Being Greek and all, I felt like my first blog entry should be about my country. Born and raised in Greece I possess some of the stereotypical characteristics through which Greek people are known for: I’m lazy and loud, but also hospitable and prideful. Greek pride is something that’s been used to characterize Greeks since the beginning of time and something that keeps them united. Yes, we are a politically and economically corrupted country at the moment, but the natural beauty of our country remains…as do all our ancient ruins! Which brings me to my experience of being a tourist for a day in:
Sightseeing – What you MUST see
Parthenon, Acropolis. For some people, too much marble and too many ruins can get dull; however, you can’t visit Athens and not see the Parthenon! The Acropolis park/area is filled with ancient Greek ruins so it’s easy to see a lot of things on your way up to the Parthenon. Here is a map of all the ruins if you want to check them out. There are also numerous tours offered in various languages, most of which are combo packs and include more sightseeing outside the Acropolis area.
Ancient Agora. It is located very close to the Acropolis and it’s nice to walk through it and be surrounded by all the ruins.
Arch of Hadrian. It is located toward your way into the city on Syntagma street and you will not miss it. The Temple of Zeus is located behind it and Plaka is across from it.
Places to go
Glyfada. Located near the sea. It is a beautiful place to go for lunch, dinner or coffee. It’s filled with restaurants and taverns.
Kolonaki. Filled with nice cafés and expensive shopping.
Monastiraki. The flee market of Athens is located there.
Syntagma Square. Located in front of the Greek Parliament. The changing of the guards, tsolias, happens every hour and it’s worth seeing.
Plaka. The historic region of Athens, located right next to the Acropolis. A picturesque neighborhood filled with pastel colored houses, cute cafés, and restaurants. I would definitely urge you to take a walk through the streets of Plaka.
The Acropolis Museum. A new museum containing some of the history behind the marbles of the Acropolis. Unfortunately, a lot of great ancient ruins are located in the British Museum since up until recently, when the Acropolis Museum was built, there was no proper space for them to be housed and preserved.
The National Archeological Museum. The best Archeological museum in Greece. Filled with historical items from various periods of time.
There is transportation from anywhere to everywhere. You can read more about transportation by clicking here.
You will be perfectly safe in Athens even if you are traveling alone. As in every city, there are bad areas and good areas. If you visit Athens, avoid the areas of Omonia and Exarchia, because those are the ones considered the “bad” areas. Other than that, the culture is such that going out to bars and clubs at night is a big part of the “Greek experience” and lifestyle. Therefore, walking the streets at night alone is not dangerous. However, you should always use your common sense and trust your gut feeling to determine if a situation is dangerous, something that applies wherever you choose to travel to.
I hope you make your way to beautiful and historic Athens soon!