Everybody heard of Athens. The Parthenon, the Greek gods, the Legends & Gods & Goddesses of Olympus, ancient philosophy, something must come to your mind. We went there and here’s what we’ve seen.
We have been to Athens in September 2018 with the thought of combining our passion for history with the seaside. We found a great offer , 80 Euros for the flight from our home city and back. Therefore, we took this chance to see what everyone is talking about. In addition. after several trips to Rome and other cities with Roman empire architecture we wanted to see more about the Greek antiquity too.
We used public transportation in Athens and it is well organized. The metro and tram line connect to the far beaches and to the port of Piraeus from where you can grab a ferry to the islands nearby. The city has an app to show the location/routes of each bus/tram and the nearest station which was very useful.
Acropolis and the ruins
The main reason why people visit Athens is probably the Acropolis. For 20 Euros you can walk on the Acropolis hill, see the Pantheon and the rest of the Greek temples, forums and amphitheatres. Athens is full of ruins so you can also get a pass for everything for 28 Eur. However, it didn’t take long before we got bored of all the ruins. They may be very interesting for architects or historians but they are not even close to the spectacular architecture and ruins we’ve seen in Rome.
Other tourist objectives
Besides the ruins, we had a walk in the Plaka neighborhood, a once quiet neighborhood of Athens besides the Acropolis, now very crowded with restaurants and souvenir shops.
At sunset, we gave a visit to the house of parliament to see the goofy change of guards. This ritual involves a special “dance” made by the parliament guards and is a great tourist attraction.
Eating in Athens
Everybody heard about the economical meal choice known as Gyro. The gyro is made of vertically roasted meat placed in pita with various salads or sauce to enhance the taste. However, we knew the gyro from all Greek or Turkish restaurants (also called kebab or shawarma) and fast foods around Europe. We are used to eating this at fast foods and the one in Greece is not that different.
Besides this common meal, we tried other traditional dishes like mousakka (minced meat cooked in the oven with potato and eggplant slices) or pastitsio (baked pasta dish including ground beef and béchamel sauce, very similar in taste to the lasagna bolognese from Italy). The saganaki (fried cheese) is also a must try. After the meal choose some baklava as a sweet honey-tasted desert.
How was it?
Athens is a lively city it has almost 5 millions inhabitants, half of the greek population. Because of the large population the city became suffocated by cars. Also, due to its location in a valley the city is quite polluted and we didn’t feel the clean air we are used to feel on the Mediterranean beach towns. We got bikes to move around but the infrastructure for bikes is not that good so it was not the best experience. In conclusion, the city is a must see once but we don’t think we will return to Athens anytime soon.