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Cultural Highlights You Don’t Want to Miss in Athens

[ 0 ] July 27, 2012 |

Athens is a perfect blend of the ancient and the modern. You can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee at a small bistro while gazing upon some of the most breathtaking ruins in the world. No matter how many modern improvements have been made to the infrastructure of Athens- a new subway system, remodeled hotels, an international airport- the ancient wonders that have remained for thousands of years are the main attraction.

There are many cultural highlights that any traveler to the Greek capitol should include in their visit. As you plan your itinerary for your trip to Athens, here are just a few of the stops you need to check out along the way.

 The Acropolis

View from the Acropolis 

One of the oldest and most notable settlements in Greece is the Acropolis. For ancient Athenians, it was a sacred site that represented the center of Greek genius. Atop the hill, visitors will find the ruins of three temples that were constructed in the 5th century BC. Once you make the climb up to the Acropolis, you can see the Parthenon, built in honor of Athena, the virgin goddess.

At the base of the Acropolis, in direct view of the Parthenon, you can explore the Acropolis Museum. The original Acropolis Museum became the home of any portable artifacts from around the Acropolis in 1834. Recently, a new museum was built to house about 4,000 artifacts. You can observe antiquities such as sculptures from the Parthenon dating to the 6th century BC, and the Caryatid sculptures that once held up portions of the Erechtheion temple. A transparent floor also provides you a view of the ruins uncovered under the building.

 

 The Agora and Plaka

 The Agora was the central marketplace of ancient Athens. The great philosopher Socrates spent much of his time in debate in the Agora and it is considered the birthplace of politics and Western philosophy. The Plaka is Athens’ historic heart.

Both areas sit near the base of the acropolis without clear boundaries and today, are a major shopping and cultural hub for the citizens of Athens. You can find anything from a wide variety of olives to fresh meat and fish. There are even a couple pet shops with exotic animals you aren’t likely to find at your own local pet store.
Squares in Athens

The Central Markets near Monastiraki station is a fantastic place to spend a few hours looking at all the cheap clothing, shoes, beads and bags before having a coffee on the cobbled streets looking out over the Acropolis. Walking to the left (if you are standing facing the Acropolis) you will start coming across amazing ruins, as well as plenty of boutique clothes stores, art stores, souvenir stores and cafes.

You can find an inexpensive and delicious meal at one of the restaurants located in the meat market, such as The Stoa Athanaton. You can enjoy traditional cuisine that includes roast lamb and potatoes.

 

Lykavittos Hill

The highest hill in Athens, the Lykavittos Hill offers visitors a breathtaking view of the city. At 968 feet high, you can use the coin-operated binoculars to look out at the coast, the city and many of the most notable landmarks.
Lykavittos Hill

 

Kerameikos

This is the ancient cemetery of Athens, with dates all the way back to the 5th century BC. You can spend a few hours walking among some of the most beautiful tombstones adorned with mythological scenes. There is even a small museum that holds a collection of pottery and sculptures.
Kerameikos 16

 

Mount Lykabettos

Another area to visit for amazing views and scenery is Mount Lykabettos. There are miles of walking trails and several cafes to stop at once you get to the top. If the climb looks a little too daunting, you can take the train to the top and choose to walk back down.

St George church at the top of Mount Lycabettus and Athens on the background

There are so many amazing things to see and do in Athens that you can be sure of having a memorable adventure.

 

 

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About onurwaytravel: Colin has been travelling the world with his young family for the past 2 and half years. He runs a couple of websites all revolve around travel, family travel and digital nomadism. His websites include http://ourtravellifestyle.com, http://vagabondfamily.org, http://nunomad.com and now http://on-our-way-travel.com. View author profile.

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