The capital of Greece, the cradle of civilization, and one of the most captivating European destinations, Athens is such a magical and beautiful city that anyone should visit it at least once in a lifetime. Boasting fascinating history, some of the world’s most breathtaking landmarks, a pleasing Mediterranean climate, and a vibrant nightlife, the eclectic Athens is a wonderful all-year-round destination and certainly an unforgettable experience, no matter how high your expectations would be.
In order to get the most out of your trip to Athens, put on your walking shoes and explore the city and its lovely surroundings, but don’t forget to soak up the charming local atmosphere along the way.
The most recognizable image of Greece, the Acropolis of Athens stands on a flat rock above the city as the greatest architectural remain of the Greek Antiquity and the most precious attraction in Athens. Preserving the feel of those ancient times, the historical site comprises an awe-inspiring complex of century-old buildings and temples such as the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the eye-catching Propylaea gate, and the Acropolis Museum, which houses a great collection of masterpieces found in the archaeological site.
The epitome of Doric architecture in Greece, the Parthenon is the largest and best preserved monument among the ruins of the Acropolis. Built in the 15th century BC on the top of the Acropolis hill, in the honor of the Greek goddess Athena, the Parthenon is not only the protector of the city or a treasured artistic shrine, but also the largest historical monument in the world.
You can’t say you’ve actually experienced Athens without taking a stroll around the charming winding alleys of Plaka. By far the most vibrant area in the city, Plaka district, with its lovely neoclassical houses and red-tiled roofs winds around the hill of Acropolis provides visitors with an eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants, shops, and interesting museums such as the Jewish Museum of Greece, Athens University Museum, or the Museum of Greek Folk Art.
Situated about 90 km southwest of Athens, in the Peloponnese region, Mycenae is one of the most popular day trips from the City of Gods, and definitely a must for tourists in search of fabulous Greek history. Highlights include the Palace of Agamemnon, the tomb of Clytemnestra, and the world-famous Lion’s Gate. The journey is worth all the time, as Mycenae can be reached via a scenic road that winds its way along the coast of the Saronic Gulf.
Home to the illustrious ancient Theater of Epidaurus, Epidavros is a picturesque contrasting city where the charm of the old meets the sparkling of the new. Known mainly for hosting the legendary theater, Epidavros is also home to the Archaeological Museum of Epidaurus and the Sanctuary of Asclepios – the most famous healing center in the world during the antiquity. Nowadays, due to its excellent acoustics, the Theater of Epidaurus still hosts various concerts and festivals. Epidavros can be reached through a pleasant 2-hour drive from Athens.
Temple of Poseidon
Another iconic landmark of Greece, the wonderful Temple of Poseidon lies in Cape Sounion – the southernmost point of the Attica Peninsula (69 km from Athens). Raised in the honor of Poseidon – the God of Sea, this wonderful Greek temple of great archaeological importance is beautifully located on a headland 50 km above the Aegean Sea.
Moreover, if you fancy a swim or a traditional meal, there are plenty of wonderful small beaches and good taverns in the area. The ideal time to visit the Temple of Poseidon is definitely at sunset, when the sun sinks slowly in the sparkling waters, drawing a fantastic spectacle that must be seen in order to be believed.
Of course, these are just part of the city’s greatness, but there’s much more to see and do in such a fascinating place like Athens, where the past overwhelms the present, providing the traveler with a completely unique experience.
What’s your favorite place in Athens?