While the ancient city of Athens is justifiably famous for sites like the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Agora, there are plenty of other wonders in this sprawling destination. So be sure to carve out some time from your next visit to Athens to see some of the less crowded jewels of this Greek masterpiece.
The View from Kolonaki
Athens is of course a city full of wonderful views, and the view from the funicular railway on the slopes of Lykavittos hill offers some of the most spectacular views of the Acropolis anywhere in Athens.
The views from the funicular railway are spectacular at any time of day, but they are particularly stunning at sunset. Many visitors like to make time for at least one sunset ride up the slopes of Lykavittos hill, and this unique attraction is a favorite place for Greekstotake their visiting friends and relatives.
The railway is accessible from Kolonaki Square, a popular shopping destination for natives and visitors alike, and the ride offers plenty of thrills as it rises steeply while approaching the summit. The summit rises 912 feet (278 meters) above the city below, and visitors can enjoy both a lovely cafe and a beautiful chapel when they arrive at the top.
Beautiful Syntagnia Square
Syntagnia Square is at the heart of modern Athens, and home to both the Parliament building and the Royal Palace. Tourists from around the world love to take photos of the uniquely dressed guards at the Royal Palace, adorned as they are in skirts and pom-poms. There is a ceremonious changing of the guard each hour, and this ceremony is always a hit with visitors.
Syntagnia Square is also a great central meeting point for visitors, and it is easily accessible from many major attractions in the heart of the city. Lovers of art and culture will be pleased to know that Athens’ famous “museum mile” starts here. This famous stretch of great museums runs along the Vassilissis Sophias Avenue, starting right from Syntagnia Square. Featured attractions along this stretch include the Benaki Museum, the Byzantine Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art.
Although not a tourist attraction in its own right, this bustling port is a popular jumping off point for a number of cruise ships and island ferries. In fact Piraeus has served as the port for Athens since the oldest days of the city, and it continues to be a popular destinations for ships large and small.
The port is home to a number of harbors which provide space for all manner of ferries, as well as the many cruise ships that come and go from Athens every year. Visitors waiting for a ferry or visiting the port as part of their cruise may want to visit one of the many seafood restaurants lining the streets, or take time to visit the Maritime Museum.
[photo courtesy of mbell1975]