Athens

ATHENS - Distance from Ermioni: 170 kms/2.5 hours

Athens is the capital of modern Greece, it is also the largest city in Greece, with almost half the counties population living within the Greater Athens area, including its port of Piraeus.  Athens is one of the world's oldest cities, continuously inhabited for at least 7,000 years, named after the goddess of wisdom, Athena, who became the Patron God of the city.  During the city's Golden Age, Athens had introduced democracy, led the coalition of Greek city states that defeated the Persian invasions, with historic victories at Marathon in 490 BC and Salamis in 480 BC with it's cultural achievements laying the foundations for Western civilization.  During this period the Acropolis was constructed, including the iconic Parthenon, following the destruction of Athens by the Persians. The Acropolis is the number one destination for today's tourists and visitors, followed by the new Acropolis Museum.

Over the years, a multitude of conquerors have occupied Athens, each erecting unique monuments, leaving a lasting legacy.  In 1834, the recently elected King Othon established Athens as his capital of the newly created Kingdom of Greece, following the Greek War of Independence against the Turkish Ottoman Empire, 1821-1832.  He had Athens rebuilt from a small town nestling by the Acropolis to what we see today, a modern metropolis with unrivalled charm.  A large part of the city's historic centre has been converted into Europe's largest pedestrian zone, leading to all the major archaeological sites, in effect creating an Athenian archaeological park.  However, ancient and medeival monuments are not all that Athens has to offer, there are numerous hotels, galleries, markets and shops that cater for everyone's taste, as well as a variety of restaurants, tavernas, popular fast-food outlets, cafes and bars.

Getting around Athens is very easy as well, all the major tourist sites are located within a triangle between the Acropolis, Syntagma Square and Omonia Square, all within walking distance.  If you don't fancy walking, then there is a wonderful Metro system as well as numerous trams that will get you to where you want to be.  If you are limited in your time in Athens, there are also many tourist 'site-seeing' buses that take you around all the main points of interest, where you can just hop-on-hop-off throughout the whole day.

Top 12 tourist sites to visit:

  1. The Acropolis - Parthenon - Erechtheum - Propylaea - Odeon of Herodes Atticus
  2. The new Acropolis Museum
  3. Plaka - Flea Market
  4. Ancient Agora - Temple of Hephaestus - Stoa of Attalos
  5. Monastiraki - Hadrians Library - Roman Agora - Tower of the Winds - Flea market
  6. Temple of Olympian Zeus - Hadrians Arch
  7. Syntagma Square - Parliament - Tomb of the unknown warrior - Benaki Museum
  8. National Archaeological Museum
  9. Mount Lycabettus - Athens War Museum - Byzantine Museum
  10. National Gardens - Zappeion
  11. Kerameikos ancient cemetery - Pnyx Hill - Open-air street market
  12. The Panathenaic Stadium

Athens hosted the first modern day Olympic Games in 1896, and more recently, the very successful 2004 Summer Olympics.

A number of people visiting Ermioni spend their first day and last day in Athens, which gives them an opportunity to visit and see some of the city's wonderful monuments.  Even if you just visit Athens for the day, by taking the first boat from Ermioni to Piraeus and catching the Metro from Piraeus port to Monastiraki, it puts you in the centre of Athens within two and a half hours, with plenty of time to explore.  Even if the weather is bad during the winter period, there are enough museums and shopping centres to occupy your time.  In reality, it would take a number of days to see all the places of interest that Athens has to offer, however, it is worth seeing just a few of these interesting historic sites to make your Greek experience complete.  Whatever you may miss on your visit to Athens, it's a good reason to return.

Picture Gallery
Athens - The Acropolis Athens - The Acropolis Athens - Acropolis Propylaea entrance Athens - The Parthenon Athens - Caryatid Maidens of the Erechtheum Athens - The Erechtheum Athens - Odeon of Herodes Atticus Athens - New Acropolis Museum Athens - Monastiraki Square and Metro Athens - Monastiraki Metro interior Athens - Hadrian's Library at Monastiraki Athens - Gate of Athena Archegetis Athens - Roman Agora Athens - Tower of the Winds Athens - Temple of Hephaestus Athens - Temple of Hephaestus Athens - Stoa of Attalos in the ancient agora Athens - Stoa of Attalos in the ancient agora Athens - Agioi Apostoloi Byzantine church Athens - Kerameikos ancient cemetery Athens - Pnyx Hill - Orator's steps Athens - Plaka district below the Acropolis Athens - Plaka tavernas by day Athens - Plaka tavernas by night Athens - Plaka - Monument of Lysicrates Athens - Temple of Olympian Zeus Athens - Temple of Olympian Zeus Athens - Arch of Hadrian Athens - Panathenaic (Olympic) Stadium of 1896 Athens - Syntagma tomb of the unknown warrior Athens - Evzones changing of the guard Athens - Syntagma Square and Parliament Athens - Hotel Grande Bretagne - Syntagma Square Athens - National Academy and Library Athens - National Archaeological Museum Athens - The Zappeion Athens - Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens Athens - Mount Lycabettus Athens - View from Mount Lycabettus Athens - Mount Lycabettus by night Athens - Roman Agora near Plaka Athens - National Opera House Athens - City by night Athens - Monastiraki Plaka shops Athens - Monastiraki Plaka shops Athens - Monastiraki Flea market Athens - Monastiraki Flea market Athens - Open-air street market