I’m going to go ahead and say that you need to start planning your trip to Greece now.
I know that we thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of Italy, the exuberant vibe of Spain, and were completely charmed (okay, I’m speaking for myself on this one…it’s hard to charm Mr. Torres!) by France, but Greece really managed to exceed our expectations!
Basically, Greece took all of the things that we loved about France, Spain and Italy and meshed them together in one location!
We started the trip off by visiting Athens.
The Acropolis was extremely impressive.
We took a walking tour of the Acropolis during our first day in Athens and really enjoyed all the information about Ancient Greece!
We’re such nerds:)
We also really enjoyed the Ancient Agora.
Which included lots of ruins.
A wonderful museum with a small, but interesting collection.
And the Temple of Hephaestus, the most well-preserved temple that we visited.
Just outside the official Agora area was the Areopagus (aka Mars Hill).
This huge rock is where the Apostle Paul gave his “One God” speech to the Athenians as recorded in Acts 17.
It was the first time that I had ever crossed over into an event from the Bible and I felt so truly blessed to be able to sit on that rock and read Acts 17 and say a prayer of thanks for all the early apostles who risked their lives to spread the gospel.
I am a Christian because of their boldness and their sacrifices.
What a humbling experience.
On our last night in Athens, we took a hike up Mt. Lycabettus (tall hill in the above photo) to watch the sunset.
Athens was such a lovely city to visit.
The ruins were impressive.
The history was interesting.
The people were laid-back (and most spoke English).
The weather was beautiful.
And everything was cheap compared to our other European adventures:)
Visit Athens! You won’t regret it!
Here are some of my thoughts regarding each of the places/tours that we visited/participated in…
Acropolis– This one is a no-brainer…of course you’re going to visit here, but although it would be easy to explore on your own, we truly enjoyed our walking tour. I was nervous about signing up for a tour…what if it was super boring or too slow or too fast? In the end, it was perfect. We learned so much more than we would have on our own, the pace was perfect and our guide was able to answer questions flawlessly. We went through the Athens Walking Tour Company and would definitely recommend using them.
Temple of Zeus– Truly impressive. This was the largest temple on mainland Greece and, although most of it is no longer standing, you can still visualize how massive it was. Visiting this site is included with the Acropolis ticket, so it’s worth visiting.
Ancient Agora– We enjoyed this area (and the clean restrooms and water fountain) so much that we visited here twice:) This is the old city center where ancient Athenians did their living. There are fountain houses and a jail, a market place, a church…it’s nice to wander around and imagine people living here. There is also a small museum here. This area is also included in the ticket to the Acropolis and was one of our favorite parts of Athens.
Areopagus/Mars Hill– This area is free to visit and provides nice views of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and a large portion of Athens. It was a nice stop and very near everything else, so definitely worth the few steps it took to get to the top.
Mt. Lycabettus– It’s a bit of a climb to the top of this hill which has a small church and a restaurant at the top. It’s a bit crowded since most of the space is taken up by the church and restaurant buildings. The views were lovely, but Mr. Torres preferred Filopappou Hill…
Filopappou Hill– If you want amazing 360 degree views of Athens and don’t want as much of a hike, then Filopappou Hill is what you’re looking for. It’s an easy climb and definitely worth the little bit of effort that is required.
Alternative Athens Food Tour– This wasn’t my favorite tour, but it was enjoyable and we were definitely stuffed by the end of the morning. It was nice being able to go into restaurants and shops with someone who knew what they were doing. We learned quite a bit about the history of Greek food and were able to try lots of yummy things. It worked out with our schedule to have this tour at the end of our trip, but I think I would recommend it more for the beginning. This is a good thing to do if you have extra time in your schedule, but definitely not a necessary experience.