Athens – Greece’s antique jewel


written by our good mate Andrey

„Welcome! Are you new in Greece? Is it your first time in Athens? How do you like it so far?” is the sentence you might hear very often during your trip through this amazing city with its unbelievably hospitable citizens.

Athens is a city with a history which goes way back to about 1300 B.C. and trust us, you can feel it in every breath you take. No matter if you are walking uphill to the epic acropolis or taking a rest in one of the countless cafes in Monastiraki or Plaka. There is always something very special in the atmosphere.

The Academy
Let’s start at the beginning:

Having heard from the stunning beauty of Athens’ University I decided to give my priority to that. It is safe to say that I was not disappointed. The amazing architecture of the three buildings Academy, University and National Library, which stand directly in a row and are easy reachable from the Paneptisimo station indeed takes one’s breath away.

After I started my main tour at Syntagma Square, which is directly by the parliament (if you happen to be there on a Sunday at 11 am you have the opportunity to see the change of the presidential guard, a very interesting, well set in scene event) and, walking on the Ermou street, made my way to the Monastiraki station.

Ermou is a classical shopping street, so if you’re into that, you can find all the “obligatory shops” there. For me walking there was interesting for another reason: Ermou is one of the most crowded streets in Athens at any time of the day so you can see a lot of the Athenian lifestyle.

Once you arrived the Monastiraki square it will be easy to find the famous flea market of Athens just in front of you, where even someone who normally doesn’t go to markets can spend a whole day. From very old antiquities from every century, little and large statues of Greek gods and goddesses, to Ouzo and clothes, you can buy there nearly anything.

Little store in Monastiraki

When you go left from Monastiraki, you face the Mars Hill and the Acropolis district. If you are interested in history, this area is something like a treasure for you. Make sure to visit the Acropolis museum and not only go up the hill to fully be able to dive in the ancient atmosphere of the city (also it’s included in the ticket price).

Once you have finished your tour through the museums you might feel a bit hungry. Good thing both, Monastiraki and Plaka district are full of cozy cafes and bars (that’s for later), where you can relax and let the impressions sink in. I personally once chose a café directly on Adrianou (which is the first street by the Mars hill) and was very surprised to look at an excavation through a glass floor while having my meal.

Travel tips:

Travel Tip: Be sure to enjoy the view from the Likavitou-Hill. It might be a little way from the city center, but it’s definitely worth it.

Panoramic view over Athens

Travel Tip: Use the opportunity to visit a very typical and traditional market: the city market in the center of Athens.

Travel Tip: Travel to the Temple of Poseidon standing on the easternmost point of the Island where Athens is located. Also be sure to watch a sunset from there. (We’ll let that to you and only give you a picture from daytime)

Food Tip: Obviously try the Souvlaki. They’re amazingly delicious! Also, be prepared to smell and taste goat cheese and Tzatziki. But if you go to a typical Greek restaurant in Athens and are a meat-eater, there basically is no wrong choice. Follow our advice: it is very easy to get in contact with locals, so dare an experiment and agree to cook something typical Greek with them with food you bought at the city market. (In Greece, unlike in other countries, it is normal to serve bread and water to the guests.) 

Greek Burger with potatoes

Last Travel Tip: If you have more time and a car don’t take the highways on your way to Korinth/Chalkidi/Patras/Sparta/… take the coastal road! Trust us and say “Efcharisto” later.

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