Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities with its recorded history spinning around 3,400 years. Back in the day Athens was a powerful city-state and a center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum. Athens is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy. Now Athens seems more like a tired and decayed city.
The city core is relatively small and you need not spend too many days there in time to see everything that you should see.
It is easy to see that the star of Athens is the Acropolis. The whole city revolves around it and you can see the Acropolis wherever you are in the city! That makes it easy to navigate in the city core.
Things you need to see and do in the Ancient Athens
Even though Athens seems tired and decayed, it is still a very nice city to visit. The amount of historical artefacts you can find in this city is beyond impressive.
The Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis is an ancient citadel located on a hill above the city and contains the remains of several ancient temples and buildings of great historic significance. The most famous one is the Parthenon. It’s the temple you see when you look at the Acropolis.
Getting to the Acropolis is very easy, everything in Athens is more or less close to each other. Depending on where you stay in Athens you can either walk or take a taxi. To get into the Acropolis cost 12 euro and you use the same ticket to get into the temple of Zeus and the temple of Hephaestus.
Inside the Acropolis you will see among other things the famous Parthenon, the Erechtheum, Odeum of Herodes Atticus and Propylaea.
My advice to you is to take your time! There are a lot of things to see inside Acropolis and the sight is breathtaking. All of the ruins are very powerful looking at and the Parthenon is the most powerful one, the architecture is impressive. It is a small site so you can walk around the temples or buildings at least twice.
We were very lucky because it wasn’t high season so there weren’t a lot of people there that helped when we wanted to take pictures. Our guide told us that during high season there would be so many people waiting in line just to get into Acropolis that it could take over an hour to get in to the place.
Unfortunately, you can’t get too close to the temples, which makes hard to see the details specially the beautiful details of the Erechtheum, but hopefully you have a great zoom on your camera.
Temple of Hephaestus
The temple of Hephaestus is one of Greece’s most well-preserved temples; it remains standing largely as built.
Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths and was the son of Zeus and Hera. He was the one that made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus.
This temple had a lot of beautiful details and if you don’t look close enough, you will probably miss some of them. Look at the top of the temple and you will see different carvings. Looking at this temple you get the true feeling of how these ancient temples truly looked like.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Right in the middle of the city among the noise from the highway you will find the temple of the almighty Zeus. This temple is actually one of my favorites. It’s surrounded by a big lawn, which makes it feel bigger. Unfortunately, it’s not well preserved, but you can still see the artwork on top of the pillars. The details on them are very remarkable. I really liked this temple and although it is mostly in ruins, you still can imagine how it once looked like!
Temple of Poseidon at Sounion
This temple is my all time favorite one and it is also, like our guide said” the only temple where you actually can feel the power of the god”. The temple of Poseidon is located in Cape Sounion and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. It takes approximately two-hour drive to get to this temple but it is worth it! The drive itself is really nice with the ocean on one side and the city on the other.
To get to the temple cost 4 euros and when you get on top of the hill and stand next to the temple you truly can feel the “power” of the god. The view is breathtaking and the temple is impressive. There is ocean everywhere and you literally feel like you are on top of the world and that you are the god of the sea.
If you want to experience the true Athens you should visit the Monastiraki Square. There you can find good street food, different kind of performances and if you want to do some shopping the flea market is just next to it. The Monastiraki flea market is amazing! You can find anything from clothes, souvenirs, jewelry and books.
Graffiti and street art
Something I noticed in Athens, where all the graffiti on the buildings. There were everywhere, some of them were pretty nice and others were just ugly. I liked the artistic ones, but the other was too much and made the city look cheap. According to our guide the graffiti were tags and name of different teams, but I think it was more to that.
If you want to see pictures, click here.
One day tour