My First Impression of Athens, Greece

It was 11 AM of 23rd December 2014; the aircraft was about to touchdown at Athens International Airport and I curiously looked down below at the city of Athens, the one I was dreaming of visiting for the past few months. I expected it to have an ancient look, but the sight of 100s of cream colored box like houses surprised me – how can one find 5000 years of history here!

My First Impression of Athens

It looked like any other modern city with well defined broad highways! I scanned the cityscape for Acropolis which should be within the radius of 40kms of the airport, but in that speed of descend I could hardly make out any form. Of course I couldn’t come to any concrete opinion about my first impression of Athens. The huge magnitude of history of Athens sank in only after visiting several sites there. I was amazed during my walking tours in the streets of Athens how old has mingled well with new.

I spent 5 nights and 4 days in the city and we were mostly on our own i.e. as self guided tourists in Athens. The first 3 nights were spent in a hotel near Parthenon and we conquered the ancient ruins of Athens by foot. In the last leg of our tour we stayed in Hotel Delice, when we used the metros for transport, which was easy and convenient. We concentrated on what Athens as a city had to offer and did not venture to the lovely beaches (may be I will do that if I get a chance to visit again).

Impression of Athens

Athens, a Complex City

It is a complex city with a multifaceted personality. Did the ancient ruins submerge under the modern architecture or did the high rise buildings rise out the ruins? The answer is ‘NEITHER’. Each aspect of the city maintained in a bold manner; the ancient ruins lay majestically in proper enclosed boundaries as it had for centuries and the modern new born buildings had a distinct character of their own.

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Tourism in Athens

Tourism does have a strong hold on Athens. From shop owners to restaurant attendees they are keen to interact with tourists. The taverna guys are a joy to talk to. They know – no beef for Hindus of India – they tempt you with other local cuisines but are never pushy. Souvenir dealers stress specifically on the fact “hand made in Athens” and “NOT made in China”. I was taken aback the first time I heard it there. I like how passionate they are about their country.

I had faint memories of the newspaper reports of the unrest in youth of Greece a couple of years back. Have the flames of rebellion subsided yet? Here and there I saw abandoned, damaged buildings. The graffiti on walls there speak loudly, as if some voice is trying to reach out to express. I personally feel youth handling spray paints for graffiti are a lot better than handling guns. And then you see colorful dreams floating by! One can wish only the best for Athens, for Greece!

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I did find Acropolis finally! Perched on a hillock, it is actually visible from most parts of the city!
Missing the Snow
Hadrian's Arch, Athens

62 Responses to “My First Impression of Athens, Greece

  • How interesting to see Athens through your lens, Inrani, and to read about your first impressions.

  • Hello Indrani, interesting post and images from Athens… The views of the city are great.. The Acropolis is on my bucket list of places to see. Thanks for sharing your tour.. Have a happy week!

  • Beautiful photographs!
    It was nice knowing about modern Greece 🙂 Hmm, I know, more is yet to come and eager to follow them all!
    TC! Keep smiling 🙂

  • Beautiful Indrani. Did you go with a tour company or self managed?

  • We were on our own Rathina.

  • Ah, I do love Greece and Athens!! Definitely one of my favorite places! I'd love to go back again!! Thanks for sharing, Indrani, as always!!

  • I'd love to see Greece.. and it's wonderful to see Athens through your lens. So odd to see the scaffolding and crane by the Acropolis.

  • quite a mix of old and new!

  • Wonderful and such different shots! Great!

  • How wonderful to spend almost a week in this beautiful city. Must have been all you dreamed of.
    The opportunity, that is if not the expectation.

  • Beautiful pictures and good account on Athens, have a nice day..!

  • Great to have this update on Athens Indrani. Such a lot of things have changed and Greece can't be as poor as it is painted with all though huge highways. We made a short detour to Pireau, only because of the film 'Never on Sunday". Somehow the ancient remains don't seem as obvious as they were in days of you're.

    PS You are quite right about the peacocks, those two were teenagers at the time of the photos, now they are a breeding pair. Thanks for coming by.

  • Lovely shots. What an interesting city.

  • Picturesque scenes, well taken.

  • How wonderful it is to be on your own in an unknown huge city filled with history and architecture. Wonderful!

  • I would so love to explore Athens 🙂 Loved reading about it. Beautiful captures 😀

  • Ambiance captured beautifully in images and commentary!

  • Their passion for their country stuffs truly emphasize! Beautiful photos and great perspective on the ancient city.

  • The graffiti mural is my favorite!

  • Your thoughts and impressions about Athens are very interesting. There was so much trouble in the streets a couple of years ago that I wasn't sure what it would be like today. I also enjoyed your photos.

  • Hand made in Athens and NOT made in China…that sounds really nice 🙂 …. great shots as well..

  • Thanks for your sharing your experiences. Should I ever fly over Athens, I will be ready for what I see from reading your post. I think of the ruins more than modern buildings. Glad to know souvenirs are "made in Athens".

  • Wow..I feel like visiting it.. Well captured photos..

  • Great juxtapositions of the old and new. The last time I was in Greece was 1973 – we can hope for the best for their beautiful country.

  • What amazing photos. What camera do you use?

  • And its a grand one

  • This is so much awesomeness ! You were in Athens ! Look at those pictures ! droool ! I would love to travel here some day *adds in bucket list*
    Also its very brave of you to manage everything on your own on a foreign land ! 😀

  • what a great and ancient place. everyone has a dream to touch this land atleast once in life

  • As expected the post is worth the wait Indrani… thanks for the first 2 bird's eye views of the city… they are awesome .. and the colours splashed on the alley walls… Its good to see the proud they take in their country … worth learning 🙂

  • Beautiful Athens captured in a beautiful post! And I think there is lot more to come 🙂

  • You are so fortunate that to got to see such a beautiful land. Nice captures.

  • Wow…. Beautiful!!!

  • Great post and pics Indrani!

  • My favorite photo is the graffiti. Yes, spraying paint is definitely better than spraying bullets.

  • I’ve never been but I’ve always heard mixed reviews about Athens – it does seem like a complex city, as you say. I’m a big ruins junkie though so the Acropolis is on my list for my next Euro-trip

  • Athens made a huge impression on me. Such a huge, dirty city has unique peace and atmosphere. City has a great history and still carries on, even though mass of refugees.

  • I visited Athens for the first time last year and had mixed feelings at first glance as well. It is definitely a mix of old and new. Loved experiencing it through your thoughts!

  • Amazing how this is the second time I saw a post about Athens! Of course, Greece has always been my dream destination. It has a lot of stories underneath. I think I would love just to dream about ancient history in its city!

  • This is like the first time I’ve seen Athens in a different light because of the blog posts are all about the “touristy” side of it, like the image of the temples. Not that it’s bad but I like seeing something different in a place. The non-touristy spots are part of the culture of a country just as much as the tourists spots are.

  • Athens is very beautiful I heard (from my cousin) and read (from blog’s) and it is on my must to visit list by end of 2017. Really happy I read this post about Athens which is informative and very nice.

  • I didn’t expect to see this. That’s why it is important to see how the world looks like in your eye through the lens. World is becoming modern, and we won’t expect historic structures to stay untouched. Modern stuff will be all over the place and preserving these historic places and structures are very important as part of history. Thanks for sharing this.
    http://www.wizardandi.com

  • Greece is on my bucket list. You have must really gotten to know Athens to spend more than 1-2 days there as I have heard some people do. I can just imagine how happy you must have been when you finally found the acropolis.

  • Athens is beautiful, and the are architectural treat! I absolutely love your pictures. I’m sure you must’ve had a great holiday!!

  • I loved Athens! It is full of so much history and culture. It was an interesting angle through your post 🙂 I particularly love the Acropolis 🙂

  • That would be a fascinating place to visit! I think the historical ruins would be the biggest draw for me. Glad you had such good interactions with the food sellers.

  • Beautiful!! Greece is such an beautiful country and Athens, so historic. Pity that not many people talk about Athens as Santorini etc ‘seem’ to get more attention. Was great to read about Athen and see the city through your lense.

  • Wonderful city indeed. And what a useful insight you have provided here Indrani, from a tourist’s perspective. I will remember your words when I visit here

  • The ruins of Acropolis have left an indelible mark on our mind. The ruins speak a lot about the bygone glory. Intriguing and fascinating place to visit.

  • I haven’t been to Athens yet. Did you find the city easy to navigate?

  • Sigh! Athens is such a treasure trove of history and naturally on my list 🙂 Acropolis of course, on top. Glad you had a lovely time! And fingers crossed that I can make it there soon.

  • Athens is a beautiful city and is an architectural delight.It was great reading your post and pictures hope I get to revisit again in the near future.Thanks for the share.

  • Really nice post 🙂 I feel like visiting it! Greece is very high on my bucket list. The views are stunning 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Great views from that ancient land! I can only imagine the amount of storiies bured under it. Hope you are visiting other parts of the country too.

  • Athens is one place on a bucket list to everyone; History, culture, tradition, different and unique language! Nice post about your first impression about Athens and it needs 7/8 days to look and study every corner of the city! thanks for sharing it

  • That’s cool how the old ruins are mixed in with the modern buildings. The grafitti you found is really cool and yes it’s a much better alternative to boredom and violence. Good to see you did well on your self guided tour.

  • I spent one night in Athens a few years ago on my way to the islands. I’ve always wanted to go back. I love the history of the place!

  • Athens is such a pretty place with mix vibes of old and new places. Seeing a bird;s view through your lens is great! We will soon visit this place hopefully.

  • I’ve heard such mixed things about Athens. This was a great overview though. Adore your photos of it from above!

  • I have still never been to Athens, but these informations in your post are really useful for a potential visit! 🙂 I absolutely loved the pictures!!!

  • Usually I discuss with friends about my dream to visit Greece one day and undoubtedly as Athens is one of the largest and oldest city of Greece played a dominant part in preserving history of bygone age. I loved the ‘not made China’ joke of souvenir seller .

  • Greece is undoubtedly one of those dream destinations! And your first impression of the capital city give just about the right vibe, especially the co-existence of the ruins and the modern city! Looking forward to visit soon 🙂

  • Greece is so much on my mind. I like soulful places with rich history and culture. Greece seems like one of those places.

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