, the most authentic it is likely to be.
When planning your visit to the Acropolis, make sure you allow enough time to visit the museum first, followed by the Acropolis and the Agora, which closes around 4:00pm during the winter and 5:00pm in the summer.
Don't be surprised if a local strikes up conversation with you, especially if it takes a political turn. It will soon become obvious that the financial crisis in Greece is extremely difficult for the locals who are only too happy to engage in a long-winded conversation (or monologue) about the current situation. If you decide to exchange views about politics make sure you understand that this won't be a light-hearted conversation.
Don't bother walking to Omonia Square along Athina street from Monastiraki as there really isn't much to see here apart from a few homeless people bedding-down and a lot of traffic. And don't bother with Kolonaki either - a rich neighbourhood with shops and cafés but not too lively and with very little to see.
Avoid buying leather goods in Monastiraki market even if the products have a 'Genuine Greek Leather' label - in reality most of these items have been imported from China. Stick to family businesses like The Art of Leather on Athina (between Monastiraki and Omonia).
In terms of restaurants, stay away from the Syntagma area (just across the main square in Monastiraki) as these are expensive and the food served here isn't particularly good. There are also unbearable swarms of tourists and hawkers.
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