If you’re visiting Greece, you’re most probably visiting Athens. With some of the most iconic historical sites in the world, including the Parthenon and Zeus’ Temple, Athens is definitely a must-see destination for any epic tourist.
Even if you’re not a fan of history, Greece is a country with so much to offer. You can relax on the islands, you can traverse the city and eat like a king in Athens, and you can grab a camera and backpack and explore the city and the surrounding area.
However you want to explore the country, Athens is a place that shouldn’t be missed.
What to do in Athens
Parthenon / Acropolis
The number one thing to do is go see the Parthenon. To have the best time, go off peak hours, either later in the evening or early in the morning. If you go around noon, it’s difficult to stand comfortably by the ruins, and you feel like you always need to move forward to make way for other tourists visiting.
It can be distracting, but the site itself if incredible and indescribable, and to top it off you get a bird’s eye view of the city from the Acropolis site.
While you visit the Parthenon you can also see other ruins, including the theatre of Dionysus where the original Greek tragedies were performed thousands of years ago.
Off the beaten path
If you want the experience without the crowds, there are other temples you can visit for the same architecture and era that are outside the city. Posiedon’s temple for example is by the water, a car ride away (more than an hour) but you’ll have a more intimate experience with the ruins which is worth it.
You must go to the Acropolis museum, especially if you see the Parthenon. It’s an additional cost, but if you don’t go, the ruins won’t impact you the same way. In the museum, you can see the actual figures and detailed carvings that were originally around the Parthenon. Walking past the intricate gods and goddesses is mind boggling, and almost feels like you’re looking at the Parthenon thousands of years ago in its glory.
Plaka is just a word that refers to an ancient city. Ironically, the ancient city is a modern hot spot for tourism, filled with restaurants and unique shops.
What’s beautiful about Plaka is that, 1) it’s easy to find and 2) it does not feel overwhelming, pushy or uncomfortable.
It’s a beautiful place, with so many details to take in and appreciate you must go once, if not twice to get all your souvenirs.
The Temple of Zeus
Unlike the Acropolis, the temple of Zeus is much more intimate. You can get closer to the ruins, there are typically less people, and its less expensive. It’s truly a place to sit down, look at the ruins and take in the history and their significance.
Athens is not traditionally the best place for beaches, but the beach in Athens is actually nicer than any of the beaches in Santorini! If you are tired from walking around the ancient sites, take a beach day and hop on a tram. From the city center you can ride a tram for about half an hour until you get the the water – you can’t miss it, it’s the ocean after all!
Eat Out, Everywhere
The best thing in Athens is the food. There are so many delicious places to eat it’s a shame if you ever come across one you don’t love. The plates are big so get read to share!
You must get a greek salad, and you have to have souvlaki, but try some of the other European classics, like woodfire pizza.
And don’t forget to try the wine! If you dine out in Athens, don’t be surprised if at the end of your meal the waiter brings you a shot. Bottoms up and enjoy all that Athens, Greece has to offer.