We started our only day in Athens bright and early to avoid the heat and tourist groups. First on our agenda was the Temple of Zeus. There´s not much left of the temple except a few columns, however, the Acropolis and the Arch of Hadrian in the background makes up for a lot. In my opinion, the temple isn´t worth paying the entry fee, because you can see the whole thing from outside the fences. Still, as entry to historical sights is free for European students and kids, it doesn´t hurt to go in.
After visiting the temple, we crossed over to the National/ Royal Garden. The park doesn´t seem to be very well maintained, which is why it isn´t necessarily worth a visit.
Very beautiful, however, are the facades of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation and the Panagia Gorgoepikoos. Especially the detailed decorations of the Panagia Gorgoepikoos really stood out to me.
Five minutes walk by foot and we reached the Tower of the Winds. The Roman Agora is also located there. Once again, you can see the whole excavation from the outside. As we had no interest in looking at every detail of the agora, we didn´t pay to go in.
One of my overall vacation highlights was the Ancient Agora. The sweeping grounds with the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos and the Hephaisteion temple make the visitors feel like they are walking in ancient Greece.
Before walking up the Acropolis for sunset, we visited the National Archeological Museum and the Acropolis museum. The Archeological Museum includes many great exhibits, but pay attention to its opening hours, we got there during lunch break and had to wait around for an hour. The Acropolis Museum offers an interesting architecture with views of the Acropolis. The exhibition itself didn´t convince me. Still a good option if you´re waiting for the midday heat to decrease.
Our last sight of the day was the Acropolis and its slopes. As expected, it was very busy, which does not mean that we didn´t enjoy our visit. The buildings and the view of Athens nearly let you forget how many people are around you. The only annoyance were the supervisors. They always had someone to yell to…”No eating”, “Don´t stand here”… Well, someone´s got to do that job as well, otherwise the temples would be taken over by tourists in search of the perfect holiday pic.
Anyway, I can only recommend staying on the Acropolis until sunset (if possible). The temples glow in the golden light and it seems as if the Gods the temples are devoted to are about to appear.