Athens is the historical capital of Europe with a history dating from the first settlement in the Neolithic age. Known as the womb of western civilisation, Athens has a glorious past and is home to some of the world’s most important architecture and must-see sights.
Home to 3.7 million residents, today’s Athens offers visitors a unique experience. A ‘journey’ into its 6,000 year history includes the chance to see renowned monuments and masterpieces of art from the Middle Ages, and the architectural wonders of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Here are five sights you must see when you visit Athens
Without doubt the Acropolis is the symbol of Athens, the sacred rock around which the city is built, links the fabulous ancient civilisation with the modern city.
The rock was chosen as a place of residence for locals in the Neolithic period and has been revered ever since. It was in the 13th century BC that the rock was fortified and parts of this wall have been partially preserved.
Over the centuries, the Acropolis became home to numerous temples and shrines, including the ‘Temple to Athena’, known as the Parthenon.
The Acropolis is the landmark of the city so why not choose to stay in one of the best Acropolis views hotels in Athens?
Sitting atop the sacred rock, The Parthenon is an architectural masterpiece of great renown and epitomises the great achievements of ancient Greece. Completed in 438 BC, this unique temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena, was built of Pentelic marble and consists of eight columns on the front and back and 17 columns on each side.
The best way to learn about the history of the Parthenon and the Acropolis site is on a small group tour with a local expert. Click here to find out more.
The Panathenaikon Stadium (Roman Stadium)
The stadium is an amazing construction of white marble which faces the National Garden. In 330 BC, a stadium made of wood was built on the same site.
Herodes Atticus then constructed a marble construction in the second century which was the model for the stadium that stands today. It was used as a space for athletic competitions which took place during the Panathenaean festival.
The stadium that stands today has a capacity of around 60,000 spectators and was built in 1869-70. It was the venue of the first modern Olympics, held in 1896.
Athens’ central square is surrounded by many fashionable cafes and restaurants. It’s also near the square where you’ll find Athens’ trendy shops and department stores.
Located in the vicinity of Plaka, the Acropolis and the National Garden, Syntagma square is busy around the clock.
Also known as the ‘neighbourhood of the gods’, Plaka is the oldest neighbourhood in Athens. Walking on its paved narrow streets, you get the feeling that you are travelling back in time. The beautiful neo-classical style of the houses, the architecture, the well-kept gardens and the beauty and atmosphere of the neighbourhood are enchanting.
Before visiting Plaka, make sure you have a map or you may get lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys. Here you will find many shops selling traditional products, souvenirs, Greek folk art and handicrafts.
Year round, visitors are fascinated by Athens, not only as a setting-off point for a cruise of the Greek Islands, but also as one of the most attractive and charming capitals in Europe.
With so many historic and fascinating sights to see, why not include Athens in your holiday itinerary?
Intro image © sborisov / Dollar Photo Club