It’s no secret that Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of Europe. But besides its numerous summer attractions, visiting its capital, Athens, should be on anyone’s bucket list. Its story begins all the way back in the 6th century BC, in 508. This makes it one of the oldest cities on all continents.
Throughout the years, the city grew and developed, changing with the times, and is now home to more than 3 million people. As such, it offers a full plate of things to do and see. From phenomenal cuisine and historical sites to nightclubs and bars. So, allow us to introduce you to all of them in the following few paragraphs of our Athens travel guide.
All About Athens
Like we’ve said, Athens’ story began in the 6th century BC. However, the site itself has an even older background, being settled even 4,000 years ago. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world and is the oldest capital of any nation on the Old Continent. But it wasn’t always like that. During Greece’s 19th-century War of Independence, for example, Nafplio was the capital.
During all these years, it was subject to all forms of government, from monarchies to democracies and everything in between. Nevertheless, it’s the birthplace of democracy as we know it. The first rule of people came about in the year 500 BC when residents started directly voting for their leaders.
The city’s name comes from mythology and revolves around an olive tree. Namely, Poseidon and Athena would both present the residents with gifts to gain their affection. Poseidon, the sea god, would offer salty water, while Athena, the goddess of wisdom and warfare, would offer olives. It wasn’t a contest, really. Right? Yep. They choose olives.
Visiting Athens means quite a handful of sites to see. This can make it quite tricky, as you won’t know where to begin. But don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. The first place to visit is obviously the Acropolis. Once you check it out, you should head to its museum, which is just beneath the hill where the ancient temple sits. After you’re done with them, you can take a walking tour, and it will give you a clear idea of the city and what else to do.
In our eyes, you shouldn’t miss out on the main Athenian market. The Agora is home to all kinds of delicacies that Greeks enjoy. From fresh fish to olives and feta cheese. You can also wander around a bit. This will give you a better idea of what the Greek mentality is like. But don’t stop there. Here are a couple of sites that you shouldn’t miss out on.
- Temple of Poseidon
- Tower of the Winds
- Parnitha National Park
- The Anafiotika and Psyri neighborhoods
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Panathenaic Stadium
- Mars and Filopappu Hills
- The local beach
As we’ve said already, visiting the local market is the best way to explore Greek culture and cuisine. But why stop there? You can take a full day walking around Athens and experience one heck of a food trip. From street food to fancy restaurants, there are so many options, so it’s best to keep your stomach empty before you head out. Either way, here’s an example of what your food trip could look like.
First, you should start off early. For breakfast, we suggest eating local pastry, something like a filo-layered bougatsa or fried donuts, i.e., loukoumades. Once you do, you can move on and walk around the capital of Greece until it’s lunchtime. For the main meal of the day, we’d go for some grilled meat and a glass of tasty wine. Later on, for dinner, you should slow down a bit and treat yourself to some fine cheeses and olives.
A country like Greece and a city like Athens is bound to have great museums, and that’s exactly the case. We’ve briefly mentioned the Acropolis Museum, so we’ll weigh in on it a bit more, and we’ll also add a couple of more you need to visit. Namely, the Acropolis Museum was once at the actual site, but it was too small to take in all the visitors. It’s now at the bottom of the hill, and it has one of the most impressive collections in the world.
Another one of our favorite Athenian museums is Kanellopoulos Museum. It holds the collection of various items of the famous Athenian family, the Kanellopouloses. There, you can see priceless Byzantine art, jewelry, vases, weapons, figurines, and much more. Furthermore, we suggest visiting the National Archaeological Museum. It holds some of the most essential prehistoric and antic items from across the country.
Aside from museums, day trips, and guided tours, central Athens is home to other fun activities for tourists. You can stroll around the Athens riviera, where you can sit in nice bars and even meet up with locals. On the other hand, there’s also the Metro Mall, which is full of fancy stores ready for you to go on a shopping spree.
Another place where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and maybe meet other tourists or locals is Monastiraki Square. It’s full of people all day, every day. Hence, you won’t have any problem finding company there. The same thing goes for Syntagma Square. It’s a central area, full of urban vibes — bars, restaurants, and cafés.
People and Sex Tourism
Athens’ tourism isn’t just about archaeological sites. In fact, it’s about dating, sex, and escorts. Yep! Like Greek Islands, the capital is home to all sorts of adult fun. From BDSM clubs to street prostitution and brothels, anyone can have a good time while visiting Athens. And the best part is that Greek men and women are hot. These people are some of the best-looking folks you’ll ever see in your life.
In case you’re interested in dating, the best way to go about it is to visit nightclubs. There are many in Athens, including our favorites: Dybbuk, Lohan, and Steam. However, if you don’t have time for being fun and communicative, we suggest contacting an escort agency. It’s the simplest way to have sex in a foreign country, Greece included. So, don’t be shy about Googling for an adult agency as soon as you land at the Eleftherios Venizelos airport.