Athens has some of the best places to explore, from beaches to tourists attractions, restaurants and some superb shopping but most importantly it has a history which dates back to more than 3,000 years. The best part about Athens, is that it has a superb Mediterranean climate, pretty much all year round!
I spent a whole week in this capital city of Greek and had tons of activities to do from island hopping, to day trips and relishing over some delicious food, Athens, surely lived up to my expectation.
Some of the things you should add to your itinerary of Athens is:-
Visiting the Acropolis – Situated on the hill (acropolis), is this one striking monument and people from all around the world come to visit The Pantheon. It gets super crowded during the day so I would suggest visiting this place first thing in the morning. There are also a few more attractions here like The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Theatre of Dionysus, and the Temple of Athens Nike.
If you want to learn more about the history of Acropolis then a visit to the Acropolis museum is a must, its just a few min walk from the hill.
Plaka – If you come to Athens this neighbourhood should not be missed, it is one of the most popular places among tourists and locals. Plenty of amazing restaurants and shopping options can be found here, some parts of the area like Anafiotika are quite picturesque too. Don’t miss your opportunity to wander in the streets of the lovely Plaka.
Monastiraki Square – One of the main squares of Athens is this, it is super crowded with vendors, food stalls, shops and cafes. The main highlight of this busy square is the Church of the Pantanassa, and the Tzistarakis Mosque which is now turned into a museum. The Hadrian Library is also just around the corner right, along with The Roman Agora with the Tower of Winds. You will truly get the feel of Athens here, you are in the heart of the capital.
Cape Sounion – To enjoy one of the most spectacular sunset you should make your way to Cape Sounion, you pass along the charming Athens Rivera too which is another wonderful side of Athens I loved exploring. The Temple of Poseidon over the Sounion hill overlooks the sea, it is worth mentioning that it was built somewhere around 5th BC to show respect to the God of the Sea! There are plenty of tour operators doing a guided trip to Cape Sounion and it is one thing I would not want to miss.
Athens Rivera – The scenic view of the Athens Rivera will surely cast a spell on you, there are so many places around here which you can see, and of course this side of the city is also home to some luxury hotels and tempting restaurants. The Athens Rivera beach stretches to a whopping 70km, isn’t that phenomenal? Another place which fascinated me here was Lake Vouliagmeni, it has mountainous backdrops and it makes a beautiful place for a swim. There is a popular beach here called Kavouri Beach, the water is crystal clear serene and thinking about the place I miss this place even more.
You can easily spend a day touring the Athens Rivera, also don’t forget to check out Glyfada as it’s superb for shopping and the area of Voula which has plenty of decadent restaurants.
National Garden – This public park is my favourite as it’s located in the centre of the city but once in, it feels you are away from the chaotic buzz of Athens. I even had a chance to grab a meal and have a peaceful picnic in the park, it’s just lovely. It’s an easy walk from the Parliamentary Building and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Visit the numerous hills of Athens – By now you must have known that Athens has a lot of hills and some of the best viewpoints are provided from the multiple hills around town. My favourite one being the Lycabettus hill, it even has a charming restaurant on top and you can access the hill on foot or via a cable car which is much easier on the knees. Another quaint hill is Philopappos Hill, there are numerous walking trails here and you get to see the Acropolis as well and if you are quite an adventurous person I would also suggest Areopagus hill which is very close by to Acropolis.
Psyrri – While you are around Monastiraki square make it a point to wander around this cute neighbourhood, it’s known for its nightlife, chic restaurants, funky shops and it makes for a fun place to chill. It’s an odd thing to mention but there is also an ancient cemetery here called Kerameikos, you can also check out the Museum of Islamic Art and the Pottery Museum around.
The Panathenaic Stadium – Another engrossing attraction is the Panathenaic Stadium, it was built around the 4th century B.C to host Panathenaic games in memory of Goddess Athena. Back in the days, it was made entirely out of wood and there were gladiator fights, wrestling and races. It truly takes you back in time.
Ancient Agora – History buffs will be in for a treat as Athens has plenty of sights and facts which will keep you entertained, another such place is the Ancient Agora, back in the days it was a pretty important political site but now it is just a ruin, unfortunately. You will get the chance to stumble upon the famed Temple of Hephaestus which was made somewhere around 449 B.C, isn’t that astonishing?
Some of you may be interested in even visiting museums and don’t you worry as Athens has plenty to keep you busy, you should check out Byzantine Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art, Natural Archaeology Museum and Athens War Museum. If you are a foodie then you should make it a point to even head to Varvkios Agora which is a food market in Monastiraki, its so good.
With this many things to see and do, you will be having quite a tight itinerary in Athens but don’t worry you are going to love every bit of it.