During our first big trip around Greece, we skipped Athens. Came here later for the weekend. Visited only the major locations, but have formed an opinion about the city. Find here a one-day walking route in the center.
The problem is that absolutely all tourists walk in these few tourist places!
Lykavitos Hill (Lycabett)
For example, Lykavitos hill, which is visible on the previous photo, is an observation deck. We went there to watch the sunset, but this place turned out to be the worst we visited. The number of people was enormous. And it was not even a high season!
Yes, the views from there are beautiful, but only on the photos. In reality, you will think about something else. It's also funny when on the Internet the restaurant on the top of the hill is called "cozy cafe". Ha-ha. Only if you are happy to sit next to endless human queue.
The main (and the only nice) tourist area in Athens is the Acropolis, surrounding hills and parks, as well as the residential area of Plaka, located northeast of the Acropolis.
We spent the night here, in the apartments Acropolis at your door (booking.com). They are in a basement, but this is the closest accommodation to the Acropolis, so we recommend it. Since we had a car, we left it here N 37 58.333 E 23 43.225, 10 meters from the apartments, but in general - parking is pain. There is simply no parking. The only parking near the Acropolis is here N 37 58.169 E 23 43.392. It is inexpensive, but always full.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the territory around the Acropolis was turned into a pedestrian zone. It saves the day and this space looks nice to the tourist. At the same time a new airport and a new metro system were built, which allowed Athens to receive the right to host the Olympic Games in 2004.
There are several hills which offer good views. The main one is Filopappou Hill, where the people's assemblies were held in antiquity (we entered through this entrance N 37 58.209 E 23 43.312). This is not only a hill, but also a fairly large park which is recommended to visit.
It offers best views of the Acropolis, both at dawn and at sunset.
The main attraction of the city and the country is the Acropolis. Find here opening times and prices. Tickets can be bought online or at the box office (N 37 58.295 E 23 43.407). It is better to buy in advance, as usually there are quite long queues. It also makes sense to buy a combined ticket to all historical places of Athens. It is valid for 5 days and can be bought in advance. Wid bought it and came next day for the opening, at 8 am.
Attention! If you do not plan to visit the Acropolis, or if you visit Athens from November to March, then it makes no sense to buy a combined ticket, as tickets to other places are quite cheap, and in winter it is also cheaper.
Already at 9 o'clock the territory was pretty crowded.
The Acropolis began to be built in 479 BC, when the Greeks defeated the Persians. Why it is so important? The fact is that this is the most preserved ancient temple complex built by a developed civilization that can be visited. The Acropolis, the Agora and the surroundings are the first city in the modern sense. Here started modern urban environment. Western civilization and democracy also appeared here.
View of the New Acropolis Museum, which was recently opened in 2009. It was built to be able to return the treasures taken from the country, which were stored in other European museums. Previously, there was no suitable site in the country.
With the combined ticket we also visited Athens Agora (entrance is here N 37 58.556 E 23 43.393). This is an ancient meeting place, the center of social life. Although, except for the temple of Hephaestus, almost nothing has been preserved.
With a combined ticket you can also visit the Theater of Dionysus, the Tower of the Winds, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Kerameikos.
Getting there: from the airport to the city you can get by metro, which is very convenient. Both metro and commuter trains arrive at the same platform, so be patient. Find here the metro map, you need a blue line from the airport. Taxi is expensive, since the airport is far away. Daily rate starts from 38 euros. Moreover, the price may not include toll roads and various taxes.