Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Why 24 hours in Athens is not enough

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TWB proudly presents...

Pleased to welcome back our friends who specialise in everything Greek. One of our favourite places and today they have more to Athens then meets the eye. 

Athens is packed full of opportunities to see history lessons and books come alive. With hundreds of activities for all of the family, you could easily spend a couple of weeks in the Greek capital without experiencing a hint of boredom. If, however, you do only have a 24 hour stay, dont let that put you off as you can try to cram in as many activities as you can.

 

Don't leave without seeing:

If you have time to visit only one place in Athens, then make sure it is the Acropolis. The Acropolis has been the symbol of democracy and the Greek ancient civilization. There you will be able to admire the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheum and the Temple of Athena Nike. Partnenon was dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city of Athens and goddess of wisdom.

The Acropolis Museum is also a must see, with vast amounts of information available, to give your children a better understanding of the gods and goddesses they have read about in school. As you walk the pedestrian-only street, Dionysiou Areopagitou, you will see on the Arch of Hadrian on your right and your left youll see the Museum, where the building seems to merge with the Ancient Rock of the Acropolis. What a stunning piece of architecture... If you can tear yourself away, head to the museums cafeteria for a spot of lunch and enjoy one of the most spectacular views in Europe. There are plenty of Greek dishes on offer and you must not leave without sampling the cafes amazing tzatziki (traditional yoghurt sauce with garlic).

Plaka-Monastiraki is also must visit place in Athens. Plaka is possibly the most beautiful neighbourhood in the city. Stroll around the cobbles streets, stopping off at gift shops and cafes, where you can sample everything from souvlaki to baklava. The relaxing walk would be a great end to your whirlwind stay, as you slow down the pace from all that frantic running around. 

 

What you will have missed out on:

Well done if you managed to fit in all of the above on your stay. You will, however need to plan a second visit so that you can fit in many of the other wonders of Athens. If you did not manage to catch the changing of the guard at Syntagma, make sure that you go there when you return before 11 am on any Sunday where there is the official change accompanied by military music, where the Evzones (men dressed in traditional Greek costume) do a choreographed performance in front of the Greek parliament. Kids will surely be entertained by the hundreds of pigeons who love being fed by corn or breadcrumbs.

You will also want to check out Zappeio, where kids will love the renovated playground, while parents will admire the 19th century Zappeion Megaro, the first ever building used for the Olympic games. In the gardens of Zappeio, play ‘the pose like statues’ game with your family … what a fun activity with an educational twist.

Climbing up Mount Lycabettus is definitely not a fun adventure if you have young children. However, if you take the cable car located at the end of Ploutarchou and Aristippou street, we guarantee that in 13 minutes the 360 degree panorama of Athens will take your breath away. Ask your kids to look for the Acropolis and other landmarks such the Kallimarmaro stadium (where the first Olympic games where born). Kids will also love looking through the telescope and search for the islands in the background. 

In Plaka, the Hellenic Children's Museum, is the place where parents can catch their breath, while young kids will be entertained by the fantastic selection of hands-on interactive and creative activities.

There is much more to Athens than the city center, with surrounding areas, like Sounio, where the enchanting sunset and vastness of the Temple of Poseidon will leave an unforgettable memory. This is where the myth of Aegeus and Theseus, a favorite myth of school aged kids, took place.

We could go on and on with other must see-places in and around Athens… it is such a shame if you can only stay for 24 hours. That said, we know that you are guaranteed to get a taste for Athens that will not go away until you return to experience more of its true delights.

Maria Giannouli is the chief editor of KidsLoveGreece.com, a site that offers authentic family friendly suggestions for Greece. Her work experience in the hotel industry has been invaluable, however, her true inspiration has been her two sweet daughters who love all type of family travelling.

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