A guide to athens
A thrilling mix of ancient history and contemporary café culture, Athens is an absolute must-visit.
With the Acropolis ad Parthenon looming above, you’ll be hard-pressed to forget this city’s role in the creation of democracy, philosophy and mythology.
Parthenon in colour
The dazzling white of the Parthenon dominates the Acropolis. The columns (8 for the short sides and 17 for the long sides) were sculpted in white Pentelic marble to make the construction totally spectacular, and worthy of the goddess Athena, to which the temple is dedicated.
Many people confuse the Acropolis and the Parthenon: the Acropolis is the high citadel on which the temple Parthenon sits! In 1987 the Acropolis was inscribed as a World Heritage Site, proving its importance on a global level.
Plaka, the neighbourhood of the gods
This lively neighbourhood, at the foot of the Acropolis, is a mosaic of narrow streets and shady squares filled with jewellery, ceramic and clothing shops and restaurants for lunch of delicious moussaka and pastry shops selling the famous Tiropita (feta cheesecake and yoghurt) for those looking for a Greek culinary experience.
Despite the crippling economic crisis that Athens, and Greece as a nation, was hit by in 2009, Athens is a charming and buzzing city full of incredible street art, exhibitions and live shows. Don’t feel like traipsing around galleries? Find yourself a spot in one of the lively cafes dotted around the neighbourhood and take in the energy over a Greek style frappé just like the locals.
A taste of island life in Anafiotika
The neighbourhood of Anafiotika between Plaka and the Acropolis will really give you an idea of what Greece’s famous islands are like; winding alleyways, white-washed walls and bougainvillea as far as the eye can see. Anafiotika is the perfect area to escape the chaos of the city centre, without ever going out of town.
From the port of Piraeus, it’s a short ride to the centre of Athens and there’s plenty of MSC excursions to help you make the most of your day in the Greek capital, but also further afield should you wish.
Piraeus itself is also worth a wander around, the harbour side has become a bustling tourist hotspot and the port itself is one of the oldest in the world.
MSC Magnifica returns to sea on October 19th offering a 10-night voyage from Genova with calls at Livorno, Messina, Valletta, Piraeus, Katakolon, and Civitavecchia.