Welcome to Athens Greece! This is one of the oldest cities in the world and regarded as the "cradle of Western civilization", birthplace of democracy, and home to some of the most epic archaeological sights. Outside of the ancient Greek sights, we were not quite sure what to expect in modern Athens. Following a relatively recent financial crisis, the city has made many improvements and keeps getting better with time. They have added an exciting new museum and dedicated entire streets to pedestrians, making it more approachable for tourists. Best of all, where else can you walk the streets and visually see layers of history dating back to the 5th C BC?
We visit Athens over a weekend trip during "off-season" in March to discover the many ancient and modern sights that the city has to offer. Here's what we found.
The Acropolis -
The first sight we visit, and the reason for our trip is the Acropolis - a must see for any Athens visitor. Perched high on a craggy rock, the Acropolis dominates the city skyline. The Acropolis contains many buildings and is an ancient Greek archaeological wonder and UNESCO site dating back to the 5th Century BCE. The Acropolis includes a theater called Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Temple of Athena Nike, and the Parthenon. We arrive around 9 am to learn the history of the Parthenon, which was built using clever construction and dedicated to the goddess, Athena, where Athens got its name.
The Plaka - The Plaka is located right below the Acropolis and is filled with pedestrian-friendly walkways, restaurants, shops, and the unique Greek coffee (which tastes much like Turkish coffee).
The Acropolis Museum - Adjacent to the Acropolis is the Acropolis Museum, with its unmistakable modern glass architecture. Established in 2009, the most incredible part of the museum is that it is built atop 5th Century BC ruins, which you can view through a see-through floor. The building is filled with statues and artifacts found in the Acropolis. The museum also contains a rooftop cafe with a stunning view of the Parthenon.
Parliament Building - Lastly, we head over to the Parliament building to witness the changing of the guards. Every hour on the hour, visitors crowd the front of the Parliament to see this unique cultural tradition, that includes a slow motion procession of the guards who wear the traditional dress.
Metro - The best way to get around the city is via metro. The best part of the metro is that it contains museum-quality exhibitions of artifacts from the Acropolis which were found during the excavation of the metro.
Ermou Street - This the shopping epicenter in Athens that has been beautifully renovated for the Athens Olympics in 2004. The street is pedestrian friendly, filled with shops and historic churches.
What is your favorite site in Athens? Comment below!
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.