Two girls, two days, one city, 33 kilometers by foot. Our city trip turned out to be a hike trip which we don’t regret.
Strolling along the streets of Athens, especially in the city center, is very pleasant. If you look up, you’ll often see the oranges hanging from the orange trees. If you look down, you’ll see many stray cats, which look pretty content with their street life, and fallen oranges, logically.
Athens is the capital of Greece with population over 3 million people. It’s Greece’s richest city, accumulating over 70% capital of the country. Athens was also at the heart of Ancient Greece, a powerful civilization and empire. The city is still dominated by 5th- and 4th-century BC landmarks. The most prominent one is the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel where several ancient buildings are situated.
During two days you can visit fairly many places if you don’t take breaks. If you include relaxing over satisfying Greek food (you must do it!), great coffee, delicious sweets and local wine, you need much more time to discover the city and take in its vibe. We met in the middle, doing the main sights while savoring the Greek cuisine.
Probably, you’ll not miss this sight, the so called Sacred Rock of the Acropolis. The entrance fee was 10 Euro pp. We recommend you to take a guide, you can find one for 15 euro in a group of four (low season). Under one hour he or she will squeeze as much history as possible and it’s worth every euro!
Acropolis is translated as “the high city”. It’s most famous landmark is colonnaded Parthenon which used to be a temple, a bank and a fortress.
When the sun shines it can get fairly hot on the top of the hill even in February. I can’t imagine how hot it can get in summer. I’ve been in Acropolis in July though with vague memories of visiting it early in the morning.
To see the panoramic view of Athens, watching the sunset with the view of Acropolis and of the sea, you should climb the Lycabbetys hill. You can either directly take the stars from the xx hotel or walk the serpentine path in the city forest to the top. You’ll get into sweating both ways, so don’t neglect taking water with you and taking care of the heat in summer. On your way you will pass by one restaurant and see another on the top. Both are quite pricy. On the top of the hill a little orthodox church, St. George’s chapel is situated, which you can visit as well.
Monastiraki district features a huge flea, souvenirs and a usual market. From the central square a good view to the Acropolis unfolds.
Dionysiou Areopagitou Street
The longest walkway in Athens will immerse you into an open-air museum.
The building of the Hellenic Parliament with its Tomb of the Unknown Soldier situated on the Syntagma Square is one of the most photographed sights in the city. The reason for that is the scenic change of guards which happens every hour.
This place is considered to be the centre of the city and is one of the busiest areas in Athens. The tram line to the southern part of Athens starts here. Here you will most probably change the metro lines coming from the airport. We crossed the square which felt like a dozen times in our two days staying in the city.
Holy Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary – Panagia Kapnikarea
This Greek Orthodox church featuring Byzantine architecture is said to be one of the oldest in the city.
Plaka is the most scenic neighborhood, featuring a labyrinth of alleys and streets packed with souvenir shops, cafes and taverns. Its most picturesque parts is called Anafiotica.
Psyri is a colorful neoclassical neighborhood of Athens known for its streetart, artisan stores, restaurants, bars, taverns, art and antique shops.
If you have half a day extra, you could take a tram (6/7) from Syntagma Square to Glyfada Beach and stroll along the seashore.
Knowing my love to olives, olive oil and red wine, unnecessary to say that I was content with pre-starters already (after you have ordered and are waiting for your food, almost all restaurants offer you bread, olives and olive oil)! And then come real starters, and then the main dish which, though being delicious, was left half-eaten as there was basically no more space in our stomaches.