- Al was here: June 2008 and October 2017.
- Number of days: 3.
- Number of recommended days: 2.
- My score: 3/5.
The capital of Greece, one of the most important cities of European antiquity, has suffered a lot during time. The ruins of that empire are world famous, attracting millions of tourists a year, but the truth is that there is less than what you may think of that magnificence. Today Athens is a city worth visiting, but considering its fame, anyone would expect more:
- Its famous ruins are among the best exponents of that civilization, although, as in the whole country, they are less and are worse off than you think. Imagining how it should have been is essential to enjoy the experience.
- Its museums are the best in the world as far as classical Greece is concerned, but they contribute little to another type of culture.
- Plaka neighborhood, on the northwestern edge of the Acropolis, is quiet, beautiful and well-kept, full of restaurants and shops, everything a tourist wants after a hard day walking among ancient architectural remains. Also attractive is Ermou Street, the main shopping and dining area, a few meters north of Plaka and the Acropolis, but the rest of the city is bustling, decadent and unattractive.
My advice: you should avoid comparisons with cities like Rome or Luxor, as Athens would lose; Rome, in addition to its ancient ruins, has many other attractions, and in Luxor or Cairo the visitable archaeological remains are in better state of conservation. Athens is Athens, go with low expectations, imagination, willing to learn and time to go shopping or stroll around Plaka, and your experience will be positive.
WHAT TO SEE
- THE ACROPOLIS
- ACROPOLIS MUSEUM
- ANCIENT AGORA, ROMAN AGORA, HADRIAN’S LIBRARY, TEMPLE OF ZEUS AND ANCIENT OLYMPIC STADIUM
- NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
- SYNTAGMA SQUARE AND CHANGE OF THE GUARD
- RESTAURANTS AND SHOPPING: PLAKA AND ERMOU
- DANGERS, PROBLEMS AND ANNOYANCES