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Greece
Destinations Within Greece

Greece Trip Itineraries

Top 10 Romantic Things to Do in Greece

Destination(s): Athens

Greece is a country with such a rich cultural history, that you'll have plenty of things to do and visit to find out as much as you can about it. The charming ruins and museums all remind of the ancient civilization that used to flourish on the territory of Greece thousands of years ago and make an excellent contrast to the contemporary industrial noises and the hustle and bustle of traffic in the busy streets of Athens. Some of the best destinations for a romantic getaway in Greece are the legendary Acropolis (the perfect place to catch a sunset with your special someone) and the Lykavittos Hill, a charming green space where locals usually jog or walk their dogs and couples hold hands on a bench while admiring the stunning view of Athens. If you are looking for something more on the educational side, pay a visit to the well arranged and fascinating Delphi Museum. read more about Top 10 Romantic Things to Do in Greece

Museum of the History of the Excavations in Olympia

Museum of the History of the Excavations in Olympia

  • 21 Kydathineon
  • tel:26240/20-128
  • Olympia
The Museum of the History of the Olympic Games in Antiquity

The Museum of the History of the Olympic Games in Antiquity

  • 21 Kydathineon
  • tel:26240/22-529
  • Olympia
The Museum of the Olympic Games

The Museum of the Olympic Games

  • 21 Kydathineon
  • Olympia
The Delphi Museum

The Delphi Museum

  • Delphi
  • tel:22650/82-312
  • Delphi
The Sanctuary of Apollo

The Sanctuary of Apollo

  • Sanctuary of Apollo, Castalian Spring, and Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia
  • tel:22650/82-313
  • Delphi
Acropolis

Acropolis

  • Theorias
  • Dionissiou Areopagitou. Ticket booth, small post office, and snack bar are located slightly below the Acropolis entrance
  • tel:+30 210 321 0219
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 105 58

Quite possibly the most famous symbol of Athens, if not all of Greece, the Acropolis crowns the city and provides a romantic focal point amidst the modern-day noise and mess. The word "Acropolis" comes from "Acro" meaning "High" and "polis" meaning city.

History

The Acropolis
as we know it was masterminded by Pericles in the fifth century BC after the original Acropolis was burned to the ground by the Persian army. The sacred rock was dedicated to the goddess Athena since Neolithic times, but was also used as a gathering place during times of danger due to its strategic positioning. The rebuilt grouping of temples, framed by the Propylaea, or gateway, was intended to be a testament to human achievement and unique in the world in their beauty. They include the demure Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheum or Erechtheion, hallmarked by the Porch of Caryatids (maidens) and the queen of them all, the Parthenon. The Parthenon and the Propylaea were completed first, in under ten years. The temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheum were built after the death of Pericles.

In the centuries that followed, the sacred rock was used as a church, a fortress, a mosque, an arsenal, and pillaged frequently by invaders and travelers taking advantage of the instability of the Ottoman-occupied city throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The most famous of these looters was the English Lord Elgin whose grand booty is the source of a modern day controversy between the British Museum and the Greek State, who have been asking for their treasures back for the last thirty years. The New Acropolis Museum, located across from the entrance to the Dionysos Theatre, was partly created to provide a home for the artifacts. There is still no official word of their being returned to Greece.

Visiting the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis

It is one of the most memorable things you can do while in Athens, and you're sure to note the absence of ropes or glass, bringing you up close and personal with one of the greatest works of art in the Western hemisphere. Get inspired by the great humans that walked there before, the history that happened after, the mystical rumors of being aligned with the stars, or simply the breathtaking view of the city. It's a place that touches the heart of Athens and the Athenians. All of the site is encircled by a cobblestone pedestrian path, the streets of Dionysou Areopagitou and Apostolou Pavlou. Areopagitou street runs along the South slope and is where both entrances to the sites are located, the first just on the Theatre of Dionysos, the site of the festival dedicated to the god of wine, ecstasy and theater. The second is further up past the Roman-era Odeon of Herod Atticus, where the Athens Festival takes place every summer. Go up the steps or the ramp (a bit further) and you'll find the main gates.

All of these sites can be accessed with the €12 admission of the Acropolis, as well as the Temple of Zeus, Keramikos Cemetery, Roman Agora and Ancient Agora.

What's Around the Acropolis

Facing the Acropolis are Pnyx, Areopagos and Philopappou hills which offer commanding views over the city. Areopagos Hill is the site of a famous sermon from St. Paul to the Athenians. Opposite the Acropolis is the unique Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry museum. Plaka, the oldest neighborhood of Athens, sprawls out at the base of the Acropolis rock. Delve in to explore its quaint streets and shops or spend an hour walking through the Ancient Agora.

Necessary Information for Visiting the Acropolis:

Admission

€12 except for minors. Teenagers under 19 should carry an ID to prove their age.
Seniors are not offered a discounted rate unless members of the EU.
Journalists and Government officials are granted free admission.

Days the site is free of admission

All Sundays between November 1st and March 31st. After that, the first Sunday of every month except July, August and September (peak season.)
All Greek national holidays ~ all religious holidays of the Greek Orthodox Church including Easter Monday and Tuesday as well as the Monday after Pentecost.
March 6 ~ Melina Mercouri Day
April 18 ~ International Monuments Day
May 18 ~ International Monuments Day
June 5 ~ International Environment Day
September 27 ~ International Tourism Day
The last weekend of September ~ European Heritage Days

And most spectacular is the annual late-night opening for the full moon of August, an event that is usually accompanied with live music and theatrical events.

Hours
Winter (November 1 - March 31) 8:30am - 3:30 pm
Summer (April 1- October 31) 8am - 7:30pm except Mondays 11am - 7:30pm

Amenities

Both upper and lower entrances offer water fountains and toilets before entering the site. There are no opportunities once on the site. A small snack bar is just outside the upper entrance, though the prices are high and the quality poor. If you can, wait to refresh yourself with things found in the adjacent neighborhood of Thission or along Makriyannis, the road connected to Areopagitou.

A lift entrance is offered to those in a wheelchair. Ask the official at the upper entrance for assistance.

Words of Caution and Greek Reality

Please use caution while on the site, which is entirely out of marble that can be incredibly slippery! Those with limited mobility might have trouble, though it's certainly possible to see everything if you take your time and move carefully.

Be on guard for pickpockets. Keep phones, wallets, and money in places that are difficult for the nimblest of hands if not completely under your clothes.

There might be a number of vendors of cheap novelty gifts and/or umbrellas, fans, bottles of water. These are mostly illegal immigrants who are routinely chased off by the police. As of now there is no law penalizing those who patronize them but it has been discussed.

The Scaffolding

Try not to be too disappointed when you get to the Acropolis and find most of the temples surrounded by scaffolding. They are part of a restoration and conservation effort that will keep the site strong for generations to come. The Parthenon was temporarily scaffold-free in the summer of 2010, but since November is being worked on again for an indefinite period of time.

The Strikes

Greece is a country known for expressing itself and being politically active. Should you arrive and there is a strike that has closed the entrance of the Acropolis, there is little that can be done. Go to  nearby Areopagos Hill and the area of Philapappou Hill for outstanding views of the Rock and history that's equal in importance. Neither are manned by ministry officials and therefore always open, and always free.

The Dogs

Those sun-loving mongrels you'll see lounging around the entrance, while stray, are typically friendly and laid back. Still, use caution when approaching one and don't reach toward it unless it's approached you first with a wagging tail. Under no circumstances should you inspect one that's sleeping. It isn't dead no matter how much it looks the contrary. We promise.

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Lykavittos Hill

Lykavittos Hill

  • Corner of Aristippou & Ploutarchou Streets
  • tel:+30 210 722 7065 (Cafe) / +30 210 331 0392 (Tourist Information)
  • Visit website
  • Athens, 106 76

From first glance, the little white 19th century church of St. George looks like a castle from a fairytale  perched atop Lykavittos, the highest point of the city. Lykavittos one of the most treasured green spaces of Athens, woven with paths used by the residents of underlying Kolonaki for jogging and dog-walking. A modern funicular provides access for those who prefer to climb up to the top without huffing and puffing, but all appreciate the dazzling cityscape of Athens spread out below and one of the best views of the Acropolis. Just before the large parking lot of the Lykavittus Theater (still used for rock concerts and a festival) near the cave and shrine of Agii Isidori, there are a couple of benches along the ledge for contemplating. More often they're used by amorous couples on a clear night.

The church is very popular for weddings, so road access could be tough on Saturdays. The funicular operates 365 days a year, 19 hours a day and costs 6 Euros round trip. It goes through the hill and lets out just under restaurant Orizantes, frequented by many tourists who have read of the extraordinary view of the dining room. There is an adjacent cafe with lighter fare as well as a cantina on the theatre parking lot with sandwiches and soft drinks.

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Cape Sounion

Cape Sounion

  • Athinon-Souniou Road
  • Cape Sounion
  • tel:+30 210 331 0392 (Tourist Info)
  • Sounion, 195 00

The temple of Poseidon is believed to have been executed very close to the time of the Acropolis. Some say that the destination was chosen by the stars and has a special energy similar to the Acropolis. None can argue that it served as an excellent fortress for controlling all who passed on the Aegean, necessary to guard the all important port of Lavrio, home to the silver mines responsible for the wealth of Ancient Athens.

Now it's a romantic ruin set just at the edge of the cape providing a storybook landscape, especially at sunset. Look for the place where Lord Byron left his initials on one of the the far, square columns closest to the ledge, but don't follow in his footsteps. There's no evidence his premature death wasn't actually a curse from the sea-god, known for his foul temper.

An express KTEL bus departs every hour from Egyptou Square and stops at Filellinon Street near Syntagma Square. Alternatively you could book a taxi and arrange for stops along the way. The trip from the center of Athens to the temple is an hour without traffic, so you could add in the swanky shops of Glyfada, Vouliagmeni Lake or any of the award winning beaches of the Apollo coasts that lie between.

Extra Tip: During the off season, the site is free on Sundays.
Other days of free admission:

The last weekend of September
March 6th in honor of Melina Mercouri
June 5th, International Environment Day
April 18th, International Monuments Day
May 18th for International Museums Day
And the first Sunday of each month between March and June.




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Aereopagos Hill

Aereopagos Hill

  • The Acropolis
  • Athens
National Gardens

National Gardens

  • Main entrance on Amalias Ave. Two other entrances from Vassilisis Sophias Ave. and Irodou Attikou Street.
  • tel:+30 210 870 7000
  • Athens, 10671