We were able to pack a lot into our Day 1 of Athens. During Day 3 we crammed everything else in that we wanted to see. We started with a leisurely walk from Hotel Grande Bretagne through the National Gardens in the early morning. We arrived at the Panathenaic Stadium around 10 AM and took our victory lap around. When you buy your ticket you are able to get headphones for an additional fee. It was worth it – as it took us through the history of the stadium. Surprisingly, the stadium in front of your eyes was not the original stadium but rather reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium. Regardless, it is still a thing of beauty.
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We then made our way by foot to the Temple of Olympian Zeus & Arch of Hadrian. The ticket we purchased for the Acropolis actually covered multiple sites including Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Roman Agora, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. You can divide your trips into separate days since there is no date on the tickets.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus was beautiful. We read from Rick Steve’s Pocket Athens book to give ourselves a bit more background. It won’t take you very long to go through the Temple of Olympian Zeus – 15 minutes maximum. We walked under the Arch of Hadrian as we headed on to Dionysiou Areopagitou. Dionysiou Areopagitou is a pedestrianized street filled with shops and restaurants. We found a place to sit not far from the Acropolis Museum and ate our always reliable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
After lunch we headed across the street and into the Acropolis Museum . We had to wait online for a good 15 minutes before we were able to get in and passed through security. Backpacks were not allows so we had to check ours in at the coat check.
Helpful Hint: Make sure not to check any money, passports, cameras or any valuable items into the coat check!
We were a bit unimpressed with the Acropolis Museum. Perhaps after going to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens it just couldn’t compare. In truth a lot of Greek artifacts are housed in the British Museum in England – something the Greeks are not too thrilled about. We were able to make our way through the museum within an hour or so and left feeling less than thrilled.
By time we were done we were only able to see the Roman Agora and the Library of Hadrian from outside the gates. After a while the ruins start to look like one another. We would suggest making sure to hit the key visitor sites like the Acropolis & Ancient Agora. There is really no need spending your time visiting every ruin because around every corner in Athens is another Greek tragedy of ruins.
We wrapped up the night by walking through Athens’ city streets and seeing what the nightlife had to offer. In truth we were too exhausted to find the Athenian hot spot of the night. We wrapped up the night by eating our Chabad of Athens leftovers and headed to bed.