When the going gets tough, the tough prepare to party.
On the face of it, Greece might not be the obvious choice for your next getaway. After all, the financial headlines make for pretty gloomy reading. But despite all its troubles, the ancient capital of Athens is enjoying an unexpected new lease of life. For while over-priced, Euro-trashy bars are closing down, inventive new hang-outs are popping up to replace them, boasting unfussy food, strong drinks and the kind of friendly vibe that'll have you dancing until daylight with a motley crew of brand-new best friends.
Athens has always been a city where the past and the future bump alongside one another. Today the city's beautiful people rock out to international super-groups at the ancient open-air Lycabettus Theatre, or reserve a table at the ultra-modern restaurant of the New Acropolis Museum or in the gorgeous, ramshackle nineteenth-century courtyard of The Art Foundation - TAF.
Step of your flight to Athens and let your adventure start at the foot of the Acropolis, a structure so impressive and yet so familiar you'll feel like you've stumbled onto a film set. From there, you can walk 2.5 miles along the Archaeological Promenade, a pedestrian-only, tree-lined walkway which takes in all the city’s major archaeological sites. In a city where the traffic can be oppressive, the promenade, opened in 2004, is a real game-changer.
As night falls, you can check out the dive-bars around grungy Monastiraki or head to the glossier restaurants and wine cellars of Kolonaki, the latest suburb to be taken over by local hipsters. In nearby Gazi, battling sound systems compete for your attention. But whatever cool, hole-in-the-war joint you end up in, be warned: drinks may be on the expensive side, but the measures are lethal. Go easy – because you'll definitely want to remember your Athens adventures.