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Things to Do in Athens - page 3

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Piraeus Cruise Port
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A hugely important historical port in Greece, Piraeus is also one of the largest in the Mediterranean. A full-on city, Piraeus is a great place to go exploring, with traditional European town centers, parks, lovely churches and houses. The tree-lined streets and gorgeous harbor alone warrant strolling rights. The port is one of the chief ways to get to destinations in the Aegean Islands and earshot locations in the Mediterranean.

As a modern city, Athens has modern accommodations. To get to Piraeus, quite simply hope on the metro, which by line one gets you to pretty much right to the Saronic Gulf Ferries. One in, a number of buses will escort you around the perimeters of the harder to reach locations in the spanning area, in fact, it is recommended that you plan your trip around the area with plenty of spare time, as it can take the better part of an hour to go from one location to another. Private transfers can also be arranged for more flexibility.

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Temple of Poseidon
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Follow the road to Cape Sounion, circling the idyllic Saronic Gulf, and you come to one of the most iconic sights in Greece: the columns of the Temple of Poseidon, framing the blue sea backdrop since 44 BC. One of the temple’s remaining Doric columns is inscribed by none other than Lord Byron, who visited the temple in the early 19th century. The ancient Greeks certainly knew how to choose a temple location, as Cape Sounion is a remarkable site. The Temple of Poseidon is perched on a rocky hilltop overlooking the sea, a gleaming white beacon for ancient (as well as modern) travelers along this dangerous stretch of coast.
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Vouliagmeni Lake (Limni Vouliagmenis)
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Vouliagmeni Lake is located approximately 15 miles outside of Athens, Greece. It is an oval-shaped lake with brackish water that is fed by both the sea and underground springs. The lake is only 20 inches above sea level, so it often overflows and is replenished by the underground springs. At the bottom of the lake is a labyrinth of underwater caves with 14 tunnels. The composition of the lake's water consists of various elements and is used as a mineral spa famous for its healing properties. Many people come here to treat various physical ailments such as skin conditions, arthritis, headaches and more.

Aside from therapy reasons, the lake is also popular for leisure and recreational activities. The water temperature is consistently between 71 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit which makes for pleasant swimming. There are beach chairs and umbrellas near the shores of the lake, and a nearby restaurant serves traditional Greek food.

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Meteora
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Meteora, in central Greece, is a place of natural beauty and man-made wonder. The huge natural rock towers are home to cliff-top monasteries built by Eastern Orthodox hermit monks in the 14th century. The monks settled in the area from the 9th century and began by living in the caves and fissures of the rocks. They built the inaccessible monasteries - 6 of 20 survive - to fend off Turkish invaders. UNESCO has identified the area as having world significance.
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Mt. Parnassus (Parnassos)
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Mt. Parnassus is one of the many places in Greece that occupies very real space on the landscape, and is also central to such a number of Greek myths that you might be surprised to learn that the mountain is not a myth of its own. The mountain is in central Greece, just north of Delphi. It is associated with several prominent figures in Greek mythology. Mt. Parnassus was said to be the home of the Muses, sacred to the god Dionysus, sacred also to the god Apollo, home to the winged horse Pegasus, and closely tied with poetry, learning, and music.

Today, Mt. Parnassus is a draw for visitors year-round. In the winter, there are two ski resorts on its slopes. In warmer weather, the mountain is an excellent location for hiking - views from the summit are spectacular.

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Panathenaic Stadium (Panathinaiko Stadio)
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Athens was the site of the first modern Olympic games in 1896, but the stadium where the events took place - the Panathenaic Stadium - predated those games by many hundreds of years.

The Panathenaic Stadium (also called Panathinaiko Stadio) we see today was built on the remains of a 4th century B.C.E. stadium, which was a refurbished version of a 6th century B.C.E. stadium. It retains its original name, built for the Panathenaic Games in about 566 B.C.E., although the original seating was wooden. In 329 B.C.E. it was redone in marble. In 1869, the entire site was excavated and renovated, and in 1896 it was the setting for the first modern Olympic Games, when roughly 80,000 people packed into the white marble stands. Today, the stadium holds about 45,000. When Athens hosted the 2004 Olympics, the Panathenaic Stadium was the location for the marathon finish line.

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Cape Sounion
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Greek legend says that the king of Athens jumped from a cliff into the water below, forever tying his name–Aegeus–to the Aegean Sea into which he fell. Cape Sounion is where he is said to have jumped.

Cape Sounion sits at the southernmost point of mainland Greece outside Athens. In addition to the promontory's legendary importance, there are also ancient ruins you can visit nearby. There is a Temple of Poseidon dating from the 5th century B.C.E., into which the poet Lord Byron reportedly carved his name in 1810. Because of its geography, Cape Sounion is also a popular spot from which to watch the sun set into the sea. Archaeological work continues today at Cape Sounion, but the area is more commonly known as a retreat from Athens. Many wealthy Athens residents keep second homes here, and many of the day-trippers to Cape Sounion are Athenians–not just foreign tourists.

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Megalo Kavouri
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Megalo Kavouri, which means big crab, is one of the two main beaches in the coastal town of Vouliagmeni about 12 miles from Athens, Greece. The second beach is called Mikro Kavouri. Some parts of the beach are sandy while others are pebbles, and there are several coves. Megalo Kavouri has a large sandy cove with shallow water. The roads near the beach are lined with palm trees, providing welcome shade in the hot summer months. The beach is a popular choice for sunbathing, swimming, and other water activities due to the safe waters and the amount of space on the beach. The beaches in Vouliagmeni are consistently awarded the EU blue flags for environmental excellence.

Megalo Kavouri has plenty of beach facilities, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. Several restaurants, cafes, and fish taverns that serve local Greek cuisine are located near the beach. There are lots of hotels and resorts in the area as well.

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More Things to Do in Athens

Mikrolimano

Mikrolimano

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Mikrolimano is the harbor area in Piraeus, a short distance away from Athens, Greece. The harbor has plenty of fishing boats and a yacht marina with luxury yachts and smaller pleasure boats, and the area is surrounded by cafes and restaurants. The atmosphere feels a bit like being on one of the islands while still being just a few minutes outside of Athens. Many Greek films have used Mikrolimano due to its beauty and atmosphere.

Some people come for the charming harbor itself, but most people come to splurge on a nice seafood dinner or lunch at one of the high end restaurants. The seafood here is not cheap, and it is usually sold by the kilogram, so keep in mind that 1 kilogram equals about 2.2 pounds. If fish isn't your thing, you can still come here for the views and the experience and order steak, grilled meat, or a number of other local dishes.

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Athens Designer Outlet

Athens Designer Outlet

Athens is known for its good taste and classic style. Visitors to this ancient city can find all of this and more on a trip to McArthurGlen Designer Outlets. Here, hundreds of designer brands unite under one roof to provide both travelers and locals with a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. High-style items can be found at roughly 70 percent off ticket price and open-air cafes, boutiques and tasty restaurants mean it’s easy to make a day of it. McArthurGlen is even home to an adventure playground, complete with slides, games and a carousel, which is sure to keep little ones happy, too.

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Attica Zoological Park

Attica Zoological Park

For more than 10 years Attica Zoological Park has been the premier destination for wildlife education and conservation in Athens. Travelers can venture through the lush grounds for an up close look at birds, mammals, reptiles and insects from around the world.

Whether it’s exploring the grey hornbills and spurred tortoises of Africa, checking out one of the fun-filled shows at the Marine Mammals’ Educational Center, or traveling back in time on a visit to the interactive Dinosavropolis, there’s something for everyone at this favorite stop for families on holiday in Athens.

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Vouliagmeni Beach (Akti Vouliagmenis)

Vouliagmeni Beach (Akti Vouliagmenis)

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Goulandris Natural History Museum

Goulandris Natural History Museum

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Dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the natural sciences and Greece’s unique habitats and wildlife, Goulandris Natural History Museum has a number of interactive, educational exhibits on display. The family-friendly museum was started by married couple and philanthropists Angelos Goulandris and Niki Goulandris in 1965. Greece’s geology, biodiversity, and ancient history make it a particularly interesting place to study. With large displays of fossils, shells, rocks and minerals — as well as insect, mammal, bird, and reptile species — there is an emphasis on endangered species, environmental issues, and ongoing scientific research.

Museum laboratories are conducting valuable research on local ecology, zoology, and botany, including the discovery of more than 150 new plants while in operation. The museum’s botanic collection has more than 200,000 species documented. Life-size replicas of many animals (even dinosaurs!) help to give a sense of scale.

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