Athens has seen its fair share of history, given that it’s one of the oldest cities in the world (7000 years!), and has lived through wars, invasions, occupations, coups – pretty much everything really. As you can imagine, all this time and history means that Athens is a fantastic place to explore. When you go, be sure to do the following:
Visit the Acropolis
The Acropolis is the citadel that sits in the centre of Athens, upon which sits one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks – the Parthenon.
This hill is where civilisation in Athens is thought to have started, being as it is eminently defensible and with a handy view over the surrounding area.
These days, it’s only invaded by visitors, who tramp up here to see the magnificent Parthenon, as well as the remains of the other temple buildings.
It gets hot (and busy!) up here, so do yourself a favour and visit early, and bring plenty of water. Then, enjoy the view, and take your time.
Take in the view from Mount Lycabettus
Whilst the Acropolis draws all the crowds, it doesn’t actually offer the best view in town. That can be had from the top of Mount Lycabettus, a little bit further inland. Here you get sweeping vistas of the entire city, plus your photos will have the Acropolis in them, which in my mind makes for a nicer shot.It’s pretty central, so easy to get to, there’s a nice chapel at the top, and you can either walk or take the funicular. If you can, head up to catch the sunset for the most impressive views.
Drink coffee in Plaka
Coffee is a seriously regarded beverage in Athens, although be warned, the drink that they call a frappe is not what you might be used to. It’s mighty powerful, and will keep you awake until the early hours. Which is probably why it’s so popular.The region of Plaka, the historic centre of Athens, found just below the Acropolis, is the best place to experience the Athenian cafe culture. Here tables jostle for space between sidewalks and narrow streets, and people sit on stairs, soaking it all in. Join them, and let the world take you where it may.
Learn things at The National Archaeological Museum
Greece has a lot of history. If it was a new partner, it’d be the kind with baggage. The best way to learn about all that baggage, I mean, history, is to head to the National Archaeological Museum, which has it all laid out, from statues to ancient computers, to conquering armies.
If you want to understand just a tiny bit of the history that surrounds you in Athens, then this is the place to come.
Relax on the Coast
All that time soaking in the history, culture and coffee of Athens might tire you out. In which case, head to the coast.
South of Athens you’ll find the Athens Rivieria, which is stuffed with yachts and gorgeous stretches of (sometimes private) beaches. Not to mention restaurants, bars and cafes from which to watch it all go by. Not a bad way to get over exposure to too many statues!
Which just about wraps up Athens. There’s a lot to see and do here – hopefully you find yourself enjoying the city as much as I did!