Being the capital and largest city of Greece – the cradle of political thought, philosophical, artistic and literature inspiration for Western civilization – Athens is undoubtedly one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world. And not just because of all its historical baggage and indisputable contribution, but also because of the vast amount of natural beauty, stunning architecture, popular culture, outstanding cuisine and great weather (the Greek summer is considered one of the best in Europe).
Athens can be considered a true open-air museum. There lies the world’s most famous Acropolis, where visitors can see up close the structure of various famous temples, like the Parthenon (5th century BC), dedicated to the goddess Athena. And speaking of gods and mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and Poseidon, god of the seas, are the main characters of one of the most famous stories about the domination of the Greek capital.
According to the myth, during a dispute, Poseidon would have knocked his trident into a rock of Acropolis hill, shaking the salt waters of the ocean, while Athena, daughter of Zeus, planted an olive tree (which has subsequently become the symbol of the capital); and after the vote given by the 12 gods of Olympus, Athena was declared as the winner of the race and the city, then named after him.
The very interesting museums around the city, as well as nice neighborhoods, markets, mouthwatering cuisines and nearby beaches make Athens a city full of options for people of all ages and tastes. The country’s official language is Greek, but visitors who master English language will have no difficulties; additionally, street mark and city information written in Western alphabet were installed throughout the city on the occasion of the 2004 Olympic Games, which greatly facilitated the life tourists.
Book at least three days to enjoy this city that, at first glance, seems a bit chaotic (Greece, inclusive, was one of European countries which most affected by the recent economic crisis), but keeps one of the most important legacies of the European continent. A good tip is to take a trip to Athens to explore the famous and beautiful Greek islands. Mykonos and Santorini, for example, are easily accessed by ferry or plane from Athens.