Equally sloppy and elegant, Athens is unmistakably a beguiling mix of history and avant-garde. That said, if we had to name really irresistible travel destinations for any traveler, one of them would be this fascinating city, since its imposing archaeological remains contrast with its bustling and full of life atmosphere, making it absolutely unique and special. The truth is that the restless and festive “soul” of Athens falls in love with walking through its squares and streets, eating in its restaurants, getting lost in its markets…, although it is when visiting its monuments that you discover the immense value of everything that treasures, not in vain was it considered the capital of the world in ancient times.
The tourist attractions of Athens are many, but if we had to name the main one it is its Acropolis, did you know that it is considered one of the most important places in the history of mankind? Centuries of historical events have passed before the majestic temples that house this “upper city” that served as defense and worship, and which was the epicenter of Greek civilization in its greatest splendor. An essential visit, its location is privileged, It is located on the flat top of a rocky promontory, crowning Athens and surrounded by a monumental landscape in which it seems that the historical memory that floats in the environment and the nature of the surroundings beautify it even more.
The main buildings that stand here are the Parthenon temple, which is a symbol of this place for its huge columns, which exceed ten meters, and, of course, for being the quintessential Greek temple; the Erechtheion temple, consecrated to Athena and Poseidon, and which is very special for its famous porch of the Caryatids; in it, six 2.30-meter-high sculptures act as columns and support the entablature —as an important fact, it must be said that these statues are replicas and that the originals are in the Acropolis museum and one in the British museum— ; Very important are the Propylaea, which are probably the most spectacular threshold of those that preceded an architectural complex of antiquity, to cross this monumental entrance is to go back millennia in time, and the current appearance of these ruins has a silent charm that is perceive floating among the beautiful nudity of the structure; very close, the temple of Athena Nike it seems suspended in the air due to its location at one end of the Acropolis, and it is important to know that what is currently there is a reconstruction of the 19th century.
Other very interesting structures are the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Monument of Agrippa and the Beulé Gate. Once you have toured the Acropolis, it is highly advisable to get to know its museum, which is located just 300 meters from it, and is, together with the National Archaeological Museum, one of the most important in the country, and it could even be said that in the world. .
Visiting some of the most emblematic places
We continue discovering the treasures of Athens descending from the Acropolis to the Monastiraki neighborhood, which is located at the base of the hill that sits on the Acropolis. It is an area full of restaurants and cafes, its Monastiraki square is one of the most touristic spots in Athens and it is a good place to start visits, since on one side is the Ancient Agora, and on the other the popular neighborhood of Plaka, the library of Hadrian and the Roman Agora.
The picturesque neighborhood of Plaka is characterized by its narrow streets and its small and cheerful squares full of people. Here is the Roman Agora and Hadrian’s Library, as well as several small and beautiful churches. Do not forget that the Anafiotika neighborhood is very close, a neighborhood with a village atmosphere and winding medieval streets with white-painted houses with deep blue windows.
We continue walking through what is known as the Roman Forum: the Roman Agora. This place was the old public square of Athens, one of the main meeting points of the city, although currently only small parts of the columns of the courtyard and a small area that corresponded to the public baths, and the Tower of the Winds, are preserved. erected more than 2000 years ago and that fulfilled a double function: that of a religious temple and that of a meteorological observatory. After this visit, a good option is to go to the ancient Agora, the center of daily life in ancient Athens, where the administration of the city, politics, commerce and a good part of the social activities were concentrated. Among the remains of its ancient buildings, the Stoa of Átalo stands out, which also functions as the Agora museum, and the magnificent temple of Hephaestus, one of the best preserved in all of Greece.
As jewels that houses the Greek capital is the Panagia Kapnikarea church, one of the oldest in the city, since it dates from the eleventh century. It is a splendid example of Byzantine-era architecture, which, although very small, is of such striking beauty that it can certainly be considered a must-see. Also essential is the temple of Zeus, the Olimpeion; It was the largest temple in Ancient Greece, and although today only the floor and fifteen columns remain standing, it is enough to contemplate it to get an idea of how colossal it was. Nearby is a small park containing the ruins of Themistocles’ Wall and the ancient Roman Baths of Bath.
Another emblematic construction is the Panathinaikó Stadium, an imposing mass of white marble whose predecessor and original building was built around 335 BC. The Panathenaic games that were held every year were organized here and where the runners competed in races around the track . It is important to note that the current stadium is a replica of the one described and that it was rebuilt for the 1896 Olympic Games.
If we continue talking about important Athenian places to discover and we want 360º views of Athens, it is essential to climb Mount LycabettusCuriously, at the top of which there is a small and emotional chapel dedicated to Saint George.
We must also mention the National Gardens, a green oasis ideal for walking and sitting down for a while to rest, as well as an interesting but little-known place, the Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery of Athens and in its time the largest necropolis in all of Greece. There are many other “must-see” places in Athenian, but it is impossible to mention them all in one article, but we can summarize its essence in a few words: it is a city that captivates when you visit it, that surprises when you walk through it, and that fascinates when you get to know it. Undoubtedly, a must-see destination for any self-respecting traveler.