1. From a cultural perspective, this is simply a must-see travel destination. Anyone interested in history or culture has to visit, and the interesting sights are impossible to enumerate.
2. Athens offers a wide range of experiences, often in precisely the same place: the ruins of ancient civilizations, a living picture-book of history, thrilling nightlife, pleasant walks, good weather, blue seas and sandy beaches
3. The Mediterranean atmosphere is really one of a kind, full of life, excitement and youth
4. The background of mountains, Mediterranean plants, roadside palms and trees thick with oranges
5. Hellenic pride and self-consciousness is stronger than the frustration and despair of Athenians, and despite being a large metropolis, locals are warm-hearted, polite and willing to lend a helping hand, especially to tourists and women (the exception is taxi drivers)
6. The love and respect for life (they even care for stray dogs) as well as their kindness and care for children
7. It’s almost always warm
8. There are plenty of sandy beaches with bars, tavernas and summer clubs for anyone who wants to kick back and have fun
9. It’s handy that the Plaka district is right in the middle of all the most worthwhile sights
10. Many options for excursions to nearby islands
11. The metro network is extensive and easy to use. One ticket (€1.40) is valid for 70 minutes, and allows you to transfer to another line or even another form of transport (not that we ever saw a ticket inspector)
12. The relaxed chat of locals and tourists on café terraces is a pleasant sight
13. The feeling when you can finally say: “I’ve seen the Acropolis with my own eyes!”
14. The district of Athens called Koukaki, which is the best area for walking, especially on the pedestrian streets of Olymbou and Drakou. Also a restaurant there, ‘I Fabrika tou Efrosinou’, which does the best meze.
15. Glyfada, the ‘Greek Beverley Hills’, with its charming cafés, restaurants, shops and nightclubs
16. The ‘free’ parking everywhere (if you can find a space)
17. The pleasant Pangrati neighborhood, away from the tourist crowds
18. Anafiotika neighborhood is the likable side of Athens.
1. We get it, we get it, the Athenians have had enough of their useless politicians and elites, but if they do nothing but protest and go on strike, what will happen to the tourist industry and the all-important income it brings to the national economy?
2. Architecturally, most of Athens is fairly ugly and nondescript, with a lot of dilapidated buildings, neglected streets, and districts where you see all too clearly the effects of the economic recession (crumbling, graffiti-covered buildings, piles of trash)
3.There are many districts in downtown Athens (around Omónia Square, for instance) where it’s no fun to walk as a tourist. Lots of homeless people, migrants, and prostitutes too at night
4. The traffic is horrendous, tiring, noisy, smelly, and there are traffic jams always and everywhere. The air in the city is badly polluted (smog) while on the streets and in the shops and cafés there are always too many people
5. Restaurants in the city center have a ‘tourist’ feel, and the bus drivers are maniacs
6. Lots of taxis, but the drivers are all cunning operators who know how to get your last euro
7. The emotional impact of the Acropolis is lessened by the crushing mass of tourists, which, of course, I myself contributed to
8. Huge numbers of cats everywhere, especially around dumpsters, and almost as many stray dogs (though these have been sterilized, and get plenty of food from both restaurants and tourists) along with the excrement which is an inevitable by-product
9. The unique disorder and chaos which pervades every aspect of Greek life
10. It is exhausting to be a tourist at the height of summer, with the blazing sun and scorching heat of the day
11. Driving standards. You have to be very careful when crossing the road, because motorcyclists and drivers pay no attention whatsoever to pedestrians. If you arrive by car, you’ll be lucky to escape with only a few scratches to the bodywork…
12. Don’t even think about cycling in Athens. Firstly the aforementioned driving style, and secondly the total absence of any cycling infrastructure, and the ‘motor-centric’ mentality of the locals
13. The No. 1 (green) metro line towards Piraeus is of a lower standard than the others, and seems to be used by some rather dodgy (non-Greek) characters
14. We had to witness that a Pakistani or Indian man who cowered behind a dustbin and shitted.
15. My wallet was stolen on the airport subway, though it seemed to be in a safe part of my body.
το λάθος είναι ανθρώπινο