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Downtown Athens is made up of many neighborhoods. Grab a map and venture behind the Old Olympic Stadium, through Mets, with its lovely restored neo-Classical buildings, gentle hills and winding streets, where a turn may afford an amazing glimpse over the National Gardens, of Mount Lykavittos and of the Acropolis.

Wander towards Imittou Street, more of a boulevard with one side pedestrian, lined with cafes surrounded by trees, street venders, a rooftop cinema – take an afternoon “volta” (stroll) with locals enjoying a gelato or a frappe, the national drink of Greece. Wander the side streets, discover little boutiques with prices half of what you’ll find in the Plaka, or visit a local butcher shop, cheese shop or “fournos” (bakery). Look for the lovely “cavas” (liquor stores) tucked away just off the main drag – you’ll find freshly roasted nuts and a fine selection of Greek liquors and wines, perfect for snacking, picnicing or bringing back as gifts.

Detour behind the Old Olympic Stadium, through Mets, into the walls of the Athens First Cemetary. Anyone who was anyone in Greece is buried there, and you’ll be amazed by the beautiful carved tombstones and sculptures.

Escape the heat of the summer sun in the Pagrati Alsos, or Little Forest of Pagrati – a cool escape beneath the tall pine trees, just down the street from the Old Stadium (Kalimarmaro) or circle behind Kalimarmaro Stadio and go for a stroll on Ardittos hill, where each twist and turn tempts you with glimpses of the Parthenon, leading you further along until you find that perfect Kodak moment where the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus and the Parthenon all line up, framed my the deep green pine trees and the cloudless Greek blue sky.

By Athensguide

How does a little girl from Skokie, Illinois find herself in historical Athens, leading curious explorers through the winding streets of Plaka, down "pezodromos" to hidden ouzeries for tempting mezedhes and homemade barrel wine? The journey began more than twenty years ago, and regardless of whether the wanderlust comes from the spiritual and culture DNA flowing through my veins, or the alignment of the stars on that cold mid-December day this Sagitterian came into the world, I never seem to tire of exploring my adopted homeland of Greece. Here you'll join me as I explore Athens: be it the back streets of Psirri and Gazi, or through the National Gardens and Zappeio where a family of turtles makes their home, or down wide, treelined Imittou Street in Pagrati, which pulses with Athenian life 24 hours a day. And while Athens has stolen my heart, the rest of Greece vies for my curiousity and wanderlust. My two guys (that'd be the Greek God, Vasilis and our Greek dog, Scruffy) and I can often be found settling in for a long weekend in some charming mountain village, or a quaint fishing port on a nearby island, or learning how Greek vitners are producing wines that rival some of Napa Valley's finests productions, or celebrating a panayeri in Epirus or sharing in the festivities as a family of Cretan sheepherders come together to sheer their 1500 sheep in the spring ... And if you happen to find yourself heading to Athens, consider finding yourself a real home for your stay. Living amongst the locals, be it for 3 nights or 3 weeks, will offer you the chance to experience true Athens, beyond the Acropolis. Choose from one of our 5 beautiful penthouse and historical homes, and who knows, I may be leading you down that winding "pezodromo" to our favorite hidden ouzerie!

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