Top sites to visit in Athens, Greece
If you’re a young vacationer or a pensioner seeking the best places to retire, Greece is one of the best places to visit. The country’s relaxed pace of life, friendly people, amazing history and culture, and kind prices for food and hotels means it’s a destination that is appealing to anyone. If you’ve never been to Greece, Athens is the best place to start, especially if you don’t know Greek. Here are some of the top sites to visit when visiting Athens, Greece:
Serving as both the marketplace and civic center of Athens, the Agora is mostly in ruins today—but it’s still definitely worth a visit. In particular, the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, which hosts the museum for the Agora, is a great visit, as is the remarkably preserved Temple of Hephaestus—which, thanks to being used as a Christian church, has lasted through the centuries.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
This is an ancient Roman theater still in use today—be sure to check out their event calendar and buy tickets ahead of time.
The Acropolis and its museum
This will shock no one. Visible from nearly any street in the city, the Acropolis was more or less the religious and financial heart of ancient Athens. It features the Parthenon—the temple dedicated to Athens’ namesake and patron, Athena; the Erechtheion, which housed two items from ancient Greek myth—the gifts Athena and Poseidon gave to Athens while attempting to woo the people to choose them as patron (an olive tree and a salt water spring); the tiny but amazingly preserved Temple of Athena Nike; and the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the top. To avoid the hordes of people who swarm the Parthenon after getting off their cruise ships, either visit as soon as it opens or after 5 pm during the summer. The nearby Acropolis Museum is also fantastic, and well worth several hours of your time.
This is where the first of the modern Olympic Games was held in 1896—but also was the site of the ancient Greek Panathenaic Games. It’s a can’t-miss.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus
The ancient Greeks built temples of modest size; the Romans, however, held nothing back. Emperor Hadrian was a huge fan of the Greeks, to the point that he styled himself as a Greek (with a beard) and built this temple in Athens. Not much of it remains, but the columns can give you a strong sense of how huge it was, especially in comparison to the Parthenon. Also check out the Arch of Hadrian; on the side facing the Parthenon, it reads, “This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus.” On the side facing the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the arch reads, “This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus.”
This neighborhood boasts some really great restaurants, as well as one of the best shopping areas for tourists who love a good bargain, because it houses a large flea market as well as boutiques and specialty stores.