24 Hours in Athens – travelchannel.com

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By: Sara Gilliam
I was experiencing full-on rocking vertigo. Back and forth. Up and down. This continuous boat-like rocking sensation would last for a few hours until I got my “land legs” back. After spending a week sailing around the Saronic Islands, I, like many people, found myself with a brief stopover in Athens awaiting the long journey home.As first-timers, my group mostly stuck to Plaka, the oldest neighborhood – and arguably the most beautiful – in central Athens. The area is known for its labyrinth of streets (mostly closed to traffic) and whitewashed Neoclassical architecture (not dissimilar to the islands). Our day was spent strolling along the narrow, cobbled streets visiting historic monuments sandwiched between sidewalk cafes and kitschy souvenir shops — and punctuated by breathtaking views of the ever-present Acropolis perched above the city.

Of course, Europe’s oldest city has a myriad of unique things to do and neighborhoods to explore that aren’t easily covered in a day or 2, but with a little planning you can still see some of Athens’ best sights even on a time crunch. Here’s the perfect day in Athens to get your bearings.

Acropolis

Yes, you’ll pass only tourists on the slow, steep and — in the middle of the summer — hot ascent up the Acropolis, but it is the most important ancient site in the Western world and must-see in Athens. As you wind up the dusty path, remember to pause at one of the Acropolis’ many lookout points to catch your breath, have a sip of water and take advantage of its unique vantage point of the city – a view equally breathtaking as the majestic marble Parthenon, the Propylaia gateway and Temple of Athena Nike that await you at the top. Continue your historic tour with a visit to Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and the starting point of the Olympic Torch Relay to this day. Now that it’s open to the public, for a few euros you can find out what it feels like to run around the track in the center of 60,000-marbe seats, or if you’re short on time like we were, settle for a selfie taken from just outside the gates.

– travelchannel.com 

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