“The name of Athens – alone – is rebuilding the city and Athens will remain the capital of Greece for the whole world, even if another will be declared”
Leo von Klenze
1. Acropolis and the Parthenon
Acropolis and the Parthenon are the highlights of Athens. A complex with ancient buildings and the most known of them, the Parthenon. What makes Acropolis totally different sightseeing than others is not only the findings but what they represent and is not something else than what a person can achieve when he is free.
Acropolis is the result of the Golden Age of Athens or The Age of Pericles in the 5th century B.C. The growth was not only financially but also cultural and political and can be mirrored in every corner of the Acropol. A century that created the guidelines for western civilization and the ideas that our society is based on today.
2. Acropolis museum
The Acropolis Museum is a world-class state of the art museum with scope to demonstrate all the findings of the Parthenon area from the Mycenaean era to the Early Christian era. The Acropolis Museum has 14.000 square meters of exhibition collections and is part of the efforts for returning the Parthenon Marbles to Greece from the British Museum.
Holding the award of the 6th best museum of the world and 4th in Europe definitely is worth to visit it with a guide and there are plenty available on GetYourGuide website.
3. Zeus temple
In the center of Athens, you will find the monument that once was the biggest ancient Greek temple that was ever built. It was dedicated to Zeus and findings revealed that the construction started in the 6th century BC when the ruler was the tyrant Peisistratos.
Aristotle in his work about political philosophy mentioned the Zeus temple as an example of how the tyrannical regimes are forcing people to engage enormous projects leaving them with no time energy and ways of reaction to other issues.
4. Ancient Agora of Athens and Temple of Hephaestus
The Ancient Agora or Forum is a big complex of archeology interest. It consists of many temples dedicated to the 12 Gods, Stoas, and the museum of the Ancient Agora in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos. Stoa is called a path that is covered in order to protect the people in the market from sun or rain and was intended for use in public places.
The highlight of the Ancient Agora is the Temple of Hephaestus or Thesium which maybe is the best well-preserved Greek temple as it remains in excellent condition. As happened also with Pantheon in Rome, it was maintained probably because of the different uses during the centuries as a temple of God Hephaestus, Christian Orthodox Church, and Museum.
5. Kalimarmaro or Panathenaic Stadium
Kalimarmaro stadium or Panathenaic is one of the oldest in the world. The construction finished in the 6th century B.C. and is the only stadium in the world that is made entirely of marble from Mount Penteli. It was used It hosted the first Olympic Games of modern history, in 1896.
With your ticket, you will get a radio headset with the entire guidance recorded. The stadium has numbered areas inline with the text that you will listen to. It “travels” you to the ancient years where games were taking place in the name of Goddess Athena to the modern Olympic games and the sports events that are organized.
Going underground you will travel through time with a unique collection of the Olympic Torches of every Olympic game that took place.
It is believed that Panathenaic Stadium holds also the world record for the most fans in a basketball game in the final between AEK and Slavia Prague in Europe΄s Cup final in 1968. They counted 80.000 seated people and 40.000 standing numbers that are enormous even for a football game.
6. Shopping in Ermou and Monastiraki
Ermou is a historical street of Athens constructed in 1833 with a length of 1.5 kilometers starting from the Greek parliament. It is the 5th most expensive street in Europe and number 10 worldwide but this shouldn’t discourage you as multinational shops are there with bargains available, especially during the discount periods.
Monastiraki is north of Ermou street and is named after the Church of the Pantanassa. It used to have a lot of antique shops with some really good bargains. Today, most of the shops were converted into tourist shops selling local, but new products. If you though look more carefully you will find again rare books, coins, banknotes vinyl collections, antique cameras, and even comics.
7. Enjoy the Sunset in Lycavitos
Lycavitos is the second tallest hill in the area, 227 meters above the sea level. The 227 meters do not seem a lot but they offer an amazing panoramic view of Athens. On the top, there is a small church of Saint George and a coffee shop.
Arrange your visit during the sunset either by car or using the cable car / funicular railway. The ticket is only 7€ and you will get a restaurant discount as well! If you can afford you can even go on foot!!
8. Take a walk in Dionysiou Areopagitou Street and enjoy a movie in the best open Cinema worldwide
Dionysiou Areopagitou street is located on the north side of Acropol hill. According to history, the name of the street is after the first Athenian who converted to Christianity after Apostolos Paul preaching. Especially in sprint and summer is one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in Greece full of music, classical buildings and modern terrace coffee shops that offer a great view of the Parthenon.
Last but not least, just 300 meters North of Areopagitou Street you will find the best open cinema in the world, Thision. Endorsed by CNN, BBC Culture, and BBC World among many others will give you an experience to remember while you will enjoy movies, old, classic, and new as never before!
9. Enjoy a coffee in Plaka and a walk at Anafiotika
Plaka is the only place in Athens where you can see how the city was looking like 100 years ago. All the buildings are declared as preserved and the entire area is full of coffee shops, restaurants, taverns, tourist shops and houses of known Athenians of the past.
Towards the Acropol, you will find the Anafiotika area which was built using Cycladic architecture, built from Anafi island residents who moved to Athens for work. In a second you will feel that summer came even if it is winter!
10. Have a lunch or dinner in Mikrolimano
Mikrolimano or Fanari or Akti Koumoundourou or Tourkolimano this place is amazing for fish or meat just next to the sea. The area has so many names and every each one refers to different eras. The prices are let’s say normal, not very expensive neither cheap and you can enjoy quality food and local recipes in a graphical place.
11. Escape from the city and drive to Sounio
Not very far away from Athens, 1 hour and 54 kilometers more or less, you will find Sounio and the temple of Poseidon. Sunio is the southern cape of the prefecture of Attica and comes with a long and great history because of its position and the ability to supervise the sea route to Athens. The first time that was mentioned was by Homer and the construction of the current temple is dated in the 5th century bc.
The best time to visit the temple is during the sunset and if you are not with a car there are many agencies that make the tour!