Cradle of our culture, along with Rome, the Greek capital will not leave you indifferent. Chaotic, classic, Mediterranean, ‘indignant’, full of life, full of history… All this and more converges in Athens, the nerve center of an equally interesting country, which we fervently recommend. If you have not yet decided to travel, we are going to try to convince you with a few proposals about what you should see and do in Athens.

1. Of course… the Acropolis.

It could not be missing from our particular list. It is a ‘must’ that is called now, one of the many that Greece has. On that thousand-year-old hill we could say that our civilization, the Greco-Roman, was born. Take a dip in classicism admiring the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike, and then descend its south face to visit the Theater of Dionysus, which dates back to the 6th century BC and has a capacity for 17,000 spectators. Next to the Acropolis itself you can find the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and very close also the Ancient Agora, with the Temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalus.

View of the Acropolis of Athens, with the Parthenon standing out above the rest.

2. Cradle of Olympism.

Athens is also the birthplace of sport and Olympism, both in the ancient world and in the modern world. There, in 1896, the first Olympics were held as we know them today, and the stadium where they took place is still preserved, so we suggest you visit it so that you feel like an athlete on its centennial tartan. This is the Panathenaic or Panathenaic stadium. And right next door is the Temple of Zeus, so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Olympic Stadium in Athens. 

3. Go shopping!

Shopping chapter. On the one hand, we recommend the markets, with a chaotic/romantic air that will make you fall in love. For example, the one in Plaka, in the Avyssinías square, where the merchants take out all their goods (antiques above all); or also the Sunday market in Monastiraki square. You can also bet on Ermou street or if you want to visit a food market, the meat and fish markets next to the Agora, where you will be able to see and mingle with the Athenian people. Or if what you prefer are luxury shops, bet on Voukourestiou street.

Monastiraki Square. 

4. Enjoy its gastronomy.

Greek cuisine is a meeting point between the Mediterranean, the Italian, the Balkan and the Middle Eastern, which makes it very, very attractive. Moussaka, Greek salad, mezzedes, gyros, dolmades… these are just some of the most typical dishes that you can enjoy in any Athenian restaurant. There are very good ones and perhaps more expensive ones, like the one next to the Acropolis museum, which is considered one of the best in the world. For all budgets, for example, we have many places in the Plaka neighborhood or in the aforementioned Monastiraki square.

Gyros with Greek salad.  Jeffreyw (Flickr)

Gyros with Greek salad. 

5. You’ve seen it a thousand times lately: Parliament.

Unfortunately, when you arrive at Syntagma Square, the images you see will be familiar because this place has been on TV many times lately. There is the Greek Parliament, a certainly imposing building as it is built at a considerable height, which draws a lot of attention. It has two entrances, and in one of them is the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Greek Parliament in Athens.  Yoshi5000 (Flickr)

Greek Parliament in Athens. 

6. Changing of the guard.

Another moment that is already a tradition in Athens and that you cannot miss is the changing of the guard in front of the Parliament. You will be greatly surprised by the clothing of those guards. It is a must for tourism visiting the Greek capital. Every Sunday, at 11:00 a.m.

Moment of the changing of the guard before the attention of the tourists.  Jose Maria Mateos (Flickr)

Moment of the changing of the guard before the attention of the tourists. 

7. Art under cover.

Although the most striking Athenian archaeological and cultural wealth is in the open air, hundreds of sculptures from temples, friezes and theaters are indoors in the Acropolis Museum or the Archaeological Museum, which we encourage you to visit. If you want something more contemporary, the Benaki museum. And also stop by the Academy of Plato and the National Library.

New Acropolis museum.  Tilemahos Efthimiadis (Flickr)

New Acropolis museum. 

8. Go out at night Athenian.

The Mediterranean character is very present among the Athenians and that means having a lot of life in the street and at night. So we encourage you to go out for drinks in Thiseio, west of Adrianou street up the stairs, or Psiri, northwest of Monastiraki.

Thiseio, at night, in Athens.  Panos Ginis (Flickr)

Thiseio, at night, in Athens.

9. Typical neighborhoods and squares.

The life of a big city is the life of the neighborhoods and Athens was not going to be an exception. One of the most popular neighborhoods in the Greek capital is Plaka, which is in turn divided into Upper Plaka and Lower Plaka, made up of small streets, some of them closed to traffic. Most of the city’s most popular shops and restaurants are here. If what you want to know is the most elite Athens, then you must visit Kolonaki. And besides, in the surroundings of Athens you also have many other towns that are worth it, and a lot.

Plaka neighborhood street.  Ed (Flickr)

Plaka neighborhood street. 

10. The best views.

And as always, we propose the places with the best views of the city. In this case, the Lycabettus or Lycabettus hill. It is practically in the center of the city and from there you can see the whole city, including the port of Piraeus, and obviously the Acropolis. To go up, use the funicular. Upstairs you have a nice church and a cafeteria, and of course, the views of the city, where you will realize that you will not regret having traveled to Greece.

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