At once gritty and ancient, lively and traditional, the Greek capital will welcome you with visions of crumbling temples and cobbled streets, taverns that burst with grilling saganaki cheese and potent ouzo, and some of the very best museum collections in the country. Of course, you'll want to take some time to see the mighty Acropolis – a 2,500-year-old mass of shrines and theatres. But beyond that are enthralling neighborhoods like Plaka, where Orthodox church domes loom overhead and olive oil emporiums beckon behind blooms of bougainvillea. Cheap flights to Athens from Australia almost always involve a stopover, with the best bargains on tickets leaving from major cities like Melbourne and Sydney.
This is the must-see sight of Athens. It's the great citadel of the ancients, with a grand temple to Athena – the Parthenon – and marble-built gatehouses to boot.
Spreading out below the Acropolis, the Agora was where day-to-day life unfolded in ancient Athens. Head here to tread in the footsteps of Aristotle and Plato.
Plate-smashing tavernas serve smorgasbords of tzatziki and mezze as live music echoes through the cobbled streets – welcome to the immersive Plaka.