Beyond Acropolis & Athens
If someone sees Athens from above, one thing that will definitely notice is that Acropolis is the central hill of a large basin. Athens was built around Acropolis for safety, in main seven hill, surrounded by 3 main mountains. The other side of these mountains include amazing spots to visit and explore.
1 Immitos mountain
You can use the “Peripheral Way” (there are tolls for that), where you can go north and get to Marathon, east and get to Airport and eastern coastline, or south and get to southern suberbs, Glyfada, Vari, Kavouri and later on Sounio.
On Immitos, you can get to “Kalopoula” a kiosk in the middle of the forest, where a municipal cafe-restaurant is open till afternoon. It could be a bit difficult to get lost if you try to visit it by yourself, but there is just one two direction street. Also, there is weak mobile signal there.
There are some churches and monasteries that remind of Athens past. Kaisariani monastery was supporting Athens for centuries, but was abandoned recently. Today it is open as an archeological space- museum and is easily accessible by car. More info about visiting details will follow.
2 Penteli mountain
Penteli was used since antiquity as a main marble source, so that Parthenon was build with Pentelic marble – bianco di penteli– is its name. Today there is an open museum for marble, next to Saint Marina chapel. Penteli is accessible by Mesogeion Street or Kiffisias, through Halandri area. You get to Pentelis Avenue and you see the mountain in from of you.
In Penteli there are two amazing Orthodox monasteries, TAO Penteli is the first one and Moni Pentelis the other. There are many unknown monuments in the area around the mountain, such as the German Cemetary of the soldiers died in WWII (Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof 1939-1945 Dionyssos – Rapendoza),
3 Parnitha mountain
From Parnitha the road connecting Athens to Thebes, Dekeleias, Tatoiou, are still in use today. It was always Athens’ northern borders, that is why fortress of Dekeleia is there. Even today Dekelias is the avenue that passes via Nea Filadelfia suburb. There are also places to walk and explore, but you need people that know the area. In the mountain there is also a famous monastery, Moni Kleiston.
4 More hills than the seven
The Athens’ seven hills are best described here, but here are some more hills.
Ardettos is the hill over Kalimarmaro Stadium. The area today is called Mets or Pagrati. There is an uncovered ancient temple of Goddess Artemis.
More hills, like Strefi Hill, are located northwest of Lycabettus. There are more hills, like Kolonos, where Plato’s Academy was, Elikonos, and Skouze, which are equally beautiful.
5 More open air cinemas in Athens
Open air cine Flisvos, south, at Faliro.
Cine Psichiko, in central Athens.
Filothei Open Air cinema, near Psichiko area.
Open Air cinema mimis fotopoulos at Marousi.
6 Athens Coastline
In Faliro you can visit Marina of Floisvos, the place where private yachts set all year long. There are many cosy restaurants, café and bars, and people enjoy sunny walk at day or night walk at night. Near there is also a ship-war Museum, the famous vessel Averoff.
Glyfada to Sounio
Next destination in Athens coastline is Glyfada. You can get their with a bus or tram (takes longer time with tram).
Glyfada has a big market, similar to that of Kolonaki. Many Athenians go there for shopping, but also for coffee, Glyfada is more expensive suberb- you should know that. Across the coastline Athenians spend their night time mostly, for famous bouzoukia and nightclubs, especially during summer.
Southern from Glyfada is Voula, Varkiza, Vari and Vouliagmeni. Athenians visit these shores for swimming during weekend and food on Sunday noon. You should be prepared for 1) sun 2) sea 3) coffee 4) fish taverns 5) loud music!!!!
If you move more south, you have the opportunity to reach Sounio, and Poseidon temple there, when you can enjoy a coffee or have lunch. Across this route there are many options for beaches!!!!
Sounio to Marathon
As you leave Sounio to the north from the eastern side, you meet the port of Lavrion, that connects close Aegean islands to Athens. If you move norther, you will find Marathon (everybody knows the famous battle). The east side of Attica was attacked several times in history, by Persians, Arabs, Venetians, Turks. Among Marathon and Lavrio there is Porto Rafti, also a port, where you can swim.
Porto Rafti, Vravrona and the temple of Artemis, with medieval towers of De la Roche. Amazing environment where you can enjoy the seaside.
Piraeus and Saronikos
Get to Salamis and the rest of Saronikos islands from Piraeus and Perama. Also all Aegean islands are connected to Athens from Piraeus.
Salamis especially is just 20 minutes with the ferry and the ticket costs about 3 euros.
7 Attica Museums and archeological spots
There are numerous museums and archeological POI’s outside of Athens. Here is a list of them
Vravrona Museum & Artemis Temple
Amfiareion. A Roman spot, near Oropos, opposite Evoia island.
Dekelia Fort, at mount Parnitha.
And more–Athens is you (and you don’t know it-yet)
Athens is completely unknown to most of us, even though we all strongly feel that we are aware of Acropolis and Parthenon and that’s it. Here are some Athens-facts in order to know about what kind of place Athens is.
Plaka is continually being inhabited since Neolithic times, so this is why it’s streets are considered to be the most ancient city in Europe. Its center is Lysikratous square, from where you can see Hadrian’s Arch, exactly on the same ancient street it was built.
In Athens it was not just Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, but Epicurus, Diogenes, Zeno and so many who shaped the city of mythical goddess Athena to be the center of Philosophy until 529 AD. Roman Julian the Apostate, who tried to bring again ancient religion, was a schoolmate with Basil of Ceasarea and Gregory the Nazianzen in Athens, before becoming an emperor. So during Byzantine times and Christianity, Athens was declining steadily.
Apostle Paul came to Athens (51 AD) and he left, since Athenians were not willing to listen to his teachings. He was probably rather disappointed with that. Byzantine emperors Christianized Greece completely and pagan (ancient) religion remained in Greek tradition and customs. Christian and byzantine Athens have many to tell today….
Celebrities on Acropolis
Sigmund Freud visited Athens and had a disturbance of memory incident, since he saw what his school books were describing. Hans Christian Andersen visited Athens, as well as Carl Jung did.
Today Olympic Flame is handgiven to the host city of modern Olympics, that is Japan 2020, with a ritual that takes place in Olympia. Panthenaic Stadium is the place to visit to feel that part of Athens today.
Marathon was born in Attica and still keeps the historic route (42km) of Pheidippides , the first real Marathon runner (and hero), who died from exhaustion as he reached the city’s walls, after the famous battle with the Persians.
What else could anybody add for Athens? A unique city with a unique history, where you are more than welcome.