The seven (7) best Athenian Hidden Gems
In love with unusual cultural and adventure experiences?
Have you visited Athens in the past? Are you one of those people who want more than just a nice photo of the Acropolis?
Perfect! Athens, a city with a history of 5000 years has many attractions to show you. Well-known attractions that are accessible to all and stand out in the tourist guides. In addition, others that only the locals know. All of them? Not all of them! Those who are motivated to explore and experience unusual things have to show you hidden treasures, not very well known.
Shall we go?
#1. Anafiotika, an island at the foot of the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis
It is generally known that in the Old Town of Athens you will find Anafiotika, Plaka and Monostiraki. Well hidden area on the north side of the Acropolis, the neighborhood is reachable by small streets that don’t look like they’re going anywhere. That’s until you step into it and feel like you just landed on a Greek island.
Nevertheless, how many know the secrets of this narrow corner of Athens? Imagine being able to see the basements of ancient houses or the remains of ancient ones in newer buildings or even under the street. Somewhere there is a hidden garden with frescoes paintings by a popular painter George Koutlidis. Beyond that, the atmosphere is magical and influenced by the energy of the Rock of the Acropolis of Athens. A rock that even today is full of water! Did you know that?
There are so many influences from the chronology of history in this small corner of Athens that you will not believe what you will see!
#2. In the Shelters of Athens!
How many know that under the streets of the modern city there are shelters in which, during World War II, the Athenians used to protect theirselves from airstrikes?
Yet, on a walk with the right guidance, you can visit shelters and places in the city that are linked with stories of the World War II. Adventure and knowledge create, in the most exiting way, a tour titled “Underground WWII shelters in Athens”.
Do not miss it!
#3. Lycabettus (Lycavittos) Hill
It is a forest in the heart of the city, and among the Athenians’ favourite places. According to mythology, goddess Athena wanted her temple in Acropolis to be closer to heaven. One stormy night she went to Mount Penteli (see page 90), and took a large rock with the purpose of placing it on the existing rock. As she transported the rock, two black birds approached her, bringing her bad news regarding something she had to take care of immediately.
In her rage and haste, the rock fell in the centre of Athens. The rock, which is 278 metres high, is located in the centre of Athens. In ancient times the hill was covered by lush vegetation and on its top stood a temple dedicated to Zeus. By the time Athens was liberated from the Turkish occupation, Lycabettus Hill had no trees at all. Reforestation started in 1880 and was completed in 1915.
How to get there? If you want to go by car, there is only one road leading to the top of the hill. If you prefer to walk, there are many footpaths. You may also take the funicular, which runs daily to the hilltop and starts from the corner of Aristippou Str and Ploutarchou Str (Kolonaki).
#4. Caving adventure in Athens Riviera
How often do you get a chance to visit a cave with a great history, connected to ancient Greece? Follow us on a hike on mount Hymettus and visit a cave that was in use in ancient times as a sacred place dedicated to God Pan and the Nymphs. Take a small hike and enter into a cave filled with history. Cave’s walls are decorated by the work of an ancient sculptor from Santorini who moved to Athens and lived in the cave for the rest of his life.
If you are interested to see unusual things in Athens beyond the centre of the city then this one is for you.
#5. THE SOUTHERN SUBURBS (Faliro, Glyfada, Voula,Vouliagmeni).
The southern suburbs, located on the coast of the Saronic Gulf, from Piraeus to cape Vouliagmeni, are an ideal place to go for a walk by the seaside, and swim.
There, you can walk on the marinas, have lunch or dinner by the seaside, enjoy your favourite water sports, or play golf, in a court with international standards (18 holes, par 72 course), located in Glyfada. The Glyfada Golf Club (tel 210 89.46.820) is open daily from 08:00 am to sunset. Situated along the coast are hotels with a view of the sea.
In Trocadero (P. Faliro) you may visit the Maritime Museum, on one of the most famous warships of recent Greek history, the battleship Averof. You can also go for a walk, ride your bike or have a coffee or a drink at the Floisvos marina area situated nearby. An exemplary playground, an open-air cinema and cycling tracks are to be found in Floisvos Park (P. Faliro). In Ayios Kosmas is a large seaside park. A metropolitan park with an area of 1,000 acres will be constructed in the area of the old airport (Helleniko).
Vouliagmeni is an attractive suburb with abundant vegetation, elegant villas, attractive beaches, the unique Vouliagmeni Lake, and some of the best hotels in Attica. Vouliagmeni Lake is officially a Natural Thermal Spa. Its brackish waters (70% fresh and 30% salty) are continuously replenished by both the sea and underground thermal springs, so it is rich in salts and minerals. Swimming in the lake is more than pleasurable! It is a holistic experience that stimulates the swimmers’ energy and balancing wellness on many levels. The lake’s water heals dermatological, gynecological and muscle problems.
A walk in Eleusis, the cultural capital of Europe for the year 2021, the city that has been considered to be the spiritual lighthouse of humanity for many centuries… Our narrative journey along the Sacred Way (Iera Odos Str.) will be enriched with several stops to notorious and interesting attractions highlighting the path of the ancient procession to the Eleusinian mysteries.
We will follow the same path that the faithful followed to reach Eleusis and be introduced into the mysteries. The gate to Kerameikos, the remains of the ancient road to Egaleo, the monastery of Daphni, the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, the Roman Bridge, hidden places, unknown to passers-by, are waiting to be found. Thus, we will discover systematically the history of the Eleusinian mysteries that have so marked the history of humankind.
Who was the founder of the Eleusinian mysteries? How and when did the Small and the Great mysteries used to be celebrated? Who were the Mystai? What kind of plant used to grow up and what is the association between the symbolism of poppies and pomegranates with the worship of goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone?
Our guided tour to the Eleusis and beyond the city highlights many aspects of the mystic rituals mysteries that were held in the name of the goddess Demeter and Persephone.
#7. Digging for the secrets of the Athenian Democracy, at the Laurium’s silver mines”
The heart of the Acropolis beats at Laurium. Why?
Discover how the Athenian Democracy arose as a result thanks to Laurium’s silver mines. The extraction of silver from the Laureotic mines, used to produce the silver Athenian “glauca” which reinforced the economy of the Athenian Democracy.
This gave way to the construction of the “wooden walls”, the triremes, when Athens was threatened by the Persian Empire in 480 BC.
“Washing mining machines”, an ancient theater, ancient mines and galleries, temples; all the above are elements of an astonishing exploration offered by this tour which promises an experience of the most unusual places in Athens that you have ever done.
What do you think, is this experience worthwhile?
Do you want more?
Look for a certified local tour guide and he/she will reward you by showing obvious and hidden gem in Athens.
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