So this spring break I went to Greece with one of my friends, we spent 8 days in Athens and it was amazing – An added bonus was that it was really nice and warm at least compared to Denmark! Now before I left I made a list of things I wanted to see and do while being there, but as it turns out, a lot of the things in Athens are really close together, so we managed to do a lot in the first few days, so I had to do some impromptu planning while being there. Luckily that meant we got to do some things that aren’t as touristy as for example Acropolis, and we also got to take some day trips to some pretty cool places so here are my recommendations of things to do while in Athens and also a few tips on how to save money while enjoying the city.
So obviously you can’t go to Athens without seeing the Acropolis hill and the Parthenon, but if you go directly there and buy an entrance ticket to the hill, the North and South slopes, it’s 20€, but if you already know that you want to see other archeologic sites in Athens, you might as well buy the Multi-ticket for 30€ which will grant you access to: Acropolis and the slopes, The ancient Agora, The Roman Agora, The Zeus Temple, Hadrian’s Library and Archeological site of Lykeion. Tickets for the other places are around 5€ so if you plan to visit at least 2 of these places the multi-ticket is perfect for you! The ticket is not available online, but you can buy it at all the 5 places the Multi-ticket is valid for. I would, however, recommend not getting the ticket at Acropolis, because the line for the ticket office is insanely long – luckily we decided on visiting The Ancient Agora first and we waited in line for all of 15 seconds, had we gotten the ticket at Acropolis we would have had to wait for some 30-40 minutes. When you reach Acropolis, you can also climb “Areopagus” a hill right near the ticket office. While the view is beautiful it is no better than the view you get when you to the top of Acropolis, but it is, however, free so if don’t want to spend money on a ticket you can still climb this hill and see almost the same view of the city as from the top of the hill, but I would highly suggest paying to get to see the real thing, as it is breathtaking. The rock is really slippery though from so many years of people walking the same paths, so make sure to be really careful!
When you are at Acropolis, in the ticket price you’ve also paid for the slopes, which are definitely also worth a look, for example, you can find the theater of Dionysos.
You may have noticed that on the Multi-ticket there were 2 things called Agora, this isn’t a mistake, it is because Agora really just meant a gathering place, and so the Ancient one is Greek and the Roman Agora is, well Roman. Both places are worth a visit, the Ancient Agora is noticeably bigger than the Roman though and I would recommend spending more time here.
At the Roman Agora there is a tower like a structure which is actually an old hydraulic clock, but besides this, there is really only stumps of pillars left, however, if you already have the Multi-ticket I would definitely still recommend going here, you can still see structures and feel the history all around you.
At the Ancient Agora, there is a bit more to see so you might need a little more time, especially seeing as how the area it covers is also bigger.
Another thing included in the Multi-ticket which is definitely worth a visit is The Zeus Temple. If you don’t have the Multi-ticket, entrance is 6€ and still worth it opinion! The area is nice and the ruins are magnificent, also on the grounds are ruins of an old Roman bathhouse. We also saw a little turtle climbing around the ruins and named him Zeus of course!
In the Multi-ticket, there are no museum fees included, but if you like museums, Athens is full of them, and most of them are within a very reasonable price range. I really enjoyed the Acropolis museum, which was 5€ to get in and had a lot of artifacts from Acropolis and the surrounding areas.
Some free attractions I’d suggest you visit is the old Royal Palace, which is now used for the Parlament, this is also where the Unknown soldier is buried. The Palace is also worth a visit because of the guards in front of it. They are dressed in their traditional clothes and they walk in a set pattern in a very funny looking way, I’m sure there is some tradition to this, but I don’t know it. The guards change on Sunday at 11, but even if you go there at another time, it’s still pretty cool! Right next to the Palace is the botanical garden, which is beautiful, with flowers, palm trees, playgrounds, little ponds, a bird sanctuary and much more! If the sun is out this is also the perfect place for a picnic, we sat and enjoyed the weather, the people walking by and the birds chirping in the trees above us.
If you are up for more walks, you can also go see the Prison of Socrates and the Philopapos Monument, both are in a park-like structure with some fence around it, but the entrance is however free. The monument is on the top of the hill and the walk up there is nice and mostly in the shade which is nice if the sun is baking. From the monument, there is a pretty spectacular view over the entire city and the nearby coastline and ocean. The prison is located on the hill on the way to the monument. There might not be a lot to see, but if you’re already walking up the hill, why not make a quick stop here and look into the “cells” where Socrates was possibly held captive. We saw people sitting on benches with tables and some of them were even barbequing (I’m not sure if this was actually legal, but it looked really nice!).
After a couple of amazing days in Athens, we rented a car for the weekend, which was cheap (60€ for 2 full days and nights), and drove down the coast to see some more of the beautiful Greek nature. We drove down to The Poseidon Temple in Sounion, the first day we went, it was a little cloudy, but it did not make it any less gorgeous. The entrance wasn’t free, but it was cheap only 6€ and I think the view from the top was worth it for sure, the ruins looked somewhat similar to what we saw in Athens, but it had a different backdrop which gave it a very different feel. The day after we had seen the temple ruins, we drove back down and the sun was shining so we made it into a beach day, well sort of, we found a little peninsula, with a hill on the middle, we climbed it and found a flat area on top with amazing views, wildflowers, sun and no people.
If you have any questions about where else to go or comments, don’t hesitate to let me know! Lots of love, Anne