a budget travellers guide to athens
Due to its rich history and unbelievable tourists sites, Athens is continually one of the top draws for tourists in Europe each year. In 2016, Greece tourism reported that more 26 million tourists travelled to the country. Millions of those people passed through Athens and experienced the wonders of the ancient city.
Similar to Rome, Greece is a symbol of western civilisation, and an example of the rise of modern day society. Yet, the city isn't just about mythology and ancient sites that must be seen before you die.
Everywhere you turn in Anthens there is history waiting to be uncovered. From temples dedicated to Zeus the most powerful Greek god of them all to churches that survived being destroyed, Athens has everything you will want and more.
Places to visit
Athens has so many ancient sites to see that it's important to prioritise the ones you want to see the most. Like Rome, the lines and the amount of tourists can become overwhelming, and if you are travelling in summer so can the heat. Therefore, knowing exactly what you want to see can help you in your quest to know more about the city.
The Acropolis is typically considered the most famous ancient ruin in Athens. Situated high on a rocky outcropping, it's Parthenon kept an eye on the city below. Not only was it the main attraction of ancient Athens, but it protected the city from invaders. The entire Acropolis site is a recall to the amazing past the area witnessed. Even if you have travelled the globe, the Acropolis offers something completely new and different. It isn't just another temple or shrine, it is a birthplace of culture that has continued on to present day.
If you are pressed for time while visiting Athens, the Agora offers you the chance to see multiple items in one go. In Athens' past, the Agora was a marketplace where people from all over congregated to buy and sell goods. Not only was the Agora a marketplace, but it was a meeting place for public speaking and other events. Close to the Agora is the Temple of Hephaistos. The temple is one of
Greece's best kept religious sites. Built in the fifth century BC, it was preserved and kept from destruction thanks to it becoming a Christian temple. While you're at the Agora, wander over to the well preserved Church of the Holy Apostles. It is a beautiful structure that was built in the 10th century.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus is the largest temple in all of Greece. It also harks back to the city's glorious past and Greek mythology. Built in the sixth century BC, the temple once had more than 100 marble columns supporting this gigantic structure. Of course, Zeus was the grandest and most powerful of all Greek gods, therefore, it was only fitting he would have the largest shrine built for him.
The Panathenaic Stadium was the largest structure created by the ancient Athenians. Able to hold 60,000 spectators, the stadium featured a track for running races. Although the stadium that stands in Athens today is not the original, the replica that was built for the Olympics in 1896 is built on its specifications. The U-shaped structure is breathtaking with its steep stands that descend to the track below. A must-see for anyone who loves history and sports.
If you limit yourself to Athens, you will miss out on plenty of great things to see. Of course, the city already has plenty to experience, but think about adding a trip outside the city into your holiday. There are so many Greek mythological sites to see around the capital city, and it is definitely worth your time to make excursions to see them.
The city of Nafplio dates back to the Trojan War. Less than 140km away from Athens, this seaside city was founded by the son of Poseidon. Explore Nafplio's tremendous fortress, castle and plaza while daytripping.
Just 120km from Athens is Mycenae. The area was a legendary city in Greek mythology, and Homer and other Greek writers often wrote of the area in their books. Today it is just archaeological ruins, but viewing what is left is awe inspiring.
Once you have exhausted yourself and the ancient sites to see in Athens, it is time for a night out. When the sun goes down and a cool breeze blows across the city, it is the perfect moment to enjoy what Athens has to offer after dark. While the recent years of austerity and recession hurt the country, it did little to offset Athens' nightlife as Greeks love to be social.
If you want to step into an Athens' night spot with charm, class and history, then Brettos is the place to go. The drinking establishment makes its own liqueurs which come in a variety of flavours. Whether you show up early or for the last drink of the night, Brettos is a famous spot to sample delicious cocktails. It is know all over Athens and has been serving drinks since 1909.
Looking for something hipster and trendy? Then I suggest The Art Foundation? This outdoor café combines drinking and art and the buildings that surround it offer guests the chance to take in a variety of art exhibits whilst drinking.
Whilst there are plenty of chilled bars to relaxing in and sip beers or cocktails, Athens boasts a lush clubbing scene. Many of the big clubs don't open until 11pm, but stay open until the sun breaks over ancient Athens. Of course, loud music, massive waves of dancing night owls and cold alcoholic drinks can be found in the city's pulsating nightclubs. But Athens' night goers love to party on the streets as well.
The street bars, cafes and restaurants combine with the locals' personality to make the city extremely vibrant. While Athens is a great place to visit and explore during the day, it turns it up to an 11 out of 10 when the sun sets.