As the capital of the Attica region and Greece as a whole, Athens is a well-known tourist destination and has been for centuries. One of the oldest cities in the world, Athens is steeped in history with modern and ancient culture blending beautifully.
A voyage from Piraeus –
Take advantage of being close to the largest passenger port in Europe and catch a ferry from the port town of Piraeus. There are really too many islands to choose from but to save time and money without sacrificing the experience, catch a frequent ferry to Aegina. You can arrive there within an hour and tickets are much cheaper than when trying to reach islands further away. Aegina hasn’t succumbed to mass tourism and many visitors are Athenians who own holiday homes on the island which helps toward retaining the islands authenticity. Aegina town is where the ferry docks but there are many places to visit from coastal fishing villages to tiny mountain settlements around Mount Oros. Get the local KTEL bus to Agia Marina which will take you to the Aphaia Temple, one of Aegina’s most well-known historical landmarks; a 5th century BC Doric temple complete with majestic columns.
Anyone travelling to Athens has likely heard of Delphi, despite the distance between the two. Tours are available but for a much cheaper and less rushed option, use the public long distance buses which charge around €15 each way. They take around 3 hours to reach Delphi and are likely quicker than tour buses – you’ll depart from Bus Terminal 3. Once there you’ll find the modern town of Delphi, the Delphi Archaeological Museum and the ancient site of Delphi. Home to the ancient Temple of Apollo and residence of the Delphic oracle, Delphi is shrouded in myth and tradition – the Delphic oracle was a prophetess that gave prophecies in exchange for tributes to the god.
Temple of Poseidon; Sounion at Sunset –
To get away from the crowds of Athens, catch the Sounion bus from Mavromateon on the west side of Pedion tou Areos Park. The bus leaves every half hour, takes around 2 hours, costs €6 and will drop you off 1 km from the site of the temple. Pick up some refreshments, make your way to the temple on foot and arrive at the edge of the cliffs where the temple columns cast shadows in the burnt, golden light of the sunset with the sea twinkling below you.
Acropolis & the Parthenon –
Climb up above modern Athens and reach the summit of Classical Athens on the Acropolis. Cross the threshold of history as you enter through Beule gate and wander through the ancient ruins that have maintained celebrity for thousands of years. Keep climbing and you’ll reach the Parthenon, dedicated to Athena Parthenos (The Virgin Athena) who was the patron goddess of Ancient Athens. Entrance into the Parthenon is prohibited but the outside is impressive enough. Stick around until after 5pm and once the crowds have left, give yourself some time to truly take in the beauty of the golden marble as the sun hits it, bringing the Acropolis to life with the shadows of the past.