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5 Must-See Destinations in Greece (Excluding the Islands)

First Stop: Athens - Part 1 of 5

By Crystal A. WolfePublished 10 months ago 4 min read
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Captured by the author, Crystal A. Walker of Ancient Greece & modern day Athens

Is it me, or does it seem lately that all of the pictures of Greece only showcase its islands? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to visit Santorini, Crete, or Mykonos one day. However, after an epic road trip through the birthplace of philosophy, mathematics, literature, and drama, there's so much more to see!

Join me as I take you through my road trip through Greece (in five parts):

  • Athens
  • Meteora
  • Delphi
  • Olympia
  • Nafplia
Image created by the author using Google Maps; Graphics added via Photoscape X

As I was packing my bags in Italy to return home last year, my BFF messaged me, "As soon as you get back, we have to plan a trip together," and we did!

Our chosen destination: Greece!

To keep things as simple as possible, we chose to go with the same travel company I've used previously: Collette. (This is not an affiliate link, but I've taken three trips - so far - with them and yet to be disappointed.)

We opted for the Classical Greece Tour, a tour that's fit for capturing the history of the gods. On this tour, I'll take you through my journey that starts (and ends) in Athens - the Cradle of Democracy and the capital city of Greece.

Before Embarking

Image captured by the author, excited about catching her flight!

Before heading out to Greece, there are a few things to know and prepare for to make your time there much easier if you know ahead of time. These include:

  • Time in Greece: +7 hours ahead of East Coast USA; +2 hours ahead of the UK
  • Currency: Euros. Many places take debit cards, but cash is the preference (Note: Finding a place that accepted Amex was a challenge)
  • Power Outlets: Type C or F with 230 voltage.

Ancient Greece

Photo of the Acropolis captured by the author, Crystal A. Walker

You could easily spend three days in Athens and not see everything. However, my bestie and I covered lots of ground in two (very full) days and slept like babies each night. Some of these sites included:

Image captured by the author, Crystal A. Walker
  • Acropolis ("highest city"): The religious center of ancient Athens and crowned by the Parthenon. This was a major highlight of my tour, and I even made a friend! (P.S. Stray cats are everywhere in Greece!)
Image of a stray cat and author at the Acropolis, captured by the author
  • Museums: There is no shortage of museums in Athens. I only had time to visit the Acropolis Museum, and it was impressive. The designer of the museum engineered the floors to allow viewers to look at the excavated ancient neighborhood that lies directly below it. If I had time, other museums that piqued my interest include: the National Archaeological Museum, the Athens Olympic Museum, and the National Observatory of Athens.
  • Modern Athens

    If you want to take a break after immersing yourself in so much Greek history, you can fast forward to more modern sites around Athens, including:

    • The Plaka: This is the neighborhood to check out to get an array of activities done. From shopping, eating, site seeing, or for a good stretch of the legs, this is the area you'll want to be at. I went back three times.
  • Parliament: This is where you'll see at the top of every hour, 24 hours a day, for 365 days a year, the viewing of the Change of the Guard, where soldiers stand watch over an unknown soldier.
Guards changing their watch, captured by the author Crystal A. Walker
  • Embassy Road: Along a street not far from Parliament, you can walk the street lined with several embassies. Almost a dozen line the street or in the immediate area, such as Italy, Montenegro, Luxemburg, and Switzerland, to name a few. Each one is beautiful and eye-catching to gaze at if you appreciate architecture.

Want to See More of Greece?

If you enjoyed the first part of my tour through Greece, be sure to follow me to read about the next destination: Meteora (with a bonus stop along the way in Thermopylae - the site of the Battle of the 300 Spartans). Or if you are more of a foodie, check out my previous article recommending what Greek Food to eat while in Greece!

Contributions to the Karma Jar are always appreciated as I save every penny, Euro, pound, and krona I can to put toward my next adventure to write about!

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About the Creator

Crystal A. Wolfe

Blogger | Creative Writer | Traveler | Full-Time RVer

You can find all of my articles on my blog as well on Medium where I'm most active in Humor, Lifestyle, and Travel. I've self-published one fantasy fiction with the sequel in the works.

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  • Scott Christenson9 months ago

    Interesting. I spent a few weeks in Athens last year. The architecure felt unusual, either incredibly ancient temples.. or vast suburbs of apartment buildings built in the 1950s & 60s. Very different feel from other European cities. A Greek friend explained the whole city was destroyed in wars multiple times in the 1800s and 1900s, and then when the Ottomon Empire was kicked out they demolished all their buildigns. Maybe that's why the islands feel more traditional, I'm not sure. Wish I saw more of the country like your interesting trip here.

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