Athens, the country’s capital, is a good place to start touring Greece. Being one of the most polluted cities in the world, Athens has a difficult time to prove itself. But don’t let the extremely busy streets scare you away from the beautiful and quiet spots that still exist here. Take your time to look around and you will undoubtedly discover them!
The heart of the city is the Akropolis, probably the best known monument from ancient Greece. The name, meaning ‘high city’, says it all. On this hill, a huge fortress surrounded the actual city for thousands of years. All that remains nowadays are some temple structures, of which the Parthenon is the most famous. Around the hill, the Plaka-district is well worth a visit. The area is restricted to cars and offers many restaurants and small squares. The best way to tour the mainland, is by renting a car. The well maintained roads and excellent road signs guide you past some of the world's most interesting excavations. Two of those places we will briefly discuss here.
Olympia, on the western side of the Peleponesos peninsula, is where our modern Olympic Games found their origin. The excavations attract busloads of tourists each day, and give you an idea of the importance of sports in the ancient Greek society. Driving to the north of the peninsula, at Patrai, you can take a ferry that takes you ‘back’ to the actual mainland. From there it is only an hour to Delphi, situated in one of the most impressive areas of the country. High up in the mountains, this was once the most sacred place of the Greeks. For those of you who are not much into ancient architecture, the remains of Delphi might resemble those of any other excavation in Greece.
One temple structure might ring a bell, on the other hand. In the lower part of the Delphi area, the three remaining pillars of the Tholos Temple where cleverly used as a background for the end credits of For your eyes only.