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Athens may be the oldest European city, but its atmosphere is youthful and upbeat. With thousands of years' worth of history, a collection of the world's most iconic ruins and a lively cosmopolitan center, this is a destination that belongs on any traveler's itinerary. The sites, shops and hotels of Athens have been revitalized in the past decade, and the worn-out clichés of this city as crowded and polluted have faded into history.

The city is served by Athens Airport, opened in 2001. It's an attractive, modern facility connected to the central business district by metro. Hotels near Athens Airport cater to business travelers, while tourists usually stay in the city center where the classic architecture sets the tone for a holiday in Greece.

Athens' revitalization projects started in preparation for the 2004 Olympics, but they didn't stop there. The recently renovated Omonia Square is now one of the busiest squares in Athens, offering a range of trendy boutiques and some of the best accommodation in Athens. A similar project produced the longest pedestrian avenue in Europe, and with no cars in the city center, tourists have ample opportunity to explore on foot.

The historic core of Athens is in Plaka, on the same hillside as the Acropolis. Plaka, together with Thissio and the market district of Monastiraki, has been inhabited for 5,000 years. Athens hotels in this area are at the center of world history, and there's no better place to be stationed if you want to be immersed in the city's – and indeed, western civilization's – past. Whether exploring the Parthenon, escaping to southern beaches or sipping a cocktail from a rooftop lounge of a five-star Athens hotel, visitors are sure to go home with more than a few lasting memories.

For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Athens, click on the interactive Athens map on the left-hand side of the page.