Athens Travel Information
Athens, the capital of Greece, is one of the world’s oldest cities. This vibrant city is home to the stunning Acropolis and many photogenic awe-inspiring sites including churches, monasteries, ancient ruins and well-preserved historic architecture.
Many travelers miss Athens heading straight to the Greek Islands, but that would be a mistake because Athens is a sprawling city with much to offer.
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Greek mythology is full of stories and tales about the past.
True or not, we will never know, but many say Athens was named when goddess Athena and Poseidon had a competition to decide who would protect the city. With an olive tree offering, Athena won and the city was named after this goddess of wisdom.
Hearing myths is an enchanting part of being in Athens and if a local ever offers to share a tale with you, consider yourself blessed.
On a practical side, Athens is quite affordable and safe for travelers, and you won’t run out of things to see and do. Greek people love life and are friendly and helpful. The city is always moving with people doing business and going about daily life. People-watching in this high-paced city is a fascinating pastime and best done from a sidewalk cafe with a strong coffee in hand.
Things To See And Do
Buy a pass that includes entry to all the major historical sites in Athens to save time and money when you are exploring. Remember, they are all closed on Sundays.
Start with the city center, which is easy to walk around, and you can also hop on the subway clean and modern subway, which is a tourist attraction in itself with art displays and some pretty stations to take in. You will find some stunning historical sites, museums, shops, cafes, restaurants and bars.
Hop-on-hop-off tours cover interesting routes around the city so you can sightsee at your own pace and not miss anything important. Or a walking tour can be a lovely way to see the city taking in historical sites with a local guide to tell you exciting stories about every stop along the way.
The Acropolis Museum is full of info that really will make your visit to the site of the Acropolis more interesting. See that the day before you go to the Acropolis because that is best seen as early as possible to avoid the huge crowds.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus is another ruin in the city center that is stunning and majestic. Massive stone pillars hold up the architecture and statues that are truly impressive. The Parthenon is another not-to-be-missed sight. It is very important to Greek people as it’s dedicated to their patron, the goddess Athena.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, Mount Lycabettus (hike or take the funicular), Panathenaic Stadium and Philopappos Monument are all thrilling to see, and the list of places like this goes on and on. Depending on how much time you have, you will need to prioritize your sightseeing time because there is so much to see.
Shopping in a capital city is always a good idea because the selection is great and the prices are too. At Athens Flea Market you could get your souvenir shopping done in one go because everything you can imagine is there. Little markets and charming shops are all over the city with gems and bargains just waiting to be found.
Food & Restaurants in Athens
Greek salads with pita bread, kebabs, olive oil, grapes, cheese – all this fantastic Mediterranean food is a part of your Athens trip, and it’s fresh and healthy so you can indulge freely. Pastries like Spanakopita (spinach, feta, and onions) are sold everywhere and are very tasty.
Greek people love to eat, cook and a lot of socializing happens around food in their culture. When you are looking for a great restaurant, look to see where the locals are dining. A cafe packed with locals is probably serving up great food and drink.
We recommend the following places for planned meals to dine with wine or maybe a shot of Ouzo.
If you like quirky dining experiences that you can tell all your friends back home about, Dinner In The Sky Athens should be booked, but only if you are not scared of heights. It is a surreal feeling to be eating a meal while your table is suspended, as the name says, in the sky. It’s not just a gimmick as the food and views are outstanding and will leave you on a high.
Lion is a traditional Greek restaurant with a stellar reputation for serving fresh, delicious dishes with generous portions. With indoor and outdoor dining, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Sometimes the customers break out in traditional dancing and the staff join in! The family makes their own wine too.
If you fall in love with Greek food, you can take a cooking class so you can recreate your favorite dishes back home. An authentic cooking class includes a trip to the market to learn all about the ingredients you will cook yourself back in the classroom that is a kitchen.
Essential Travel Items
We know you would never leave home without your camera, travel insurance, money and necessary medical supplies. As well as those make you pack the following much-have items for your trip to Athens.
- Hat and sunglasses
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Sarang to cover up in sacred places
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Pack your bags. You are off to Greece with the first stop in Athens!