Most people from around the world know about Athens being an ancient city, filled with UNESCO heritage and history sites such as the Acropolis. This site almost becomes the main reason for their visit. However, there are many other reasons which make this place a worthwhile place to visit. Reasons which are not as advertised as they ought to be. So, here’s my take on four things I find most remarkable about the city and why I think Athens is a city to add to your bucket list.
More Than Just The Acropolis
Did you know that Athens is not just about the Acropolis, but is also home to many other world famous heritage sites. After exhausting the walk around the Acropolis, some visitors are left wanting more. Well, there’s good news! In and around Athens, there are sites such as the Acropolis Museum, the National Archeology Museum, the Ancient Agora: Ruins of the Marketplace, the Roman Agora & Hadrian’s Library, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Monastiraki and last but not least, the Flea Market. And that’s just in Athens. Once you get out of the city, you’ll be exposed to a plethora of sites and fascinating scenery which will take you by surprise.
Fantastic Metro System & Cheap Taxis
If you’re coming to Athens and not looking to hire a car, you’ll be extremely pleased with the superb metro system the city has to offer. Reliable, on time, safe, easy to use; these are just some reasons which make using the metro system the perfect way to get around. Avoid parking charges and get either a bus or metro from the airport to the city. Using the same metro system whilst staying in the city, you can easily access all the main famous sites quickly and efficiently. When we went Athens, we were there for three days, so decided to purchase a 3-day unlimited pass. This costed us €20 and gave us return transport from and to the airport and unlimited travel on all buses, trains, trams, and underground metros for 3 full days. Find out more about the 3 day unlimited Athens metro pass.
Even if you’re looking to visit the beaches, you can take the underground metro to Elliniko Metro Station, and then the bus number 122 which will take you along the west coast of Athens. Find a spot you like, jump off and enjoy the beautiful coast of Athens. To find out more about getting around in Athens via public transport, I recommend you check out this guide here.
Also, for those of you planning to use Uber, you can’t. Instead, download an app called Beat, which is pretty much an alternative and this will allow you to get a taxi whenever you need one. It’s also very affordable.
City + Beach Break
Coming to Athens does not mean that you’ll be left to discover and venture through a city only. After a half an hour drive or metro ride, you can find yourself on some of the best beaches in the city. Athens definitely is a place that has it all, as it prides itself not only on it’s historical legacy, but it’s stony and sandy beaches which leave visitors mesmerised as they dip into the crystal clear water of the Aegean Sea.
As mentioned before, if you take a metro to the Elliniko Metro station and then the bus 122 from outside the station, you’ll get to enjoy views of the Aegean Sea and get off the bus whenever you fancy. Stony beaches are quite common so be sure to bring some water shoes. You’ll notice young greeks on cliff edges taking dives after dives as there are many high points along the coast. There are also some hidden away coves such as Laimos Vouliagmenis, Althea beach, Legrena beach, Daskalio beach, Schinias beach and Ramnountas beach. Beaches can get busy so be sure to start early the day you plan to visit.
If you do want to visit more of the secluded coves, be ready to do some climbing and walking on uneven surfaces.
If you want to know the exact location of the above cove, click here.
After our long and tiresome trek up the hill to the Acropolis in the midday sun, we were on the lookout for some refreshments on our trek back down and spotted a small shop selling drinks and snacks. On the menu board was a large picture of a iced coffee beverage with the words Freddoccino. We had no idea what this would taste like but we thought we’d give it a try. After the initial sip we were hooked. It was cold, creamy and sweet and absolutely delicious. My wife began googling what a Freddoccino consisted of and realised it was discovered by a Greek inventor named Kostis Zompanakis. The drink is basically made by blending coffee powder, sugar and cocoa powder in a slush machine. We honestly think it’s better than anything we’ve tried in Costa and Starbucks. So we highly recommend trying a Freddoccino on your trip to Athens.
There are many other reasons which make this city a great place to visit regardless of time of year. The above four are my observations and things that I found to be great reasons to visit this splendid city. Please feel free to share below in the comments section more reasons to visit Athens. Look forward to reading them 🙂