"My trap!" Top 5 Page for this destination Athens by mindcrime
Athens Travel Guide: 4,436 reviews and 10,593 photos
We had snow some years before(winter 2008) so it was an opportunity to stay inside and get out only for playing with snow. We are not used of it in Athens.... but it was very nice? so I started my Athens page then!
The truth is that I didnt know where to begin with so first I added some random tips, some basic places/districts but then the page was always under construction as there are always new things to add, I still walk around and feel like a visitor in my own city trying to check famous corners but also off the beaten path surprises?
I usually travel on budget so all my restaurant tips will be for people that doesn's spend 200$ for a meal.
But let's start...
Take bus X95 (5 euro) from the airport direct to Syntagma square. Your hotel must be in walking distance from there anyway if you want to have the basic districts and monuments around so any hotel between Syntagma, Plaka and Monastiraki area will be fine although even if you live somewhere else there will be for sure at least one bus leading to the center. The traffic is huge some days though so it?s better not to loose all your day in the bus, especially if you don?t have many days to spend in Athens,
I will make a small itinenary for you but you have to read my tips for detailed description.
At Syntagma square see the Parliament and the Tomb of the Uknown soldier, walk into National Gardens, see Zapeion Hall, the Panathenaic Stadium (the historic first modern olympics? stadium) and then the Arch of Hadrian (Gate of Athens) and the Temple of Zeus (buy the combo ticket for the Acropolis, you can see many attractions in 4 days including the Acropolis, Roman Agora, Keramikos Cemetery etc)
Now you can either go down Dionysiou Areopagitou pedestrian street or from Syntagma Square go down Ermou Street for shopping. In both options visit Monastiraki area for the market, Psiri (for the cafes), Plaka(for the buildings, and Acropolis at the top of the hill, the Tower of The Winds in the Roman Agora etc) but you better skip Acropolis and visit only the New Acropolis Museum in the evening.
In most cases it makes more sense to begin with the Acropolis early in the morning to avoid the masses but also the heat.
From Syntagma square in walking distance also is Kolonaki district, the expensive central district, you can go there through Vas.Sofias avenue (where you can see some nice buildings but also interesting museums) and if your wallet cant afford the prices (even coffee is more expensive here) go up to Lycabettus Hill for an amazing view of the city or walk down to Eksarxeia district (for the cafes, pubs, rock clubs etc)
See the real city, walk in the center, from Sintagma square to Omonoia square through El.Venizelos Avenue (check the neoclassical trilogy on your right) and from Omonoia to Monastiraki through Athinas Street where you can check the meat and fish markets.
Probably you want to visit some museums. National Archeological Museum is a must but there are dozens of other museums and galleries in many places, mainly in the center.
Visit Sounio by bus for the Temple of Posidon
Take an organised tour to Ancient Corinth or to Delphi.
Or just take the subway and go down to Piraeus and catch an ferry to near by island on the ArgoSaronic Gulf (Hydra, Aigina, Poros or Spetses). There are numerous organized day cruises among them, just book your ticket at travel agent near your hotel.
If you have a car visit Sanctuary of Amphiarion at Kalamos and eat fresh fish at Skala Oropou, Dhilessi or Paralia Avlidhos. Dont forget to swim at one of the beaches along the way. If you have time take the ferry from Skala Oropou to Eretria for more sightseeing and return to Athens from Chalkida.
If you only have 2 days try to combine the first 3 days shown above. It's easy to do but not so relaxing.
Many complain about all these colorless block appartments in Athens, but how did all this begin? It?s called antiparohi (I?m not sure about the English term) and is a building method that someone sells the land or/and a small house on it and a new big apartment block rises (the owner gets money or some of the apartments). It was used extensively through out Greece after WWII when people come to big cities in masses from the villages (one reason was the greek civil war of 1946-49 but also the great demand for cheap houses, another reason was the black years of the dictaroship 1967-1974 when the leaders of the military junta tried to please the people allowing higher builidngs etc).
From 1960s until the 1980s 35,000 block appartments were erected in a city that had 1,000 before that so the profile of the city changed completely, the quality of life in city center dropped as there was no alternative plan for big avenues, free spaces/parks etc, let aside the big number of cars after the 1970s so it?s no surprise the rich after 1970s started to move in the periphery while lower class gathered in the center (unlike other European cities), a big disappointed as the ones that sell the original land dint care anymore because they could build a new nice house elsewhere while the poor would be packed in the center?
- Pros:too much history
- Cons:too much traffic
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