OVERVIEW: If you are going to be near Greece I would suggest stopping in Athens for a day or two. The city reminded me of Rome, filled with amazing monuments but with a McDonald’s right next door. The modern aspect of the city takes away from the historic atmosphere but it is still worth a visit. Athens is a crowded, busy city, and not the cleanest I’ve been to but it was amazing to see historic sites like the Parthenon. My older daughter read a book about mythology so she was so interested in the tales that went along with what we were seeing.
ACROPOLIS/PARTHENON: As we drove into Athens I saw the Acropolis in the distance and my heart skipped a beat. The rocky hill towers over the city and at the top the Parthenon stands center stage. As we stood in front of the Parthenon my older daughter kept saying, “Can you believe we are actually standing right I font of this?” It was neat because it was the first vacation that she really understood the importance of what she was seeing. There are several other historic buildings on the Acropolis such as the Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaia. We had a guidebook but we were so excited about being there we never opened it. When you approach the ticket booth there will be guides asking if you would like a tour. We chose not to take a tour but if you are interested in all the facts you may want to use one. This is the number one destination for cruise ships that are in port in Athens so if you would like to avoid the crowds you should go early in the morning or in the evening. I heard the view is beautiful at dusk. Tickets are available at the gates.
ACROPOLIS MUSEUM: This museum was so much fun for our girls. Parts of the floors are made of glass so you can see the ruins beneath you. It was a little scary to walk on them and we giggled because it feels like you are walking on air. To keep your kids entertained, I would suggest getting the backpack activity pack at the entrance of the museum. It is a free activity and it contains a map that has clues to where you can find the different statues of Athena. When you find the correct statues you place a sticker in its spot on the map. They were so involved in the game that the adults were able to enjoy the whole museum without one minute of whining. The museum is filled with statues and artifacts of Athens. There is this neat section of the museum that has statues and wall paintings taken from the Acropolis and the entire museum wall is a window that overlooks the actual Acropolis.
- Open April 1- October 31: Monday 8:00-4:00, Tuesday- Sunday 8:00-8:00, Friday 8:00-10:00 pm
- November 1- March 31: Monday- Thursday 9:00-5:00, Friday 9:00-10:00 pm, Saturday- Sunday 9:00-8:00
- Cost is 5 Euros
PLAKA: The streets in this area of Athens are lined with stores and restaurants. You can buy anything from cheesy souvenirs to expensive pieces of jewelry. The buildings in this area are old so you feel transported into a different time period. There are lots of cafés that are perfect to sit and people watch and there are many shops to get ice cream. There are several restaurants that have musicians, dancers, and plate breaking.
STROLL AROUND ATHENS: One of the best things to do when in a new city is to walk around and feel its charm. We spent half a day exploring the city and we found some pretty cool things to do. We walked through the National Garden, saw the Temple of Zeus, and stood by the guards at Parliament. We also had the most fun spa experience at a foot spa that uses live fish to exfoliate your feet. We laughed the entire time as the fish vibrated around your toes.