At the risk of sounding like a travel guide!! This week I’d like to write a little bit about Athens. I’ve been out of Spain for the last two weeks so I feel compelled to write about where I have been! I know I’ve written about this before, but I thought I’d touch a little more on Acropolis and some of the surrounding sights that are interesting to visit. In my opinion Athens is not a pretty city, but what it lacks in beauty it more than makes up for in history!
Of course Acropolis is the highlight of Athens and the sight seeing circuit so it goes without saying that this is a must see. The Parthenon was constructed between 447-432 BC and was originally built to house a colossal statue of Athena. There are also some other interesting temples to see on the hill. The walk to the top whilst not overly strenuous could be a little difficult for the elderly or infirm, so do keep that in mind and the rocks are quite slippery!
I love wandering around the Ancient Agora, at the base of Acropolis. This was the focus of political, commercial and social activity. Although much of it is in ruins, the layout is still apparent.
The Acropolis museum is full of interesting and original artefacts and definitely should be on your tour list.
Other sights to visit include, Hadrian’s Library and Hadrian’s Gate/Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Olympic Stadium (which hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896), the National Gardens and perhaps Kerameikos Cemetery where some very notable Ancient Athenians are buried.
There is also a lookout and café located on Lycabettus Hill where you can enjoy panoramic views of Athens.
The Plaka is a favourite district of mine. It’s made up of narrow streets and laneways and lots of tourist shops and restaurants. It’s the most historical and picturesque part of town and has a really upbeat ambience. The Monastiraki area is great for a little retail therapy. It’s where the Flea Market is held. Sunday is the best day to visit Monastiraki (as the full flea market is open) — early is better, if you can manage it. Also, you must wander down Ermou Walkway and check out the shops there. The retail section has the advantage of being a pedestrian street so you can spend more time window browsing and less time looking out for vehicles!