Athens – What Else?

This is a series of blog entries from SkySurf.Travel’s first travel hiree, Romanna.

In the last article, I told you about the most touristic places in Athens. But there is more to see in the city and around!

The Panathenaic Stadium 

It is one of the city’s most popular touristic attractions and one of Athen’s landmarks. Located on the site of an ancient stadium, is the Panathenaic Stadium; for many centuries the stadium hosted games in which nude male athletes competed in track events – athletics championships as we would call them today. 

The Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium

I have not entered the stadium. The ticket costs 5 euro, so I’ve decided not to go inside. There is also a small museum which shows previous Olympic torches, but if you are not interested in its history, it would be better to view it from the outside. 

The Lycabettus Hill

Standing 277 meters above sea level, Lycabettus Hill is the highest point of Athens. A funicular or cliff railway can take you to the top of the hill. Lycabettus Hill is the best place to enjoy the sunset and see the lights of the Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium, and Ancient Agora. Reminded you will also be that Athens is surrounded by sea with spectacular views across the Aegean. The viewing platform in front of the Church provides sprawling views of Athens, stretching out to the city’s coastline.

City view after the sunset from the Lycabettus Hill
City view after the sunset from the Lycabettus Hill
City view after the sunset from the Lycabettus Hill
City view after the sunset from the Lycabettus Hill

The Church is a witness for the essence of the Hellenic culture, which has 360-degree views over all of Athens up to the Mediterranean sea; and the far mountains will carry you out to a completely different ambiance. The view is spectacular and is the highest point in Athens; it is worth the trip. In this magical place, I recommend you finish your acquaintance with Athens.

Athens new Cultural Center

Two years ago, in 2017 in the district of Kallithea, opened the new Greek National Opera and Library, situated in the south of Athens. Local guides never advise visiting this place. Maybe that is why there are almost no tourists.

These buildings are incredible! I came there twice – in the evening and during the day to enjoy the beauty of modern architecture in a different light. I think this place should be in the top-3 must-visit areas in Athens!

National Opera and Library night view
National Opera and Library night view

Besides the buildings, there is a park, garden, and a 400-meter sea-water canal, where you can sail, rent a kayak, or enjoy the coolness from water in the hot time.

View from the top of opera building
View from the top of opera building
View from the top of opera building
View from the top of opera building

The building projects are impressive – when you get to the top of the opera, you could look down – there are eight floors under you. And if you look to the left – there is a feeling you are on the same height as the city. 

You remember, I told you all the books were taken from the national library in the city center? Now they are here!

The new library
The new library
The new library
The new library

Entrance to this place is free; you can quickly enter the library, get to the top of the opera, and have a coffee while enjoying the city view.

Food Market of Varvakios Agora

Food Market of Varvakios Agora
Food Market of Varvakios Agora

If you want to feel the soul of the city, you need to go to the market. Varvakios Agora is a great market where you can find meat and fish, see the real mood of locals and try some local food. There, some of the tavernas are open 24/7 where you can eat traditional food.

Sellers in a market
Sellers in a market
Sellers in a market
Sellers in a market

Weekend getaway to the mountains

After active sightseeing in the capital of Greece, my Couchsurfing host offered to move to the north of the mountains. 

Highway Athens - Volos
Highway Athens – Volos

Our destination was Pelion mountain and its neighborhood. It took us 4 hours to get to the Volos city by a highway, and 1.5 more hours through narrow mountain serpentines.

Pelion mountain serpentines
Pelion mountain serpentines

If you are going to move by car, you need to be prepared to pay a fee for the toll road. There is no certain distance between payment points, and the amount is always different – from 1.20 euros to 4 euros. On our way, there were more than five payment points.

Payment point in a toll road
Payment point in a toll road

This region is popular during the winter because of skiing tracks. But in summer people are coming to enjoy the fresh air of mountains and to sunbathe in picturesque beaches.

Volos city view from the mountain
Volos city view from the mountain

Those days the weather was changeable, you can see it on the picture below – all the days I came to the same point over the Mylopotamos beach and took a picture. One day the sea was calm with amazing blue water, the next day there was a storm with huge waves, and on the third day calm again. Crazy nature!

Mylopotamos beach in different days
Mylopotamos beach in different days

Interesting fact, in this region there are tons of small villages. Some of them are touristic, and some are not. Every village has a small central square with an old platan tree. 

Typical square with platan tree
Typical square with platan tree

All villages are different – smaller and bigger, with their style of buildings. But in all of them, there is an atmosphere of calmness. I enjoyed it so much!

Villages in Pelion region
Villages in Pelion region
Villages in Pelion region
Villages in Pelion region

Comparing to the prices in Athens, prices in this region are much lower. You could find local tavernas and try the most delicious traditional Greek food. 

Tavern is a small village
Tavern is a small village

The average price for dinner to try 3-5 dishes is 15 euros per person. Usually, owners of tavernas are working there, and are happy to have a chat with you. I was surprised – every time they bring you complimentary wine, dessert, or fresh fruits.

Traditional Greek food
Traditional Greek food

Traditional Greek food
Traditional Greek food

To sum up, I want to say Greece is a unique country. Beautiful islands, stunning mountains, and noisy cities – such a contrast!

I am sure I will come back here more and more.

Hope you enjoyed it, it was my last article about the adventure of a lifetime!

With best wishes,

Romanna.

Romanna’s trip to eight cities (five islands) in Europe cost a total of $815 (flights only).  To build your own cheap multicity itinerary, visit SkySurf.Travel.

View more photos of Romanna’s European SkySurf.Travel adventure on Instagram

To read more of Romanna’s SkySurf.Travel adventure blogs, click here.

 

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