The best of Athens in 24 hours

15 Sep

The best things to do in Athens

Let’s say that for whatever reason, you find yourself in the capital of Greece. And for the same peculiar reason, you only have 1 day to spend in Athens. And you get nervous because one day is not much time to spend in Athens (well, one day is not much time to spend anywhere!) and you are desperately trying to pick the most famous landmarks to go and see. Well, on that topic, let me, as a local, propose to you some things to do in Athens and make the most out of your day; let me help you make this one day in Athens unforgettable!

1. Acropolis

akropolis

Acropolis by K_Dafalias, flickr.com

Well, no surprises here; you are in Athens and although you only have 24 hours to spend here, you can’t miss the Parthenon! Apart from visiting the temple itself, you can also visit the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the theatre of Dionysus just beneath the Parthenon. You must also visit  the new Acropolis Museum, just opposite of the Acropolis hill which apart from the many statues and actual pieces of the temple on display, offers an amazing view of the Parthenon from its top floor, where the cafe and the restaurant are situated.

Well about the Acropolis itself there are not many things to say; it speaks for itself! Enjoy the magnificence of the temple as well as the view from up there and let yourself be part of the ancient centre of Athens and Greece!sto-irodeio-brabeia-europaikis-politismikis-klironomias

Odeon of Herodes Atticus via Nafteboriki
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Acropolis Museum, Source tovima.gr

2. Plaka and Monastiraki Square

On the other side of the Acropolis hill, you will find the historical neighbourhood of Plaka also described as the Neighbourhood of the Gods as it is situated very close to Acropolis. Walking in Plaka will make you travel in time and experience what authentic Athens used to look like with all the neoclassical architecture and the small houses built one next to the other, bringing in mind images of the Greek islands. One particular area of Plaka that was built according to the traditional Cycladic architecture is Anafiotika; walk uphill on the secret route and you will find yourself on a spot over Anafiotika and beneath the Parthenon with a magnificent view of Athens! 😉

anafiotika

Anafiotika via static.panoramio.com

Monastiraki, famous for its flea market and its variety of shops, is located next to Plaka and attracts loads of people all year round. There are quite a few spots to have coffee, lunch/dinner and drinks around this area but be aware of the many touristic restaurants that offer average quality for high prices!

monastiraki

Monastiraki Square, Source api.ning.com

3. Ermou and Syntagma Square

From Monastiraki square you can walk via Ermou street, one of the most crowded streets of Athens due to the many shops, and go to Syntagma square (considered to be the centre of modern Athens). Overlooking Syntagma square, the current Parliament building of Greece, that used to be royal palace, dominates the view from every corner of the square. In front of it the war memorial, dedicated to all the soldiers that died in the various wars Greece has been through, guarded 24/7 by Evzones, in their authentic outfit. Right next to the Parliament building are the National Gardens in case you want to take a quick break in a green space hidden in the centre of Athens!

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Parliament via static.panoramio.com

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National Garden via ronsaari.com

4. Panathenaic Stadium

This stadium is a tribute to the Olympic games and a famous landmark of Athens. It was reconstructed to host the first modern Olympic games that took place in Athens in 1896, and is still being  used for major events or celebrations (in this very stadium is the finishing line of the Athens Classic Marathon that takes place each year). So if you want to see where modern Olympic Games were (re)born, that’s the place to visit!

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Panathenaic Stadium via wikimedia.org

Well, there you go! In just a few hours you can visit quite a few of the most famous spots of Athens, enjoy the local tastes that Athens can offer you and have a drink admiring one of the most famous ancient landmarks in the world and the most famous in Greece for sure!

Tips:

  • Close to Syntagma square you will find 3 very interesting places for breakfast/coffee/ brunch: 1) at the rooftop of Public store where you can enjoy the view of Syntagma square and the Greek Parliament, 2) just off Syntagma square, in Voukourestiou street where you can enjoy a more glamourous time in Pasaji and 3) very close to Pasaji you will find Zonar’s, one of the most famous and glamorous cafes of the 1900’s. If you choose to have a break at one of the latter 2, don’t miss 3 landmark buildings of Athens, situated the one next to the other on Panepistimiou street: the National Library of Greece, the University of Athens and the Academy of Athens.
  • Don’t miss the kebab in Monastiraki square, served by the 2 long established and famous tavernas situated on the square (Thanasis and Bairaktaris). Situated also in Monastiraki square is the A for Athens hotel. Go to the top where you will find the roof-bar of the hotel which offers a unique vista of the Acropolis and enjoy your cocktail.

Stavros Tsoukatos

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4 Responses to “The best of Athens in 24 hours”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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