Few places in the world can rival Athens in history and culture. As the birthplace of democracy and home to some of the most iconic architecture in the world, Athens is a city that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime. But beyond its famous landmarks, Athens is also home to some lesser-known attractions that are well worth exploring. Here are five of Athens’s most unique and magical places to see.
1: The Temple of Poseidon
Perched atop a cliff on the outskirts of Athens, the Temple of Poseidon offers breathtaking views of the Saronic Gulf. Dedicated to the god of the sea, this impressive marble temple was built in the 5th century BC and is one of the best-preserved examples of Classical Greek architecture. Visitors can still see the remnants of the temple’s original 6th-century statue of Poseidon, as well as an outdoor amphitheater where plays and concerts are often held.
2: The Academy of Athens
Founded by Plato in 387 BC, the Academy of Athens is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious learning institutions. The academy’s original purpose was to promote the study of philosophy, but it later became a center for the arts and sciences. Today, the academy is housed in a beautiful neo-classical building with a stunning colonnaded courtyard. Visitors can take a guided tour of the premises, which includes a visit to the academy’s impressive library.
3: The Lycabettus Hill
At 277 meters, Lycabettus Hill is the highest point in Athens and offers stunning panoramic views of the city. Visitors can either hike or take a funicular railway to the top of the hill, where they will find a 19th-century chapel and a cafe. On clear days, it is possible to see the Aegean Sea from the summit.
4: The Mount Lycavitos
Mount Lycavitos is the highest point within Athens city limits for those looking for a more challenging hike. The hike to the top is fairly strenuous, but the views of the city are more than worth the effort. Visitors will also find a small chapel and a cafe at the summit.
5: The National Garden
Located in the heart of Athens, the National Garden is a green oasis perfect for a stroll. Originally designed as a royal garden for the Palace of Athens, the National Garden is now open to the public and features a wide variety of plant life, including cypress trees, palm trees, and bamboo. The garden also has a small zoo, a playground, and a café.
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply taking in the beauty of Athens, these five unique attractions are sure to please. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Athens today!