Athens is the pre-eminent city of Greece and the main arrival destination. No city mixes history and a chaotic energy better than Athens.
Athens is city with stunning archeological sites, colorful neighbors, overcrowding and smog like you’ve never seen it. For many travelers, the general impression is one of a poetic chaos. Roads are packed, taxi drivers are nuts and shops seem to spill off the sidewalks and into the middle of roads. Yet, in the middle of this chaos you’ll find peaceful places such as the Acropolis, even though it is packed with tourists.
You can’t mention Greece without talking about the Greeks impact on civilization. The city is littered with sites of extremely significant significance. This is not the place where you’ll stand in front of an old structure where Sir so and so fought Sir so and so to the death in a duel that established something faintly important. Instead, you’ll stand in front of monuments where civilization took a quantum leap forward.
The Acropolis is the dominant archeological site in Athens. It is one of those rare locations you can visit where the massive number of tourist do not diminish the impact. Towering over Athens, the Acropolis has seen better days until you consider how old it is. The Pantheon and Erechtheion are the two standing structures and both are impressive.
While contemplating the Pantheon, one can’t help but be impressed by the ability of the Greeks to build such a towering, stone structure when much of humanity still considered a hut a luxury. The Erechtheion is amazing because it contains the famous Caryatids, the columns molded into the form of female figures. Standing upon the mount, you’ll have a view of Greece that will reveal the chaos and a sense of the age of the city.
Athens has much to offer beyond the Acropolis. Books have been written on the subject. Large books. I’m not going to try to cover them here, but you should try to get over to the Tower of the Winds, where the Whirling Dervishes got their start.
Walking through Athens is like walking through history. They say time travel is impossible, but Athens seems to suggest otherwise.