A hot day in Athens - A walking tour

Author Anne Plau

It's going to be a hot day, we leave the ship for our Athens tour at 8:15am at 26 °. There is a shuttle bus to the exit of the port, after which we resist all offers of the waiting taxi drivers to show us the whole city or at least to drive to the Acropolis.

The cheapest offer is 10 EUR. We want to test the Athens Metro and walk to the terminus of line 1 in Piraeus. It's about 1,5 kilometers, always along the harbor. The metro station is opposite the dock, from where the ferries to Paros and Naxos start (a footbridge previously spanned the roadway). There are ticket machines that are easy to use (also in German). We take the day ticket for 4 EUR, with it you can travel unlimited.

Piraeus metro station
Piraeus metro station


Our destination is Syntagma Square: Metro 1 to Monastiraki, change to Metro 3 towards Airport to Syntagma Square. All displays and announcements are in Greek and in English. The trains and stations we see that day are clean and appealing. Everything was renovated for the 2004 Olympics and has been in this good condition ever since. We remember the Athens subway 20 years ago: musty, dirty and by no means inviting.

Syntagma Square - Grand Hotel Bretagne

Syntagma Square - Grand Hotel Bretagne


The metro station on Syntagma Square is worth seeing, finds from excavations are on display there. Above you will find the Hotel Bretagne and other beautiful buildings and the Parliament, in front of which the changing of the guard takes place every hour at the grave of the unknown soldier.

Syntagma Square in front of the Parliament
Parliament building on Syntagma Square
Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Relief of the guards


We continue towards the ancient Olympic Stadium through the National Garden (to the right of the Parliament). Nice old trees, the plants have name tags, and it's cool and calm.

Athens - National Garden

Athens - National Garden


After 500 m the area with the old Olympic Stadium and the Temple of Olympian Zeus is on the left, Hadrian's Arch on the right and the Acropolis in the background.

Temple of Olympian Zeus
Hadrian's Arch


We hike to the Acropolis, it is now midday and over 30 ° (day top is 35 °). We pass the new Acropolis Museum. The museum is built over an excavation site and only contains finds from the Acropolis, such as originals of the statues and friezes of the Parthenon Temple.

Athens - Acropolis Museum

Athens - Acropolis Museum


We continue to climb, stop at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Dionysus Theater and after 20 minutes we reach the Acropolis. On the way we think a few times of the rejected taxis; we could have had it very easy.

Acropolis, Erechtheion, Parthenon and Propylaeen

Acropolis, Erechtheion, Parthenon and Propylaeen


 

 

The Acropolis is still a must-see in Athens, despite the heat and the crowds: the structures are impressive. From the top you can see Athens completely up to Piraeus. We even see our ship.

View of Athens and Piraeus

View of Athens and Piraeus


On the descent we have the Acropolis on the right side and walk past the Field of Mars, the Old Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus to Monastiraki Square. This is where Plaka, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens, begins. A labyrinth of alleys runs up the hill below the Acropolis. Let yourself go and don't be put off by the initial crowd and the souvenir shops. There are also quieter corners and you are sure to find a tavern or bar for a drink or snack.

Monastiraki district

Monastiraki district


Our program actually still includes the Lykavittos, at 277 meters the highest mountain in the middle of Athens, which you can take a funicular railway to and which, because it is a little higher than the Acropolis, offers the best panoramic view. We have enough for today, we will just come back.

Athens - Lykavittos Hill

Athens - Lykavittos Hill


The metro line 1 brings us from Monastiraki - attention: another great station with archaeological finds - on a direct way back to Piraeus.

Piraeus - Basilica by the port
Ferries in the port of Piraeus
 
 
 

Update December 2020

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