We weren’t sure how much time to spend in Athens and chose to stay 3 full days, we found that to be the perfect amount of time to see what we wanted. We rented a really great apartment in a nice neighbourhood and lucky for us right at the entrance of our building was one of the top rated restaurants in Athens. We ate there a couple of times and the food was absolutely fantastic, not to mention the convenient location.
We could walk everywhere from our apartment which was really great. The Panathenaic Stadium was nearby and happened to be on the way to the Acropolis. It was incredible to see an entire stadium made out of marble.
I will mention that there is a combo ticket available that allows you to visit the Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Roman and Ancient Agora, Hadrians Library, Kerameikos and Lykeion. It’s worth it if you intend to visit all the sites, which we did.
After our visit to the Stadium, we stopped in to see the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It’s interesting that the building of this temple started in the 6th century but was actually not completed until 700 years later in 131AD. This site really intriqued me, mostly because of the Roman Baths that used to be here. I could imagine how fancy those baths must have been during that time period.
In the same area as the Temple of Olympian Zues is the Arch of Hadrian. It was built in 132AD as a gate between the ancient city and the Roman city of Athens.
In our opinion, the Acropolis Museum is a ‘must see’. It is utterly fantastic and we recommend visiting it before you visit the Acropolis. It’s rated as one of the best museums in the world and houses all the artifacts found on the Acropolis and its slopes. There are only certain areas in the museum where photos are permitted. This was one I took of the five Caryatids, the original maidens that once held up the roof on the porch of the Erechtheion. It was considered the most sacred part of the Acropolis. They are all unique and hand-carved from Parian marble and I found them to be so beautiful. A place remains vacant for the missing 6th Caryatid with the hopes that she will return here – she is currently held in London at the British Museum.
The Acropolis is probably the most visited site in Athens and it was quite busy even though it’s the slower season for tourism in Greece. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that shouldn’t be missed while visiting Athens. On the north and south slopes there are some interesting things to see.
I loved the theater of Herod Atticus, it was built by the Romans in 161AD and it’s still used today for classical concerts, ballet, cultural performances, and Yanni.
This is the Propylaea (the entrance) to the Parthenon which was completed in 432.
The Parthenon as well as the other main buildings on the Acropolis were built by Pericles in fifth century BC. The buildings are all beautiful and seem to always be under restoration – it must be quite a job to ensure these old structures remain standing.
The Erecthion was one of my favourite buildings. It sits on the most sacred site of the Acropolis. This is where Poseidon and Athena had a contest over who would be the Patron of the city. This is also the site where the six Caryatids held up the porch roof.
The views from the Acropolis over the city are wonderful.
After our visit to the Acropolis we strolled through the Anafiotika neighbourhood. The area was built by stone masons from Anafi. We loved all the little alleys and how the houses were built right into the rock.
From Anafiotika, we made our way to Plaka, the oldest neighbourhood in the city. This area is full of little shops and restaurants, and a great place to have lunch. It also has Brettos, the oldest distillery in Greece!
The next day we continued our visits to the other archealogical sites that were included in our combo ticket. Some of them were fairly quick to visit.
Hadrians Library, built in 132AD was a gift to the people of Athens from the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
The Roman Agora, built in the 1st century. An inscription on the site lists Augustus and Julius Caesar as donors for the building.
The Ancient Agora was quite a large area to visit. It was a market place where Athenians would buy goods and food, and it was also the political and judicial centre of the city. I had read that it had been used as a residential and burial place as early as 3000BC. The views from the Ancient Agora to the Acropolis were fantastic.
At the end of the day we visited Kerameikos. This area was inhabited by potters and was used continuously for burials from 12th century BC for a thousand years. We were a bit worn out by the time we made it here but still really enjoyed it. We also saw a lot of tortoises here.
Our last day was spent walking around Syntagma square and the shopping district. One thing not to be missed is the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Check out our video of the changing of the guard.
We had a great time in Athens, there was a lot to see and do. It’s most defintely worth spending a few days exploring!
Where we stayed: AirBnB apartment 👍
Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel