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The Acropolis and Parthenon are the big draw for first-time visitors, but the city is littered with ancient Greek and Roman ruins. Visiting Athens is like taking a step back in time, a wonderful history lesson that is great for all ages. Whether you have one, two, or more days in this city, here are the best things to do in Athens. Good Athens in need of to Eat Where to Stay. Athens is referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. The first known democracy was established in Athens in the 6th century BC under the guidance of Cleisthenes, an Athenian leader.
Plato is a famous Athenian philosopher who is credited with starting the first institution for higher education in the western world. The goddess Athena is the patron of Athens. Athena and Poseidon competed for patronage of Athens. During their battle, Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring welled up. Athena hit the ground with a rock and an olive tree grew in this spot. Both of these sites are honored with temples built on the Acropolis.
Athens is considered to be the hottest city in Europe. So, if you plan to visit Athens in June, July, or August, be prepared for hot, dry weather. Rising up from the center of Athens is the Acropolis, a fortified limestone plateau that is topped with the Parthenon and several other historical monuments. This is ancient, iconic Greece, the place where philosophers questioned the universe, democracy and freedom of speech were born, and temples were built to honor the gods.
Sitting on and around this hill are several very important sites. The Acropolis is the most popular place to visit in Athens, so expect big crowds, especially midday. The best time to visit the Acropolis is at opening time and the last two hours before closing. In order to skip the ticket lines, purchase your tickets online in advance or buy a combination ticket at one of the less popular sites and then visit to the Acropolis.
For a detailed article on how to visit the Acropolis, skip the lines, and avoid the crowds, read our article How to Good Athens in need of the Acropolis and Parthenon. The Acropolis Museum is an archeological museum that houses the artifacts found on the Acropolis and the surrounding slopes. This Good Athens in need of is located near the Acropolis. Lines can be long so it is best to purchase your tickets online in advance tickets for the Acropolis Museum are sold separately from the Acropolis.
Hours vary by season. From April 1 to October 31, the museum opens at 8 am and closes between 4 pm and 8 pm, depending on the day of the week. Website: For updated hours, pricing, and holidays, visit the official website. The Ancient Agora is an archaeological site located near the Acropolis.
For 5, years, this area was used as a marketplace, gathering place, and residential area. The ground of this large site is littered with the ruins of buildings and walkways. However, there are two important places to visit the Temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalos. The Temple of Hephaestus is one of the best-preserved Greek temples. It was constructed in the 5th century BC to honor the god Hephaestus, the patron god of fire, metal working, and craftsmanship. Located just a short distance away from the Ancient Agora is the Roman Agora.
This market and collection of buildings was built in the first century BC during the rule of Julius and Augustus Caesar. The main entrance is through the Gate of Athena. It was built to house rolls of papyrus books. Construction on the temple of Olympian Zeus began in the 6th century BC. It was built to honor Zeus and was planned to be the greatest temple in the ancient world. When finished, it was one of the largest ever of the ancient temples, with unusually tall columns, each Not long after its completion in the 2nd century AD, it was pillaged by a barbarian invasion.
Even though only fifteen of the original columns still stand, it is easy to recognize its grandeur. A visit here is quick and you can walk among the excavations. If you plan to visit the Acropolis and two additional sites, the ticket pays for itself. But the real bonus is that the combination ticket allows you to skip the ticket line at each of these sites except at your first site, where you purchase the ticket. Consider visiting one of these archaeological sites first, purchase the combination ticket, and then use this to bypass the ticket line at the Acropolis.
Kerameikos was the least crowded site during our visit so this is great place to visit first to purchase your combination ticket. This museum is the largest archeological museum in Greece and houses one of the greatest collections of artifacts of Greek antiquity. Getting Here: Closest metro stations are Omonia and Victoria stations. We took the metro to Omonia station and then it was a minute walk to the museum.
Picking up your tickets from the office in Athens is much faster than waiting in line at the port to pick them up. The Benaki Museum houses Greek works of art from prehistory to modern time, as well as an extensive collection of Asian art.
The Benaki family donated their house and their enormous collection of art and artifacts to Greece. Visit the official website for hours and entrance fees. Plaka is a neighborhood in Athens that stretches from the Acropolis to Syntagma Square. This is one of the best spots in Athens to go shopping.
The older and more interesting streets are located closer to the Acropolis. The Anafiotika area is a charming, older section of Plaka with narrow, photogenic streets and shops. Located on Ermou Street in Plaka, this is one of the oldest churches in Athens. This Greek Orthodox church was built in the 11th century. It looks out of place, sitting among modern buildings and popular chain stores, as the city of Athens has grown up around it. This is a bustling, busy spot in Athens. On Sundays, a flea market dominates the square.
Numerous hotels offer rooftop restaurants, bars, and even swimming pools, which offer stunning views of the Acropolis.
Our favorite rooftop restaurant was A for Athens. Not only do you get a gorgeous view of the Acropolis but you can also look out over the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Mount Lycabettus. There are also numerous hotels that offer rooms and rooftop bars with amazing views of the Acropolis. Read our post about where to stay in Athens to learn more.
Areopagus Hill, also known as Mars Hill, is a spot to get one of the most iconic views of the Acropolis. But this is more than a nice place to snap a photo. There is a lot of history and legend here. In ancient times, this was a meeting place where philosophy and law were discussed.
It is also the location where the Apostle Paul gave one of his most important speeches. Areopagus Hill is located very close to the main entrance into the Acropolis, so go here before or after you tour the Acropolis. Located just southwest of the Acropolis, Philopappos Hill also spelled Filopappou Hill is a hilly park laced with walking trails.
The most popular viewpoint is located at the Monument of Philopappos, but you can also follow the other trails for a slightly different perspective of the Acropolis. From here, you get to see just how big this city is, with the Acropolis proudly rising up in the center from the low, white buildings. In the sunlight, this city literally sparkles. Getting Here: Unless you take a taxi right to the Lycabettus Cable Car station, expect to do some walking, and a lot of that will be uphill. The closest metro stops are Panepistimio and Evangelismos.
From here, it will be an uphill walk to the cable car station.Good Athens in need of
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