Spending only one day in Athens helps you focus when deciding what to see. TripAdvisor has 439 attractions listed for Athens. The Acropolis is obviously a must. But what else? My travel mate and I decided on the Byzantine Museum and we were not disappointed.
While looking for the entrance to the Acropolis, we came across Gods’ Restaurant so before we’d even started, it was time for a coffee break. In my view, there’s always time for a coffee break when you come across a cafe with character.
Having been delayed a bit by our coffee break, we arrived at the Acropolis at the busiest part of the day (around 11.00AM).
But once you’re in front of the Parthenon, there’s more space. I realise they are in the middle of a restoration project for the Parthenon, but all the cranes and the machinery take something away from the experience of the Greek antiquity. Also, since I’ve visited the the Temple of Bacchus in Balbeek, Lebanon, the Acropolis is actually a bit of a letdown. If you haven’t been to either, visit the Acropolis first and then Balbeek. That way you’ll get that total feeling of awe twice.
I think these are reasons why my favourite at the Acropolis was actually the Temple of Erechtheion. Stunningly beautiful sculptures.
After lunch at Gods’ Restaurant, we went to the Byzantine Museum.
This museum is absolutely amazing in my view. You get the whole history of Byzantium with text in both Greek and English. The artifacts, books and icons are beautifully arranged, and even though the museum doesn’t look that big from the outside, there’s just one room after the other.
We walked through the streets of the Old Town – Plaka – in the evening. There were some interesting shops in this area, but the area didn’t strike me as “old” as, say, the Old Town in Baku, Azerbaijan. Maybe visiting the Acropolis earlier in the day didn’t help either in creating this sense of old town.
But you can’t beat Greek food. We had souvlaki in this restaurant where they played live music and did the plate-smashing routine ever so often.
A perfect day in Athens in other words.