Athens, Greece Travel Guide by Wanderlist Travel
Hop into your time machine, and let’s head on a journey to a city filled with so much history, that it is like you’ve traveled to a different time. Athens is the capital city of Greece, and one which offers relics of a past time mixed with breathtaking views and mouthwatering cuisine.
If you are not familiar with Greek, most people in Athens speak and understand English.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Airport: Eleftherios Venizelos
From the airport you can get on the Express Bus, which will cost you 6€, and will take you to Syntagma Square
Instead of buying tickets for the metro and for the bus, you can buy one ticket for the city buses, trams, metros and trolley-busses.
90 minute ticket: 1,40€
24 hour ticket: 4,5€
5 day ticket: 9€
3 day tourist ticket: 22€ ( which includes one round from or to the airport with the Express Bus)
The weather in Athens is hot and dry in summer, with mild winters.
7 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ATHENS:
The city Athens was named after Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom.
Athens is considered one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history dating back to 3000BC.
Athens is the city with the most theatrical stages in the world.
Athens has been submitted to nearly all forms of government, from monarchy to socialism, capitalism, democracy, even communism.
The patron of the city is Athena, although according to mythology, it was a choice between her and Poseidon. However, Athena’s olive tree was chosen before Poseidon’s salt water spring.
The Greeks refer to the Acropolis as the sacred rock, being considered one of the most sacred places due to its many temples.
Every full moon in August, the Acropolis and many museums around the city are open until 2am and are free of charge. There are also musical events being held.
WHAT TO DO:
Walk through Plaka and Syntagma Square – If you want to taste traditional Greek cuisine, than head on to one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens, known as Plaka. Here you can try their food and beer by sitting in one of the many restaurants. After you have finished your meal, go and see the changing of the guards in front of the Parliament building on Syntagma Square.
If you want to relax and enjoy nature, than you should definitely visit the National Gardens, which are located in the midst of the busiest streets of Athens. It is a garden filled with greenery, wooden benches a playground as well as a small zoo filled with peacocks, chickens and other animals.
As you exit the gardens, you can also see a building called the Zappeion. This building pays homage to a great man called Evangelos Zappas, a person who laid the basis of the modern Olympic Games. The park in front of the building is just as spectacular.
Don’t forget to visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus. This temple is located about 700m from the city center. Although only fifteen out of one hundred and four columns remain of this masterpiece, its beauty is unmistakable even today.
Climb to the Acropolis – Something that everyone traveling to Athens should do, is visit the Acropolis. This ancient citadel houses some of the most monumental buildings in all of Athens, the main attraction being the Parthenon. While you are there you can also see the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion Temple and the Theatre of Dionysis. If you are not a fan of history, than don’t worry, because the panoramic view of Athens will surely make up for the climb.
Take a drive to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sunion – Set on a hill, 69km south of Athens, we can find the temple of the God of the Sea or Poseidon. Although not much is left of the initial structure, we can still clearly see the massive pillars of the outer walls. Instead of offering a view of Athens, here you can witness the beauty of the Aegean Sea. Surely a place fit for the God of the Sea.
The Corinth Canal – 83km south of Athens you can also visit something which might not be of historic importance, but it is an outstanding feet nevertheless. This is the Corinth Canal, which as the name suggest is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf. This is a narrow canal, therefore only small boats can pass through it. It is an amazing experience to witness a small boat passing through it, navigating through its narrow walls.
If you drive a bit further south you can visit the remains of the ancient city known as Mycenae. This city is located 98km southwest of Athens, and is a place unlike any other. Here you can see the outer walls of rooms, halls and many more, all relics of an ancient civilization. It is a real miracle that there is still evidence of the existence of such a place.
WHAT DO EAT AND DRINK:
Greek salad – While you are in Athens don’t forget to try their traditional Greek salad. It is a mixture of red tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and feta cheese on top, seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano and Greek olive oil.
Moussaka – Although this might not be a traditional Greek dish, it is something that you will encounter in almost every Greek restaurant. It is a dish made with eggplant, potatoes, meat and béchamel sauce on top. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Gemista – Gemista translates to stuffed, therefore it means stuffed tomatoes, zucchinis or bell peppers with rice, spices and tomato sauce.
Ouzo – One of the traditional alcoholic drinks in Greece is the ouzo. On a cold winter’s day it is the perfect drink to keep you warm.
Beer – On a hot summer’s day treat yourself to one of the original Greek beers, my favorite being Mythos.
WHERE TO SHOP:
If you are planning to shop, than Athens has an entire street just for that. Ermou Street is a pedestrian street located in the center of Athens. It contains many of the international brands such as Zara, Marks & Spencer, Bershka and many more.