As city breaks with an educational raison d’être go, Athens trumps most. Not only did its cultural achievements from the 5th-century BC lay the foundation of western civilisation, but it’s also home to countless myths, legends and literary references that permeate school syllabuses all over the world.
Today Athens is more frenetic than civilised; a medley of old and new will help to keep even the most sullen of teens enthused. Some of the world’s most impressive neoclassical structures loom above sun-kissed modernity – unruly traffic pulses below the Acropolis, 1960s office blocks are caked in graffiti, and in the historical neighbourhood of Plaka, locals and tourists jostle between ice cream parlours and hipster kebab joints.
Beyond the city, the Aegean glistens, and islands pepper the warm sea all the way to Crete. Although lured south to these retreats each summer, Athenians race back to the throes of city-life every autumn. After just 48 hours you’ll want to return too, but for now, here’s how to make the most of your time.
What to see & do in the city
You can’t visit Athens without scaling the Acropolis – scramble the 3,300-year-old ruins then get a kid’s ‘backpack’ from the Acropolis Museum, including a puzzle, map and info pamphlet. For in-depth learning try an Alternative Athens’ Mythology and Acropolis Tour. Younger kids will enjoy the games-led learning on Discover Greek Culture’s A Day in the Life of a Young Athenian tour. Both tours include entry fees.