Exclusive Escapes: Choosing Between Athens or Rome as Your Next Destination

Deciding between Athens, Greece, and Rome, Italy, for a luxury European vacation is like choosing between two splendid pearls of ancient civilization. Both cities boast an impressive array of historical sites, breathtaking landscapes, and exquisite culinary experiences, yet they each offer their unique allure to the discerning traveler. This article dives into the heart of both destinations, highlighting their special attractions, and providing suggestions for luxury accommodations, including those suitable for families, to help you decide where to indulge in your next lavish escape.

Athens: Where History Meets Modern Luxury

Athens, the cradle of Western civilization, is a city where ancient ruins stand tall amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life. It’s a place where one can walk in the footsteps of philosophers, warriors, and artists who shaped the world as we know it today.

Why Travel to Athens:

  • Ancient Marvels: Beyond the Acropolis, Athens is dotted with remnants of its glorious past, such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Ancient Agora, and the Theatre of Dionysus. Each site offers a window into the daily lives and achievements of the ancient Greeks.
  • Cultural Richness: The city’s streets and squares pulse with life, showcasing a lively contemporary culture that coexists with its ancient heritage. The neighborhoods of Monastiraki and Psiri are perfect for those who love to explore urban culture, offering an eclectic mix of markets, galleries, and cafes.
  • Mediterranean Lifestyle: Athens embodies the laid-back yet vibrant Mediterranean lifestyle. Enjoying a sunset dinner with fresh seafood and local wines at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Acropolis is an experience that marries culinary delight with historic wonder, something truly unique to Athens.

Highlights and Special Attractions:

  • The Acropolis: No visit to Athens would be complete without a tour of the Acropolis. This ancient citadel, perched on a rocky outcrop above the city, houses several buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. Luxury tours offer private, guided experiences that include sunset viewings, avoiding the crowds while soaking in the history and beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Plaka District: Nestled at the foot of the Acropolis, Plaka is known for its charming streets, neoclassical architecture, and an array of boutique shops, cafes, and tavernas. It’s an ideal spot for leisurely exploration or enjoying a sumptuous meal with views of the Acropolis lit up at night.
  • Museum Hopping: Athens is home to numerous museums, but the National Archaeological Museum and the Acropolis Museum stand out. Private tours can be arranged, offering an in-depth look at Greece’s ancient treasures.

Luxury Accommodations:

  • Hotel Grande Bretagne: A landmark property located in the heart of Athens, offering breathtaking views of the Acropolis and luxurious amenities, including a rooftop pool and spa. Their suites, especially the Grande Suite, provide ample space and elegance for families.
  • Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens: Nestled on the Athenian Riviera, this hotel offers a seaside retreat with three private beaches, several high-end restaurants, and state-of-the-art wellness facilities. Families seeking a luxury family travel experience will find their bungalows and suites perfect for a private and memorable get-away.

Rome: Eternal City of Endless Wonders

Rome, often referred to as the “Eternal City,” is a living museum where every street corner tells a story. From ancient ruins to Renaissance art, Rome offers a timeless journey through the layers of history, culture, and gastronomy. A luxury Italy vacation awaits in Rome.

Why Travel to Rome:

  • Architectural and Artistic Masterpieces: From the grandeur of the Colosseum to the intricate beauty of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, Rome is a living museum of architectural wonders and Renaissance art. The city’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an art lover’s paradise.
  • Culinary Excellence: Italian cuisine is celebrated worldwide, but experiencing it in Rome is unparalleled. The city’s culinary scene ranges from traditional trattorias serving generations-old recipes to Michelin-starred restaurants pushing the boundaries of Italian cuisine. The emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients makes every meal a delight.
  • Papal Splendor: Vatican City, an independent city-state within Rome, offers a unique glimpse into the heart of the Catholic Church. The Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica are not just religious sites but also repositories of some of the world’s most important art and artifacts.

Highlights and Special Attractions:

  • The Colosseum and Roman Forum: Explore the heart of ancient Rome with a private tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Discover the gladiators’ tales, the power struggles of the Roman Empire, and enjoy exclusive access to areas like the Colosseum’s underground chambers.
  • Vatican City: The smallest independent state in the world is a treasure trove of artistic and religious history. The Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica are must-visits. Early access tours can provide a serene viewing experience of Michelangelo’s masterpieces without the crowds.
  • Trastevere: This neighborhood is the heart of Rome’s culinary scene, offering a mix of traditional trattorias, artisan shops, and vibrant nightlife. Let our luxury Italian travel agent arrange for a private food tour that will lead you through hidden gems and allow you to savor authentic Roman dishes.

Luxury Accommodations:

Our Top Pick:
The Six Senses in Rome is situated on the Piazza di San Marcello, merely steps away from the iconic Via del Corso and within easy walking distance to landmarks such as the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Spanish Steps. One of the best resorts in Italy, it offers its guests the privilege of exploring the city’s most cherished sights with ease. The hotel’s location ensures that guests can seamlessly blend into the rhythm of Roman life, experiencing the city’s famed historical sites, exquisite dining, and sophisticated shopping. With spacious and elegant suites, world-class dining, and an expansive wellness spa, the Six Senses is a favorite for discerning travelers. 

Other recommended luxury accommodations include:

  • Hotel de Russie: Located between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, Hotel de Russie is an oasis of tranquility in the heart of Rome. Its terraced gardens offer a peaceful retreat, and the suites are designed with elegance, offering plenty of space for families.
  • The St. Regis Rome: This iconic hotel, situated near the Trevi Fountain and Roman Forum, epitomizes Roman luxury and ideal for luxury family travel. The St. Regis offers bespoke family suites with personalized butler service, ensuring a stay as splendid as the city itself.

Choosing Your Destination
Whether you’re drawn to Athens for its ancient history and Mediterranean charm or Rome for its unparalleled cultural treasures and culinary delights, both cities promise a luxury vacation filled with memorable experiences.

For those leaning towards Athens, the allure lies in exploring the origins of Western civilization, enjoying the Mediterranean lifestyle, and soaking in the Athenian Riviera’s sunsets. Rome, on the other hand, offers an immersive journey through history, from the grandeur of its ancient empire to the depth of its Renaissance art, complemented by a world-renowned culinary scene.

Both Athens and Rome are remarkable, historic cities and offer the luxury traveler an unforgettable escape. As you ponder your decision, remember that the true luxury lies not just in the destination itself but in the depth of the experiences and the quality of the accommodations that await you. Contact us and let our luxury travel specialist create the perfect vacation for you and your loved ones.