IntroductionModern Athens was born in 1834 and has been the capital of Greece ever since. It houses more than a third of the entire Greek population and attracts over three million visitors per year. Apart from the legendary buildings of the Acropolis, Athens is home to one of the best archeological museums in the world, countless Roman and Byzantine monuments and many areas of natural beauty. Furthermore for many visitors it is the gateway to one of Greece’s 1400 islands. Regular ferries can be boarded from the major port at Piraeus, which is just a 25 minute metro ride away from the city center.
Due to the city’s rapid growth in the last 50 years, extremely high temperatures in the summer and the often gridlocked streets, Athens does suffer from excessive levels of pollution. However, in preparation for the Olympic Games in 2004, efforts have been made by the Greek Government to reduce this, to improve the city’s infrastructure and to enhance tourism. The tourist season lasts from April to October, with the highest temperatures and levels of visitors in the months of July and August making good use of Athens’ countless tavernas, its markets and varied nightlife.