Athens What to see
Cecil Deitch writes
We hope to be in Athens from October 15-21. We have visited several Greek islands but this is the first time in the capital. My wife and I are active 78 year-olds and our son and his wife are both 50 and avid tourists. We would welcome advice on sites to visit, and, as we will hire a car, adjacent local attractions.
Jane Foster, Athens expert, replies
October can be lovely in Athens — still sunny but not too hot, so ideal for sightseeing. The hilltop Acropolis, home to the Parthenon, is the obvious starting point for first-time visitors — it’s just a 10-minute walk along a tree-lined promenade from the Acropolis metro station. Be sure to see it at night too, from below, when it’s floodlit. Nearby, the other major archaeological site is the Ancient Agora, with the ruins of the marketplace and a temple set in an Arcadian landscape with olive trees.
Regarding museums, the high-tech New Acropolis Museum (theacropolismuseum.gr) designed by Bernard Tschumi is outstanding, while the National Archaeological Museum (namuseum.gr) and the Benaki Museum (benaki.gr) are both well worth a visit. Note that most museums are closed on Mondays. The peak of Mt Lycavittos affords amazing panoramic views over the entire city — the easiest way to get there is to ride the cable-car from Kolonaki.
An excellent introduction to local cuisine is the “Delicious Athens” walking tour (alternative-athens.com), with visits to various food stores and the chance to taste their wares along the way. Delphi (driving time 3 hrs) makes a fine out-of-town excursion, with its dramatically beautiful archaeological site and an excellent museum - you might also spend a night in the nearby village of Arahova, at the foot of Mount Parnassos, where you should try the local speciality, formaella cheese.