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215 215 9814

Athens, the ideal starting point for tourism in Greece

February 07, 2022 4 min read.

The first place that you, as traveler, should begin your journey in Greece is Athens. Spending just one afternoon in Athens it is possible to visit some of the most interesting places. The Acropolis is the top attraction, along with the Agora.

Check out this tour package and tour Athens!

Exploring the Acropolis, the best start

In the middle of the 5th century B.C. Pericles persuaded the Athenians to undertake an ambitious new construction plan that, over the centuries, has come to represent the high political and economic achievements of Greece. The works transformed the Acropolis with three temples and a monumental portal. The theater of Dionysus, on the southern slope, was later erected in the 4th century B.C., and that of Herod Atticus was added in the 2nd century A.D.

When touring Greece, it is an excellent choice to start with the Acropolis. There, once you have entered the Propylea - the majestic entrance to the site – you will be fascinated by the Parthenon. Other temples include the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike. Since 1975, interior access to temples has been prohibited. However, it is a true miracle that these monuments still stand proud examples of the age that created them, especially if we consider the natural or man-made disasters that have hit Greece throughout the ages, including the looting of the treasures and the contamination of the city.

The National Archaeological Museum and Plaka

When starting your sightseeing from Athens, you should not miss out on a visit to the National Archaeological Museum, which hosts numerous finds in its invaluable collection of ancient art. Likewise, the Benaki Museum contains a lavish display of jewellery, costumes and ceramics from Greece and the Middle East. Of course, shopping is an alternative to visits of historical interest, either by exploring Plaka's antiquarian shops or by heading to Kolonaki’s brand stores.

The Plaka area is the historical heart of Athens and a good starting point for sightseeing in Greece. Even though only a few buildings predate the Ottoman period, it still is the district with the longest uninterrupted habitation in the city. The name possibly derives from the word they used to define the neighborhood of the Albanian soldiers in the service of the Turks, established there in the 16th century: pliaka, which means "old". Nowadays, despite the incessant movement of tourists and Athenians, who eat in the taverns or sniff bargains in the antique shops, Plaka preserves the atmosphere of a traditional neighborhood.

The Agora and the Monastiraki market, two others of the Athenian pearls

Another top tourist attraction in Greece, particularly when starting in Athens, is the Agora. The North American School of Archeology began excavations in the Agora in the 1930s and since then, a varied set of temples and public buildings has come to light. The Agora, democratically ruled, was the political and religious heart of ancient Athens. Also, a center of commerce and daily life, schools and elegant shops abounded in it. The State prison was to be found here as well as the Mint, where the coins were minted with the famous owl symbol.

Of the current buildings, the most impressive is the two-storey Stoa of Attalos, rebuilt between 1953 and 1956 on its original foundations with materials dating from antiquity.

Finally, you should not miss out the Monastiraki market. This area of ​​Athens, which owes its name to the small monastery of Plateia Monastiraki, is invariably identified with the famous Athenian flea market. Located next to the Agora, it borders Sari on the west and Aiolou on the east. The streets of Pandrosou, Ifaistou and Areos, which start from Plateia Monastiraki, are full of shops selling everything from valuable antiques, leather and silver to knickknacks for tourists.

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