From its great culture and long fascinating history to ancient monuments and archaeological gems, Athens is a destination of pure magnificence, sure to leave every traveler longing for more. Its fabulous weather and mouthwatering food truly makes this Greek capital worth a visit. Although it is not the largest European capital when visiting Greece and its many islands, a trip to Athens is an absolute must as it offers lots to see and do. Athens and the plethora of things it has to offer is fast-becoming a popular travel destination amongst history buffs, foodies and those looking for a vacation spot sprinkled with some magic.
If a little encouragement is what you need to book those tickets to the Greek capital, we’ve got you covered! Be warned, these 7 reasons to visit Athens may just convince you to pick up and move to the city permanently!
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Steeped in history, Athens is a city that will manage to transport you back in time. While there are plenty of other things to do and see in Athens, its historical landmarks, ancient ruins and archaeological sites offer an experience unlike any other. They are in fact so awe-inspiring that you could just end up spending your entire visit exploring these fascinating sites! While in the city, you won’t want to miss seeing the Parthenon and its museum in person. Other must-visits include the Acropolis along with its museum, the Benaki Museum, the Temple of Hephaestus, the Ancient Agora, and the National Archaeological Museum. Known to be Greece’s largest archaeological museum as well as one of Athens’s most visited attractions, the National Archaeological Museum is not just a history buffs haven, but also the perfect place for visitors to get a better understanding of the country’s history and culture. If you want to get the most out of your visit to Athens, we highly recommend taking a guided walking tour of the city’s many renowned attractions.
National Archaeological Museum
Address: 28is Oktovriou 44, Athina 106 82, Greece
Contact: +30 21 3214 4800
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If you’ve never tried Greek food, you’ve definitely been missing out! Characterized by varieties of crisp vegetables, and fresh seafood, with additions of sauces and feta cheese, Greek cuisine has remained timeless throughout. Healthy yet absolutely mouth-watering, it is no surprise that Greek food has been gaining popularity worldwide. No matter where you go in Athens, you’ll be able to find delicious eats - from authentic Greek dishes to fusion delicacies - at affordable prices. You’ll also be delighted to know that you won’t have to stick to a strictly vegetarian and seafood diet when in Athens, because there are actually quite a few Halal restaurants in the city! These restaurants may however not be entirely obvious, so inquiring about them at the mosque will be a good idea. Don’t forget that pork is widely used in Greek cuisine, so if you choose to dine at a restaurant that isn’t Muslim owned, remember to check on the ingredients used before chowing down! A few Greek items you cannot leave without trying, include; souvlaki, moussaka, spanakopita, gyro, pastitsio and the delicious mezzes. Sample everything you can, we promise, you and your stomach won’t be disappointed!
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Just a short distance from all of the city’s numerous historical and cultural wonders, is the gorgeous Athens Riviera. If you don’t get the chance to escape the bustles of the city, and enjoy Athens’s long, stunning coastline, your trip is definitely not complete! Here you’ll find some incredible five-star resorts, stunning beach stretches, featuring the most beautiful emerald waters, rock coves, walkways lined with palm trees, fun water sports; from sailing to windsurfing, some great restaurants and cafés and more. When you’ve caught some sun and enjoyed a dip in the water, head to the coastline’s south-eastern tip, to Cape Sounion. Located here is one of the most important attractions in Athens, and a Greek monument that needs to be seen to be believed - the Temple of Poseidon. Honouring the God of the Sea, this ancient attraction draws in tourists from across the globe. If you’ve got the time, stick around to admire the breathtaking sunset!
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Athens’s historic heart, Plaka, is known to make tourists fall in love with the city over and over again. The charming neighbourhood is located just under the Acropolis, and boasts winding cobbled streets, tiny alleys, historical architecture and Roman ruins, a selection of little stores and boutiques, and some of the city’s best restaurants. The picturesque area is generally bustling with tourists and locals alike, thus not only making it a great place for a leisurely stroll and to pick up some lovely souvenirs to take home, but also the perfect spot to grab a cup of coffee or a delicious meal, and watch the world go by! While you're here, also visit the iconic Plaka Stairs, as well as the small, yet lovely village of Anafiotika.
Even if you haven’t got long to spend in Athens, visiting the looming Mount Lycabettus is probably one of the best ways to spend your visit. Standing at a height of 908 feet above sea level, and visible from all over Athens, this is Athens’s best viewpoint, offering sweeping views over the entire city, along with its many note-worthy attractions such as the Acropolis. To get to the top, you can either take the paved walkway, or a more fun option is the funicular railway. We highly recommend walking if the weather isn’t too hot, as you can do so at your own pace, admiring the surroundings and fabulous view all the way to the top. Don’t forget to take along some water, as the climb can get a little tiring, but at the end of the day, it’s definitely worth it. Once you reach the top of the hill, you can enjoy the views while having a snack or drink at the café, and if you’re visiting during sunset hours, make sure you stay back and watch the sun disappear over the city!
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Athens’s electric vibe is indescribable. The city may seem modern in certain aspects, but its ancient surroundings only contribute more to its charming character and appeal. The city is a mixture of new and old, but its soul has managed to remain the same as it once was. In most major tourist areas, a lot of the buildings and architecture - apart from the ruins and monuments of course - are relatively new, there are however, neighbourhoods in the city that are the perfect examples of the melting pot of architectures that Athens truly is. You’ll find Starbucks’s next to quaint, old coffee shops and hotels next to delightful taverns. One fact that we absolutely loved learning was that, there are still numerous undiscovered historical sites in the city!
One trip to Athens and you’ll definitely be going back real soon! For the destination not just offers some incredible things to see and do, but is also quite affordable in comparison to some other popular cities in Europe, such as Rome and Paris. A wallet-friendly trip to Athens is most certainly possible, without having to sacrifice much on comfort, thus making it the ideal option for budget travellers. Affordable food options are aplenty, no matter where in the city you are. And remember, just because the food is cheap, doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste great and won’t be satisfying enough! For a small amount, you can eat all the delicious gyros and souvlakis you want! Even more high-end restaurants aren’t as pricey as you would expect, so treat yourself to a posh meal or two while there! Accommodation in Athens is also affordable, especially if you choose a spot that’s a bit away from the touristy areas, and here’s what makes it even more appealing; there are plenty of free and affordable attractions you can explore in the city too. In our opinion, not many other European destinations cater to budget-friendly travel like Athens does!
Hishama is a Lankan born, ex-Dubai-an who enjoys all things travel. When she's not at her day job as an Online Marketing Specialist, you will find her hanging out with friends at one of the city's newest cafés, reading a Jodi Picoult novel, Netflix-ing pretty much anything, obsessing over broadway, or just dreaming of her next big adventure abroad that she wishes she could afford.