This is definitely a must-do for the fans of oriental markets. You will see lots of gipsies, locals and other "exotic" people, offering a wide range of goods on this market. It is easily reachable by metro. The goods vary from souvenirs and ancient coins to lyngerie and wonderbras. Bear in mind that you can negotiate on the price and many articles start from 1 euro. Enjoy this flea market!
A massive stone right across the enormous Acropolis where most people go saved us the trouble of joining in the crowds there!
We climbed up a steep flight of steps, though there is also another way up to the top of this massive stone which looked like made of granite. It was a bit slippery but it helped us see uninterrupted views of the city of Athens, even as far as the other temples of popular interest. Due to the intense heat, we were not inclined to go high up to the Acropolis and also we're scared to go back late to the ship as we're sailing around 3 pm and we didn't expect the bus trip to take longer!
But finding and climbing this rock was a delight and gave us the stunning views that we didn't need to go there ourselves!Just look at the photos!We saw lots of ruins and temples from that vantage point alone!
If you are in search of an escape from the ever-busy Athens and do not want to spend another day at a touristy attraction, then Vouliagmeni – a peninsular town some 25 km south of Athens – is something you should head for. A day trip is worth it especially when you could not plan for Greek islands and wish to at-least have a glimpse of what these islands are so famous for.
Sporadic hills, pine trees, blue-flagged beaches, sandy sea-shores, clear sea, and a fresh water lake make this green suburb very different from the noisy conurbation. The spot is equally suitable for luxury as well as budget recreation; in addition to lavish private beaches and resorts, public beaches provide with the basis amenities free of cost, however, one ought to be there early to beat local youths who come early and in quite a number. There were hundreds of seats on the beach we visited and we found an unoccupied one only after searching for it.
Weekend is preferable, when most of the tourist attractions remain close. However, keep in mind that Athenians – and not tourists – flock to their favourite beaches during weekends, but to many tourists this only adds to the ambiance and gives them a chance to savor the culture in a local setting. Because of its unique geographical setting the beach is good for swimming even in days when the sea gets rough.
The word Vouliagmeni means “Sunken” and the town is named so may be because of its low altitude and isolated nature. For those who want more, the town offers sea sports and activities, Nautical Clubs, and even a docking Marine at Lemos area with modern facilities for boating.
Getting to Vouliagmeni is easy; just take the fast E22 Saronida Express bus from Syntagma Square for about 45 minutes of easy ride. I understand from a forum posting that E22 is now included in Athens Transportation card, which was not the case when we visited, and we instead took the slow tram plus a bus ride to reach to the beach. Kindly email me should you have any further information in this regard so that I can update the tip.
Here I would also like to acknowledge a fellow VTer Janet Hellis whose Vouliagmeni Tip compelled me to include the beach in our European backpacking trip itinerary, which we did not regret.
George Zongolopoulos is a Greek artist, famous for his metal umbrellas, which can be seen in different places. They are impressive in the night, as they make an antithesis with the dark too. The picture was taken in Paleo Psihiko, a rich suburb where most embassies are housed.
Kifisia was the favorite summer resort of Athenians at the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays, it is one of the most attractive suburbs of Athens, you can go there by the "electric railway", Kifisia is the last station of the line Piraeus-Kifisia.
Next to this station, be inside the nearby park, famous for the florist exhibition - the photo was taken there, it is held every May.
This northern suburb of Athens has expensive shops, many parks and trees, a lot of luxury flats...
On one of our nights we decided to go to Piraeus to walk around and see the port !!!! But once we got there we realized that there was nothing there to see, I expected a lively marina with shops and restaurants, but even near the main square there was nothing but travel agency selling tickets to the various islands...not worth the trip here !!!!!
I dont know if theres always an exhibition on there but keep an eye out as if theres an as interesting one as when I arrived then its worth taking a few minutes to have a look - when I arrrived there was a World Press Photo exhibition with excellent photos including moving pics of soldiers in Afghanistan - under an Airport Art banner.
And then I went off to find the rental office and go get sorted with my rental car - great to just take your gear and go get in a car and be free again! Easy access to the motorways and I was on my way to Corinth and the Corinth Canal in no time.
I'm not sure how commercially known this is, but the Temple of Poseidon, located about 1.5hrs north of Athens, is definitely worth a half-day trip. My family and I just found a cab driver we really liked and asked him about it, and we got a great rate. We headed up around 6pm, took some photos, and watched as the sun set around the cliffs and rugged landscape.
The temple has some of the best ruins in Greece, and it is positioned on a cliff that jetisons out into the Aegean forming a small peninsula, which offers spectacular views. I have been to Greece twice recently, and both times felt the need to make this day-trip. If you have any time while in the area I would certainly recommend it!
Ok so while Athens has ridiculous amounts of historic sights and scenes, there is a very worthwhile half day-trip to take. Head down to the main docks where you'd catch a ferry to any of the islands, and there will be several different times a day in which a ferry will be offering fares to Delos, which is a small island visible off the coast of Athens. I think the ride took 30-45 minutes if memory serves correctly.
Anyways, you (and about 100 other ppl on the ferry?) will be privvy to some of the most complete and preserved ruins in Greece! Delos was an old merchant island that went uninhabited, and there's tons of cool stuff to check out here. Foundations from housing plots are still erect, you can make out the squares and gardens that graced the wealthier homesteads, and there is a fantastic hike up a sizeable hill in the center of the island. This was certainly a hightlight- do the hike! It's way less than an hour from the docks to the top of the hill, and the view of the whole Aegean and distant Athens landscape is SO WORTH IT. If theres only a few things you do while in Athens, go to the parthenon, temple of poseidon, and DELOS!
As in my other tip, the remains of ancient Athens are now being preserved as they are exposed by new building.
In Platia Monastirakiou you can see ancient walls, drains and watercourses exposed underneath protective glass covers.
Sadly, the guard rails around the covers are too high and too far away for small people like me to see clearly.
But if you are bigger than I am do have a look as you wander through the square.
Ancient Athens (both Greek and Roman)extended far further than the Acropolis area, of course, but there is little sign of this under the acres of concrete.
However, when ancient remains are exposed by new building they are now being preserved.
You can see the remains of the Achanian Gate at the end of pedestrianised Eolou (which leads to Platia Omonia), and some bits of drainage systems, tombs, houses and roads are
visible under protective glass and in Platia Kotzia (off Eolou).
There is little enough to see of the ancient city once one is away from the Acropolis area: it is good to see newly-exposed remains being protected and kept visible.
You will almost certainly visit the site of the enormous Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Whilst you are there take the time to wander the edges of the site. You'll find the remains of a 1st century Roman baths complex, and various other buildings, all quite well-signed in English.
Although not huge, there are some nice bits of mosaic and some good examples of how the heating system worked.
Worth a look before you go elsewhere.
Entrance to site on Vasilissis Olgas. Open daily, April - September 8.30am - 7.30pm, October - March 8.30am - 3pm. 2 euro or joint Acropolis ticket.
The ancient mosque of Fethiye Tzami dates from 1458 and stands in a corner of the Roman agora/forum site.
The mosque was dedicated by Sultan Mehmet 11, who conquered Constantinople ('fethiye' means 'conquest')
You can't go in, because it is used as an archaeological storage area, but you can look round the exterior.
At the rear there are several tombstones, inscribed with Arabic memorials.
Opposite the Roman agora/forum site, on the corner of Eolou and Pelopidha, stands the one of the few remnants of Ottoman Athens.
The Medrese (madrassa or Islamic school) was no doubt linked with the ancient Fethiye Tzami mosque on the forum site (see other tip). The mosque dates from 1458, but the medresse was built in 1721, founded by Mehmet Fahkri.
It was a big building, used later for a prison (and known for its poor conditions). It closed in the 1900s, and only its entrance gate and a small adjoining room now remain (not tilted..that was me!).
A small glimpse of another side of Athens in the past........
These are quite near the Roman Agora site, and worth a visit.
The baths building dates from 1450, and it was in use right up to 1965! Oriinally men and women bathed at different times, but later on partitions were built and sections added to allow separate men's and women's baths.
The baths have been beautifully and carefully restored, with some sections left exposed so you can see the inner workings.
The glass lighting in the domes was deliberately designed to produce shafts of healing sunlight within each hot room.
An audioguide tells you, in English, all about each room. It's a little bit too wordy, I think...I spent a good 10 minutes standing in the first room until I worked out how to fast-forward it.....but it is stuffed with interesting information. There is also a video presentation, but I didn't stay for that.
It's well worth popping in to explore if you are nearby. The baths give a glimpse of an Athens neither ancient nor modern.
Open from 9 to 2.30pm Closed on Tuesdays. Entrance 2 euro.
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