One thing that makes Athens unique is the history, for one there is the Acropolis on the hill and the rest of the city surrounds below. At night is it lit up making the ruins more spectacular.
There is an ever present mix of cultures from Nordics moving down to Greece thousands of years ago and bringing their pagan Gods with them. You can see them more clearly at the Acropolis museum where all the pottery, stone carvings and an extensive collection of Greeks mythology books can be found.
The stories are truly wild. Athena the goddess of wisdom was born after Zeus lusted after Metis. Although Metis tried to change shape several times from a fish, serpent and hawk to disguise herself, Zeus never gave up until he got what he desired.
An oracle prophesied that Metis’s first child would overthrow Zeus and with that he swallowed Metis and her unborn child. With that Zeus increased in his wisdom and after time grew a terrible headache. The other Gods Hermes and Hephaestus came to look and decided to split Zeus’s skull open. Out of that sprang Athena, fully grown and in full armour.
The Acropolis museum has the whole story carved out on their top floor, so see how the ancient Greeks set this in their culture. There are also very detailed caryatid’s who were dedicated to Artemis as temple goddesses. Their figures acting as a column to support the temples.
Greek yoghurt at the Acropolis museum
The main area to explore is Plaka where you will find shops and many places to eat. Although there are problems in Athens with refugees and there are countless reports of phones and wallets being stolen from pickpockets each day.
There is a beautiful park to stroll through on on the right from where you visit the Acropolis. That also leads to many restaurants overlooking the Acropolis, an open air cinema and the Athens flea market. There are many bronze statues, lamps and other forgotten items on display. There are also some really great and less touristy restaurants around there. Varvakios is another nearby market that sell fruits, meat and fish. At the surrounding streets you can find shops selling from olives to spices and herbs.
Further on from that is Parliament where you can watch the change of guards every hour. In Greece young men still give their country a year of service in the army. Greece has has German influences from the King that they imported to run their country, however unsuccessfully. They did leave behind a beautiful garden from Queen Amalia so you can grab a souvlaki or a sandwich from a nearby shop and relax at the National Gardens.
Athens has a huge food scene all decorated on roof top bars.
There is a metro that you can use to get the Acropolis very easily even from the port Piraeus if you are catching a ferry or cruse ship in about 30 minutes. The port is large so you need to use a taxi to get to the train station which is only a few Euros. Some of the taxi drivers don’t speak English very well so you may need to wait for one that does.