Most people in the UK will gladly tell you that Greece is one of the best holiday destinations you can visit. They will probably tell you about the great nightlife, but will it be Athens nightlife they are talking about?

For many people who visit Athens the most grabbing feature is the contrast. The most obvious thing is the difference between the ancient and the modern. Most of us would think of Athens as an ancient city, but we would be right in thinking this as it is one of the oldest cities in the world. It would be fair to say that Athens is the forerunner for civilisation in Europe, being that it is one of the oldest cities and it was the birthplace of democracy. Many of the buildings in the city have been around since that period and many go back as far as the Roman times. What you might not expect at first though, is to find the thriving, vibrant and modern city that has grown up among these ancient buildings.

It would be easily possible to write a hundred articles concerning these ancient sites of Athens and you will often see these buildings on lists featuring the top ten ancient sites in the world. A few of the regular contenders are the Parthenon, the Acropolis and the Theatre of Dionysus.
When you think of a symbol of ancient Greece, it is probably the hugely recognisable structure of the Parthenon that spring to mind. Dedicated to the goddess Athena, this Doric building is widely accepted as one of the most important surviving buildings from the era. The building has been used as a Greek temple, church and mosque since its completion in 432BC. It still stands today, proudly looking over the city centre two and a half thousand years after its completion.

the Acropolis in Athens is so significant that is is usually identified simply with the name 'The Acropolis', despite the many other acropoleis, or citadels, in Greece. If you didnt think of the Parthenon when I asked you to think of an ancient building, then it was probably the acropolis that you thought of.

In 534BD the Theatre of Dionysus was built, and it still stands today as the oldest of all the outdoor theatres in Athens. Anyone visiting Athens should consider the remains of this particular site a part of their visit. I found that visiting the Acropolis made it easy to visit the theatre at the same time, as they are located reasonably close to one another.

It is important to see more of Athens than just the ancient sites, after a day of admiring the architecture dust yourself off and get ready to enjoy the other side of Athens. Why not explore the taverns on those warm evenings? You remember, right, that the city has a young, lively population that like to enjoy an evening in the taverns just as much as you do? My favourite area in town is Plakas, where if you follow your nose (or the sound of music) you will soon find somewhere to spend the evening.

Visiting Athens can be done as a fantastic city break, but as ferries to the Greek islands depart from nearby Piraeus. If you only planned a brief time in Athens while you flew in before heading to the islands then you might want to consider extending your time there a little, as some time in the city won't go amiss. You might also end up wanting to spend a little time in Athens if you were on a ferry from Italy and heading for the islands, again I would suggest that you try to spend some time in the city. This would actually dock in Patra, two and a half hours away from Athens, but if you can spare the time you should really spend some of it in the city before heading off again - you won't regret it!

Author's Bio: 

When you visit Athens give yourself peace of mind by travelling with a company that demonstrates a real commitment to corporate social responsibility. Look for businesses with ethical and sustainable practices, not just policies.