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Athens, the capital of Greece and once the cradle of Western civilization, is an awe-inspiring place to visit. The home of the gods, Athens invites visitors to take a step back in time and explore ancient Greece. With its many historical buildings, history is everywhere you turn. No wonder, Athens is a popular destination for the traveler visiting Europe. Before you go, there are a few things to considering when planning a trip to Athens.
In the summer months Athens becomes unbearable hot the sun beating down on you. With much of the city architectural highlights being outside, this makes touring difficult and uncomfortable. However, in the evenings, the city comes to life with open patios and people everywhere. In the winter, Athens cools down dramatically and the weather is often rainy. A light jacket is needed for nights especially to shield yourself from the winds that come off the water.
Greece, being a part of the European Union, uses the Euro, making it easy for those doing a grand tour of the continent. Despite using the Euro, in general prices in the city are lower than their western European country counterparts. Accommodation is inexpensive, especially when booked in advanced. Visitors can eat well for a fraction of the price and many of the sites can be seen on just one ticket. Athens is a great place to go for the budget traveler.
Many of the street signs around the city are written using the Greek alphabet with a transliteral translation in English below. However it still can be disorienting, especially when exploring areas outside of the common tourist areas. To help with navigation, learn a few words and basic phrases in Greek and enough of the Greek alphabet to decipher street signs. Also have written, the Greek names of places you’re trying to go.
It often seems like Greece is in the news due to riots or unrest. With so many of these images floating around, it can bring into a travelers mind the question of safety in the city. What you see around the city definitely doesn’t help to put you at ease either. At first glance Athens seems dirty, chaotic and run down, but despite appearances, Athens is a safe city if you practice common sense and street smarts. Like other European cities, most crime that does happen is petty theft, usually pickpockets, but this shouldn’t be a reason to deter you from going. Be careful of anyone getting too close to you, don’t carry too many valuables and if you do, always keep a hand on them.
While Athens has plenty of things to see and do, consider getting out of the city for a day or two and visit the surrounding areas. The ancient city of Corinth, along the water, is a great choice for a day trip. The Monastery of Daphni is also a popular choice with its beautiful Byzantine mosaics and is perfect for a day trip or overnight stay. If you more time available, consider visiting some of the Greek islands for something completely different. Have you been to Athens before? What were some of your concerns? This post was written as a part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.