When to fly
Despite the heat, hordes of visitors choose to book their flights to Athens in the summer, in particular August. If you are travelling during this time, it should be taken into consideration that some Athenians shut their businesses and take their holidays during the second half of August. If you come in the summer, visit sights and attractions in the early morning, nap through the midday heat, then visit more attractions in the evening. The Athens and Epidaurus Festival is a great celebration of leading individuals and companies within theatre, music and dance, including opera, classical music, ballet, jazz and ancient theatre. This famous cultural event takes place in mid-June to mid-September, with most performances taking place on the slope of the Acropolis.
Spring and late autumn have ideal weather for visiting Athens and you may also find cheaper flights and deals on accommodation. A National holiday in Athens and Greece, Independence Day and Evangelismos, take place in March. This commemorates the revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1821 and is celebrated with dances and parades. Another event which can appeal to visitors is Apokries (Carnival), a three week celebration before the Lent fasting period starts, which is celebrated with plays, street parties and parades organised all around Athens. The date of this carnival is open to change, so check the exact date before you fly.
Winter is an interesting time to visit Athens. Although the weather is chilly with some rain, you can expect fewer tourists and possibly save money on accommodation and find some cheap flights.
Flying to Athens is on every serious traveller's wish list. The sight of the floodlit Parthenon at the top of the Acropolis alone is worth whatever you've paid for the tickets.
Athens has bags of character and a unique atmosphere, the result of those 2,500 years of life, endeavour and effort. Once dismissed as smoggy and dirty, hosting the Olympic Games in 2004 gave the city a new lease on life and now it's one of the top city-break destinations in the world. However, while boutique hotels have sprung up and ritzy restaurants are being written up in the world's press, while the airport is just losing its freshly-constructed sheen and residents and visitors are enjoying their journeys on the new metro, while new and expanded museums are attracting visitors, the heart of Athens beats strong.
With Syntagma Square and Monastiraki, Omonia Square is the third point of the triangle at the heart of modern Athens. Plaka, the tangle of streets in the skirts of the towering Acropolis is to the south. Further east, the regenerated areas of Thissio and Gazi are now firmly on the map.
But don't let yourself be dazzled by the vibrant nightlife, thriving restaurant scene and countless cafes dotted around the city. Its focus remains the elevated Acropolis where the Parthenon stands in a glory that may have been worn but hardly dimmed by the passage of time. Other sites of note when you book your flights to Athens include the Temple of Hephaestus, the Ancient Agora, Theatre of Dionysus and the Roman Herodes Atticus amphitheatre that are scattered around the base of the Acropolis - can be accessed via the pedestrian-only Grand Promenade.