Athens is the birthplace of philosophy, art, history, politics, and democracy. The city was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. When you walk in Athens, you can feel the “weight of history”, whether you are a tourist or not. But Athens is not known just by its history. The city is also fun, sea, beaches, and gastronomy. All the perfect ingredients for a city to discover and love. Down below you will find various activities to do and see in Athens.
The first place to visit in Athens is undoubtedly the Acropolis. There, you can admire the Parthenon, the Propylaea (which are the monumental entrance to the acropolis), the temples of Erechtheion, and the temple of Athena Nike. The acropolis is perched 156 meters above sea level, and it has the largest architectural complex of ancient Greece. Undoubtedly, it is always a good experience to visit it. But I suggest you visit it at sunset. After visiting this, you could go to the Acropolis Museum, which is 5 minutes away.
Immediately below the Acropolis, there’s the Agora, which was the social, political, and administrative heart of Athens throughout antiquity. This is an area of 12 hectares that has undergone numerous restorations since the 1930s, also thanks to funds from the American Institute of Classical Studies. When we arrive at the place, we will be captured by the sight of the Temple of Hephaestus and to access it is not expensive, in fact, the ticket costs only 4 euros.
If the Agora is the heart of ancient Athens, Syntagma Square is the heart of the modern one. Here are the Parliament Building and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, constantly guarded by the Evzones, the Greek guards who every day give rise to the spectacular changing of the guard. Syntagma Square is worth visiting, but watch out for the presence of parades and demonstrations.
Plaka is one of the oldest and most characteristic districts of the city. Most of the streets are closed to traffic and this is where much of the Athenian nightlife is concentrated. Bars, restaurants, taverns, souvenir shops where it is nice to “get lost” and spend pleasant hours of shopping, live music, good food, and of course, visiting some of the main monuments of the city.
One of the peculiarities of the city is that it is surrounded by hills, which represent as many panoramic points as possible, easily reachable on foot. Apart from the Acropolis, there are six others: Aeropago, Filopappou, Pnyx, Muse, Nymphs, and Lycabettus. The latter, with its 272 meters above sea level, is the highest peak in the city, and as well as on foot, can also be reached by a comfortable funicular that leaves from Kolonaki, an elegant residential area not far from Syntagma Square. At the top, there is a chapel dedicated to St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant. Most of all, however, there is a view to take your breath away, especially in the evening. The ascent to Mount Lycabettus is by far one of the best ways to spend a morning or late afternoon, if you are on foot, it is better to avoid the hottest hours.
You must visit the archaeological museum. It is the largest museum in Greece, as well as one of the most important in the world. It houses a huge number of sculptures, vases, statues, and other artifacts ranging from the Mycenaean to the Roman period. Among others, the funeral mask of Agamemnon, the bronze of Poseidon, the jockey of Artemision, and the head of Zeus, stand out.
In the summer, between heat and traffic, getting around can become complicated, and even visiting the Acropolis costs twice as much effort. Fortunately, there are beaches, over 20 kilometres of coastline. Palaio Faliro is the most popular of the Athens beaches. Other beaches include Alimos, just 8 kilometers from the city center, and Vouliagmeni, 17 kilometers from the city. And if you want to disconnect even more from the rhythms of the city, then you just have to charter a yacht in Athens and admire the beauty and atmosphere of this city from the outside, from the coast, from another point of view. Renting a yacht will give you an incredible experience of the Greek coast, and you can reach so many other places that you must see at least once in your life.