The city with a glorified past where every square screams its resplendent culture and history and Athens was on my bucket list for a long time don't know since when. Popularly known as the City of Ruinsas the birthplace of philosophy, and democracy, it's much more than that. New age Athens is about vibrant art to hipster cafes and is one and unique. Effortlessly elegant streets interwind by huge history, culture, and philosophy you will not be disappointed coming here. I still can't fathom the fact I had been to Greece or Athens and tried to dissolve and absorb Athens into me.
From iconic ancient ruins to the quint quarter of Anafiotika, succulent souvlaki to vivid art scenes to bustling streets of Monastiraki Square, Athens you are truly magical.
What to See in Athens
- Acropolis one of the most illustrious archaeological sites in the world is a synonym with Athens built in the 15th century and infused with ancient ruins, building artifacts and some of the most gorgeous views of Athens sits on the rocky hilltop of Athens city that rises 150 m (490 ft) above sea level. Whether you are a history buff or not, here the most stunning views of Athens greet you in its grandeur and iconic existence. No matter how much your imagination got wings, seeing and vising Acropolis with your own eyes is an experience of its own. The most famous temple, the Parthenon, was dedicated to the goddess Athena and is considered the peak of Greek art. Parthenon was badly damaged during the Venetian War. There are many incredible buildings including the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus & the Theatre of Dionysus, and many more.
- Anafiotika, this quint neighborhood is one of a kind. A visitor must quickly move over from the bustling city scene to find solace here. Visit the beautiful houses overlooking the view of the city and the vibrant art. It is an incredible experience to get lost amongst the labyrinth of narrow alleyways and quaint houses.
- Olympic Stadium A must-visit venue in Athens built in 330 BC this was the site of the first modern Olympic games in 1896 and remains the starting point of the Olympic flame torch relay and is continuing to host events today. This curiously well-preserved stadium is a marble stadium. there are also some spectacular views of the Acropolis if you walk up to the top levels of the stadium. It's a wonderful experience standing on the medal podium and taking photos.
- Plaka not mentioning this prettiest hillside neighborhood in Athens will be incomplete. Narrow and cute cobblestone streets with neoclassical buildings infused a sense of nostalgia and time gone by engulfed in the history of 3500 years. Nested in at the foothills of the Acropolis packed with authentic Greek eateries, quaint shops ceramics, and souvenirs.
- Lycabettus Located in the center of Athens at the highest point in white limestone cliffs undoubtedly offers the most gorgeous view of Athens. Standing 277 meters above sea level, if you want to witness the best view go during sunset and witness the panoramic views of Athens with the Acropolis, the Aegean Sea, and quintessential whitewashed houses in the backdrop. To go up there you can hike or take the funicular. Walking is challenging as it is up above the hill and you have to take hundreds of steps. The funicular runs every 30 minutes from 8.30 am to 2.30 am, a return ticket costs 9 euros while the one-way ticket is 7.5 euros. There is also a cafe and a restaurant at the top of the hill in case you want to eat or drink.
- Roman Agora was built in the 6th century BC. and is an ancient marketplace nested north of the Acropolis. Seeing the tower Of Winds, East Propylon, and the old Roman bath and other structures is interesting. Just a quick visit is needed compared to other attractions it does not take much time to see the Roman Empire's mark on Athens.
- Ancient Agra and Stoa of Attalos one of the wonderful historic sites to wander around a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling city. The site was built in the 5th century BC. The agora contains the Stoa Museum and the temple of Hephaestus. It used to be the center of the city in ancient times and an ancient marketplace with importance in social and political life. It contained the most important administrative building and the court. Stoa of Attalos was built in the 2nd century BC and set out as a marketplace, today a well-preserved museum. It feels a little underwhelmed compared to the grandeur of the Acropolis but worth a visit.
- Holy Metropolitan Church Sits in the heart of Athens began its building on Christmas day in 1842 and was completed by 1862, a beautiful cathedral and stunningly painted.
- Church of Panagia Kapnikarea At the center of Athens, and on the bustling Ermou street this Byzantine architecture Cathedral is one of the prettiest churches in Athens The church was built at the beginning of the 11th c. on the ruins of an ancient temple.
- Hadrian Library a wonderful historic site amid the city was built by Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD. It was considered one of the largest libraries in ancient Greece.
- Acropolis Museum - A museum with a stunning display of incredible statues, artifacts, and exhibits with immaculate descriptions and overlooking the original structure from the top. An all-weather-suited light-filled museum in new age architecture. It was an amazing experience to see the archaeological site through the glasses.
- Monastiraki Square & Flea Market is one of the most spirited squares of Athens surrounded by the ruins of Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora, and the rebuilt Stoa of Attalos, with a museum exhibiting Athenian artifacts. This is picturesque with cute narrow alleys filled with some lovely cafes and restaurants and souvenir shops. Monstiraki flea market is something you should not miss as it gives you the experience of outdoor shopping. The flea market is fascinating and full of antique stuff, books, etc., and jammed with souvenir shops to buy some memories to take back home.
- Hadrian's Arch sits just next to the National Garden and Acropolis in the backdrop. An important architectural landmark and the design is perfectly symmetrical on both sides built in 131 AD to pay homage to the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Just a quick visit and an amazing feeling it survived after thousand years. Created with Pentelic marble the lower part imitates the Roman arches, while the upper part the ancient Greek propylae.
Some Snippets and Highlights
Use proper walkable shoes
Buy the tickets in advance online to avoid the queue at the ticketing center. Also, buy the 30 euros combo ticket which gives you access to 5 different archeological sites including the Acropolis. Otherwise, entry to each site will cost you 10 euros individually.
How to get around