Leaving recent European Union notoriety aside, Athens remains for many a capital of history, culture and philosophy — wrapped up in a sun-soaked destination. Historically, too, many tourists and business groups have found bargains to be part of the city's appeal, along with Athens event venues (which include 2004's Olympic infrastructure) and signature attractions like the Acropolis, Mask of Agamemnon in the National Archaeological Museum and the historical districts of Monastiraki, Plaka and Thissio at the foot of the Acropolis all to be savored and enjoyed.
Opened for the Olympics, Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH) is the city's principal gateway. Approximately 15 miles east of the city center, in the suburb of Spata, the airport has Air Canada, Air Transat and Delta visit seasonally from North America; at other times there are numerous connections from other European cities.
Chief among Athens event venues is the Megaron Athens International Conference Center, which is on the same site as the Athens Concert Hall and contains four halls, for 1,960, 1,500, 450 and 400 persons, respectively; a banquet hall for 1,000, eight meeting rooms, 129,167-square-feet of exhibition space and a 16,361-square-foot exterior, sunken atrium, among other spaces.
Hotel venues in Athens include the 542-room Hilton Athens, which has 22 meeting rooms and event space for up to 1,300 persons; the 376-room Hotel Grande Bretagne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, which has 11,000 square feet of function space; and the 162-room Westin Athens, Astir Palace Beach Resort, which is south of the city center and has two exhibit halls for 600 and 250 persons, respectively, as well as five meeting rooms. Two wonderful sibling hotels are the 81-room King George Palace, the most sumptuous hotel in Athens and site of the Uptown Ballroom; and the 237-room Athens Imperial, which has more of a boutique feel and space for events of up to 1,400 persons.
Athens has an inspirational mix of historic and trendy venues. In the former camp there are the Museum of Cycladic Art, which specializes in art from the 3rd millennium BCE and has the New Wing and adjacent, more ornate Stathatos Building for events; while in the latter camp are the B & M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts & Music, which is opposite the parliament building and has an auditorium, bright lobby and roof garden, among other spaces, and the Hub Events Building, known also as the Palco Building, which has three banquet spaces, for 170, 350 and 520 persons, respectively, among other options. Two other modern choices are the Helexpo Palace, also known as the Attica Exhibition & Conference Center, which is in the business-oriented Maroussi neighborhood and has 200,000 square feet of function space, including a 400-seat theater and a 88,000-square-foot exhibition hall, and the Onassis Cultural Center Athens, which opened in 2010 opposite Panteion University and has two auditoriums, seating 880 and 220, respectively, as well as a 7,000-square-foot exhibit hall and a restaurant with a rooftop terrace and fantastic views of the Acropolis.
Greek cuisine is widely known. Excellent restaurants with national fare include Daphne's, in the Plaka neighborhood, which has hosted Bill and Hillary Clinton and has 40 seats inside and 100 outside; celebrated Alatsi, in the Ilissia neighborhood and with a Cretan menu; Milos, which started in Montreal, Canada, Athens being one of its outposts, which include New York, Miami and Las Vegas, and which also has a very upscale private yacht for island-hopping, and Michelin-starred Varoulko, which has 80 seats and also has views of the Acropolis. For another type of cuisine, try sushi restaurant Kiku.