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Trip to Athens

Hi

I am planning my holiday to Athens this summer and this article from Avis mentioned that the Archeological Museum was a really fascinating place to see the statue of Zeus. Do you guys have any other less well-known attractions that are similar to this? Would love to learn more about Athens history.
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
21 posts

Visit the Roman Agora and check the Tower of the Winds. Also, try the Hadrian’s Reservoir in Kolonaki district and the Tholos Tomb of Acharnes in the suburb of Menidi (30 minutes away from Syntagma). If you like to find more, check this site: https://athensbylocals.com/ I always suggest it to my non-Greek friends to plan their trip to Athens.

Posted by
736 posts

I'm a museum lover, but the Archaeological Museum was a bit too dense and technical for me. I wish I had spent that time in the Acropolis Museum instead. Two other less-known places that we really loved were the National Garden (beside the Parliament Building and Syntagma Square), and the Panathinaikos Stadium (home of the first modern Olympic Games, but a replica of what ancient stadia used to look like - far end of the National Garden, not far from Temple of the Olympian Zeus).

Posted by
7445 posts

On our second trip to Athens we visited the Cycladic Museum which I highly recommend and the Benaki Museum which was fine just not as unique. They are near each other, not far from Syntagma Square.

Posted by
2790 posts

Pagabi1300, am hoping that -- because u want info about less-known sights -- this does not mean you want to skip the Arch. Museum. Some people are put off by the idea of a huge store-house you may get lost in... and just like the NYC Met, or other European Museums, one can be overwhelmed. But I'd hate for you to miss out for this reason -- because you're in luck! This very website can give you a step-by-step DIY Audio tour of the "top 10 don't-miss" treasures of the Nat. Arch Museum. Rick Steves has an "Explore Athens" page where you can download this tour FREE -- https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/greece/athens Please note also his FREE audio tours of the Acropolis AND the Ancient Agora... PLUS a DIY walk around Athens. I've told many people about these treats, with great feedback. Besides helping you get the most from each of these sites, it enables you to do it at the time YOU choose, rather than a group tour schedule.

As for other Museums, if you are not going to be in Cycladic Isles like Naxos or Paros, you can view very ancient finds & learn island history at the Cycladic Museum, just off the far side of the National Gardens... it has fascinating marble figurines whose use & meaning is still a mystery. Its top floor also has a short & well-done video about how families observed customs & traditions during the "golden Age" of Greece and Athens. And of course, don't miss the Acropolis Museum itself ... again, your experience can be enhanced by starting at the TOP floor, which has an excellent video of the Acropolis/Parthenon story, with animation AND reinactment, plus rebuilding/repair footage. If you haven't done advance prep, this helps u get so much more from the exhibits.

Posted by
1197 posts

Acropolis Museum. The central part of Athens is a museum itself.

Posted by
759 posts

On one of the days I was in Athens, the was a strike of government workers. Which meant that the government-owned museums were closed. On that day I was able to go to the Jewish museum (not impressive but I felt like I had to go just to say I went because I am Jewish according to heritage and for reasons that might be irrational I go to at least one Jewish-related sight per trip if such places are not too far out of the way); the numanistic museum (old coins); the cyclonic museum (was easily manageable and worthwhile); and the Benaki museum of Greek history (unbelievably it was open until midnight on Thursdays; it was a Thursday; it had an entertaining collection of artifacts but I don't remember any big statues).

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for your suggestions. and for the link: https://www.athensguide.com/kerameikos.html
But I have 1 more question:
Does the Athens airport have somewhere that sells SIM cards? My friend and I have a 9 hr layover at the airport before catching a domestic flight to skiathos, and azar we are hoping to buy a SIM card for our travels while we are there. We are also visiting skopelos.

Posted by
1656 posts

In answer to your last question, it did in July when I was there. A small spot (I looked and then had to ask) landside and they took care of putting the SIM card in my phone for me and getting it set up.

Edit: I was flying on to Santorini after arrival - on a separate ticket - so had to exit immigration, get a sim, then check in again for my next flight. If you get there and you have bought a flexible ticket, see if there is an earlier flight to Skiathos you can change to.

Posted by
929 posts

One often overlooked archeological site and museum is Keramikos Cemetery where ancient Athenians were buried.

It started out as Athens' pottery center but was transformed to the cemetery. It's lovely, filled with "ruins" and has a small but wonderful museum. It was on the way from Piraeus to the Acropolis back in ancient times and was considered part of the Sacred Way.

It's in a quiet and serene location and you will be moved by the inscriptions on some of the gravestones showing that people felt the grief of losing a loved one then as they do now!

https://www.athensguide.com/kerameikos.html

Posted by
1296 posts

Absolutely agree that the Keramikos is worth visiting. One slight slip in Tommy’s comment: the sacred way ran from Eleusis to Athens, not from Piraeus :-)

Posted by
929 posts

Alan you are correct.

I was thinking of the walls that connect Piraeus to Athens which protected citizens and goods coming/going from the port.

The walls worked and kept the Spartans from gaining access to Athens proper during the Peloponnese War.

Posted by
1296 posts

Tommy - yes I was sure it was just a slip. I make them all the time!

You probably know the famous story about the walls and the oracle at Delphi. The oracle, in its usual helpful way, told the Athenians to ‘look to your wooden walls’ when asked how to defend against the Persians. Some simple souls thought they actually meant walls but Themistocles realised they meant ships and to fight a naval battle.

Can’t help feeling I’d have been among those who thought walls meant walls.

Cheers
Alan

Posted by
929 posts

Alan: Like all predictions they don't always sound exactly what they mean. So, as the old saying goes: "Read Between the Lines"

It would have been wonderful to see those walls and it must have been quite an undertaking to build them.

They were also torn down and rebuilt several times and only some foundations and partial walls are left.

To have seen all the architecture and wonders of those times would be fantastic!