Athens Travel Guide
Tribes: Who likes this place?
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These scores tell you how well-liked a place is in each Tribe. Gogobot Tribes are groups who share a certain travel style, like Family Travelers or History Buffs.
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- 98%Local Culture
- 76%History Buffs
- 73%Budget Travelers
- 63%Art & Design Lovers
- 63%Family Travelers
- 62%Luxury Travelers
- 62%Nightlife Lovers
Member Reviews (242)
- AthensMember ofLocal CultureBudget TravelersBusiness Travelers+ 4Mar 04, 2014
I gave Athens a five star rating, but having said that, I was underwhelmed in many ways. But how could you give Athens, the cradle of civilization, the birthplace of democracy and many wise philosophers anything but a five star rating?
- AthensMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 6Mar 04, 2014
Gayle and I took a Cruise on the Norwegian Jade and hands down, Athens was our most underwhelming stop. I love history, travel, and all the exploration that it involves. And yes the Acropolis was on my bucket list. But past that, Athens struck me as big, ugly, polluted, and overbuilt. Maybe a different tour would have changed this perception, and perhaps more time on a Greek Island would be a better choice.
- AthensMember ofLocal CultureAdventure TravelersOct 25, 2013
Athens is the culturally diverse metropolis it always was only nowadays, the diversity is not because of slavery (as it was in ancient times) but because the capital is a gateway for the undocumented masses seeking a better life in Western Europe. Such diversity lends the city a certain edginess and a great deal of fine ethnic food too. Edge on up to the Parthenon after indulging your taste buds and you won't fail to be impressed.
- AthensMember ofLocal CultureBusiness TravelersFoodies+ 3Oct 22, 2013
A trip to Athens requires A visit to the Acropolis and Plaka.
A shopping trip down Ermou Avenue.
A drink in Psyrri.
Coffee at Pure Bliss.
A jaunt over to the Parliament Building for a change of the guards.
A stroll through Thisseo to see how the real Athenians live.
- AthensMember ofLocal CultureBudget TravelersFamily Travelers+ 4Aug 16, 2013
I love this city and can't wait to go back. With the geography of the region, the city is built out instead of up, so while there is a lot of sprawl there are no skyscrapers to block a good view. From the center of the city, the acropolis is visible above.
- AthensJan 29, 2013
At first glance the city seems like a chaos, but, is there anything better than finding the secret corners of a black hole?
Athens/ either you love it: while walking around concrete '60 blocks of flats you can run into a 500-years-old tinny church
...or hate it: you have to know the best way-place-destination-time to enjoy being here!
For me its always a miracle to be able to have drinks with the view of the marvellous Acropolis, or walk by the old Agora, or stare at Sounio's temple of Poseidon enchanted...and the walk back to reality!
- AthensOct 20, 2012
So much culture and boy are they proud of it. Everyone there practically told us their history. The museums are full of amazing artifacts and pretty much everywhere you go you will see an important piece of their history. The city if very crowded and loud though but still exciting and new.
- AthensMember ofLocal CultureVegetarianBackpackersSep 13, 2012
Athens, it is said, sprung out of a contest between the Greek gods Poseidon and Athena as to who would be the patron of the village. While Poseidon rammed his staff to the ground and brought out a spring of unpalatable salt water, Athena gave the citizens an olive tree, which symbolized peace, victory and most of all gave them lot of olive oil. To commemorate Athena, the Greeks built a huge citadel with a Temple dedicated to her at the entrance. The citadel has come to be known as the Acropolis.
Athens had long fallen into obscurity and only recently woken to find itself having slept through all the ensuing scenes in the drama of life that it had first created. Rousing itself rather quickly, it was a shaky start to the re-founded Olympics of 1896 when Athens was still yawning but by the time it was 2004, it was finally wide-awake.
Ever since then, Athens frequently goes back to bed at the wrong time. Traffic can reach nightmare proportions at 2 AM in the night and at that hour there is loud cacophonous music blaring from the innumerable taverns that litter and pour into all its narrow wobbly lanes. In the midst of it lies a simple, slow moving city that simply wants its afternoon siesta. Old curly grey haired men sit chewing tobacco right under the streets below the Acropolis and recite stories of Greek mythology as if they had really been there to see it all. Going by their looks and professed sagacity, you’d be tempted to believe it.
Athens is a proverbial two-sided coin. For every chaos it exported, it also perpetuated democracy and the Archimedes Principle. For every war they started, the also ignited the first ever Olympic flame. Every Sophocles tragedy was accompanied by an Aristophanes comedy. While Greeks started the concept of justice, it was they who fed Socrates with hemlock.
Today, it is a similar story – for every breathtaking Acropolis, there is a shabby Temple of Zeus. The cramped, dirty, tiny lanes of Monastiraki flea market are just a stone’s throw away from the posh, sophisticated but still tiny Kolonaki market with upmarket branded goods. Luxury sedans honk at modest two wheeled vespas and supposedly five star hotels share walls with Youth Hostels.
Every part of Athens has a distinct colour. Under the Acropolis lies brown. Buildings with a rather muddy look beige and brown dot the streets, which are so narrow that the opposite buildings almost seem to touch each other. Lying about in between are splotches of yellow and pink. Patches of green sprout up in spores until the seashore and islands are all bedecked in white.
The jagged coastline results in some of the most awesome combinations of land and water. The blue-green Aegean Sea, in some parts, merges effortlessly into the white sandy beaches. And in others, it relentlessly bangs the sheer cliffs, which stand impassive to all. They are often a far cry from the crowded Athens metropolis. On the Greek coasts or islands, one can really find some calm and sangfroid.
Greeks have not inherited much. In fact they are the original progenitors of what the world follows today. And one goes back in time merely by observing them. And there are certain improvements in the other parts of the world which have still not reached Greece. The change of guards at the modern Greek parliament is a case in point. Apart from their outlandish attire, two Greek soldiers are supposed to stand perfectly still for an hour until when they have to make way for the next. That transition seems to have no practical purpose other than provide free entertainment for the ongoing public. The march-past somehow resembles a man on crutches and their habit of banging their rifles into the ground till all the tiles chip beats all logic.
As one walks down Plaka, the commercial center of ancient Athens, it seems the entire city dines all the time. Dinner in Greece is no hasty affair. It is savoured slowly along and garnished with generous amounts of gossip about everything that does not concern you. A game or two of Poker ensues while the women of the house carry on their discussion about their neighbour’s activities. And if you really prefer to be leaving, Greeks would pack you an extra meal or two to take with you with an hour of storytelling benevolently added on.
When one looks around the panorama, it is true that the –us of Ancient Greek has been replaced by the –ou of present day, (Herodotus is called Herodotou). The ancient dust paths have been paved with cobblestones or concrete and honking for way in the lane is a diesel drawn Mercedes and not a horse drawn chariot. However, while the Jesus Christ era changed Greece, Greeks have decided to stay just the same.
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Aliases: Athina, Αθήνα, Atenas, Atene