Athens is an amazing city to visit and explore. There is so much history in one city it can be a bit overwhelming. The city is easily accessible via the train system. You can move from one portion of town to another quickly. Like any big city you definitely want to be aware of your surroundings and hold onto your purse while riding the train system or walking through town. Athens is a friendly city but also a large city with pick pockets and other unsavory individuals.
The Acropolis is easily accessible via the train, on/off bus or via a taxi. You can’t really miss the Acropolis looming over the city. The train stop drops you off a couple of blocks from the main entrance that also gives you access to the theater of Dionysus. This entrance was a bit less crowded than the other entrance during our visit. You do not have to fight through the cruise and tour visitors using this entrance.
The walk up to the Acropolis is a bit of a work out. The front entrance told us it normally takes at least 25 minutes to reach the top for guests in good shape. There are benches and pull offs if you need to stop and take a rest. The great thing about the Odeon of Herodes Atticus entrance is there are many places to stop for photos along the way giving you time to rest on the way up the hill.
Once you reach the top of the hill the views are amazing. If you can visit the Acropolis on your own you will have time to explore the entire area and take in the details of the buildings.
When you walk down the hill you can easily jump on the on/off bus or continue walking in the city.
Pondrouso Street is an amazing street market filled with local shops that include t-shirts, local art, soaps and so much more. Keep an eye out for the Olive Land store. This is a family owned store that sells amazing olive wood products. We picked up a ton of gifts and olive wood spoons during our visit.
Also try and meet Nick the Greek at the T-shirt stand down the way. You can ask for him and a shop keeper can point you to his stores. He has business cards from all around the United States in his store. The cards are from friends, family and people from Athens that have moved to the States to live the American dream. Nick the Greek epitomizes the Athenian spirit and friendliness. He embraces you with his warmth and love of the US.
Right down from the t-shirt shop is a great taverna. They have live Greek music and amazing food. Try the Mousakka! John said it was the best he has had anywhere in Athens or Greece!
Syntagma Square is a busy square with tourist shops, fruit stands and locals hanging out. At night we found live music and a vibrant eclectic scene.
Athens is a city that has been through a lot. You will find street art and grafitti on almost every corner. The city has been through its ups and downs but it is so worth visiting. The Athenian people are friendly, open and excited to have guests in their city. They will open their arms and share their love of Athens with you if you give them the chance.