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Local produce including zucchini, radishes and beetroot at the Glyfada market.

Redolent with mythology, smeared with grime, Athens is an affable city enlivened by outdoor cafes, pedestrian streets, parks, gardens and urban eccentrics. If you get into the Athenian mindset, you might not even notice the layer of nefos (smog) overhead.

The city may look like a concrete jungle, but beyond this off-puuting veneer is a kind of dilapidated charm. Almost every house and apartment has a balcony bulging with geraniums, and many of the city's streets and squares are fringed with orange trees.

Athens is a curious blend of east and west; its raucous street vendors and colourful markets are reminiscent of Turkish bazaars, while crumbling neoclassical mansions hark back to the city's brief heyday as the 'Paris of the Mediterranean'.

Facts for the traveller
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