For this series on iconic ports of call, we’re highlighting nine cities that have leveraged their more industrial pasts to flourish into world-renowned waterfront destinations. Several travel professionals share suggestions on where to go, what to see and what to do to fully appreciate these maritime metropolises.
Athens — named after the goddess Athena — is one of the oldest cities in the world, dating to 3000 B.C., and has been continuously inhabited for at least 3,000 years. Often relegated to a day of obligatory sightseeing before setting off for the Greek isles, Athens gets a bad rap, says Georgia Boosalis, account director for the Hotel Grande Bretagne. “If you give Athens a chance, you’ll see it’s a walkable city with friendly, passionate people and a lot of history. There is so much to do and see here.” But it’s this mix—bustling, history-filled city and sun-soaked Mediterranean beaches—that makes visiting Athens so special. “Having this combo has shaped our way of life,” says Boosalis. “Culture and history, sun and sand. Athens has it all.”
Acropolis: Often confused with its famous ruins, know this before visiting: The Acropolis is the hill upon which the Parthenon—the temple built for the goddess Athena—sits.
Acropolis Museum: “A highlight of the city, it’s recently been voted one of the world’s best museums,” says Boosalis.
Pláka: Walk the streets of the city’s old historic neighborhood and be sure to explore its famous Monastiraki flea market.
Island Hop: From the port of Piraeus, board a ferry, speedboat or yacht for some island-hopping—Mykonos, Santorini and Crete are favorites.
Greek Eats: Lamb is a must—try a gyro at Thanasis in the Pláka.
This article is an excerpt from the July, August, September edition of the Traveler magazine. Click here to access the full issue.