Athens, Greece: things to do, places to see and how to get around

Athens, Greece is a stunningly beautiful city full of history and culture. Tourists flock to Athens throughout the year, due to the myriad of tourist attractions to see and experiences to be had in this ancient city. Athens is hot and dry throughout the year, although it tends to be cooler in winter, which means that tourists can be found in Athens every month of the year.

There are so many places to see, places of cultural and historical importance, gardens, museums and more, that discussing them all in one article is almost impossible. This article will discuss some of the most famous sites in Athens, so that you know them properly before starting a trip to the city of Athens, Greece.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a large stone theater. It dates back to ancient Greece and has a capacity of 5,000 – 6,000 people. It was built by Herodes Atticus and dedicated to his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilli. It is one of the main venues for the Athens Festival and often hosts concerts, events and shows. It is located on the southern slope of the Acropolis. It’s a remarkable sight, especially at night during a concert or event, when floodlights illuminate the entire structure.

Constitution Plaza

Constitution Square, also known as Syntagma Square, houses the Parliament Building. The Monument to the Unknown Soldier found within this square is guarded by Evzones, guards similar to those at Buckingham Palace. You can watch the changing of the guard here every night at 6pm

the national library

The National Library is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture. It is part of the Danish architect Theophil Feiherr von Hansen’s Trilogy, which includes the University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. The National Library holds 4,500 Greek manuscripts and is a must-see for scholars, book lovers, and history buffs alike. It is located on the right side of the University of Athens, on Panepistimiou Street.

the academy of arts

Located next to the University of Athens, the Academy is also part of Hansen’s Trilogy of Neoclassical structures. The building features Ionic columns and sculptures of Plato, Socrates, Apollo and Athena.

the national garden

Formerly known as the Royal Garden, the National Garden is home to various species of plants and flowers. It is located behind Parliament House, and a gate connects it to the Zappeion, a building that was used as a fencing hall in the first modern Olympic Games. The National Garden is an ideal place to visit if you feel the need to be in contact with nature while staying within the city proper.

ancient agora

In the Ancient Agora, you can find a number of ancient ruins such as the Odeon of Agrippa, huge statues of Tritons and Giants, the Church of the Holy Apostles, Thesion, Royal Stoa, and the famous Altar of the Twelve Gods.

esteio

Do you need a little encouragement before continuing your tour of Athens, Greece? Order a puff (an iced coffee drink that many Greeks like) and relax at an outdoor cafe in Thiseo. Thiseo is full of quaint cafes, eating places, and lounge areas; making it an ideal stop on a busy tour.

Poseidon’s temple

Located at Cape Sounion in Attica, the Temple of Poseidon overlooks the beautiful waters of the Saronic Gulf. Although the famous sunset at the Temple of Poseidon is as impressive as they say, if you want to avoid the rush of tourists, visit it early in the morning. The fresh air and calm atmosphere of the Temple of Poseidon during a morning visit are a balm for the senses.

Acropolis and the Parthenon

You cannot visit Athens without dropping by the Parthenon. Located on the Acropolis, the Parthenon was a temple to the goddess of wisdom, Athena. The Parthenon was built in the Doric architectural style, and some say it is the best example of Doric architecture ever made. Only 15 Corinthian columns of the original 104 remain standing; another column fell in 1852. However, the majestic beauty of each column is guaranteed to take any viewer’s breath away. The Parthenon can be seen from a distance, especially at night, when the entire structure is illuminated by searchlights. Acropolis Hill also boasts a spectacular view of the city of Athens.

Lycabettus Hill

Lycabettus Hill or Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in the city. You can find the Chapel of St. George and an open-air theater at its top. It has an impressive view of the city of Athens.

Plaka and Monastiraki

If you want to take a break from sightseeing, shop for unique souvenirs in Plaka and Monastiraki. Stroll down Ermou, a pedestrian-only street, and browse the wares in the quirky little shops selling everything from vegetable shapers to replica statues, funky shirts and handmade silk roses. You can also find well-known stores like Armani, D&G and Gucci, along Ermou. Before you go on a shopping spree in Plaka or Monastiraki, make sure you eat a big meal beforehand and wear comfortable shoes, as you may be staying in the shops longer than you think! On a side note, Plaka was built on the site of the residential areas of ancient Athens.

Getting around in Athens Greece

Traveling in Greece and taking in the sights can be extremely rewarding. It can also be quite exhausting. When you visit Athens, you have quite a few options when it comes to getting around. You can rent a car or a motorcycle, or you can take the bus. However, rental cars are expensive and taking a bus can be inconvenient, with all the waiting at bus stops and having to walk the rest of the distance to your destination. Taxi tours in Athens are a comfortable, cheap and totally new way to get around Athens. Athens Taxi, in particular, offers half-day and full-day tours of Athens, and they also offer tours from Athens to Mycenae and Epidavros. Athens Taxi can also provide a personal guide for you and your group. If you prefer walking tours, Athens Taxi can also arrange for a personal guide to accompany you and point out landmarks and provide mini history lessons and interesting facts.

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