Things to See & Do in Athens
The tourist information office at Tsoha 24 (210-870-7000, www.gnto.gr) provides detailed maps, an indispensable city guide and bus, train and ferry schedules.
The city’s biggest draw, the Acropolis, resides atop a hill hovering over the picturesque Plaka district. Don’t miss its museum, slightly hidden behind the Parthenon, home to many of the original statues found within. Behind the Acropolis, the ancient city of Agora is a sprawling bed of ruins that include remains of the earliest courtrooms, Senate buildings and law libraries. Just off Amelias St., the Temple of Olympian Zeus lies in ruined, Ozymandius-like glory. You can visit the above three sites, plus two others, for a 12 ticket issued at the Acropolis. Other must-see attractions include the Archaeological Museum, which provides an important overview of Greek history, the Panathenaic Stadium – host to the first modern Olympic games – and Lycabettus Hill, which offers the best views of the city (take the funicular from Aristippou and Ploutarchou Streets).
Delphi – a three-hour, 12.60 bus ride from Athens – lies nestled among gorgeous mountains, and is known as the “navel of the Earth” (ancient Greeks believed that life originated there). Follow the main street 1 km uphill to reach the archaeological site. A ticket including the museum is 9. Also, visit the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Epidaurus, a well-preserved 4th-century BC theater with excellent acoustics, Ancient Corinth, an impressive ancient city, and Mycenae, the legendary home of the Atreides, set in dramatic cliffs.
The Sardonic Gulf Islands offer beautiful beaches, vehicle-free streets and unique architecture. All are accessible as a day trip; the length of the ferry ride ranges from one hour (Aegina Island) to five hours (Spetses Island). For a cheaper alternative, visit the beaches just outside of Athens. The southern coast of Attica is the most popular; take a bus or tram from Syntagma.
Food & Nightlife
Catch a play or ballet in the 2nd Century AD Theater of Herodeion at the Acropolis. Visit the Thissio area for an array of bars frequented by locals - try ouzo (a licorice-flavored liquor). Cheap kiosks offer delicious souvlaki (lamb and veggies grilled on skewers) and outdoor cafés abound, but for a truly unique food experience, visit the largest daily food market in Athens, between Armodiou and Aristogeitonos on Athenias Street.