Travel made in April 2018
Duration: 4 days
Welcome to Athens!!
Hello bubblers! Today Myoxybubble will transport you to a world steeped in Greek history and mythology in one of the oldest cities in the world! Who has never thought of herself as Athena, goddess of war and wisdom? Or for Poseidon god of the sea and horses? The 2 gods, each desiring to have the sovereignty of the ancient city, will fight a battle. Who from Athena or Poseidon will win?
Follow me to Athens, to discover it together! We will visit the city of the gods with its historic districts, its extraordinary monuments, its hills, its lively bars, not to mention its gastronomic flavors. I promise you a change of scenery and a return to ancient history on every street corner of the city.
You can click on all the photos in this article in order to view them in large format
Athens, cradle of history and city of the Gods!
Day 1 : Syndagma – Monastiraki – Mount Lycabettus
First of all, I suggest you immerse yourself early in the morning in the heart of the athens halls located between the Omonia district and Ermou Street. It is a good way to awaken your taste buds, your senses and make you share all the flavors, smells of this typical and unmissable local market during a visit to the city. You will find many spices, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and a multitude of local products. Going to the market allows you to soak up the daily life of the locals and the Greek atmosphere!
Then you can walk through the small streets that line the market. Sit down and drink one of its hand-prepared Greek coffees cooked on hot sand. The preparation is done in a copper cup where freshly ground coffee beans and filtered water are added. It is a traditional method (called Hovoli) that has existed since the seventh century. Your olfactory and gustatory senses will appreciate! And why not accompany your coffee for breakfast with a local pastry 😋?! A real treat! (opt for Baklavas or kataïfis).
After this break, I suggest you walk the streets and go to the long pedestrian street Ermou and walk there. It starts from Syndagma Square and ends at Monastiraki Square . In the middle of Ermou Street is the magnificent Christian church Panaghia Kapnikarea. It is the most commercial street in Athens. You can take the opportunity to possibly go shopping, you will find many major brands.
If you are fond of churches, I invite you to go to Mitropoli Square to visit theCathedral of the Annunciation also called metropolitan cathedral of Athens. This Orthodox cathedral is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, hence its name. Its dome is splendid, the exterior and interior architecture is worth a look. It is very rich in decoration and colors as you can see in the photos below.
Continuing on Ermou Street, you will arrive at the Place de Syndagma, and at the bottom of it the Greek Parliament. Every hour there is the changing of the guard who watches over the parliament but also over the tomb of the unknown soldier. The guards wear a traditional uniform and in particular the famous shoes or rather hooves. Not very convenient to walk and very slippery when the ground is wet! It had just rained a few drops when we arrived to witness the changing of the guard and the soldiers had to be supported by a soldier so as not to fall!
After the guard, we advise you to go for a stroll in the national garden just behind the Greek parliament. It is a must-see public garden in Athens. It is beautiful, very green, decorated with trees and exotic plants (palm trees, orange trees, pines). This place is a haven of peace, very romantic for lovers!
In the heart of the park is the very pretty Zappio Palace, now used for exhibitions.
Continue, go down, and here you are face to face with the beautiful Hadrian’s Gate built to pay tribute to the Roman emperor of the same name, after his coming to Athens. In front of the door, enjoy the view of the Olympiéion of Athens, also called Temple of Zeus of which there are about fifteen impressive columns. This temple is located below the Acropolis. A real return to the past of this city! And for the record, Zeus, the Olympian god of lightning, was also Athena’s father!
Not far away is also the ancient stadium of Athens also called Panathenaic Stadium. This ancient stadium was renovated to host the 1st Olympic Games of the modern era in 1896.
We are at the end of the afternoon, we now invite you to attend a sunset over the ancient city from Mount Lycabettus ! To get there, join the Akropoli metro and get off at Evangelismos station. The climb to the funicular is a little rough, so bring good shoes, at least avoid heels and small shoes! Arrived at the level of the funicular 2 possibilities are available to you:
– you can take it to get to the top (7 € round trip)
– or for the more sporty, it is also possible to go up and down on foot for free!
The ascent by funicular is relatively expensive because it takes only 3 minutes for 210 m of tunnel. Departure every 10 min from 9am to 2.30am.
The panorama of the city is magnificent! Mount Lycabettus is the highest point of the city that it dominates from the top of its 277 m. At the top of the mountain, you will be able to visit the small chapel of St. George, full of charm. You can also go around to contemplate the 360-degree view of the city! From here you can see the Acropolis, the sea, the city all dressed in white, its greenery and the hill of Filopappou.
At nightfall, we take the metro towards Monastiraki to land at the 360 cocktail bar, Rooftop very trendy of the city and offering a breathtaking view of the illuminated Acropolis. There is a lounge atmosphere with only moonlight and a candle for lighting. The music is loud! The food and cocktails are good and the waiters smiling. I highly recommend this bar!
Day 2: Discover the districts of Plaka and Psiri
On the program of this Easter Sunday, we offer you a walk in the Plaka district! Place to discover absolutely during your stay in Athens. It is the historical and tourist heart of the city, a district composed of small cobbled streets and colorful houses. It is very pleasant to walk there.
The streets of Plaka are very lively day and night, with its many shops (flea markets, with shops selling handmade soaps, sea sponge, handmade Greek sandals, and souvenirs of all kinds) and restaurants. We were in Athens on the Orthodox Easter Weekend which happens to be out of step with the Catholic Easter. In the Plaka district, grilled lamb mechoui was in the spotlight! It’s a tradition! Especially in Monastiraki Square. which offers a sublime view of the Acropolis. Here, life is good!
Not far from the Roman Agora (near Monastiraki Square) stands the wind tower also called the Clock of Kyrristos. This clock has the particularity of being a sundial and a hydraulic clock. The Roman Agora should not be confused with the Agora (Greek) which is also at the foot of the Acropolis. It was at the time a gathering place for the Athenians. Today it is a huge park where there are many ruins and pottery, as well as the fabulous temple of Hephaestus and Athena. This temple is beautifully preserved!
This place is full of history and it is very pleasant and relaxing to walk there. The entrance ticket costs 8€. I recommend it! (Attention closed on Easter Sunday).
On a Sunday on holiday, who doesn’t like to sit down and have an aperitif? For this, we suggest you go to A for Athens ! Cocktail bar located in the city center on the rooftop of the hotel at the foot of Monastiraki Square. The bar is renowned for its stunning views of the Acropolis and the square. The cocktails are ok but not worth those of the bar 360. I recommend it all the same because the view of the square and the Acropolis is breathtaking and we are good there!
After quenching your thirst, we invite you to go to the small Psiri district to discover its Street Art. It is a nice and lively area with many bars and restaurants. Do not hesitate to get lost because the atmosphere is rather pleasant.
Market it digs! It is time for us to find a restaurant to end our day well and enjoy a good Moussaka or other typical dish of the country. We recommend the restaurant Oinéas located in the heart of the Psiri district. The 50 year decoration of the restaurant is funny and surprising. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of it to my greatest regret! The food is excellent, hearty and fresh. The waiters are smiling and caring for you. Very good value for money in addition!
Day 3: The Acropolis and the Parthenon
Today is the big day! With the sun and the blue sky! On the program of the day the visit of the Acropolis ! After contemplating it and taking pictures from all angles, we will finally be able to set foot on this high limestone rocky plateau that rises in the heart of the city of Athens. You will discover several temples, including the famous Parthenon, but also the Erechteion and the temple of Athena Nike.
On your way, going up to the Parthenon, you will discover the fabulous theater of Dionysus (divine god). This theater could accommodate up to 17,000 spectators.
Within the grounds of the Acropolis estate, below the promontory, beautiful walks and the discovery of magnificent spots and ancient wonders await you! The view from the Acropolis is magnificent on the Temple of Zeus, the Agora, the Hill of the Muses (also called Areopagus) and the Hill of Filopappou.
The Acropolis is a must-see during a visit to Athens. There are 3 entrances overlooking the site:
– the main entrance: take the path from the Thissio metro
– a 2nd entrance in front of the entrance to the museum, through the Dyonisos Theater. I recommend it because there is much less queue! – the 3rd entrance is to the north of the site, coming from the plaka district, where stairs join the path to the main access.
The entrance to the site costs 20 € / person for the visit of the site of the Acropolis but there is also a group ticket with other sites including the Agora, the Temple of Zeus and many others.
I advise you to go there at the opening to avoid queuing too much.
Let’s take a look back at the history of the competition between Athena and Poseidon! To end the quarrel between the 2 gods a contest is set up. The god protector of the city will be the one who offers the best for the city! The only judges of the competition will be Cécrops the mythical founder of the city and its inhabitants. Poseidon made appear a horse, ideal for war, and Athena an olive tree, tree of peace. The inhabitants and Cecrops declared Athena victorious and protective goddess of the city! Athena then gave his name to the city. You can see on the west front of the Parthenon the remains of a sculpture of Poseidon and his horse illustrating the battle between the 2 gods.
After reincarnating as Poseidon and Athena, you can laze on the large rock of the Areopagus (also called ares hill). The Areopagus had a judicial power in Greece. The view is exceptional between that of the acropolis, Mount Lycabettus, the hill of Philopappou and the Pnyx.
In Athens, we like to take height! So, head to the hill of Philapappou for its ascent! The hill rises to 147 meters above sea level. At the top, you will find a funerary monument. The ride is pleasant. On one side of the hill you have a breathtaking view of the Acropolis, on the other a splendid view of the sea, the port of Piré and the city. A 360-degree view of Athens!
It is time for us to descend to the square of Herod’s Odeon and the Atticus. Square located in front of the entrance of the theater of Dyonisos. It was built at the foot of the Acropolis in 161. The square is made of white stone and is very well preserved.
To close this day, I invite you to watch the sunset over the Acropolis from the rooftop of the luxurious Hotel Grande Bretagne, located on Syndagma site while having a drink and dining!
Day 4: Cape Sounion – The Temple of Poseidon
Want to escape the city and see the sea for a day? Cap or no cap? Then direction Cap Sounion ! Located 60 km from Athens, stands facing the sea the magnificent temple of Poseidon, god of the sea. This temple, just like the acropolis is located on a rocky promontory. The Acropolis overlooks the beautiful Greek city while the Temple of Poseidon overlooks the Aegean Sea.
Zeus decided to dedicate this temple to Poseidon to calm the latter following his defeat at the hands of Athena. The temple of Poseidon is worth a visit and the road along the coast to get there is very beautiful. The entrance ticket costs 8€. I advise you to have an iced coffee, get lost in the trails and then go down below to put your feet in the water. The location is absolutely beautiful!
Do not miss the fabulous sunset over the temple of Poseidon!You will be amazed by this magnificent show!
If you want to discover even more activities and places to visit in Athens and its surroundings, we invite you to click on the banner below:
That’s it, it’s the end of the journey! I hope you liked this one. For our part, we loved it and will come back to Greece to do the Cyclades.
Feel free to leave your comments on this article and share your own experiences on Athens (the form can be found a little further down). Need advice to organize your trip? Contact me!
I wish you a great holiday season and look forward to seeing you soon for new adventures with Myoxybubble!
We advise you to move on foot in order to soak up the atmosphere of the city, and to take the metro only for long trips.
Getting to Cap Sounion:
You can either rent a car for the day or take the KTEL bus like us. Departure from Pedion Aeros square.It takes 1h30 drive to get there and some stops. the schedules (round trip) are available on the link given above.
The currency is the euro €.
The credit card is accepted almost everywhere and it is quite easy to find a distributor in the tourist districts.
The standard of living is lower than in France, so prices are generally significantly lower than in our country.
Before you go
Don’t forget to check that your passport is still valid.No visa required.
There is no need for special vaccines.
For electrical outlets, they are identical to those in France.
Sunscreen and sunglasses in spring and summer, recommended.
Good sneakers and a map of the city to take the time to discover the city on foot.
Need more advice to prepare your stay?
We recommend the excellent site VivreAthenes.com run by Laure. It is a real gold mine on Athens, but also mainland Greece and the Greek islands.