The sprawling metropolis of Athens has citizens, visitors and history spilling from every street and temple. This popular destination sees millions of visitors each year but is just one of many Greek treasures on offer.
Why hire a car at Athens Airport?
Escape the narrow streets of Athens and you'll quickly find yourself in one of Greece's national parks or somewhere near the coast. Hiring a car from Athens airport gives you the freedom to see Greece without signing up for a multitude of coach tours. It also means you can pull over and pick up fresh oranges, watermelons, cherries or figs from any of the roadside sellers.
That all important first mile - driving out of the airport:
Collect your hire car, drive on the right and pick up the E94 Attiki Odos highway when you leave the airport car park. Seatbelts are mandatory, togas are not. This is the main ring road for Athens and will get you to the city in half an hour. Tolls operate and will cost you €2.80 for a standard vehicle.
"We're a city shaped by the gods. From the Acropolis to the Temple of Poseidon, there are so many historical gems to discover in the Greek capital."
There's more to this city than ancient monuments. Athens is fammed for its buzzing nightlife, luxurious shops and spectacular promenades, and it's easy to navigate.
Whether you're a sun-seeker, a history buff or merely in the market for a traditional taste of Greek life, Athens has it all.
Social life plays a pivotal role in Athenian society - you'll often see locals debating the latest events over a coffee or taking the family out for an evening stroll.
At the height of summer, temperatures can reach up to 40°C. Do bring a jumper though - it can get a little chilly in the evenings.
Visit one of the city's many tavernas and choose from a mouth-watering array of traditional dishes - fried calamari, stuffed tomatoes, taramosalata and, of course, Greek salad.
Athenian celebrities don't get much bigger than the forefather of philosophical thought, Socrates, who shared his wisdom with local inhabitants during the 5th century BC.
The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896.
"Rome represents conquest, faith hovers over the towers of Jerusalem and Athens embodies the pre-eminent quality of the antique world, art." - former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
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The pinnacle of Greek civilization is 450 feet above sea level and is home to some of the most significant buildings in world history. Look out across the modern Athenian metropolis like a God, from the ancient ruins of the Parthenon. A perfect photo moment.
The ancient fortified town is home to some of the most iconic structures in the world. A trip to Athens wouldn't be complete without seeing the Acropolis' majestic Parthenon or the grand temple of Athena Nike. Where to park? There is an on-site car park.
The biggest and most important necropolis in Athens, just north of the Acropolis, is home to ancient graves, shrines and tombs. Take a walk through this fascinating archaeological site and examine the intriguing headstones and monuments, some of which have been around since 1200BC. Where to park? The cemetery is a 10-minute walk from the Acropolis, so you can use their car park. Alternatively, park at the Golden Hall or The Mall shopping centres.
This pedestrianised square at the centre of Athens is home to parliament buildings and the National Archaeological Museum, and has played a major part in the city's political history. Where to park? The square is a short walk from the Acropolis, so leave your car there and explore the area on foot.
The ruins of this ancient temple give you some idea of the sheer scale of the structure, which dates back to 456BC. While here, make sure you visit the 1896 Olympic Stadium and majestic Arch of Hadrian. Where to park? Leave you car at the Acropolis and make your way on foot to the temple (just a few minutes' walk). Alternatively, park at one of Athens' shopping centres.
For an inner-city oasis, head to this peaceful park behind Syntagma Square and wander among the flowers and ancient ruins. Keep the kids happy with a visit to the garden's petting zoo. Where to park? Park at the Golden Hall or The Mall shopping centres, or try your luck at finding a space along one of the nearby streets.
After checking out the spectacular gorges, natural springs and hiking routes of this sprawling park, jump on a cable car to the casino and hotel that sits at the top of a 4,600ft-high mountain. Needless to say, there are some stunning views to enjoy. How to get there? Take the M1 north, turn left onto the M6 and then take a right at Fylis. Follow the Aigaiou Pelagous to the mountain - it's roughly a 12-mile journey.
Athens' harbour is the place to go if you fancy taking a day trip to one of the nearby islands, such as the scenic Hydra or paddle-friendly Aegina. How to get there? From the centre of town, follow Peiraios until Athinon then take Agiou Dionysiou to the harbour. You'll be riding the waves to an island idyll in just 15 minutes.
This famous waterway is considered one of the great technical achievements of the 19th century. Take a cruise along the canal to see its sinking bridges and stunning surrounding landscape. How to get there? Just over an hour away, head west on Route 8 all the way. The road goes over the canal, so you can't miss it!
In the ancient Greek world, Delphi was considered the centre of the universe - and the locals marked this with the Omphalos stone, which you can see in Delphi's museum. How to get there? Take Route 48 and the M1. It'll take about two and a half hours, as you have to go round Mount Parnitha, which is smack-bang in the middle of the route!
" Congestion has been a problem in this city for as long as I can remember, but it's got much better in recent years because of the traffic control measures the government has introduced. A large part of the problem was the locals' attitude to parking - they'd park anywhere! But now the police are very strict on illegal parking - they remove your number plates! Be bold, keep to the right and take a map. "