The Stress-Free Guide to Visiting Athens

April 5, 2012 by

Day Trips, Things To Do, Travel Tips

Varkiza Greece - perfect getaway from bustling Athens

Varkiza Greece - perfect getaway from bustling Athens. Photo courtesy of Μυρμηγκάκι via Wikipedia.

Sure, Athens is home to the Acropolis and many other exciting and significant sites and attractions, but let’s be honest: It’s hot (particularly during the high season), it’s dirty, and it’s expensive. I typically advise first time visitors to Greece to hit the Acropolis (at least once), and then hurry to other more enjoyable destinations on the mainland, or, even better, for Piraeus, and the many magnificent islands and island chains beyond. However, there is much to see and do in the ancient metropolis. If you decide to make a go of it, the following tips and suggestions should help you make the most of your time in the ancient metropolis.

There are numerous ways to compete with the congestion and constant economic drain without traveling far from the city. The Attika Zoological Park (opened in 2001) is not the best way to avoid the crowds, as it’s one of the most popular destinations in Athens (with tourists and locals alike, but it is nonetheless a relaxing and stimulating diversion and it houses the third largest collection of birds in the world.

Another obvious way to beat the heat is by visiting one of the numerous nearby beaches. In some instances, you may have to travel a little ways out of Athens to reach them, but a trip to the beach makes an excellent and affordable day trip. Some of the best beaches in the area include Astir Beach, The Varkiza Coves (great for snorkeling and cliff diving), Loutsa Beach (complete with several delightful tavernas), Schinias, and Porto Germanos.

Check this post for details about The Top 5 Beaches near Athens

The best areas of Athens in which to seek lodging include Plaka, Makrianni, Koukaki, Thission, Syntagma, and Monastiraki (all of which border the Acropolis). Another novel way to seek accommodations near the city is to avail yourself of the hostels and hotels that populate the islands of Aegina, Paros, and Angistri, all of which are no further than an hour and a half by ferry from Piraeus.

-John Reality

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