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Top 10 must-see attractions in Athens

  1. Before arriving in Athens
  2. How to get to Athens - Getting to Athens by train, plane, car, ship or bus
  3. Public Transport in Athens - Getting around Athens
  4. Cost of Living in Athens
  5. Save money in Athens - Tips for living in Athens on a student budget
  6. Accommodation for students in Athens - Top tips and advice
  7. Athens neighbourhoods - The most important districts of Athens
  8. Greek Cuisine - The gastronomy of Greece and traditional dishes
  9. Where to eat  in Athens - Best restaurants in Athens
  10. Athens Nightlife - Nightclubs and going out in Athens
  11. What to do in Athens
  12. Top 10 must-see attractions in Athens
  13. Top 10 Festivals in Athens
  14. Athens Beaches - The best beaches in Athens
  15. Day trips from Athens - Places to visit and excursions around Athens
  16. Athens in three days- What to see in Athens in three days

Acropolis: The doric rhythm of Acropolis is the first image that comes to the mind of the tourist in the sound of the word Greece, and the "Mecca" of the lovers of Greek history and culture. Being the greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, and built by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates, it dominates the centre of the modern city of Athens. The historic heritage of ancient Greece, a sacred symbol of culture and democracy, Acropolis stands proudly on the “sacred Rock” along with the Parthenon and the Erechtheion to remind us of both the grandeur of the Greek spirit and the timelessness of the achievements of the Greek nation. Having been built with extremely precise dimensions, according to mathematical ratios of sacred geometry, it is no wonder why it consists of a World Heritage protected by UNESCO, nor that it claimed internationally the title of one of the seven wonders of the world! If you want to visit the archaeological site, the ticket costs 20 euros (or 10 for the students), with a 50% discount in the winter. There are also some days with free admission, you can check them out here:

Lycabettus Hill : The hill of Lycabettus is the second-highest in Athens, offering one of the greatest panoramic views of Athens. You can climb up to the top of the hill with the small church of Saint George by following one of the numerous paths made for trekking or running. On the top, you can meet a lot of people that hang out with beers or even guitars, and enjoy the outstanding view towards Athens and Acropolis. It is even better in the evening, when the lights of the city will fill your eyes and soul with romanticism and lower all your daily stress.

The temple of Olympian Zeus: Near the Athens gate, you will find this grandiose sanctuary, which was the biggest temple that existed in ancient Greece, as it was once gigantic. The temple dates back to the sixth century BC but was not completed until the second century AD by the Emperor Hadrian. Nowadays, only a few of its corinthian style columns remain standing, although in the past they were a little more than 100. The general price to enter the sight is 6 euros or 3 euros for the students.

Athens Central Market - “Varvakios Agora”: You will find it while you are walking up on Athinas Street, on your right when you pass Evripidou street. It is a great place, filled with halls with fresh meat, vegetables, fish and fruits, herbs and dairy products in really affordable prices. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 8.00 till 18.00. here, you can have the chance to sit in one of the restaurants and enjoy authentic traditional tastes, like the patsas soup, a plate made for the working class, that is considered to be ideal for the hangover, as it is really greasy, made from bull or lamb stomach wall and lamb feet.

The Ancient Marketplace: from the north wall of Acropolis, you can have the best view towards the “Agora”, the centre of administration and commerce in ancient Athens. It was the spot where the significant public speeches were given in front of the citizens who gathered there as a central meeting point, and the place all the athletic and theatrical events were held. You can enter and walk across the ruins and have a look at the Royal Stoa among the most important ones, the seat of the Archon Basileus, that may have been also the scene of Socrates’ trial just before he died. You will be acquired to pay 8 euros for a single entry or 4 euros if you are a student.

Zappeion Hall: It is one of the most important buildings in Athens, as it is the first structure in the world that was originally built to serve the needs of the Olympic Games. This neoclassical mansion is located at the south of the National Gardens and it is connected with many significant events of the modern Greek history. Today, it is mainly used as a conference and exhibition center. In addition, the Aegli Zappiou is a café- restaurant and in the summer an open-air cinema and summer bar.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus: Built in the Roman times by the Roman philosopher, teacher and politician Herodes Atticus Source, the ancient amphitheatre of Herodion offers one of the most marvelous acoustic experiences, perfectly suitable for a live theatre performance. Situated right at the base of Acropolis, you can reach it from the Areopagitou cobbled Street. In the summer there is are numerous events taking place from May till October, as the weather is perfect, and you can visit it in the Athens Epidaurus Festival to watch outstanding concerts, operas or dance performances.

Anafiotika and Plaka neighborhood: Narrow pedestrian streets with a familiar Greek village ambience and cheerful little squares set the scenic of the Pláka quarter, with lovely bougainvillea-trimmed and two-storey colourful houses. The place is ideal for a relaxing stroll, and it is full of traditional Greek tavernas, but be careful, because most of them are expensive tourist traps. The Anafiotika neighborhood also has a village-like atmosphere, made to look like the cobbled streets of the Greek island Anafi, with blossomed plants on the little terraces and colourful doors and windows on the buildings. It is considered to be one of the most romantic places in Athens, so don’t wonder if you see young couples walking around hand-in-hand or drinking a coffee in one of the cute little cafes that exist around the place.

The Panathenaic Stadium: Also known as Kallimarmaro, the Panathenaic Stadium is a former small natural valley, that was transformed into a stadium for the athletic competitions of "Panathenaia", the greatest festivities in ancient Athens. it then hosted the first Olympic Games of the modern era, in 1896. It is a must-see sight for anyone who wants to get the Olympic spirit, as it was used in the last Olympic Games of Athens in 2004 as the ending-spot of the Marathon following the tradition of the first Olympic Games, and it is nowadays used for some special events and festivals.

The Parliament Building: It is one of the great neoclassical imposing buildings in the centre of Athens, overlooking the Syntagma (Constitution) Square. It was the Old Royal Palace, that served later as a hospital, a museum and it is now hosting the Greek Parliament, guarded by the proud corps of Evzones. Every half an hour, they engage in a disciplined and proud ceremonial pacing, paying all due respect to the monument of the Unknown Soldier, dedicated to all those who died for the Greek Democracy. For the tourists, the changing of the guard that happens every Sunday at 11 am is an impressive and memorable experience, so it's something I would suggest you see at least once before leaving Athens.

Tip: For those wishing to visit the Acropolis and some of the other sites there is a multi-site ticket that costs €30. The ticket is valid for five consecutive days, and gives access to the Acropolis and six of the other main archaeological sites in Athens, including the Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, Archaeological Site of Lykeion, the Roman Agora, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Currently, his ticket is only available for purchase at the entrance to each of the sites, and not online.

Other cultural attractions to see in Athens: cathedrals and churches

The church of the Holy Apostles: It was built in the 10th century over an old nymphaion sanctuary, and it is located close to the ancient Agora. It was built in the 10th century in the typical Byzantine style , introducing the first form of the “Athenian type” with a cross-in-square design, and it remains intact till today. In its interior, you can see interesting wall paintings.

Panagia Kapnikarea Church: This is the church you will encounter at the Ermou Street, with a splendid example of architecture from the 11th-century Byzantine era. It suffered many serious damages during the Revolution of 1821 and in 1834 it was going to be demolished because the Ermou Street was being constructed and the temple was in the middle of the road. Eventually, it was miraculously saved thanks to the intervention of the philhellene father of Otto, king of Bavaria, Louis. On the inside, it is decorated with paintings from the mid-Byzantine period, and nowadays, the temple has a splendid Byzantine choir, which contributes to the poignant atmosphere of the liturgies.

Saint Demetrius Loumbardiaris Chapel: It stands at the foot of Filopappou Hill, and it is considered to be one of the most picturesque little temples in Athens. It is estimated to date back in the 9th century and is a vaulted, aisled basilica. Nowadays, you can visit it to see the old frescos that date back to 1732, or watch a typical Greek wedding, as many Athenians choose this church for their marriage because it is located in a really beautiful spot.

Church of Saint Dionysius The Areopagite: Dionysius The Areopagite is the protector Saint of Athens, as he became the first Christian bishop, so you can find the church that is dedicated to him in the heart of the city, at the Skoufa street in Kolonaki. You can admire the imposing dome and the baroque and neoclassical architectural elements of the temple, and watch a liturgy in it, as it currently functions as the city’s official Cathedral.

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