Athens is home to many magnificent ruins dating back to over 2500 years. We were lucky to stay at this great city on our way back to Paris. Two days should be sufficient to cover most of the important historical landmarks here. Athens is a beautiful city but full of graffiti. It seems as if every inch of the city is covered in graffiti (except for the ancient landmarks, of course), but makes an interesting juxtaposition between the “new” art on the streets versus the “ancient” art that the Greeks left behind. Despite the economic crisis that has hit Greece in recent years, people seem to be in good spirits and live life normally.
Getting around Athens is fairly easy and the Greek gods were definitely on our side when thinking about tourists! The metro is the way to go when looking for inexpensive, frequent, and fast transportation. Also, check if your hotel offers a shuttle service just in case.
Athens in 2 days
For the history buffs, Athens hits the jackpot. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. There are a number of museums and archaeological sites all over the city. A lot of the more recent sites were found simply during the metro construction or during utility work.
You can purchase single tickets at the ticket counter at the Acropolis for €20 or a package ticket for €30 that includes the Acropolis along with six other archaeological sites (such as Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, etc.) They do also provide student discounts with a valid student ID.
The tickets do not include entry to the Acropolis museum. For those short on time, we suggest skipping the ticket package in favor of just visiting the Acropolis alone.
This is the most popular and iconic landmark of Athens. It is visible from a lot of locations downtown and is a must visit. The Acropolis consist of a temple complex and open air theaters – The Theatre of Dionysus and Odeon of Herodes Atticus. The Parthenon is the most important and recognizable of the temple dedicated to the goddess Athena after whom the city is named. The Acropolis is a great place for photo opportunities and also to grab some amazing views of the the city below.
Ancient Agora was the heart of archaic Athens buzzing with commercial and administrative buildings . One can reminisce how life in ancient Athens was by walking through the very streets and arches. Temple of Hephaestus is the most well preserved landmark here, less visited than its neighbor the Parthenon.
Temple of Zeus & Hadrian’s Arch
The temple of Zeus is a short walk from the Acropolis next to the national gardens. Hadrian’s arch is visible right from the street itself.
The Plaka District
This is an excellent place to shop and try some savory greek delicacies. It is walking distance from the Syntagma metro station. This was one of our most favorite areas in Athens buzzing with activity – live music, busy restaurants, street vendors, etc. We recommend stopping by Lulu’s bakery and cafe for greek desserts . The Moussaka at Ta Giouvetsakia is awesome!
Visit Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery of Athens
Why a cemetery? There is a well kept museum at this site here has very good examples of pottery and art found in excavations.
Enjoy the view of the Acropolis from Mount Lycabettus
Take a taxi cab up to Mount Lycabettus or use Lycabettus Funicula (a rail/tram) to get great views of the sunset and the Acropolis. There is also a restaurant adjoining the chapel that has great views.
The Athens flea market
Accessible via the Monastiraki metro station. Great authentic leather goods, antiques crafts, and souvenirs.
The awe of being in front of something so ancient. It’s incredible to think that these artifacts have been around for centuries and we have the privilege of observing them today. Explore the world, be thankful, and know that our friends from centuries past left these for us to preserve their legacies.
144 Adrianou, Athens 105 58, Greece