All you need to know about Athens

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, photo by Joshiah Lewis, found on Pexels.com

Athens is such a fascinating city and you will find your breath taken away by the stunning views, abundance of history, and the creative delights that have been placed strategically around every corner.  During your visit in this Greek capital, you will fall in love with the culture, traditions, architecture, and even the cuisine!

While you can visit Athens at any time of the year, you will find that the best time to go is either during the spring or the fall.  It is during the months of March through May, and September through November, that you will find less crowding, gorgeous warm weather, and better deals on airfare and accommodations.  The temperatures will be much colder during the winter months, with a higher chance of precipitation, while the summer months will bring heat and humidity that can be slightly unbearable. 

When you arrive in Athens, you might be surprised at all the history that is before your eyes.  Yes, this is one of the most historical destinations in the world, but everyone still isn’t prepared for the massive sights that they will see before them.  Therefore, take the time to step back, take a deep breath, and then forge ahead to see as many of the temples, ruins, and other attractions as possible. 

It is recommended that everyone creates an itinerary for their trip to Athens, because it is so easy to get caught up in the beauty and spend more time at certain attractions and then missing many others.  One of the things that must be at the top of your list of things to do is the Acropolis, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  While many people think that this attraction is just one building, it is not.  Instead, while you are in this part of Athens, you will see the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion. 

You must hike to reach this historical part of Athens, as the entire area is located up on flat rock that is higher than the rest of the city.  While you can tackle this hike at any time of the day, most people do it either early in the morning, or later in the afternoon, to avoid the hot temperatures of mid-day.  This may or may not be an issue for you, depending on when you are visiting. 

After seeing this extraordinary sight, most people take the time to explore the Acropolis Museum.  There are a multitude of archaeological artifacts displayed in this building, but the favorites are the carved statues from Erechtheion and a few items from the Parthenon.  The all-time favorite part of this museum though is the glass floor that will allow you to look down and capture a glimpse of the ruins from a different vantage point. 

Ancient Agora is another must-see site in Athens, and it is best if you hire a guide to show you around.  If not, you might miss out on a plethora of information when it comes to the more than thirty buildings and monuments that are spread throughout this area.  There were also many different ancient customs that took place in Ancient Agora and a guide can share all those with you as well. 

There is a museum, the Museum of the Ancient Agora, at this ancient site too. Inside, you will have the opportunity to see vases, figurines, and weapons from the Geometric, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Neolithic time periods.  Almost every piece was discovered inside wells and tombs over the years and now they are all in one place for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. 

Lycabettus Hill in the back, photo by Daria Volkova, found on Unsplash.com

Some of the best views of Athens can be seen from Lycabettus Hill, and while you can take a funicular to the top, the walk up is fantastic.  The climb will involve a lot of trees in the beginning, but the lush surroundings thin out as you get closer to the rocky top of this limestone peak.  Once you reach the top, you must take the time to search and find all the sights that are scattered around Athens.  There is really no bad time to tackle this hike, but most people suggest not doing it in the middle of the day during the summer, due to the extreme heat. 

After climbing down this hill, you might want to take one of the walking tours that goes throughout Athens.  These tours are excellent when it comes to showing you the best of the best in the city and that is perfect if you are unsure of where else you must go when in this part of Greece. 

Your journey can take you through Xenokratous Park, Syntagma Square, Peisistratos Aqueduct, Parliament, National Gardens, Zappeio Palace, Panathenaic Stadium, and the Roman Baths.  You can also see the Anafiotika Quarter, Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and the Monastiraki Flea Market.

These tours are wonderful when it comes to seeing a large amount of the city streets and attractions in a short amount of time, while also allowing you to get a feel for where everything is located.  If you are with a group for this walking tour, you may only spend a few minutes at each attraction, but you can return at another time to spend more time at the ones you love the most.  However, if you are not with a group, you can simply spend as much time as you wish at each one, but keep in mind that it could take you a couple of days to finish the walking tour. 

What else you should expect when visiting Athens? You should be ready to eat a lot! As the Greek Yoghurt and Greek Salad gain fame, we are able to but only get a glimpse of all that local Greek cuisine has to offer. Ranging from mouth-watering fast-food like pork meat, and the evergreen French Fries, it also provides local seafood delicacies. Rest assured that a visit to Athens is synonymous to a fun time and full stomach. 

Panathenaic Stadium, photo by Chris Karidis, found on Unsplash.com

Did you know the sporty side of Athens? Athens is incredibly well-known to people belonging to the world of sports. The modern-day Olympic Games kicked off from this city in 1896. Possessing a long-standing tradition of sports clubs and societies, Athens continued with its love for sports. By hosting the 2004 Olympic Games, it became one of the very few cities to have hosted the Games multiple times.

As one wanders through the Olympic Stadium of Athens, they can imagine the atmosphere which must have been created, and almost hear the shrieks of excited spectators. For a sports-fan, Athens becomes holy ground, and a must-visit destination.

There are so many different directions that you can go when you are visiting Athens, so understand that there is no right or wrong way to see it all.  While the popular sights are best to see first, you can always leave them for the end of your trip and choose to roam around the majority of the city in the beginning, so you have a true feel for what this city has meant to people all these years. 

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