ATHENS Greece

GT (UK) - - TRAVEL -

As one of the old­est ci­ties in the world, and recog­nised as the cra­dle of Western democ­racy, phi­los­o­phy, mod­ern civil­i­sa­tion and (of course) the world-renowned Olympic Games, it’s not hard to see why Athens is on so many peo­ple’s bucket lists.

We’re wel­comed to our stay at the city’s stylish Hil­ton Ho­tel with a smile and a bot­tle of wine – al­ways a win­ning com­bi­na­tion – and shown to our spa­cious, mod­ern rooms. two en­tic­ing pools and a bar, you’ll be tempted to spend the whole of your trip in­side, but we’d en­cour­age you to ven­ture out as soon as pos­si­ble and ex­plore all that Athens has rocky streets of the world­fa­mous city with the sun beam­ing down on you is an ex­pe­ri­ence un­like any you’ll

Top of any­one’s Athens to-do-list is likely be the Acrop­o­lis, the sa­cred ci­tadel upon which the re­mains of many Greek tem­ples still stand. A pil­grim­age to one of the world’s most recog­nised land­marks is bound to be hum­bling, and the Acrop­o­lis cer­tainly doesn’t dis­ap­point. As you marvel at the unimag­in­able amount of man­power and crafts­man­ship that must have gone into build­ing the struc­tures in a pre-tech­nol­ogy era, re­mem­ber to take in the breath­tak­ing sight of the city from high above.

But while Athens may of epic fan­tasies like Game of Thrones to take you away from ev­ery­day life, there’s also plenty of lux­ury shop­ping and mod­ern nightlife to be found, in­clud­ing the chic rooftop Galaxy Bar and Restau­rant back at the Hil­ton best views the city has to

If club­bing is your thing, it’s worth not­ing that Athens’ ex­u­ber­ant nightlife doesn’t truly be­gin un­til late at night, with many bars open­ing around 11pm and re­main­ing open un­til the early hours – some­thing we found out when we vis­ited the city’s hottest gay night­club So­dade2; a small but sat­is­fy­ing venue that adds new mean­ing to ‘meat­pack­ing’ with its gor­geous men and dis­tinct lack of per­sonal space.

Play­ing a con­stant steam of Brit­ney Spears, Madonna, and even the oc­ca­sional Bette Mi­dler, there’s no bet­ter place in Greece to lose your in­hi­bi­tions and dance to your hearts con­tent.

LGBT-friendly tour guides are avail­able from Big Olive, with nu­mer­ous stops at his­tor­i­cal points of in­ter­est and nuggets of in­for­ma­tion

the more ‘main­stream’ tours. Fea­tur­ing ex­pertly told sto­ries of ho­mo­erotic bath houses, and mor­tals, and the LGBT+ land­marks, it’s a tour you’re

Speak­ing of bath houses, a visit to the Ham­mam of the most au­then­ti­cally ‘Greek’ ex­pe­ri­ences that money can buy. Mod­elled af­ter tra­di­tional com­mu­nal com­mon in an­cient times, scrub­bing salts and and an ex­pe­ri­ence to share such sauna full of strangers, but you’ll feel lib­er­ated do­ing it, and achieve a dreamy state of mind in the process.

Greek cui­sine served as the fo­cus of much of our trip, and for good rea­son – the var­i­ous dishes savoured dur­ing our time in Athens truly put Bri­tish food to shame. With the Mediter­ranean diet largely con­sid­ered one of the caught from the ad­journ­ing oceans, the coun­try’s fa­mous grilled sou­vlaki, or juicy sal­ads some­thing for all food­ies to en­joy – even the fussy ones.

One of the most mem­o­rable un­doubt­edly Mama Roux’s, ec­cen­tric­ity matched only by cock­tails or fresh milk­shakes missed one of the restau­rant’s revered street food par­ties be­ing held later that evening.

When you’ve truly ex­hausted all that Athens at­trac­tions and ex­u­ber­ant host of Greek is­lands at your liv­ing are your thing, then look no fur­ther than Hy­dra, one of the re­gion’s most sat­is­fy­ingly quaint des­ti­na­tions.

us to the ul­ti­mate re­lax­ing sign that the is­land is so heav­ily re­liant on tourism Hy­dra is quite lit­er­ally your foot­path. Well, yours and the oc­ca­sional don­key. Aside from that’s not au­then­ti­cally Greek about the is­land.

But there’s more to this desti­na­tion than sandy beaches and sun­set cock­tails those things – as Hy­dra is rich in cul­ture and his­tory, too. A visit to the His­tor­i­cal Ar­chives Mu­seum of Hy­dra some im­pres­sively de­tailed do­nated by de­scen­dants of through­out his­tory.

customers to en­joy, it’s the the sea and rem­i­nisced over proudly re­called host­ing the imag­ine a more ro­man­tic lo­ca­tion to tie the knot.

While the many his­tor­i­cal no keep you on your feet as you soak up as much cul­ture as pos­si­ble, it’s im­por­tant to so many peo­ple con­tinue to visit, and re­visit, Greece – its in­com­pa­ra­ble beauty.

GT trav­elled to Athens with Bri­tish Air­ways from Lon­don Heathrow. GT stayed at the Hil­ton Athens Ho­tel, hilto­na­thens.gr. For more in­for­ma­tion on what to do in Greece see vis­it­greece.gr

RIGHT THE ACROP­O­LIS BE­LOW HY­DRA

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