Athens is a lively, magnificent city with a rich history to explore. Athens is the largest city in Greece and is one of the world’s oldest cities. It was named after the goddess Athena. If you love history and sightseeing then you will fall in love with Athens, many describe it as the historical capital of Europe. It’s packed full of impressive ancient monuments and works of art which portray a long history lost within the city. This makes it an ideal destination for those who want to see spectacular sites and learn about their fascinating history. There are so many different things to see in Athens that you might find it difficult to decide where to go. To help you out, here are five sights you must see on your next trip to Athens.
1. The Acropolis
Acropolis means ‘high city’ in Greek. Most cities in Greece built an acropolis on the top of a hill or mountain to keep precious monuments safe and protect their people. However, the one in Athens is the most famous and therefore has earned its status as ‘The Acropolis’. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the top of the Acropolis you can see breathtaking views of Athens and the surrounding area.
The Acropolis is home to one of the most well-known buildings in the world, the Parthenon. It is located high above the streets of Athens on a rocky hill, decorated with spectacular sculptures and masterpieces of ancient architecture. The buildings and famous artefacts it is home too are ancient treasures that represent the true spirit of Greece; it is from the Acropolis that legends about the city were born.
You can walk up the pedestrianized streets right up to the top of The Acropolis. If you can, try and visit early or late in the day as it can get very hot and crowded. This is an unmissable experience for those interested in classical architecture and the history of Greece.
The Acropolis costs around 12 Euros to enter and is open in the summer from 8 until 7.30. However, these hours vary during the season.
2. The Temple of Olympic Zeus
These ancient ruins are must see if you are going to Athens. Enough remains of the temple to enable you to picture what it would have looked like, and see it as a work of art. Those looking for a big impressive building may not appreciate the Temple of Zeus, but true history buffs will appreciate its significance. The temple used to have 104 columns each reaching 14 metres high, now they are only a few left but they are surprisingly tall and impressive.
Despite its current state it was actually one of the biggest temples in Greece at the time. Construction first began in the 6th century BC. The temple was dedicated to Zeus who was King of the Olympic Gods. Try and catch a glimpse of the temple at night as it stands out on the horizon, made visible by lights.
If you pay for a ticket into the Acropolis, this will also give you access to the Temple of Olympic Zeus.
3. The Parthenon
The Parthenon is one of the biggest attractions in Athens. This iconic building is a testament to Greek architecture and a site you will remember for the rest of your life. Once glance at it will leave you wondering how they created such a structure back in ancient Greece.
Construction first began in 477 BC when the Athenian Empire was at its strongest, it was built as a tribute to the goddess Athena. Despite constantly being renovated to restore it, the Parthenon has managed to maintain its stunning appearance. The artwork and statues are impressive and the architecture symbolises the strength of the Athenian power. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take some unique pictures at such an important historic site.
4. Panathenaic Stadium
Sports fans will really appreciate a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium, as it is where the very first Olympics took place in 1896. However, its history goes back much further than this. The stadium was initially built to hold sporting competitions.
Anyone with an interest in the Olympics will be thrilled by the story behind the stadium. There are checkpoints to stop at where you can listen to recordings and learn about the history of the Stadium and the early Olympics. This unique stadium is made of marble and is decorated with Greek statues. The stadium even allows joggers to go for a run around the stadium in the mornings between 7.30 and 9am.
There are free audio guides and entrance is around 3 Euros.
5. Mount Lycabettus
Mount Lycabettus is a hill in Athens made of limestone, which is situated 277 metres above sea level. Many people make their way up to the top of Lycabettus to experience the spectacular views of the city, which are most impressive at twilight. If there aren’t any clouds then you should be able to see most of Athens. You can either hike up there or catch a tram ride to the top, but it costs around 7 euros so if it isn’t too hot then it’s definitely worth walking. If you need a bite to eat then there is a lovely cafe where you can sit back, relax and take in the views.
To find out more about holidays to Athens and more contact Directline Holidays.
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