Acropolis is the fortified high point of ancient Athens. Once the center of Athenian life, the Acropolis, now is the site of famous ruins, including the iconic Parthenon and the demure robed maidens (Caryatids) supporting the roof of the Erechtheion temple alongside. The modern, vast Acropolis Museum sits just below, and beautifully protects the site’s artifacts. An easy walk from the Acropolis down to the Ancient Agora – once the focal point of Greek society, and the spot where Socrates expounded his philosophy. Also, here you can find, the Temple of Olympian Zeus – (Once it was the largest temple in Greece) and the Panathenaic Stadium. Roman sites include Hadrian’s Arch and the Roman Agora with its evocative Tower of the Winds.
MONASTIRAKI & PLAKA
As you walk around ancient Athens you can browse through the bric-a-brac in the daily Monastiraki Flea Market. Shoulder-to-shoulder shops and kiosks hawk a riot of souvenirs, clothes, leather goods, jewelry and burnished antiques. Head to one of the squares buried in the midst of the market, Plateia Avyssinias. You can stop over for a quick break at bistro-like Café Avyssinia, which is tucked amid heaps of restored furniture and fascinating baubles and has Acropolis views from its top floors. Nearby Plaka you will find the historic streets jammed with souvenir shops.
When in Greece, make like the Greeks and have a long, lazy, lingering and chat-filled kafedaki. In the cafes of Athens – try popular Tailor Made, on picturesque Plateia Agia Irini with its small flower market and Greek Orthodox church – or the central squares of towns throughout the islands and countryside, sitting and sipping coffee, and a long round of people-watching and gossip is a pastime never to be missed. Order a Greek coffee, either plain (sketo), with some sugar (metrio) or super-sweet (glyko), and watch Greece with your own eyes.
Spendid Santorini lives up to the perfect photos you’ve seen, perhaps this is what that called you to Greece in the first place. Beauty and fame do have a price: Santorini is crowded with visitors in high season. But the rest of the year it’s lot more peaceful, so it’s easier to get an unobstructed view of the ochre cliffs cradling the caldera. Find a spot on one of the volcanic beaches (black, red, white!) or grab a seat for one of its glorious sunsets, ideally in the little town of Oia at the white frosting on the tip of the island.
MYKONOS & DELOS
ISLAND HOPPING IN THE CYCLADES
You can island-hop around the Cyclades for a classic adventure!, Each island has its own character. You can visit the wonderful volcanic Milos, princess-like Sifnos, mountainous Naxos (to name a few).
For a quick trip you can head straight from Athens to tiny Hydra, the catwalk queen of the Saronics. Hydra is a delight, just an hour and a half from the main port of Piraeus. Its picturesque horseshoe-shaped harbor town with gracious stone mansions stacked up the rocky hillsides is known as a retreat for artists, writers, and celebrities. There are no motorised vehicles (apart from sanitation trucks), leading to unspoilt trails along the coast and into the mountains.
What would a trip to Greece be without some serious beach time? An embarrassment of riches, Greek beaches range from Santorini and Milos’ multihued volcanic rocks to Kefallonia and Lefkada’s broad, long stretch of soft sand or small white stones. The waters of Sifnos sparkle like rainbows. Paros is known for world-class kite surfing. Little Kythnos has a double-sided beach, arcing out into the sea. Greece is a land for beach connoisseurs – sample broadly, and form your own opinions.