What not to miss: a guide to Athens

The birthplace of democracy, philosophy and modern Olympic Games, a city full of magnificent reminders of history and the glorious times of the Greek. Find out what not to miss in Athens.

We arrived to Athens late on the evening. Acropolis shined high in the middle of the center like a beacon, I was sold immediately. Our accommodation was is Plaka, a picturesque neighborhood right on the doorstep of Acropolis.

Plaka is a beautiful, traditional looking neighborhood with narrow cobblestone streets and staircases full of restaurants, cafes and tiny shops. You want to check it out.

We made a rookie mistake, and didn’t realise it was Orthodox Easter and almost everything was closed on our first day. But no reason to panic, we started from other sights we knew we could enter to.

We had a stroll to the Panathenaic Stadium, world’s only white marble stadium built in 144 AD, and the site of the first modern Olympic games in 1896. A small museum within it offered a cool brake from the direct sun outside.

Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece
Birthplace of the modern Olympic Games

In the centre is the National Garden, a big beautiful green area, if you wish to escape from the cars. You can find small ruins in the park, multiple peaceful spots to sit and rest, a cafe, and in the middle, a small duck pond.

Bring your student card if you are a student. All the sites we visited, EU-students were granted in for free, students outside of EU with a discount.

Let’s get to the best part, to Acropolis and other temples and archaeological sites. Acropolis is the cherry on the top, but there is multiple amazing sites you should consider visiting. We didn’t experience any rush and much crowds anywhere because travelling on the low season, but I would still recommend getting to Acropolis either straight from the opening or then towards the closing time.

You can buy a ticket that covers only Acropolis Hill (20€), or one that covers also the Acropolis Museum, and multiple other temples and buildings (30€). If you have time and you are into these, I would take the package deal including all these:

  • Acropolis Hill
  • Ancient Agora
  • Hadrian’s Library
  • Roman Agora
  • Temple of Hephaestus
  • Kerameikos (+museum)
  • Olympieon (Temple of Zeus)
  • Archaeological site of Lykeion

Athens is every history nerds paradise but suites anyone who likes good food and sun.

• Athens, Greece

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