Like any big city, Athens has good and bad qualities. The good includes the stunning Acropolis – it is worth visiting the city for this alone. On the downside there is a lot of traffic and more than a few vagrants roaming around. For the most part, Athens problems are overplayed…the majority of travellers visit with no problems at all and many of the local people are always happy to help. If your going to the islands, there is a good chance you will be visiting the city at some point, so make the most of it.. there is plenty to fill your days.
There are countless restaurants, cafes and shops in the city to cater for any meal choice. The cheapest food is from bakeries and fast food shops – gyros and pitta kebabs are popular and cost less than €2. Just follow the Greeks and avoid eating a sit down meal in Monastiriki, as prices can be high.
The best way to get around the city is by the underground metro – it links all areas, is easy to use, and decent value. To get to the islands, head to Piraeus – an end station on the metro system. Ferries leave the port multiple times each day. For inland travel, buses go to all surrounding nations…. most of the international bus company offices are around Karaiskaki Square, right next to the Metaxourgio underground station. International trains go to Skopje, Sofia, and Belgrade, all via Thessaloniki.
• Spend a day at the Acropolis – This massive site is the highlight of any trip to Athens. The best known attraction is the Parthenon, which is visible for miles around the City. Within the Acropolis grounds there are other temples and a museum to visit. It’s a brilliant way to spend a few hours, just make sure you don’t forget some water and suncream!
• Wander around Monastiraki – The area around the Acropolis is full of shops, cafes and street food. It’s touristic but pretty, and one of the liveliest parts of Athens. There is a handy metro station in the heart of Monastiraki.
• View the old Olympic stadium – The 1896 Olympic games were held in the stadium and it makes a good sight and interesting piece of history if your walking around. You can see most of the stadium from the road outside if you don’t want to pay the entrance fee.
• Mingle in the market – The Agora food market is a colourful place to wander around on a morning and has good value food for the self caterers. It closes early, so get there before the afternoon.
• Explore Parnitha Mountain – An hours travel from Athens puts you in another world. If the noise of the city becomes too much, head here. There’s some good hiking and wildlife to see, with caves to explore for the more adventurous.
• Visit the National Archaelogical Museum – A good way to learn about thousands of years of Greek history and view artefacts from ancient Greece. It’s one of the best museums the capital has to offer and is free for university students from the E.U.
• Catch a bus to the Temple of Poseidon – Another 1 hour journey will take you to a relic from ancient times. Located next to the sea and the same age as the Acropolis, the temple is in a stunning position. If your in Athens for a few days, it makes a good days excursion.
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