Athens in a Day
Athens is a living example of urban planning gone wrong. The chaotic, sprawling city is filled with a mismatch of streets and smoggy air, but spectacular history peeks out from ever corner of the city. Athens is not only the capital city of Greece, it is also the birthplace of Classical Greece, and therefore of Western civilization. One day in the city will give you the opportunity to admire remnants of ancient civilizations that come across as practically untouched.
The city of Athens is jarring and hustling and I would only recommend visiting the city as an historic day trip before heading out to the islands for some relaxation and culture. A day in Athens gives you the opportunity to admire some of the world’s most magnificent ancient artifacts, before planning a quick getaway for some R&R in the surrounding cities and islands. We spent a day in the crazy city during one relaxing Mediterranean cruise, and we had plenty of time to see the highlights, as well as squeeze in some fine local cuisine.
if you only have a day in Athens, here are a few things you don’t want to miss:
Athens Acropolis is the most important ancient site in the Western world. Developed in the 5th century, this was the breeding ground for some of the most innovative ideas of the time. The conversations that took place here are responsible for the concept of Democracy that is so important in the modern world, this is Pericles’ and Socrates’ old stomping grounds after all. You will need to take a moment to picture the crumbling ruins during a time of togas, before the backdrop turned into sweaty tourists and sprawling city. The pure grandeur of the Partheon, perched so high above the city is breathtaking, (the smell of some of the tourists will have you struggling to breath too…)
The Temple of Olympian Zeus
If you are visiting the Acropolis you are going to catch a glimpse of the Temple of Olympian Zeus from above. The huge columns of the temple have fallen like dominoes over the years. There are now only 15 of the original 104 Corinthian-style columns remaining. Standing next to these giant two-thousand -year-old columns is bound to make you feel pretty small and insignificant.
Hidden away from the urban sprawl that is Athens, this charming neighborhood has kept a lot of its original character. It is very close to the Acropolis and is packed-full of shops and cafes, making it the best place to sit down and order that Baklava (or wine) you’ve been craving. Sit outside and admire the surrounding ruins, if the wine is good enough, why not have a philosophical discussion? Who knows, Athens has a reputation for creating some pretty wonderful ideas, it might just rub off on you.
If you’re coming from Port of Piraeus, like us, simply take the Green Line metro from Piraeus to Monastiraki – no changes are necessary. In about 20 minutes you’re in the city centre.