Athens (tours from Piraeus), Greece

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With its 2,500-year-old Parthenon, temple to Poseidon and Athena, Odeon of Herodes Atticus and Theatre of Dionysus, it quite literally stands out as an oasis of calm in the frenetic Greek capital. As part of the major revamp the city had for the 2004 Olympics, 400 modern buildings were cleared from the ancient meeting place next to the Acropolis, the Agora, which was then restored and linked by walkways to the Acropolis, Hadrians Arch, the Academy of Plato and the Monastery of Daphne. Other nearby ancient sites include the Roman Tower of the Winds and the Hill of the Muses where Socrates is said to have drunk hemlock. Below the Acropolis is the fun place to shop or barter, eat moussaka or Greek salad, drink wine or ouzo and, of course, to people-watch: the 3,000-year-old Plaka.

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