Returning from the Acropolis to our hotel, we decided to stroll along Syntagma Square. The Greek parliament is just in-front of the square so we decided to head on over. There are guards on duty in-front of the parliament guarding the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’.
The ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ is permanently guarded by Evzones, the members of the presidential guard in traditional attire and there is a changing of guards ceremony every hour. We were lucky to be there on the hour of the changing of the guards but on Sundays at 11:00 am, it is more elaborate than the weekdays. It features a marching band and an abundance of guards much like Buckingham Palace albeit smaller in scale.
The relief on the wall is the ‘Tomb of unknown soldier’ in-front of the Greek parliament.
Guards in-front of the tomb.
Changing of the guards. New guards coming in for duty.
The Greek Parliament, Athens
Strolling further around Syntagma Square closer to Ermou Street after the changing of the guards, we spotted ‘Athens Happy Train‘. It’s sort of hop-on-hop-off bus but due to its smaller size, it can maneuver the narrows Athens streets and gives you better view of the ruins around Athens. The point of interest it will take you is prominently displayed on a board. The tour lasts an hour if you do not get off at any of the POI.
Today we walked from our hotel to Hard Rock cafe, the Acropolis surrounding area, Aeropagus hill then down Tholou street and back to our hotel. Google calculated a walking distance of 3.4 km. We have no itinerary in Athens and guided by a map we got off the shelf in our hotel and line of sight of the Parthenon, we headed for the Acropolis. By chance, on the way, we stumbled upon Hard Rock. It wasn’t opening time yet so we just took a couple of photos and continued our walk.
This way to Acropolis.
Front steps into Hard Rock, Athens.
Into the Acropolis area, we arrived in-front of the Acropolis museum. We did not enter the museum but walk ahead till we reached the Herodes Atticus Oden. It’s a stone amphitheatre located to the southwest of the Acropolis. The gates into the amphitheatre were locked but you can still peek in and see the terraced stone seats. Just to the right of this amphitheatre, looking up the hillside, you can see the Parthenon.
Front of the Herodes Atticus Oden and to the top right is the Parthenon
A peek into the Herodes Atticus Oden and you can see the terraced stone seats.
Onwards we walked towards Aeropagus Hill and we can see from afar the Temple of Athena Nike. Tourist are packed up there while down at the entrance leading to the Acropolis, it is full of tourist lining to go up.
Crowded up at the The Temple of Athena Nike.
Even more crazier queue downhill at the entrance gate.
Forget about the crowd, we are not joining them. We proceeded to Aeropagus Hill and climbed this small hill. What a magnificent view of downtown Athens. From here, we could see the Ancient Agora with the Hephaisteion and Stoa of Attalosin in the distance. After an hour or so, we walked downhill through Tholou street and returned to our hotel.
View of Athens from Aeropagus Hill. In the distance, to the left is the Hephaisteion and to the right the Stoa of Attalos.
Quick links : Athens Flea MarketMonastirakiPiraeus
After a short rest, we roamed Ermou street which is at the back of our hotel. This street starts after Syntagma square and stretches well past Monastiraki metro station. It is a commercial avenue and is a pedestrian only street. It is primarily a local and tourist shopping street and contains many of the big international names like Mango, Swarovski, Zara to name a few.
Ermou street, Athens.
Swarovski, Ermou street, Athens.
The happening Ermou street.
Ermou street map.
We walked till we reached the Monastiraki metro station where there is a flea market just next to it. Here you’ll find clothing shops, antiques, used books, cd and vintage records and other stuff you’ll find in a typical flea market else where. There is a sort of small square in-front of the metro station and it’s busy with people rushing for the metro as well as passengers getting off. A hive of activities with small stores, cafe, push cart vendors doing their thing.
Monastiraki metro station.
Fruit vendor in-front of Manastiraki metro station.
Entrance to the flea market next to the Monastiraki metro station.
Athens flea market. Shoes and sports gear.
Clothing & souvenir T-shirts.
More sports gear, shoes, handbags.
Since we are at Monastiraki metro station, we decided to take a train ride to Piraeus which is the last metro stop. From the Piraeus metro station, it’s just a matter of crossing the pedestrian bridge to walk over to the ferry terminal for ferries to the southern Aegean islands like Santorini, Mykonos etc.
Piraeus metro station.
Exiting Piraeus metro station. The overhead pedestrian bridge to the ferry terminal is outside to the left.
Map for directions.
From the pedestrian bridge, you can see the ferry terminal. The October evening sun will be right against you.