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Athens - Greece

Athens, a bustling metropolis of four million inhabitants, offers its visitors a huge selection of entertainment options, as well as world-class sightseeing opportunities few other places on earth can match. Athens boasts some of mankind's greatest heritage sites such as the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and the Dionysos Theatre.

Museums & Galleries
Of no lesser interest are the city's great museums, for example the National Archaeological Museum with its splendid collection of ancient Greek art. Also worth a visit is the "Museum Mile" on Vassilissis Sophias Avenue featuring the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Byzantine Museum, the War Museum and the National Art Gallery.

The city's cultural life is extremely varied. Many concerts and performances take place between May and October in numerous open-air venues such as the Lykavittos Theatre overlooking the city. The major cultural event is the Athens Festival-one of Europe's largest summer festivals held each year from June to September. Younger crowds are attracted by the three-day Rockwave Festival held each July.

The winter season includes great concerts at the splendid Athens Concert Hall as well as opera and ballet performances by the Greek National Opera. Also worth mentioning are the city's rebetiko and jazz clubs, such as the Stoa Athanaton and the Half Note Jazz Club.

Performances at the historic National Theatre truly stand out amongst the dozens of theatrical productions which take place in the city. There are also many art exhibitions to choose from, including those held at Gazi Technopolis Manos Chatzidakis, Athinais Cultural Centre and Artower Agora.

If you fancy watching the latest movie, the language barrier is no problem as all movies are featured in the original language with Greek subtitles (with the exception of some films for children). There is a huge choice of cinemas in Athens including, among others, Village Park (Europe's largest entertainment complex), Village Centre Maroussi and Athinais. Still more enjoyable though, is watching a movie under the stars at one of the city's open-air cinemas - such as the one at Aegli, in the Zappion Gardens.

Children will also have a great time in Athens. They can explore the National Garden, visit the mystical Koutouki Cave and the world's third largest bird collection at the Attica Zoological Park. Try out the hands-on exhibits at the Greek Museum of Childhood or even see the creations of other children, exhibited at the Museum of Greek Children's Art.

At the disposal of both children and adults are the city's excellent beaches and water sports facilities, such as the Astir Beach Club in Vouliagmeni, Schinias Beach and Karavi Beach Club in Marathon and the EOT beach clubs in Alimos and Varkiza. Other sports facilities can be found at the freely accessible Agios Kosmas sports complex in Elliniko and the Glyfada Golf Course. Hikers can head to the Mt Parnitha National Park, just north of the city.

The city's excellent shops present an additional recreational opportunity. Athens is a great place for clothes shopping - women in particular will appreciate both the quality and the attractive prices of clothes sold at the city's elegant boutiques. You can also shop for works of art, antiques, home accessories and exotic souvenirs.

For an up to date program of events, art exhibitions, concerts, performances and cinema screenings, consult the pages of Athens News, a weekly English-language newspaper published every Friday. More detailed information, as well as many dining and nightlife suggestions can be found in the Greek-language magazine Athinorama, which is also published on Fridays.

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