Syntagma Square |
The spiritual centre of Athens, and another area that benefited greatly from the Olympic preparations. Check the
guide-books for full details. I have always used it as my start off point for wandering. Whilst Omonia is a hub
for the city, Syntagma Square is the hub for tourist attractions, having Plaka on one side, Omonia on another,
and the Parliament and National Gardens on another. If you orientate yourself as to where places are in relation
to Syntagma, it's hard to get lost - for long anyway. Over looking Syntagma Square is the Parliament building -
in front of which the changing of the guard takes place.
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If Athens has a hub, this is it. It seems that all roads, eventually, arrive at Omonia. If there is one example
of how the preparations for the Olympics have improved the city, this is it. When I first went it was a road
junction with a bomb-site in the middle. I have said elsewhere that I have never felt threatened whilst in Athens,
but Omonia was the gathering place for some of the more unsavoury inhabitants. It just wasn't a nice place to be.
Contemporary Omonia is, however, more the landmark that it was, apparently, in years gone by. Having a [new] metro
station in the middle, has made quite a significant difference.
The Parthenon and the Acropolis
Well worth a visit, history and all that. Fascinating. I've been twice. The first was on my first time in the
city. The second time I only went up because my ex wanted to see it. Once is probably enough. Don't go up
at midday in the summer, it is very exposed, you will fry. There is also a new museum - I haven't been to it, so
Athens National Gardens
Well worth spending a while wandering around - and wander you will, it being something of a maze. The kiddies
love the animals in the Gardens' centre. The gardens are next to the Parliament building.
Although most associate Athens with the city centre, it does have a coastal district. On the coast there are a number of beaches between Piraeus and Glyfada, and a few further South than that. The old airport used to be in this area, and many times I would leave my hotel after breakfast and spend the day on a beach before getting a tea-time flight home [warning: arriving home from a work trip with sun burn is not a good way to impress your wife]. There are a few small, free, beaches - but the best ones are 'private'. This is where you pay to get on, but benefit from clean sand and other facilities like toilets, refreshments and lifeguards. To get to the coast from the city centre, see my