Throw yourself into Athens

Guest Post: Matilda Lambert is an English university student who is lucky enough to travel the world with many unusual adventures. Though often seen on long-haul flights, her true love is for Scandinavia and hopes to move there after her studies.

Athens is, in my book, the king of the Mediterranean.

Sure, it has a lot of other cities along the coast to compete with, but there’s something in the vast waters that entices me to this city above Barcelona, Marseille and Rome, something quintessentially Greek about it.

Of course, the starting point for any Greek holiday is the historical sites.

Everyone knows that this city is practically choking on ancient constructions, ranging from the Parthenon overlooking the cityscape to the Acropolis and too many more to mention. Every turn of my head included at least one millennia year old monument and I struggled to walk more than a hundred yards without whipping out my camera. I’d find myself desperately stumbling around people and buildings to get a better look, before moving onto the next one and the one after. Countless times I ended up far away from my original route.

I should have blamedAthens for messing up my plans but I just couldn’t.

Creative Commons via ikaros matsoukas on flickr

To my surprise, Athens wasn’t all dusty ruins and my flailing in the road to see said ruins. Athens and the outlying areas boast round the year festivals. During my stay, the Hellenic festival was in full swing, a vast feast of sights and sounds that ran the entire length of the shimmering summer. The air around Athens reverberated with the booms of a thousand years of music and dance, the modern spliced with the traditional like alcohol in a cocktail.

Typical me, I spent a large amount of my time shopping, soaking up culture and depleting Euros like there was no tomorrow. The area of Plaka being a definite tourist spot and me being a definite tourist, we went together like strawberries and cream. Adrianou Street was the best place to search for clothes and gifts, the quaint streets enveloping me in smiles, good food and clean air.

And hands up, non-Greek speakers, don’t be shy. Athens accommodates for us far beyond the tourist-orientated shops of Plaka. There are dozens of little independent movie screenings across the city. Most showcase Greek films with English subtitles for everyone to enjoy. Whilst I was glad for the subtitles purely to understand what was happening above the chatter, it was a night well spent.

So Athens is a good city, you may conclude from my drivel. But what about it deserves my prestigious title as King of the Mediterranean?

The answer is simple.

Italy, like Spain and France, offers some of the most sumptuous culture, food, art and architecture in the world, but its charms are scattered from the Alps to the tip of its stiletto toe. Athens, on the other hand, can provide the top attractions all within the confines of one city.

However, that is not to say that the rest of Greece is not worth a visit, for it most definitely is, but that is an article for another time.

Creative Commons via gurudevkaranth


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13 Responses to “Throw yourself into Athens”

  1. Connie February 17, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    I love Athens! I love all the history and the yummy food! To be honest, I think I may have had the world’s best ice cream from a little stand in the Plaka district. All I know is that I was there at least three times a day! Ahh, I miss Athens.

    • Erica February 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

      @Connie: Yum ice cream! Even after working in a shop for 5 years I can still understand why people love it!

  2. Alice February 17, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    The food culture here is more than enough reason to visit the place. I miss Athens so much!

    • Erica February 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

      @Alice: And believe me, I like food. 😛

  3. bweiss February 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    sounds like a wonderful place to visit thanks

  4. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) February 17, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

    Athens looks beautiful! Great post

    • Erica February 18, 2011 at 3:16 am #

      @Leslie: Thanks!

  5. inka February 18, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    I’m so glad I came across this post as I’ll be visiting Athens this summer. I know, it’s not the best time of the year, but it can’t be helped.

    • Erica February 19, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

      @inka: You do what you gotta do! I did London in Feb.. YUCK!

  6. Bethany February 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    I really want to go to Greece. It’s one of those places I daydream about. Great guest post!

    • Erica February 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

      @Bethany: Same with Shaun. He wants to go so badly.

  7. Lorna - the roamantics February 28, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    met a great gal from athens in my youth hostel in paris and have wanted to go ever since! pretty pics :)


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