Athens Pictures, Greece

The Olympic path curving down from Acropolis Hill, athens, greece

The delightful Olympic path curving down from Acropolis Hill past various attractions.

Athens Main Attractions – apart from Acropolis Hill

This wide and wonderful Athens pedestrian walkway – scattered with interesting modern art – stretches from the Temple of Olympian Zeus, around Acropolis hill (Areopagus Hill), past the ancient Agora, past Thision metro (tube) station and up Adrianou to the Library of Hadrian and Monastiraki metro.

The walkway is a brilliant idea, looping comfortably around or near just about all the city’s key sights, with greenery and funky little cafés aplenty.

It’s about 4 kms (2. 5m) long and mostly traffic free, though Athens seems to consider motorcyclists to be honorary pedestrians and many regular sidewalks require constant attention if tourists don’t want to fall down a hole.

Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Olympeion, aka though not much is left barring a dozen massive Corinthian columns and the Arch of Hadrian.

– Monastiraki district/metro stop, once home to Lord Byron now home to Athens flea market, the Ceramic Museum, a terrific atmosphere and downmarket shopping bargains galore. Near Plaka.

– Filopappos Hill, a calm green walk, some great views (the photo at top was taken there), the Dora Stratou Theatre and a pleasant café.

Kerameikos Cemetery, athens, greece

Keramikos Cemetery.

Slightly off the newly beaten path but near the Ancient Agora, Kerameikos is well worth a few hundred metres of diversion.

Athens’ cemetery from 12thC BC thru the Roman era, the place is calm and tranquilising. The walls and gates seep with history while funerary statues are varied and impressive, even though the originals are in the National Archeological Museum.

The Ceramic Museum, athens, greece

The Ceramic Museum in Monastiraki.

voula beach near athens, greece

Voula Beach.

Voula is not a bad little beach if you’re desperate for sand and sea though not at all up to normal Greek island beach standards.

45 minutes by bus (or metro/tube and bus) from Athens’ Syntagma Square and you have to pay a few euros to get on to the beach, but it’s clean and well serviced and the water is clear and unpolluted.

Basic food facilities are available, but don’t expect anything ethnic or interesting and look out for pick pockets on the bus.

Piraeus, Athens’ main ferry port

Piraeus port near athens, greece

Piraeus port with various types of ferries in dock.

Piraeus is Greece’s main port, though many Greek island ferries also dock at Rafina on the Aegean side of the peninsula. 10km from central Athens, it’s easily accessible by metro, unlike Rafina, so if you have a choice of departure points choose Piraeus.

The place has plenty of small hotels but they are mostly flea pits so sleeping in Athens is the way to go. Do not attempt to sleep rough in this port. You may end up in Shanghai.

What is Plaka?

night dining in plaka, athens, greece

A Plaka summer evening

Plaka is where Athens tourist herds gather to feed under the shadow of the Acropolis, but beware prices. The more romantic the location the more ridiculous the price. . . and don’t even think seafood unless you plan on a second mortgage. Good meal deals are available but they’ll hardly be ethnic or interesting.

To escape the package feeding frenzy of Plaka and Monastiraki, stroll a little further north to the labyrinthine streets of Psiri where Greek fashionistas cruise and style rules. While you may have a little more difficulty in communicating at least your neighbours will be funky Greeks and prices will be credible.

serious drinking in plaka, athens, greece

And then it’s time for a drink. Or three.

Brettos is not a bar like many of us have seen before, and quite unlike the anaemic please-the-europunters kind of place usually found in Plaka, though more adventurous visitors will find serious drinking dens elsewhere in Athens.

Brettos is an old family operation that fronts a distillery business, so one wall is lined with Brettos barrels of booze, seating is humble and the clientele unpretentious. It’s the real thing.

That’s the end of these Athens Photos