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Photos That Will Make You Want To Pack Your Bags and Travel to Athens, Greece

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

Athens is a true city of Giants. While in the city, we stayed at the Athens Gate Hotel, which boasts a central location and one of the best views in the city. From our balcony, we had an unobstructed view of the huge Temple of Olympian Zeus – one of the largest temples in the ancient world.



View of Temple of Olympian Zeus from Athens Gate Hotel
View of Temple of Olympian Zeus from Athens Gate Hotel

Travel to Athens: How to See the Most Sites in Athens for Less:


To see the most sites for less, especially if you plan on visiting the Acropolis, purchase a combo ticket from one of the other ancient sites included in the package in the day/s before you visit the Acropolis. This allows you to avoid the long lines at the Acropolis ticket office, as the combo ticket is valid at 7+ participating sites for the next 5 days. You can also purchase online through a third party and pay an additional handling/guide fee, or directly from the Greek Cultural Site, which costs 30 Euro per person.



Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, Greece
Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, Greece

After a delicious buffet breakfast at The Athens Gate Hotel, we set off to just across the street and stopped to visit The Temple of Olympian Zeus and purchase our combo ticket. Words cannot truly convey the size of the pillars of the Temple of Zeus. From a distance, the marble looks ancient and fragile, but up close the massive pillars are thick and solid, piercing a full 57 feet into the sky. Impressive is an understatement. Standing just beyond the Temple of Zeus is the impressive Hadrian’s Arch.



Hadrian's Arch, Athens, Greece
Hadrian's Arch, Athens, Greece

Travel to Athens: Is Athens is a Very Walkable City?


Athens is easily walkable, as most sites are located close by. After a quick ten minute walk from Hadrian's Arch, we arrived at the Panathenaic Stadium. Entirely built of marble, this massive structure was played host to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Tourists took turns standing on the podium, imagining their Olympic dreams have come true.



The Panathenaic Stadium, Athens, Greece
The Panathenaic Stadium, Athens, Greece

From the stadium, we comfortably walked another ten minutes to arrive at the Archaeological Site of Lykeion. The site exposes excavations of an ancient palaestra (gymnasium), revealing areas where athletes trained in wrestling and boxing.


Detail in the Archaeological Site of Lykeion., Athens, Greece
Detail in the Archaeological Site of Lykeion., Athens, Greece

Travel to Athens: Free Sites and Experiences in Athens:


Continuing west for ten minutes, we approached the Hellenic Parliament, where we witnessed the changing of the guard ceremony. The cleverly dressed guards, with their large spear guns and heavy pompom clogs, moved with angry precision.



Guard Ceremony at the Hellenic Parliament, Athens, Greece
Guard Ceremony at the Hellenic Parliament, Athens, Greece

From the Parliament, we continued west for another ten to fifteen minutes to the Church of Panagia Kapnikarea, one of the oldest churches in Athens. It’s small structure does not diminish its architectural beauty. Since the church still offers mass services, the entrance is free but it is forbidden to take photos inside.



The church of Panagia Kapnikarea, Athens, Greece
The church of Panagia Kapnikarea, Athens, Greece

The combo ticket will grant you access to the ruins of Hadrian’s Library, but it is also largely visible from the street. We found many cats lounging around, enjoying the safety of the ruins.




Cat resting on the ruins of Hadrian's Library, Athens, Greece
Cat resting on the ruins of Hadrian's Library, Athens, Greece

From Hadrian's Library, it is a quick walk through the Plaka area and to the National Gardens to visit the Zappeion and it’s beautiful fountains. A perfect way to end the day.


Zappeion Garden Fountain, Athens, Greece
Zappeion Garden Fountain, Athens, Greece

Travel to Athens: The Ancient Agoras (Marketplaces) of Athens:


Both the Ancient Agora and the Roman Agora are within a short walking distance from Hadrian's Library and both are accessible with the combo ticket. At the heart of the Ancient Agora, is the Temple of Hephaestus, the best preserved ancient temple in Greece.



The Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece
The Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece


Inside the Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece
Inside the Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece

 

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The Roman Agora includes Horologion of Andronikos Cyrrhestes, or The Tower of the Winds. It is an octagonal marble clocktower that is considered the world's first meteorological station.



The Horologion of Andronikos Cyrrhestes in the Roman Agora, Athens, Greece
The Horologion of Andronikos Cyrrhestes in the Roman Agora, Athens, Greece

Travel to Athens: The Best Way to See the Acropolis:


Next morning, bright and early, we headed to the side entrance of the Acropolis (away from the tour buses). Slow and steady, we made our way up the winding path to the marble steps near the top. It was not easy, but it was not overly difficult. If you'd like more detail on climbing the Acropolis, click here.


Reaching the top of the Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Reaching the top of the Acropolis, Athens, Greece

We spent a lot of time at the top, walking across every possible area, not wanting to miss a different view or angle. The Parthenon, even covered in scaffolding, is a gorgeous piece of architecture.


The Parthenon atop the Acropolis, Athens, Greece
The Parthenon atop the Acropolis, Athens, Greece

The Erechtheion is equally impressive, especially the phenomenal Porch of the Maidens.


Sun shining on the Porch of the Maidens, Athens, Greece
Sun shining on the Porch of the Maidens, Athens, Greece

Leaving the hill, we then walked back down through winding paths to the north and south slopes to visit the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a beautiful theatre, sometimes still used for events.


The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens, Greece
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens, Greece

The Theatre of Dionysus is less impressive visually, but historically considered the world’s first theatre.


The Theatre of Dionysus, Athens, Greece
The Theatre of Dionysus, Athens, Greece

The View of Athens from the Acropolis:


One would be remiss not to mention the spectacular view from any and every angle, as visible from the Acropolis. No matter the time of day, the view is simply breathtaking.



The city of Athens, as seen from atop the Acropolis
The city of Athens, as seen from atop the Acropolis

Travel to Athens: The Acropolis Museum:


After lapping up the outdoor history, we headed indoors for some more via the new Acropolis Museum. Underneath the museum, partially exposed to visitors as they enter, is an excavation site from the early Byzantine era. You can purchase you 15 Euro ticket online or in person at the Museum.



Ruins found underneath the Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece
Ruins found underneath the Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

Travel to Athens: What to Eat in Athens:


Greek cuisine is one of the most beloved and there is no shortage of choice in Athens. We indulged in souvlaki, fried saganaki, grilled octopus, spanakopita, roasted potatoes, salads, dips, warm pita and lots of tzatziki.





 

TIP: if you’d like to try some of the seafood delicacies that Greece has to offer, like grilled octopus, you’re more likely to have fresh fish in Athens than you are on the islands. The islands are limited to what they are able to fish, so most seafood is imported and frozen. On the recommendation of a Canadian-Greek friend who travels back to Greece annually, I ordered grilled octopus while in Athens and it was divine.

 

If these photos haven't convinced you, check out the gallery here,

or read all about our adventures in the Athens here.


Happy Travelling!





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