Not every Europe holiday package includes Athens when traveling around Greece and its many magical islands, but it has a lot to offer and is truly worth a visit – even if it is just a couple of days! There are many reasons to visit Athens – not just the ones that sell Europe packages all over the world. If you like a place that is full of culture, great food and history, Athens, the Greek capital is one of the best places to see in Europe.
The world-famous UNESCO site of the Acropolis is a great place to start in Athens. Many think that this is a single building, but it is a large pedestal located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens constructed in the fifth century BC by Pericles. The area leading up to the Acropolis is also part of the exhibition and features various ancient relics and sculptures as well as ruins of temples and a theater. Stupendous views of the city as far as Piraeus port and the Mediterranean Sea can be seen from here. It once contained a number of world-famous buildings, such as Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon is perhaps the most visited landmark of the Acropolis today.
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
Constructed in the 6th century BC, the then center of town is a great place to check out the Ancient Agora of Athens, which was a lively market area and center of town in the 6th century BC. Athens is full of such ancient landmarks and ruins that many people just pass by unknowingly.
- Amazing Greek Food!
It’s not very hard to find cheap and delicious food in Athens and you could even stumble upon some incredible fusion cafes that serve delicious local fare. Try the vast variety of olives that you can order as an appetizer at most places. Also try out local dishes such as moussaka, gyros, feta cheese in all variations as well as local seafood.
- Shopping & Sights
Athens has great infrastructure & public transport that includes a subway system that stops at all the landmarks and sites but most of the attractions are located in the center of the city and everything is generally within walking distance. If you want cool souvenirs or the best Greek snacks and oils to take back home with you, the area of “Plaka” is where you will find tourist knick-knacks and also local specialties such as olive oil soaps or handmade Greek pottery.
Athenians like to have late dinners and the city gets really lively once the sun has set. Even though stores in the pedestrian streets close around 9pm, you can find pubs and bars or more relaxed cafes and restaurants that are open late. Partying goes until the next morning and there’s always a place open to grab a bite to eat or drink. Add to that the spectacular night views of the Acropolis!
Throughout the city of Athens you can find beautiful old churches that are often hundreds of years old. Smaller churches are more commonly found as compared to big cathedrals due to history. People often hang up small silver plates with different symbols on them, such as eyes, a leg, a baby, a house, etc. These are small prayer plates and are hung under a saints portrait so that the saint would help them with their problems.