Athens may just be considered to be among most enchanting and magical cities in the world. It is for this reason why many people from various parts of the globe put the city on their bucket list as a must-visit place.
Greece’s capital and largest city, Athens has been known to be where civilization was born; the birthplace of democracy and of the wise men in ancient times. Because the capital is where the most important civilization of ancient times flourished, Athens therefore holds some of the world’s marvelous and significant structures.
One of the famous faces of the city is the Acropolis of Athens. Europe’s most famous archaeological monument, the edifice, which is also referred to as the “Sacred Rock” is ancient Greek culture’s most significant reference point. The history and magnificence of the place have gotten itself a nomination to the 7 Wonders of the Modern World – and many have taken it as a favorite.
Athens, Greece offers tourists with many different interesting sights and experiences. Its old neighborhood’s present a coexistence of the city’s different eras. Its famous historic triangle which comprises Psyri, Thission, and Plaka, will put any visitor in awe with the wonderful and picturesque setting. Its old mansions, whether those that were well-preserved or those that have already worn out in time, will not fail to impress and interest everyone.
Athens is filled with neoclassical buildings that will impress even those who do not have knowledge in the field. Among the favorite architectural sights in the city include the National Library, the Archaeological Museum, and the Athens Academy. The streets of Patission, Athinas, Stadiou, and Panepistimiou are also surrounded with many interesting historical structures.
Beaches in Athens
Athens is not just about history and structures. The city is also home to a number of beaches that will delight the beach buffs. Outside the city limits are the coasts of Attaca peninsula where you can bask in the sun and the beaches of Athens. You can choose from private beaches but there are free and public beaches where you can spend some time getting some sunshine and way from the hectic life in urban Athens.
Some of the frequented beaches in the city and around Attica Peninsula are Varkiza, Kavouri, Vouliagmeni, and Glyfada. These beaches are located in the south suburbs of the city which makes them very accessible with public transportation.
Transportation in Athens
Speaking of public transportation, this Greek capital boasts of a very good transport services. Tourists can take on trolley tram, metro, bus, and taxi at reasonable prices. What makes exploring the city better is that because most sights are not far from each other, travelling on foot is very much recommended. With the many sights and attractions in the city, one should make it a point to visit Athens longer.
City Guide to Athens
If you are a fan of Greek mythology, you might have noticed the city’s name’s resemblance to that of the goddess of wisdom, Athena. An etiological myth explains that the city got its name the Athenians chose the goddess over the god of the sea, Poseidon. The two were said to have competed with each other to become the patron of the city.
Poseidon produced salt water spring for the people, while Athena made the olive tree to symbolize peace and prosperity. Because it was the olive tree that the Athenians accepted, Athena became their patron and had the city’s name in her honor.
Athens is basically surrounded with mountains. On its east is Mount Hmettus, Mount Penteli on its northeast, Mount Aegaleo to the west, and Mount Parnitha to the north. Of this four, the last is the tallest and is also recognized as a national park.
Athens is known to have a subtropical Mediterranean climate. It receives annual precipitation just enough to avoid being classified under the semi-arid climate. A dominant feature of the city’s climate though is the alternation of its warm and dry summers and wet yet mild winters (perfect for a vacation getaway!).
Travelling to Athens may sound to be very, very exciting. It is. But it isn’t that easy, especially for first timers. For one, English is not the main language in the city. Second, Greece has a pretty different culture as compared to other European cities. Thus, before packing your suitcase and booking that flight to the capital of Greece, reading some city guide will come very handy.
Getting a good map and informative pamphlets is important when visiting Athens, particularly for those who intend to travel the city without getting the service of tour guides. Independent travelers can make their way to Athens by first dropping by the information desk of the Greek National Tourist Organization. There, tourists will not only get pamphlets and maps, they will also be provided with accommodation list, ferry boat schedules, and useful numbers among others. The best thing about all these is that these services are all provided to tourists for FREE!
Cash is of utmost importance when travelling to Athens. But if you run out of it while exploring the city, the banks and ATM’s in the city will be at your disposal. Spread all over the city and available 24 hours, getting cash from ATM’s in the city will not be a problem so long as your bank account is all right. If you prefer to use credit cards than cash though, then it’s still fine as most of the shops, hotels and restaurants in the city do accept credit card.
A point noteworthy to remember is the city’s currency: Euro. If you are a European, this won’t be much of a hassle; however, if you are travelling with dollars, you would have to go exchange your money at any banks in the city as well as in Post Office, travel bureaus, and foreign exchange offices.
If you want to stay connected with your friends while you are away from home but has not activated your roaming number, you can easily purchase a new sim card in the city which costs around 40-50 Euros (a relatively cheap price considering the high cost of living in Athens). If you need your pals to call you while in Athens, you just have to inform them of the city’s area code, which is 210 followed by your number in the city.
In case of emergency, these numbers will be very helpful: 100 for police, 176 for emergency medical assistance, 199 for the fire department, and 171 for the tourist police.
Athens may just be everything you need for a tourist destination, but doing some research before you head to the city will just increase the fun and enjoyment you will have in the Greece capital.
Athens, Greece Top Attractions
Mysterious. Magnificent. Mystical. Marvelous. These could be the 4M’s (and probably more) to describe the top attractions in Athens – reasons that make thousands, if not millions, of people from all over the world visit it year after year. Below is a list of just a few of the many attractions you should not miss when in the Greek capital.
From the words Acro which means edge and polis meaning city, the Acropolis, also called Athens’ “Sacred Rock” is considered to be the city’s most important site and constitutes to be the one of the world’s most recognizable monuments. This site also manifests Greek’s flourishing civilization in the ancient times.
The entrance to this area is called the Propylaea which is dedicated to the patron goddess of Athens, Athena. This futuristic designed structure was built through the ingenuity of architect Mnesicles using Pentelic marble.
Often referred to as the rendezvous of the Athenians for their meetings, The Pnyx is a large theater-like area located on a hill on the west of the Acropolis. Here you will get a glimpse of the city’s past and re-live the moment where the important males in the city convene to discuss important issues. This is also the spot where great political struggles in the city’s Golden Age had been fought out.
Built in 160AD, the Herodeion, which is a theater surrounded by monuments, serve as a venue for many performances and concerts in the city. It goes past the pedestrian of Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. It is also referred to as Odeon of Herodus Atticus.
Stretching along Ermou Street, the Kerameikos is Athens’ most important and biggest necropolis. If you think it somehow sounds like the English word “ceramic”, well that is because the word has been derived from the place’s name as it once been the quarter of the potters in the city. Here, numerous funerary sculptures and an important cemetery are also situated.
The heart of the city’s politics, administration, and commerce, the Ancient Agora, also known as the Roman Agora, has also once placed as the core of the ancient city’s religion and culture. Measuring 111×98 meters, the Agora was once the location of the city’s court of justice. When exploring the area, you will notice the traces of a civilized community which can be traced in the Late Neolithic period. In 6th Century BC, under the rule of Solon, the area has been declared a public area.
Lying on the south-east part of the ancient city, the Olympieion’s establishment goes back from the mythical Deucalion time. It has been inhabited in the prehistoric period where the cult of Zeus is said to be attested. The monumental temple was erected thru the order of Peisistratos the Younger in ca. 515 B.C., however, it was not finished because its tyranny in the city fell. Its construction was finished under the order of Roman emperor Hadrian. Inside the temple one will be in awe with the colossal statue of Zeus which is made of gold and ivory.
Traveling to Athens will surely make you out of positive adjectives to say. So be prepared to be impressed in this wonderful city.
Athens, Greece History
One of the world’s oldest cities, Athens has already been inhabited for 7000 years. It was built in the Attika Plains between Hymettos Mountains and Parnitha, Penteli. It is the leading city of Ancient Greece and the home of one of the world’s flourishing civilization in the ancient times.
The city’s name was taken after Athena, the goddess o f knowledge after the Athenian people chose her as the city’s patron over the god of the sea, Poseidon. According to tradition, Athens was founded when then King Theseus has united several Attica settlements. The city’s last king, Kodros was said to have sacrificed himself to save the homeland.
After the kings in the ancient Athens, came the nobles who ruled the city through the consul called the Arios Pagos (Supreme Court). From this consul, 9 rulers were elected. This was also the time when the assembly of the Athenian citizens, the Eccelia of Demos, was established.
When the period of colonization ended and trades in the city expanded, many Athenians became wealthy in the fields of shipping and trade. However, the lower classes still faced poverty that it resulted to a riot after the latter demanded lands for themselves and more social justice.
After years under tyrants, democracy was born in Athens, a constitution that gives all the Athenians the right as well as the duty to participate in the state’s governance – a significant achievement of the ancient Greeks that has been practiced in many countries even until now.
Under the reign of Pericles in the 5th century BC, Athens lived its most glorious period. During this time, the city’s Golden Age of Athens Parthenon was erected. The fields of drama, arts, and philosophy have flourished during this time too. Unfortunately, the war between the Sparta and the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War ended these days of glory. But even then, the city still remained to be the heart of culture and intelligence in the Roman times.
Athens became the capital of the country in 1833 after the Greek War of Independence. And the rest, as they all say, is history.
Museums to Visit in Athens
Athens, Greece will be a paradise for history buffs! Being one of the world’s oldest cities, with one of the longest histories, Athens is definitely loaded with museums – old and new. Here are a few of the interesting museums in the city.
The Benaki Museum
The Benaki Museum is considered by many to be among the best museums in Athens as it features both ancient and modern Greece, particularly in arts and culture. Its bottom floor starts with a display of pieces from the ancient times then goes up with a showcase of various memorabilia from the different periods of the country’s history. Its third floor presents the many heroes of the Greek Revolution. The National Gardens is located here to give you more interesting views.
National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum is one of the world’s most important archaeological museums being home to the historical past of the greatest civilizations in the world. One can find here rare and breathtaking collections from ancient Greece, which include religious items from Neolithic times, vases, jewellery, statues, sculpture, and weapons.
Agamemnon’s golden mask and other treasures from the Mycenae period is also found here which make every visit very worthwhile. Be in awe with the statues of gods and goddesses which include that of Poseidon of Artemision, Zeus holding a thunder from Dodona, Demeter and Persephone, and that of Aphrodite and Pan among others.
Athens City Museum
If you think you’ve toured enough from the ancient times, then try to stop by the Museum of the City of Athens. This modern museum features the modern history of the city (from the time it became the capital of the country). Among the collections displayed here are paintings, artifacts, and individual artworks from local artists. The museum has an admission fee of 3 euros per person.
War Museum of Athens
Inaugurated in 1975, the War Museum showcases collections from the Greek Army, including materials from the Greece’s war history since the prehistoric times up to the modern days. Aside from war mementoes, the museum also documents studies from war history. With its interesting displays, it’s more interesting to note that the museum does not charge any admission fees.
The Acropolis Museum
This new Acropolis Museum contains breathtaking pieces, such as pediment sculptures and statues found on Acropolis Rock and were part of the buildings’ decoration as part of the dedicated to Athena, the city’s patron and goddess of wisdom. You will also be in awe with the statues of female figures from the archaic era referred to as “Korai”.
Athens will not run out interesting and fascinating museums, so get ready to be in magnificence exploring these breathtaking museums.
Architecture in Athens
Arguably, Athens, Greece has one of the world’s most magnificent architecture. As the city’s life has mainly dominated by religion, it is not surprising that the city’s temples are one of the biggest and most beautiful in the world. Additionally, these temples celebrate pride and civic power, which made them really stand out.
If you have any background in architecture, you would’ve probably known that it was the Greek who came up with three architectural systems known as orders – Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian. The first is elegant with its thin posts and decorated with scroll-like designs; the second is sturdy at its top with design more plain than the first; the last order has designs more elaborate, with acanthus leaves decorations.
Among the architecture in Athens with Ionic order are the Erechtheum, Temple of Apollo in Didyma, and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Erechtheum is a middle classic period temple built on the Acropolis between 421 and 405 BC. Sanctuaries to the gods like Posideon, Athena Polias, and Erechtheus are found here. The Temple of Apollo at Didyma on the other hand features a design known as dipteral – two sets of columns which surround the interior section. The Temple of Athena Nike is part of the Acropolis. The ruins of this temple suggest its former grandeur.
The Parthenon is an example of architecture in the Doric Order. Dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patron of the city, this temple has stood still despite much damage from the time of its construction in the 5th century BC.
For the Corinthian Order, the temples of Apollo at Bassae and Zeus at Athens are the best example. Being the most ornate among architecture’s classic orders, the Greeks did not seem to really make use of this particular order.
Other interesting architecture in Athens are the Syntagma Square which is also referred to as the Constitution Square, the Theatre of Dionysos which was built of dates and timber, and the Hadrian’s Arch which first served as the entry point in Athens.
The architecture in Athens should be on top of your list as you visit Athens. You may just be for a weekend in Athens, but these structures should never be missed no matter what as it shows not just the beauty and magnificence of the city, it also tell a lot of stories to its visitors – something that will make anybody want to visit them again and again.
Theatres in Athens
Theatres in Athens come in two forms: as places to go for alternative entertainment, such as ballet, plays, and classical concerts, and as places to head to for movies.
For the first, the Lyric Theatre and the National Theatre are top of the list when it comes to theatre performances and the like. The Lyric Theatre is known in the country as the Lyriki Skini. It is the only lyric theatre in the country where many operas perform, which often includes foreign artists. The National Theatre on the other hand was the Hadrian’s Library’s inspiration for its façade. Built between 1895 and 1901, the theatre served as the King’s guests’ official Royal Theatre.
Movies in Athens are enjoyable as the city has a number of air-conditioned theatres. There are also open-air cinemas that are just pleasant to be in to let the evening pass. Although a few of these cinemas have already closed, there are still plenty left, mostly family-owned and run, that offer a great venue to watch Athenian films (cross your fingers that you catch one with English subtitles).
If you are travelling with your family, this is the perfect place to bond with them – the kids included. You can drop off the area and enjoy munching snacks and sipping cold drinks while watching a good movie. Among these open theatres are Dexameni in Dexameni Square, Kolonaki, Cine Paris in Plaka (which is also the oldest in town) and Thission in Apostolou Pavlou.
Plays and movies are the perfect bonding means. When in Athens, do not just enjoy the top attractions of Athens or just be in awe with the architecture in Athens, take time to also enjoy the time you have with your family and/or friends in these theatres in Athens.
If you are in the city, whether for a short or long vacation, do not just stop by top Athens attractions, do take part too in its many festivities to truly experience what it is to be in the capital of Greece.
Among the major festivals in the city are the Hellenic Festival, the International Jazz and Blues Festival, the International Dancing Festival, and August Moon Festival.
The Hellenic Festival would probably be one of the city’s biggest and most celebrated festivals. It is celebrated in Herodes Atticus theatre and highlights several interesting performances, like ancient and modern theatre, opera, jazz, ballet, dances, and symphonic music. It is celebrated from the 2nd of July to the 28th of September (yes, that long!).
The International Jazz & Blues Festival on the other hand is held in the city every June with a kick off activity at the Lycabettus theatre. Several music, dance, and theatrical performances come with the event.
For dance enthusiasts, the International Dancing Festival would be a great event to take part in. opened for the first time in 2003, the event has soon become one of the most famous international events, not just in the city, but throughout Greece as well. It is headed by the Cultural Organization of Athens and usually takes place in the first two weeks of July.
Annually, the city Athens also celebrates the August Moon Festival. On the night of the full moon of the month, when the Athenians believe the moon is at its brightest and most beautiful for the year, the August Moon Festival marks many opera performances, classical music, and Greek dances. It is also during this time when many of Athens architecture and other top attractions are offered for free; among these are the Roman Agora, the Acropolis, and the Odeion of Herodes.
The Epidaurus Festival is also one of the city’s well-known festivals. It is an annual arts festival held from May to October. Among the activities in the festival are the theatrical and dance performances happening in several top venues in the city.
You may not have come to the city for it, but Athens festivals are surely worth experiencing.
Restaurants in Athens
Curious about tasting Greek delicacies in a Greek city? Let these restaurants treat you for a great Greek dining!
Alatsi, which is owned by journalist Stavros Theodorakis, is a favourite among top journalists and politicians in the – the so-called crème-de-la-crème in Athens. It serves Cretan delicacies, including kaltsounia which are small pies with beef and wild greens slowly stewed in Cretan pasta and wine. This Syntagma Square-located restaurant is expectedly for those are willing to splurge for their meals. It is open daily, except on Sundays and mid-August.
The Butcher Shop
This upscale restaurant is like a paradise for the carnivore as it serves meats in the most superb way. Among their customer favorites are their gigantic hamburgers, sausages, and steaks. The crispy home fries and cold cuts are worth the try as well. You will also get a wide wine selection in the restaurant which is just perfect for your meaty meal.
Despite the Italian-sounding name, Fatsio is an old-fashioned restaurant which boasts of its home-style Greek delicacies. Don’t miss to try their soufflé which is a variation of baked macarani and piece made more interesting with beef slices, ham pieces, and eggplant and tomato sauce topping. Although meals are a bit expensive, Fatsio assures the dining experience is worth every cent you spend.
While the first three restaurants cater for the upper class, O Skoufias does for the middle class. With dishes served for affordable prices, this restaurant is considered by many to have some of the best food in town. It’s a pretty taverna with menus looking like those of Greek school children – royal blue lined notebooks.
To Kainari is another mid-range restaurant in Athens. Aside from its good-tasting Greek dishes, you will also be fascinated with the restaurant’s odd collection of mementos and photographs adorning its walls. Bouyiourdi, which is spicy sausage with peppers, tomato sauce, and peta cheese, is among the many favourites in the restaurant.
Perfect for those looking for an economical yet great-tasting meal, Bairaktaris will thrill diners with its painted wine barrels, still photos of Greek film stars, and pictures of politicians who dined in the restaurant. Try their magirefta (dish cooked on top of the stove) and beef kokkinisto (beef stewn with red sauce) for something interesting.
To Steki tou Ilia
To Steki tou Ilia is ideal for those who are into thick-cut fried potatoes and fresh-grilled lamb chops! This classic taverna, aside from serving sumptuous meat dishes, is budget-friendly as well making them a favourite among those who are travelling in a budget.
Whether you are in Athens for the first time, or are just coming back, these restaurants and the rest not listed here will be a great way to enjoy the gastronomy of the city.
Shopping in Athens
The impressive architecture in Athens, the great delicacies served in Athens restaurants, and even the warm people of Athens are not the only reasons to visit this Greek capital. Shopping in Athens, too make one’s tour extra special with the city’s wide of shopping options.
Cooking? Most of those who visit Athens for at least a week make it a point to drop by the Central Market which is located in Odos Athinas. Open from Mondays through Saturdays from 8am to 6pm, the market is where many locals head to to buy meat, vegetables, and fish among others.
You can also take advantage here all of the great bargain prices, such as two sheep’s heads for the price of one. Also, if you are thinking about cooking a Greek cuisine, this is the place to get hold of Greek herbs and spices.
Looking for antiques? Then Athens’ Antiqua is the place to be. Situated just off the Syntagma Square, this shop holds a wide collection of first edition prints of 19th century Athens as well as amber worry beads, silver sword, and ancient coins. It is open from Mondays through Saturdays from 10am through 3pm; they stay open until 6:30pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays though.
Fashion forward? Drop by Kolonaki. As one of the most posh clothing stores in the city, this is where you’ll easily find the latest and hottest trends in both American and European fashion. Boutiques of famous Greek designers can also be found here.
If you are looking for a cute pair of shoes, you can go stop by Tsakalof which many Athenians find hard to resist with their many shoe displays. Just a note for those travelling in a budget, most apparels here are sold at very expensive prices, so if you are not ready to splurge, stick to just doing window shopping.
Feeling cold? Grab heavy-knit sweaters at Nick’s Corner which are sold at bargain price. There are plenty of these cheap yet warm sweaters too in stores along Odos Adrianou in Plaka.
Bookworm? Eleftheroudakis and Rombos are your best options. Eleftheroudakis has one of the city’s widest selection of books written in the English language and a good CD selection, including that of Greek music. If you are thinking about reading the books right away, you can take a seat in the bookstore’s café for your convenience. Rombos on the other hand which is located in Kolonaki specializes in selling English-language books too.
Shopping in Athens will not be boring, thanks to this wide array of choices that will sure suit your needs and taste.
Athens for Kids
Despite being known for its “ancient” history, Athens will not only interest those who have fetish for the old and the past; it too will entertain even the kids and kids at heart. The top Athens attractions are not just breathtaking in the eye of the expert; they are also mesmerizing and enjoyable even to the little ones.
The National Gardens for one, which is located off the Syntagma Square, features a playground, a small zoo, and several duck ponds that are ideal for the kids to play in. You can also drop the kids in the Children’s Library for a fun learning experience with them – don’t worry, there are many books and learning materials in English!
If the small zoo in the National Gardens is not enough for you and your kids, you can head off to Attica Zoological Park. This privately-owned zoo is home to over 2000 birds from 320 species and a butterfly garden. The zoo is open daily from 10:00am to 7:00pm, with admission of 8€ for adults and 4€ for the kids. You can also bring your kids at the Dexamini Square for them to run and play around. The square’s small playground and cafés will make it easy for both you and the kids.
To give your kids a sense of thrill and adventure (of course in a child-friendly way), you can take them on a cable-car ride up Mount Likavitos. During summer, rides happen every 20 minutes for a roundtrip fare of 6€. From the ride, you and the little ones can have a good ice cream at the café located in the area.
Children who are interested in the arts can have a great time at the Museum of Greek Children’s Art. Here, several workshops and special activities are being held for the kids, however, most of these are in Greek so it would not be that fun for kids who only speak English. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday with an admission fee of 2€. Athens’ Children’s Museum will also interest the kids with their workshops, which include chocolate-making; the Karaghiozis Puppet Shows, with their shadow theatre, will entertain the kids as well.
Travelling with the kids has never been this fun, exciting and interesting! Athens for kids will prove that the city is not just for the history buffs. So whether you are in the city for only a weekend, or are for a week in Athens, there’s just a lot that you and the little ones can experience.
Weather in Athens
If you are planning on spending a vacation in Athens, Greece, one of the things to research on is the city’s weather. Not only will the information help you plan your activities in your stay in the city, it will also serve as a guide on what and what not to bring, in terms of clothing, in the capital of Greece.
The good thing with Athens weather is that it does not come unpredictable. Temperature that goes over 20degrees is actually not uncommon in the city, especially during the months of January and February.
Between June and October, the weather can become scorching hot that if you intend to visit the city during this time, you will need to book in a hotel with air-conditioning. The temperature may be fine in the early morning and in the evening, but during the day, it can get very warm you need to don on very comfortable clothes.
In fact, you can enjoy wearing a simple t-shirt while dining in some of the cool restaurants in the city at night. This warm weather in the city stays so until the end of November and winter comes. But unlike in other cities, winter in Athens is actually pretty mild.
In both autumn and spring, the weather get wet and chilly yet there isn’t much that you would need to have other than an umbrella and a warm sweater. Every year, the city experiences an average of 55 days of rain.
Snow? Well it does happen once or twice in the city’s winter season but it does not stay for long so skis are not famous to do in the city – which could be either a good news or bad news to some.
Athens weather is not complicated at all, so just check your calendar and see what season it is in the city to guide you with your itinerary.
Athens for Free
Traveling in Athens promises a fun and learning-filled experience; however, it does not come cheap. For people who are intending to visit the city with budgetary consideration, it would be a pleasure to know that not all top attractions of Athens require admission fees, in fact, there are a number of places in the city that’s free for everyone to explore. Here are some of these places:
A village within the city, walking around Plaka would not cost you anything – unless you decide to drop by the shops and buy some souvenirs. There are a number of museums, shops, and restaurants around Plaka, but if you are in a budget, you must resist the temptation to spend. There are several museums though that’s free for everyone to visit. One of these museums is the Museum of Popular Musical Instruments.
Located near the ancient Agora, the museum is a three-floor building with four sections of collections that back in the 1700s until the present day. Here, you will enjoy seeing more than 200 musical instruments that, up to now, are still popular in the country – and you can do this for free!
The streets may be quite chaotic, but somehow shows another side of Greek life.
Like Plaka, this vibrant shopping district is worth exploring even if you are flat broke already. Its swirling streets are nice to take a break in, including watching the people on the streets. However, try to visit the district on weekdays instead of weekends, especially on Sundays as they get very crowded.
Soaking under the sun in the beaches of Athens would be another great (free) way to do in the city. Alimos Beach for instance, despite being quite far from the major attraction in the city, is an attraction in itself with its picturesque setting. The beach is also large enough for you to find your own spot and enjoy the crystal-clear water without being distracted by crowds of people.
The Piraeus Port is the largest of all ports in Europe. If you arrive in the city by boat, do not head to your hotel right away. Instead, spend some time walking around this beautiful port. Take a snap of the ships or enjoy the live music in the restaurants located in the port. The Piraeus Port is chaotic in nature, but it’s something you will appreciate.
Climbing Athens’ Acropolis Hill and visiting the world-famous Parthenon temple will cost you money. Thus if you are in a budget, you might have to consider an alternative ‘hill’. The Mars Hill, which is located just next to the Acropolis will be an interesting place to visit in lieu of the Acropolis. If you are a Bible fanatic, this hill is the place where Paul the Apostle gave his speech on the “Identity of the Unknown God”. If your legs can still take more hike, try to also climb Mt. Lycabettus which is Athens’ highest peak.
Traveling to Athens may be quite expensive, but with a little resourcefulness, you’ll find that there are still a lot of places in the city that are free to explore.
Athens’s Public Transportation
The public transportation of Athens provides tourists with a wide variety of routes, which features a combination of different means, which include buses, trolleybuses, trams, railway, and the metro. For a ticket worth 1,40€, you can already move from one public transportation to another in an hour or less.
Transport tickets in the city can be availed in all train and metro stations. Street kiosks also sell tickets to make getting in and around the city easier and more convenient. If you intend to stay long in the city, there are weekly passes that you can avail in public transport offices at discounted rates. Buying weekly passes, aside from saving you a few Euros, is a convenient and quick way to get around the city as it eliminates the need to buy tickets every now and then.
Just a quick reminder for those exploring the city via public transport: validate your tickets after you’ve purchased them and before you board on the city metro, bus, tram, or railway. This is something you should not really forget because the city fines non-validated tickets up to 40 times its value!
If you want to avoid the hassle and the sky-high fine, make sure to go to the validation machine in trolleybuses and buses (they’re those that come in ORANGE boxes). If you are taking the metro, validation machine is located on the station lobby, while those taking trams can locate the machine which is in beige on the platform and some inside the car. Enjoy exploring Athens by getting yourself familiar with its transport system.
A trip to Athens is both an excursion into history and a place where you can relax. There are a lot of things to do in the city that were not mentioned in this article. You can ask the locals about other things to do when you get there. Make most of the time you spend in this ancient city that is lined with flavors of modernity.