I woke up a little later than I had planned but still got a pretty early start on the day. My first stop was, of course, the Acropolis! On my walk there I stopped by Areopagus Hill (also known as Mars Hill) to get a great view of both Athens and the Acropolis. I then bought my ticket and headed inside the gates. There is so much to see inside of the Acropolis that it was easy to spend hours there.
My first stop was the Theater of Dionysus and to walk around the bottom of that side of the hill. The theater was really interesting, as were the other ruins in that area. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which was honestly cooler than the Theater of Dionysus I thought! After finishing my walk around the base of the acropolis I headed uphill with my first stop being the Temple of Athena Nike. From there I visited the Erechtheion, and then, most importantly, the Parthenon! It was amazing to see the Parthenon in person. I was really glad to see that the scaffolding wasn’t too bad as when my brother visited last summer it was supposedly covered. Having been to the full scale Parthenon replica in Nashville (if you are looking for a fun tourist stop in Nashville I highly recommend going inside) it made it even cooler to see the real thing. I made sure to take plenty of pictures and then started to make my way to exit the Acropolis.
I walked just a few minutes from the Acropolis exit to the Acropolis muesum. It is a very modern building as the museum only opened in 2009. It was so cool! Not only did the museum offer amazing views of the Acropolis itself, but I learned and saw so much inside. I read a lot about the origins and lifespan of the Acropolis, and there were tons of artifacts from the Acropolis. My favorite part was the area about the Parthenon, which housed many of the stones and sculptures that used to line the top of the structure.
After the museum I walked around the city for a bit. I walked by a few sites that were close by, including Hadrian's Arch (which is literally just on the side of the road), the Temple of Olympian Zeus (which you can see entirely from the gate without paying the entrance fee), and Syntagma Square / the Hellenic Parliament. There were guards outside of the Hellenic Parliament guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which was interesting to watch. I continued my walk to head to get some much needed lunch. I found a spot that was supposed to be cheap and good, called Falafellas. It was right by my hotel so I took it back to my room and ate it on my balcony as the restaurant was entirely to-go. It was tasty but I discovered that I don’t love falaffel. I’m glad I gave it a try, though!
After lunch I walked through the Monastiraki Flea Market to see if a few other archeological sites were open. Unfortunately most everything ended up closing at 3pm during the winter, but it was okay because I at least had a good view of them earlier from my walk up to the Acropolis. By this point it was about 4pm and I had about an hour until attractions would start to close, so I decided to make the Panathenaic Stadium my last outdoor visit of the day. I also got very well aquainted with Athens’ public transportation over the next few hours. I took the metro and then a bus th the Panathenaic Stadium, which was so cool! It is the first Olympic Stadium of the modern iteration of the games, which actually includes games held all the way back to 1896! The stadium’s history goes back much further, though, as it was built as a racecourse in 330BC. I enjoyed being able to walk all around it and even inside of it. Unfortunately the gift shop was closed or I definitely would have bought some Olympic gear given my love for the games (side note, I was so pumped for the Winter Olympics and watched every night!!!).
After enjoying the stadium I took the bus to the National Archaeological Museum which was thankfully open until 8pm on Mondays. Most places are usually closed on Monday so this was quite the nice surprise. I really enjoyed it as there were so many more Artifacts from all around Greece, and it was a great way to spend a few hours inside out of the cold. Yes it’s Greece so it shouldn’t be very cold, but it is also January so it got pretty chilly at night. After the museum I made my way to eat dinner at a place called Lithos Tavern Restaurant. It was very near to my hotel and in a great area called Plaka. On my walk there I walked down a street that was filled with Christmas stores and was entirely Christmas oriented so that was a bit bizarre. I had a gread dinner that included kebabs, pita, and a free fruit plate for desert that I really appreciated! It was a very nice little spot and I really enjoyed it as a great end to my day in Athens.
After dinner I headed back to my hotel and went to sleep pretty quick to get ready for my very early flight to Rhodes, Greece tomorrow. I really enjoyed Athens and am so glad that I finally made it here, but I’m very excited to spend the next two days on an island!
90 countries down, 106 to go.
Read about my second day in Greece here.
To learn more about Attalos Hotel click here.