With equal measures of grace and grunge, Athens is a mix of contemporary cool and ancient history. Although Athenians have braved through challenging situations since the economic crisis of 2009 started, the city still crackles with energy in political debates, shows, and on the walls of the building. You will find creative surprises at almost all corners, so make sure you leave room in your schedule for discoveries like this. Thanks to some friends of mine who run an Edmonton dumpster rental company back in Canada and recently spent some time in Greece and through some of my own research, here are the top fun things to do in Athens, Greece.
This is a dazzling museum at the foot of the southern slope of the Acropolis and it displays its surviving treasures. The collection at this museum covers the Roman period to the Archaic one, but there is an emphasis on the 5th century BC Acropolis. This period is considered the apotheosis of artistic achievement in Greece. The Acropolis Museum also reveals different layers of history, from the Acropolis itself to the ruins beneath the building.
This tranquil and lush site is named after the potters who settled here around 3000 BC. Until the 6th century, this place was used as a cemetery. The stelae (grave markers) hint at ancient life; several marble grave markers are carved with familiar scenes and vivid portraits. During the construction of Pireos St in 1861, this site was discovered. This site was once on the Iridanos River banks.
Benaki Museum of Greek Culture
In 1930, a politician’s son born in Egypt, Antonis Benakis bequeathed what is likely Greece’s finest museum. This museum showcases flawless treasures from the Dark Ages up to World War II. Particularly beautiful are the collection of regional Greek costumes and Byzantine icons. There is also a complete sitting room from Macedonian mansions, delicately painted and carved. The wide range of displays here means that it is a great destination for a group with diverse interests.
The Agora was the lively hub of social, political, commercial, and administrative activity. The philosophy of Socrates was expounded here, and St. Paul came here in AD 49 to win converts to Christianity. Today, the site is home to Temple of Hephaistos and the eleventh-century Byzantine Church, adorned in brick patterns mimicking Arabic calligraphy. The greenery at this site harbors lizards and birds.
National Archaeological Museum
Housing the best collection of Greek antiquities in the world in a large neoclassical building, the National Archaeological Museum is one of the top attractions in Athens. Treasures offering visitors a view of Greek history and art – dating from the Classical periods to the Neolithic era include exquisite artifacts, frescoes, jewelry, pottery, and sculptures.