From the main European cities there are direct flights to Athens.
I visited the city on foot.
When I decided to go to Greece, my dream was focused on the islands. I really wanted to enjoy the beaches, the good fish, go quad biking and see a thousand small churches on the cliffs. Come on... what everyone explains. I knew that I "had an obligation" to go to the Parthenon for an obvious matter of history; but Athens itself made me lazy.
I imagined a dirty and chaotic city and it is. But what I didn't imagine was its charisma. Athens has a hook and I saw it in the first minute.
The first visit was Monastiraki Square. It is one of the main point of the city. It has life at all hours. It is full of restaurants, bars, shops and has a very curious Byzantine church (Tzisdarakis Mosque – Museum of Modern Greek Culture). The square is so central that it is perfect to start any visit.
Leaving the square, there is the Library of Hadrian, which is the remains of a library and a cultural center built by the emperor. You have to deviate a bit to get to the Temple of Hephaestus, Temple of Aphrodite Urania and the Agora of Athens. The first two are not one of the things I liked the most about the city, but I appreciated the tranquility that I breathed there. Going back in the same direction that I came from, there is the Roman Agora of Athens, remains of an agora built by the Romans.
Right away I entered my favorite neighborhood. Plaka is an area of narrow cobblestone streets. It is full of cafes and restaurants with terraces full of plants. It has so much charm that you would never leave the table. I ended up, without any recommendation, at the Geros Tou Moria restaurant where I tasted typical Greek food.
After eating and with the whole afternoon ahead of me, I visited the biggest tourist attraction in Athens: the Acropolis with the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Portico of the Caryatids, among other interesting things. There is a place where the views of the Temple of Zeus are amazing. Trying to explain all this would be too daring for me. I prefer to say that the visit is overwhelming and recommend that you take a guide who will explain it to you well. Before going back down to the city, go to Areopagus Hill from where you will have great views of the Acropolis.
On Filopappou Mountain are the Philopappos Monument and the Socrates Prison. The mountain stands out for the wonderful views of Athens and, apart from this, I was struck by the prison. If what they say is true, the famous classical Greek philosopher was locked up in those caves.
I was so amazed at the Acropolis that I thought the whole rest of the city will be a joke. And how wrong I was! The Temple of Zeus is one of my favorite nooks of the city. Here there are no queues to enter, nor explanatory signs. There are also no cranes or scaffolding to try to support the historic columns. These absences together with the silence that is lived made me have one of those very special moments: the temple and me, me and the temple.
The Zappeion Hall and the Panathenaic Stadium must be visited. The first is a conference center and the second is the site of the first modern Olympic games and the only one built in white marble. I recommend taking the audio guide. I loved the visit!
From there I went to Syntagma Square. It is one of the main meeting places, where concerts and demonstrations are held... wow... where everything happens! Directly opposite are the Parliament and the Monument to the Unknown Soldier dedicated to the Greek soldiers killed in the war and where the changing of the guard takes place every hour. It has to be seen.
Nearby is the Cathedral Basilica of San Dionís the Areopagita, it is Catholic and Neo-Renaissance in style. I liked the inside more than the outside. Next door are the Academy of Athens and the National Library. They are amazing buildings.
Visited the most important part of the city, it is necessary to go to the Acropolis Museum without hurry. There are those who visit it before seeing Athens and there are those who, like me, visit it afterwards. It is necessary to make the visit to understand many things.
I recommend dining on the terrace of the Point A Restaurant. It is located on top of a hotel and has fantastic views of the Parthenon. Go there is still natural light to see how the lights of the Acropolis turn on. Very good cuisine in a magical place.
If you need and/or want help organizing your getaway, don't hesitate to send me an mail!Duration:
If you want to see and live well, I recommend three days, although a weekend is enough.