Athens is internationally renowned as a place with cultural interest. But not only does Athens offer a visitor innumerable places with historical value but also the city is famous for its picturesque alleys, cultural events, delicious local food, nightlife and offering many options for recreation. A unique combination of tradition and modernity, hospitality, and diversion. At Blue Island we recommend some of our favorite hotspots you shouldn’t miss when you visit Athens.
Acropolis and Parthenon
Acropolis is a timeless, worldwide acclaimed ancient monument recognized internationally for its significance. Parthenon, the most famous landmark of Athens is built in honor of the goddess Athena who was the protector of the city. When you visit the acropolis, an inspirational fresh air will pervade you and bring you closer to a 2500 year old cultural trip. When visiting, prepare for a bit of an uphill walk but when you reach the highest point you will get the opportunity to enjoy the incredible scenery and an impressive panoramic view of Athens. Take your time and enjoy the spirituality of this moment you will intuitively realize the beauty of life!
Of course, you can’t skip visiting the Museum of Acropolis where the rich history of the city is housed in an elaborate and modern building. The museum has been designed to host and highlight statues and other archaeological findings discovered in the Acropolis region. Afterward, you can enjoy a coffee break at the museum’s cafeteria on the rooftop of the museum. A definite must!
Walk-in Ancient Agora
The city of Athens is often described as a “living museum” and we can definitely confirm this claim. A walkthrough on the paved paths of Ancient Agora surrounded by ancient ruins brings you back to an era when agora was at the peak of its prosperity. From Stoa of Attalos to the Temple of Hephaistos it is totally remarkable. Agora was the center of democracy where the elite used to convene, discuss and practice the art of thinking. Take a seat at one of the many benches, take some time to philosophize that concepts such as freedom, justice, democracy and parity were all conceived in this historical place.
Climb on Mount Lycabettus
Athens is built at the center of a basin surrounded by hills. Mount Lycabettus is undoubtfully one of the most romantic places you can visit in Athens standing out for its enchanting outlook. With its 277 meters above sea level, Mount Lycabettus is the highest of the hills surrounding Athens. You can surely reach the top of the mount by means of a cable car but w recommend you walk all the way up to the top by stairs. Placed at the top you can find the temple of Saint George’s which is a white church constructed in 19th century contributing to the tranquility emerging in the ambiance. Definitely, one of our preferred places to view the sun setting over Athens.
National Archaeological Museum.
The Archaeological Museum is considered to be one of the most rich and big museums worldwide. The museum hosts some of the most significant remains of Ancient Greece representing the whole history of antiquity. You may have already heard about the Mask of Agamemnon, the head of Zeus and the famous Antikythera Mechanism. These and many other important archaeological findings are exhibited at the museum reminding us the glory of Greece during the ancient time. Therefore, we recommend you spend a whole day at the museum to learn about Greece’s cultural heritage.
Explore Plaka and Monastiraki
Traveling is about exploring the heart of the city by wandering its streets, conversing with the locals, and blending in with the local culture. Under the shade of Acropolis lies a marvelous neighborhood called Plaka. Narrow paved (marble) roads are embellished by blooming bougainvilleas, shops, and cafes and the luscious afternoon scent of Plaka invites you to get lost in a city within a city. Plaka extends into Monastiraki, a full-of-life neighborhood drawing the interest of any visitor who gets lost in its alleys. Restaurants, cafeterias, little family businesses selling handmade goods and a flea market set every Sunday and a beautiful historical temple at the center of Monastiraki’s square shouldn’t be overlooked.
Dinner in Psiri
After a long day roaming the streets and culture of the Acropolis region, a quality meal is everything everybody would want. It is undeniable that you can’t leave Greece without tasting delicious local food. So when in Athens we recommend you visit the district of Psiri for some genuine Greek food. At Psiri you can find a wide variety of options for lunch or dinner at local restaurants or at traditional taverns which will satisfy the most demanding paladar. Although we do suggest visiting in the evening as this is when this lively district really comes to life.
Gazi for a drink
When it comes to discovering the downtown nightlife you must discover the district of Gazi which can be depicted as the focal point of current nightlife in the center of Athens. Just a walking distance from Monastiraki (or a metro stop away) you can discover a vibrant nightlife in the center of Athens with clubs, bars, and pubs covering every genre of music and style. From an evening drink to dancing all night long at one of the many clubs, Gazi offers many options and you’re not going to regret vising it.
At the center of the city of Athens lies this magnificent stadium which is made entirely of marble and built to resemble ancient stadiums around Greece called Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro. Sports enthusiasts around the world may know the stadium because it was the first stadium where modern Olympic games were held. The stadium was built in the 4th century BC and was first used as a venue for the Panathenaic athletic contests. The stadium was then refurbished in 1896 and hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896 If you are interested in the history and origin of the Olympic Games you should definitely visit this magnificent stadium of classical architecture.
Syntagma square s the most important square of modern Athens from both a historical and social point of view, also known as Constitution Square, it is where the Athenians rose up against King Otto of Greece on 3 September 1843 to demand a constitution. The central square of Athens (with Metro Station) is at the heart of commercial activity close to all main districts of Athens and where the Greek parliament is located. At the front of the parliament, you can find the monument of the Unknown Soldier which represents every soldier who gave his life for the country during decades of wars. Here stand the presidential guards known as “Evzones” guards guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier along with the presidential residence and the president. Evzones are a group of elite Greek soldiers who are trained to perform various ceremonial duties. The Evzones uniform is handmade with intricate detail and is a symbol of the country’s nationalistic pride, representing the significant battles fought throughout Greece’s modern history. You shouldn’t miss the ceremonial change of guards that takes place every Sunday at 11 am.