While we were sitting in France, planning this section of our trip, we had decided after Istanbul, we’d move on to Santorini, a place I’ve been wanting to visit since I saw that first photo. Since all flights passed though Athens and most had an obscenely long layover, we thought it would be worth staying in town for a few days to see some things.
We didn’t find the city itself impressive, but the Acropolis and related sites were certainly worth the visit.
Being in Greece, you hear over and over about “the crisis,” and you can certainly see it reflected in Athens – lots of closed businesses, more graffiti than we’d seen anywhere, and a general feeling of depression and decline.
Around the Acropolis and Ancient Agora, the main tourist areas, however, things were upbeat and bustling. I did just recently read a BBC article that pointed to a 15% increase in Greek tourism helping the country to its first budget surplus since 1948.
We looked for other things to do aside from the archaeological sites and museums, but really didn’t find much. There is a well-rated outdoor movie venue with a view of the Acropolis, but being winter, it was closed.
We spent 5 days exploring Ancient Greece. I’d say you could do it in 2 if you’re a motivated siteseer. The pass for the Acropolis is 12 euro, is good for 2 days and covers not just the Acropolis but the Ancient Agora as well.
Here’s what we saw in our 5 days in Athens.
On and immediately around the Acropolis:
In the Ancient Agora: