Most of the visitors they only have 1-3 days to see the whole Athens before heading to our islands. I believe that you want 3-4days to see and absorb the beauty of any capital. However, if it works for you, then enjoy it. Below, I will help you by telling you where you have-to-stop (No 1, 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, 17 with the blue letters) and where you could just pass by the monument (No 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 13, 16) in order to gain time. In that way you will receive my concentrated itinerary to the most significant monuments of Athens.
There are many ways to do that. In short, you could do it by yourselves mostly by feet, you could take a private tour or you could just take the tour buses (red, yellow, blue) depends on where you -& they- are going. You could even break the itinerary at two days. Or you can take the half and then go for some rest to your room and then continue during evening in the cool night air.
In any case, you will not be tired if you will follow my concentrated itinerary of our Greek mythology to see Athens.
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel at the highest point of the city. Over there the remains of few ancient buildings are resting. You will enjoy the architecture of the Parthenon, which is the most significant temple.
It is a magnificent gateway to the Acropolis.
It is an ancient temple on the Acropolis hill, which was dedicated to the goddess Athena, who gave her name to the city. It is the most majestic of all temples at Acropolis.
It is an ancient Greek temple from 421-406BC on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece
which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. These two gods were fighting over naming the city. However, on the south, the famous “Porch of the Maidens”, with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns.
Temple of Athena Nike
It is another temple at Acropolis dedicated to the goddesses Athena and Nike, who was the goddess of victory.
Theater of Dionysus
It is considered the first theater in the world, since it exists from the 6th century BC.
Herod Atticus Odeon
It is also called just Herodeion and it is an ancient conservatory from 160AC with 32 rows of marble stands and capacity for 5000 spectators.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Known as Olympieion, the Athenians dedicated this colossal temple from 6th century BC to Olympian Zeus.
Known as Kallimarmaro (=beautiful marble) is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. Moreover, it has capacity of 50.000 seats. It built primarily for the Panathenaic Games on 330BC. Most important, every year constitutes the finishing point for the annual Athens Classic Marathon. Furthermore, it is the last place from where the ceremony of handing over the Olympic flame to the host nation takes place.
Ohh my favorite hill, since it has the nicest breathtaking view of the whole Athens. It also has a funicular to go up! Bonuuus!!! The hill created by goddess Athena*, of course. It only has 277 meter height, but considered the highest point in central Athens. Moreover, you can rest yourselves at the restaurant while you’re enjoying the view. Do not forget to pay a visit at the theatre or at the 19th century chapel dedicated to St. George.
*PS: Read all about the main hills of Athens on my article: Topography of Athens.
The Academy of Athens
The organization’s research deed is huuuge (research centers, library, research offices and being a member in several international organizations such as ALLEA, AIA, IAC etc) but you can only see the neoclassical building from outside. The principle multi-figure pediment sculpture on the theme of the birth of Athena will dazzled you. I am sure of that.
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
The University of Athens (=EKPA) as it called is the higher educational institution in Athens. Moreover, it has more than 40.000 students and more than 2.000 teachers and researching staff. Furthermore, for 2018 it ranked 501-600 in the world list of The Times Higher Education (THE). The main building of the university on El. Venizelou street called Propylea house today the Rectorate of EKPA.
The Danish architect Hans Christian Hansen designed the famous “Athenian Trilogy”. EKPA together with the buildings of the National Book Library (left of it, No13) and that of the Academy (to its right, No11).
National Library of Greece
To this promenade at the city center you will see the old majestic marble neoclassical building called Vallianio at Panepistimiou street.
From 2017 the library is relocating at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. Above all, the library has a collection with more than 2.000.000 items.
I believe that most important collection is the 4500 manuscripts in Greek in the library and the gold bullions- official decrees and archives of the Greek revolution. In the collection of the library there is a codex of the four Gospels which contribute to the description of Matthew. Also, there is a capital letter codex along with part of the Gospel of Matthew from the 6th century. Moreover, the Map of Riga by Rigas Velestinlis, the Great Etymological Dictionary, a historical Byzantine dictionary and the original edition of the epics and hymns are in this collection.
Called Vouli is a neoclassical rectangular three-storey building from 1836 (finished on 1847) which used to be the old palace of king Otto. The building was built mostly with stones from Ymittos and Lycabettus, marbles from Penteli and the islands of Tinos-Paros-Naxos and wood from island of Evia.
On the west side of Vouli, there is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (No15). However, the outdoor areas on both the east and the south side have a large national garden.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The tomb is in front of the Hellenic Parliament. From 1930’s there is this cenotaph in honor of the fallen in the wars. Moreover, the tomb shows a dead naked hoplite lying on the ground with the prhrase: to an invisible soldier. The warrior in the left hand holds a circular shield and, on the head, wears an ancient helmet.
The tomb was built from carved porphyry, where there are few phrases. On the left side Thucydides says: <<μια κλίνη κενή φέρεται εστρωμένη των αφανών>> (mia klini keni feretai etromeni ton afanon = a bed vacancy is carried by the invisible) and on the right side has engraved the <<ανδρών επιφανών πάσα γη τάφος>> (andron epifanon pasa gi tafos = every ground is supreme men’s tomb) from the epitaph.
This is the central square of Athens. Syntagma means constitution. It’s the 2nd bigger square of all Greece, after Corfu’s Spianada. Moreover, they are including the square among the 100 biggest in the world.
On the square, in front of the old palace (now Parliament), there are the tomb of the unknown soldier and the marble fountain of 19th century. Furthermore, Evzones who are the guards of the Parliament have a station over there.
Also, at the end of the square it starts Ermou shopping street, which is the 11th most expensive road in the world. Remember that the pedestrian’s Ermou ends at Monastiraki square.
PS: Read all about shopping areas in Athens -including Ermou street- on my article: Shopping in Athens
You will see the old church of the Assumption of the Virgin in Athens and a mosque. At the area you will discover the flea market shops, where you could purchase your new memorabilia from Greece or antiques. (Read my articles about souvenirs to take some ideas.)
Around Monastiraki there are many restaurants, coffee places and taverns to enjoy a traditional Greek meal. Or you could wander around the coterminous areas called Psirri, Plaka and Thisieo and having lunch/dinner/coffee over there.
The choice is yours. Other you will choose to stop at a monument or just to pass by to squeeze it into this concentrated itinerary. Either way, I hope you will enjoy your tour in Athens. Even if you choose to do this concentrated itinerary, you will have time for taking photos.
In addition to this concentrated itinerary, if you have more time, you can spent a day at Athenian Riviera swimming and sunbathing under the hot Greek sun with ouzo or tsipouro at your hand. Xaxaa!
Until we meet again!!!