I couldn’t leave Greece without visiting the Acropolis again. And boy has it changed since my backpacking days when I first set foot on the legendary flat-topped mountain that towers over central Athens.
Rather than wander the famous ruins at random, Pax More arranged a personal guide to explore the Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike and other structures. But it’s really important to point out that guided tours of the Acropolis can be as long or short as you want and based on people’s specific interests.
Yianna, my guide, was a professional archeologist who provided a great overview of the complex. One of the things that I learned about the Parthenon is the fact that despite its reputation as one of the world’s most perfectly proportioned structures, it’s not as straight as it looks at first glance. It’s perfectly straight lines are actually an optical illusion created by its ancient Greek builders.
We eventually walked down to the Theatre of Dionysus and the incredible New Acropolis Museum, where many of the statues and other relics found on the Acropolis are now showcased. Yianna suggested that we start on the top floor and work our way down, starting with the museum’s most visually arresting area.
The Greek government is repatriating artifacts from around the world that were taken from the site and displayed at places overseas (like the British Museum). A great blog on this is: https://whyathens.com/the-acropolis-museum/.
I rounded off my Greece trip with a visit to the Athens Riviera, a series of beaches, turquoise coves, seafood restaurants and seaside resorts stretching east from the city along the Aegean.
This is a terrific area for people who want to combine a beach holiday and city stay, as almost everywhere along the riviera is no more than a 10-60mindrive to the city center. Most bays feature beach clubs where you can soak up some sun on the sand with fill food and beverage service. Sometimes people use these beach clubs as a place to hang out before going to the airport (around 30 minutes away).
At the southern end of the Athens Riviera is the famous Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio. Constructed in the 5th century BC and dedicated to the ancient Greek god of the sea, the temple overlooks the Aegean and is renowned for its dazzling sunsets.
The Somewhere Boutique Hotel Vouliagmeni was my home-away-from-home for five nights along the Riviera. Besides being across the street from the beach, the hotel is a short walk from shops and restaurants. With only 11 rooms, the Vouliagmeni is very homey and personal, yet offers all of the modern bells and whistles one desires. In season, they are known for bringing top chefs in for their dining.
Another awesome place to stay is the nearby Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens. Perched on its own peninsular jutting into the Aegean, the resort is gorgeous and very, very large with its own beaches and a new marina under construction.