They say that Athens the cradle of Europe for a reason. Its thousand years of history isn’t only known from mythology. The surviving ancient buildings help us remember as well.
The article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- The best places to see in Athens: Athens, the thousand years old historic city
- The best places to see in Athens: A hint of nature
- All the world is a stage or the venues of the most famous Greek dramas
- What to see in Athens: Spice up your holiday with colourful attractions!
The historic jewel of Europe, Athens is located in the heart of the Mediterranean. This city is home to the most important cultural and historical attractions. Every step and every street leads to an impressive monument. Athens is the cradle of European civilization. It is the symbol of the ancient world. Philosophy, democracy and theatre were born here.
The Acropolis is one of the best places to see in Athens. In addition, it is one of the most important Greek monuments. It towers over the whole city which reflects its grandeur and magnificence. The word acropolis means “upper city” in Greek. It was used for protection purposes in the BCE period. The building is also the birthplace of democracy. You can enter through the so-called Beulé Gate where you reach the Propylaea. Here you can visit the famous Temple of Athena Nike.
The best places to see in Athens: the Parthenon is a wonderful temple. They built it under the sun of Athenian democracy to honour the goddess Athena. It is an excellent reflection of the ancient world. The visitors can walk around the building to admire it from every angle. The timeless and beautiful elaborate sculptural ornamentation still astonishes everyone who comes here. Without a doubt, the Parthenon attracts the most tourists in the Acropolis.
The Acropolis Museum is one of the best places to see in Athens. It is one of the most prestigious museums in the world. The building features enormous glass pathways, high ceilings and incredible panoramas. The museum offers a wonderful view of Athens’ ancient and modern parts as well.
Inside the museum:
Ground floor: the Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis is exhibiting all the ancient artefacts found in the area. The most important parts of this collection are the theatrical masks and vases from the Sanctuary of Nymphe.
The first floor: you can examine the Moschophoros. It is a marble statue of a young man carrying a calf for sacrifice. This is the first example of Greek architecture using marble.
Top floor: you can visit the Parthenon Gallery on this floor, and also an astonishing view greets you here. You can easily explore the ancient parts of the Acropolis from here. The Parthenon is only 300 metres away.
In addition to the famous attractions, lush gardens and parks are enriching the city in hidden areas. They are small paradises in the buzzing city. They offer a breathtaking atmosphere for a relaxing walk or a romantic dinner.
It is a limestone mountain in the centre of Athens with magnificent views, not only over Athens but the Aegean Sea and Attica as well. The highest peak measures 300 metres, where a cosy café, a restaurant, the Chapel of St. George from the 19th century and a theatre await the visitors. You can reach the mountain peak on foot, but if you don’t like hiking you can choose the funicular that was built as a quick and convenient travel option.
In the heart of Athens, you can spend a pleasant afternoon in the green oasis of the National Gardens. The former Old Palace is now home to the Parliament, and the garden is located behind the building. The garden is rich in plants, palm and citrus trees. You can rest on the benches, or even have a traditional picnic.
Attica Zoological Park
Greece’s largest zoo is waiting for the whole family! Kids are fascinated by animals from all over the world, so this trip is the thrill of a lifetime. You can see more than 200 bird species, reptiles, wolves and even wild goats. The most peculiar residents of the park are the African penguins, the playful dolphins and the adorable seals.
Greece is the place where the institution of the theatre was born. The ancient Greek theatres are made up of three parts: orchestra, theatron and scene. In the dramas only men were allowed to play, so the female characters used character masks and kothornos shoes (a thick-soled shoe) as props.
Theatre of Dionysus
The 4th-century theatre is the oldest building in the Acropolis. It is one of the best places to see in Athens. This is where open-air theatre and European theatre were born. It was used as a theatre at the time where they played Greek dramas. The theatre could accommodate 17000 viewers, and they also organized festivals that glorified Dionysus.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus Theatre
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a three-storey stone amphitheatre built in 161 AD, and it used to be covered with a roof. Today we can visit the remains at the southwestern slope of the Acropolis. The theatre was built by a wealthy Athenian aristocrat to honour his wife. They organized music performances here and the theatre was rebuilt several times throughout history. Many artists have performed here like Luciano Pavarotti, Elton John or Andrea Bocelli. Thousands of tourists visit the theatre every year. Nowadays the theatre hosts the annual Athens Festival from May to October. Seeing the 2000-year-old stage under the Greek night sky is an unforgettable experience.
Changing of the Guards at Syntagma Square
If you are travelling to Athens you have to see the changing of the guards at Syntagma Square. The Greek Guards stand guard every day in front of the Greek Parliament and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The guards wear traditional, decorated uniforms including a kilt and a silk pom on the shoes. You can watch the unique choreography of the changing of the guards several times a day.
You can find hundreds of shops and some wonderful craft workshops on the streets of Plaka. The Plaka used to be a Turkish district and the bazaar’s atmosphere represents that well. There are not only antique dealers offering their merchandise, but we can also find cosy cafés and restaurants along the narrow, winding streets. There are ancient Greek ruins, beautiful buildings from the 19th century and many Byzantine churches as well. People come here during the carnival season to see the Mediterranean bustling streets and colourful events.
Athens is one of Europe’s most versatile cities. Whether you are a history-enthusiast or an adventurous traveller, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Athens. Families can visit many spectacular monuments and collect unforgettable memories. We have introduced several breathtaking attractions in Athens. If you’re not only looking for new, exciting discoveries, but you would visit the best beaches, read on! HELP ME TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT BOAT