Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world. Though Greece is still recovering from a well-documented economic crisis, locals in Athens feel like the tide is turning and that neighborhoods both old and new are experiencing a resurgence of vibrancy, excitement and optimism. Recently Athens was named one of the top 50 places to travel in 2014, so if there was ever a summer vacation to start saving up for, this is the one. Just in case you still don’t think there’s much more to Athens than Instagram photos of the Acropolis and eating your weight in olives and Feta. I loved this vibrant historical city and the food and people, here are my 5 cool things to do in Athens i recommend to try.
1. Try a Gyros Falafel: This was my first time trying a Gyros, it actually tasted similar to the middle eastern Falafels back home. Greek sauces made all the difference i could eat these every night of the week they were so yum. Cost for one in central downtown Athens = $2.66 NZD.
2. Visit The Acropolis: This is simply a must see!, the best of science, art and philosophy together in one creation and you have the definitive monument of human civilisation. UNESCO calls it the symbol of World Heritage. The world calls it the Athenian Acropolis!. Just make sure you visit this monument during the shoulder or low tourist season as tourists tend to flock to this monument in their droves over summer.
3. Stroll through the Ancient Agora Museum: The Archaeological Museum of the Athenian Agora is hosted in the Hellenistic Stoa of Atallos. The Stoa was rebuilt in the 1950’s from the ground up with the purpose of storing the artifacts unearthed in the Agora excavations, and to house the museum where the most important items can be exhibited. The miniture sized Acropolis is amazing to see! Don’t forget your camera!.
4. Take A Swim In The Mediterranean: If you visit Greece then it is a must to take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. We were told to visit Varkiza Beach which has one of the best and cleanest public beaches within striking distance of Athens and also close to a fishing port and fish market. Varkiza like the rest of the coast is a town of apartment buildings, mostly modern, and lots of shops, cafes, restaurants and bakeries. The beach is full with suntan chairs for anyone to hop on and bathe away the day. The water is very warm to paddle around in so make sure you take your snorkel gear this place is awesome.
5. National Garden Of Athens: When you decide you need a break from the city hustle, join locals and fellow travelers for a respite at the National Gardens, located right in the center of Athens. It is an eclectic, but serene scene walking through 500 species of trees and plants, with many labeled. There is a playground to keep the kids occupied, a café to keep everyone hydrated and a duck pond (inhabited by an army of ducks looking for some bread handouts). Don’t miss the turtle pond this is a must see and it is all free!.
So there you have it my top 5 things to do in Athens without breaking the bank balance. These are a must do list of things so jot them down for your next adventure in Athens.
Checkout my On The Road In Greece (Uenuku Journeys) video here