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Discover Greece reveals top five reasons to visit Athens this Winter

The days are short and the weather is chilly, so head off to Athens for a city break with a difference, to distract yourself from the depths of winter.

Discover Greece highlights the top five reasons to visit Athens now:
1. I want to ride my bicycle
See Athens’ city centre from a different vantage point and try one of the new cycling tours on offer. Hop on a bike and join Lazaros Ktistakis from TravelnCycle and his cycling cohorts for a ride along low traffic streets and wide pedestrianised pavements. Cruise past ancient sites and trendy neighbourhoods, such as Thissio and Kerameikos, before stopping for a bite to eat at one of the fresh new cycling cafes around town. Kids are welcome.  

2. Hidden hip hangouts
The tiny leafy square on Ipitou Street is well hidden despite being only a few minutes’ walk from central Syntagma Square. But it’s here that Athenians – from bearded hipsters to nouveau hippies - are flocking this winter for that cosy inner city neighbourhood feel. Support small-scale local producers at café, bar and grocery store, Lacandona, which promotes sustainability and fair trade. Then sup local wine beneath fairy-tale lights and heaters at bar Ipitou, wrapped in the blanket draped over your chair. Soul, jazz and funk fans can carry on to the lively café-bar Bluebird, where DJ Chris Kontos spins tunes.  

3. Painting the town red (and blue, and yellow…)
Athens is fast-becoming a city full of unique and colourful street art, as the recent economic crisis has spawned a new burst of creative energy. There are now estimated to be around 2,000 graffiti and street artists painting around the city, from outdoor murals to raw graffiti. Discover the stories behind these detailed works of art by taking a behind-the-scenes tour with emerging local street artist Achilles and view the city from a different angle.  

4. Contemporary culture
Head indoors to Onassis Cultural Centre on Sygrou Avenue - just seven minutes by cab from downtown Athens – to take in contemporary culture at Athens’ most progressive cultural space and mingle with art-savvy locals. The centre will host the 2nd New Choreographers Festival from 14 - 17 February, when some of Greece’s most daring new dance talent will perform. Or catch the latest global trends in experimental and electronic grooves at the annual Borderline Festival, from 6 – 8 and 11- 12 March, with live performances from major artists from the US, UK, Japan, Germany and Greece.  

5. Going solo
A recent study of 100,000 holiday bookings conducted by UK’s 101 Holidays found that Greece is the most popular destination for Britons travelling solo. So don’t wait for your friends – head off to explore Athens alone and make the most of the traditional Greek hospitality. This short-haul destination is ideal for a weekend away for one. Take an eclectic educational stroll offered by Big Olive City Walks like the Neoclassical Utopia tour, join fellow foodies on an Athens culinary recce with Culinary Backstreets taking in well-hidden gastro gems or pay a visit to the Benaki Museum’s Pireos St annexe before catching a live show – like Manu Dibango on March 7 - at Gazarte, in the industrial-cool Gazi district.

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