CENTRAL GREECE

ATHENS & CENTRAL GREECE

Athens at its most basic is the capital of Greece however; at its most thrilling it is a modern city with all the attractions and contradictions of a thriving metropolis. You might be doing a short stay but if like many it works its charm on you a longer stay will reveal some amazing places and things to do.

ACROPOLIS

Literally meaning “city on a peak” is Athens monumental statement from the Ancient world. Surrounded by its skirt of olive groves the approach up this rocky protrusion to the temples perched on its crest begins your sense of drama. Each step made draws you closer the magnitude of this ancient citadel. However prepared you might think you are; brace yourself for the imposing entrance of the Propylaia. This magnificent gateway heralds the way to the divinely proportioned Parthenon, Erechtheion and temple of Athena Nike. These three UNESCO buildings are a testament to the ingenuity of the Greek people. Once you have drank in the Acropolis’ marvels finish off your day with a freshly squeezed orange juice or white wine at Dionysus Restaurant.

ACROPOLIS MUSEUM

Having descended back down into the city make your way to The Acropolis Museum designed by architect Bernard Tschumi. Here you will pass over glass floors and bear witness to archaeological excavations still in progress. Inside the museum the antiquities of the Acropolis are on display in a way that constantly references their place of origin. The Acropolis Museum’s simple display of the antiquities found on the citadel will deepen the relationship you started earlier with the Acropolis. To help along with your ponderings of this ancient civilisation visit the museum restaurant and café and indulge in a meze served as you gaze up at one of the ancient wonders of the world.

ANAFIOTIKA

Mykonos? Could be however, a slow stroll through the North Western slope of the Acropolis brings you to the Anafiotika district, a welcomed reprieve from fast paced Athens. This Greek island oasis in the middle of sprawling Athens is a beautiful drop out zone. Started by homeless Cycladic construction workers from the island of Anafi brought to build King Othon’s castle they quickly developed the island architecture seen here today to house their families. Anafiotika has many mezzopolia, cafes and restaurants to sit at and reflect on your day before whiling away the night at some funky bar in the area.  

AGORA

This was ancient Greece’s pulsating business district. Here a vibrant market place existed responding to everything an Athenian wanted during this time.  In essence the surrounding modern tourist district still carries on this tradition. There are two intact  buildings The Stoa of Attalos and  the Temple of Hephaistos which require some serious attention as  these simple buildings housed some pretty complex civic lives during these times. It’s probably best to book a tour through this site as it presents many stories spanning legal, business, philosophical and religious themes not evident in the architecture alone.

GAZI
 
Done the serious culture vulture stuff? Well it’s time to let your hair down and head to Gazi, party central of Athens. This industrial area that took its name from the now defunct gasworks that operated in the area is known for its most vibrant nightclubs and elegant restaurants. Gazi provides an authentic experience of local life in Athens with its plethora of cosy cafes and up to the minute trendy restaurants. The stately neoclassical stone buildings give Gazi a much needed contrast in an area dominated by a grungy lifestyle.  

MONASTIRAKI FLEA MARKET

No visit to Athens is complete without a shopping spree. Depending on your tastes two places come to mind upmarket Kolonaki, Plaka and the Monastiraki Flea market. Most however, opt for the Flea markets. The markets are a rabbit warren of small stores selling all matter of products. You can buy a cheap but colourful magnet to some beautiful jewellery pieces by Greece’s leading artists.  Visit galleries, leather outlets or just spend the remaining part of the day people watching. This super lively place does require assistance of a seasoned local if you are to find the artistic pulse of this shopping mecca for tourists.

No visit to Athens is complete without a shopping spree. Depending on your tastes two places come to mind upmarket Kolonaki, Plaka and the Monastiraki Flea market. Most however, opt for the Flea markets. The markets are a rabbit warren of small stores selling all matter of products. You can buy a cheap but colourful magnet to some beautiful jewellery pieces by Greece’s leading artists.  Visit galleries, leather outlets or just spend the remaining part of the day people watching. This super lively place does require assistance of a seasoned local if you are to find the artistic pulse of this shopping mecca for tourists.

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

SOUNION

Cape Sounion is a short road trip from Athens which snakes along the beautiful Aegean coast. Its sun drenched peninsula has the most specular sun set in Attica and it’s where you will find Poseidon’s Temple. Here the ancients left animal sacrifices and gifts in return for the God of the Seas protection. As Greece has always been a maritime nation this particular spot played a significant role in ancient Greek society. So before you dip into the blue waters of the Aegean leave your humble offering to this mighty God and let the cool waters wash over you.

DELPHI

Shrouded in mysticisms from the past the ancient site of Delphi is a remarkable example of Greek society dating from pre-antiquity in Greece. Here the heavenly realms of the Olympian Gods and the mortal aspirations of ambitious kings were mediated by female deity Oracles. These powerful women yielded power over ancient Kings professing futures using cryptic messages. The site also holds Apollo’s temple and numerous other important buildings. This challenging climb to the sanctuary definitely requires a good pair of sand shoes but it worth the views.

GALAXIDI

Descending Mt Parnassus a visit to Galaxidi can be a nice stop over for lunch. This picturesque seaside village has some lovely seafood taverns that serve delicious grilled calamari squeezed with fresh lemon juice. Galaxidi is also known for its flour wars. This tradition started in the 19th century when the invading Ottoman Empire forbade celebrations. If you would like to get down and dirty visit this part of Central Greece on what is known as Clean Monday of the Greek Orthodox Easter calendar and be a part of their flour wars.

GOT TIME TO SPARE IN ATHENS

Glimpse at some other inspiring places worth your time and attention while in Athens

  • Benaki Museum: Modern Culture

  • Mount Lycabettus: Breath Taking Vistas

  • National Archaeological Museum

  • Thision Open Air Cinema

  • Kolonaki: Athens Upmarket District

  • Vouliaymeni Natural Springs

Evzones presidential guards, Athens, Gre
Monastiraki-Square-In-Athens
Monastiraki square and the Acropolis in
Anafiotika, Athens - Greece_
Ancient Agora Athens Greece
Delphi, Greece_
Temple-of-Poseidon, Sounio, Greece

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