Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Fri October 02 2015

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    5 Fantastic Reasons To Stay A Little Longer In Athens, Greece

    5 Fantastic Reasons To Stay A Little Longer In Athens, Greece

    Despite being one of the oldest cities in the world, travelers tend to fly through Athens, Greece. After an obligatory stop at the Parthenon, most tourists are keen to get out of the hustle and bustle and on to one of the many magical Greek islands that are only a ferry ride away. But while Athens certainly does have a gritty and edgy feel to it, the capital city also boasts a charming undertone; those travelers who do give Athens a bit more time in their travel itinerary are always glad they did.

    Ready to learn more? Here are our top five reasons to stay a little longer in Athens the next time you head to Greece:

    The Ancient Ruins

    Parthenon Acropolis Athens Greece

    Let’s start with the most obvious: the Ancient Greek ruins. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the epic proportions and architectural details of the ruins in Athens—many of which astonishingly date back to around the 5th century B.C.

    Some of the most popular ruins include the Agora, the Parthenon, the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch and the Acropolis (the latter of which was the ancient fortified town of Athens and includes the Parthenon and various other ruins.) It’s possible to purchase a bulk pass for only €12 that will get you into most of the ruins; the pass lasts for four days.

    The Cuisine


    We’re utterly convinced that Greek food is amazing in every corner of the country. That said, we had the best meal of our entire trip (and maybe even our lives) while in Athens at Tzitzikas Kai Mermingas. This unpretentious restaurant is as authentically delicious as could be. I recommend the Kirtharoto, mushroom orzo with parmesan and white truffle oil, or the Moussaka.

    Alternatively, you’ll have no scarcity of great gyro stands serving up mouth-watering warm pitas stuffed with meat, veggie and tzatziki goodness for just a couple euros a piece. If you need more dining inspiration, this great article by USA Today has ten other delectable choices in Athens.

    The Museums

    Acropolis Museum

    If your knowledge of Ancient Greece is a little bit rusty, then don’t miss a visit to one of Athens’ spectacular museums. As its name suggests, the Acropolis Museum covers everything pertaining to the archeological site of The Acropolis. It is a must-visit before or after any visit to the Parthenon, truly bringing the ruins to life. While you’re there, refuel at the upstairs cafe and restaurant while enjoying a lovely view of the Acropolis itself.

    The National Archeological Museum is another must-visit while you’re Athens. The largest museum in Greece, allow plenty of time to meander through the exhibits at leisure. The museum houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity.

    The Shopping


    Whether you’re looking for the latest in European fashion or a few souvenirs to share with family and friends, you’ll find it all in Athens, Greece. The most popular places to start a shopping spree are Plaka and Monastiraki. While undeniably touristy, both neighborhoods are colorful and fun, perfect whether you’re on the hunt for a specific treasure of just whiling away the afternoon window shopping. Plaka is “The Old City,” also offering a glimpse of what life was like in Athens long ago.

    If shopping for food is more your idea of a good time, then hop over to the Central Market. The lively market can be a bit overwhelming, but it’s here you’ll find everything from olives and spices to meat and produce.

    The Day Trips

    Theater von Epidavros

    Photo via Wisi Greter via Flickr

    Finally, one of the best reasons to stay a little longer in Athens is for the opportunity to explore the surrounding gems. Cape Sounion is a popular destination to watch the sunset from the Greek temple of Poseidon. Nafplion (the first modern capital of Greece) is a beautiful seaside town just two hours away.  And the nearby 5th century B.C. Epidavros Theater is one of Greece’s best-preserved theaters.

    Alternatively, if you prefer to start soaking up the sun while lying in the sand, you can also escape to a handful of picturesque beaches without even leaving the mainland. The Guardian shares the best beaches to escape to that are just outside of Athens.

    These are five of our favorite reasons to give Athens the chance to win you over. But now we want to hear from you! If you’ve visited Athens, what did you think? Anything you would add to this list?

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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