#NeMaAthens

In its15 year history, 2015 is the first year NeMa has had the good fortune to head to Athens. With so much to do, see and explore, we asked local Athenian, Dimitris Karaiskakis, COO of the Athens Exchange Group, to give us a run down of an ideal day in Athens.

Dimitrious_KaraiskakisAlthough Athens is sprawling city, it’s easy to get a good flavour of it all in one day — just stick to the main attractions which can be easily accessible by foot. The city has spectacular history and you’ll come across spots that have the remnants of ancient civilizations residing on the land that look practically untouched.

Begin at The Acropolis which needs no introduction. An ancient city located on top of a cliff, it is one of the most visited Heritage sites in the world. It is best to visit The Acropolis early in the morning because it involves an uphill walk and can get hot.

Then walk down the Acropolis museum which is located down the hill of Acropolis. The museum has a bright, sleek design and houses important artifacts from the Acropolis. It also has an impressive patio — a great spot to refuel with a coffee.

Walk through Plaka down to Monastiraki Square. Plaka is the historic heart of Athens. A tiny village within the city of Athens, it is nestled under The Acropolis. The labyrinthine streets of Plaka are full of musicians, florists, independent boutiques, and cafes. Scout the shops for souvenirs – you will find everything. You can there admire archeological sites including the Ancient Agora and the Tower of the Winds and explore old churches and several small museums about Greek culture. 

Once you arrive at Monastiraki Square turn left and take a break for a quick lunch in Agia Eirini Square. The Square used to be home to the flower market of Athens but those shops have now been replaced by cafe-bars that are filled with coffee drinkers by day and wine, beer and cocktails at night when the neighborhood literally buzzes with the sound of voices and music. The cafés also serve food and you can get anything from breakfast to a snack to a whole meal.

After your lunch, walk up Ermou Street, Athens’s main shopping street, named after Hermes, god of commerce and thievery. You will arrive at Syntagma Square (Constitution Square) where the Parliament House is. Walk through the National Garden up to Kolonaki area, which is one of the capital's leading shopping areas, including a number of high-end boutiques from young adult to casual fashion to prestigious haute couture from Greek and international designers. Lots of Museums and galleries are around Kolonaki. The Benaki Museum inside a preserved neoclassical manor house, the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art and the Byzantine Museum which is a walk across the street from Vassilissis Sofias Avenue. There are a plethora of available options for an early drink in the area, including bars and coffee shops.

You can then walk down Herodou Atticou Street which is across Kolonaki Square. Herodou Atticou is the most expensive piece of housing real estate as the Presidential Palace (the official workplace and residence of the President of the Hellenic Republic and the Maximos Mansion, the official workplace of the Prime Minister are located there.  The barracks of the Presidential Guard are also located there.

At the end of Herodou Atticou Street you will see the Panathenaic Stadium also known as the Kallimármaro, (meaning the "beautifully marbled"), which is the Stadium that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium, the Panathenaic is the only stadium in the world built entirely by marble. 

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