Gauss-Telegraph: Travel during Corona – Athens
by Andrés Muñoz
We have reached the final stop of this article series: Athens. Greece was one of the last European countries that was added to the list of risk areas. It was even possible to travel to Athens at the beginning of this month without having to quarantine upon arrival in Germany. Every year, Athens is named on the top list of European destinations. In spite of many people say the city is overrated, Athens is definitely a must-see. Even though many archeological sites are mostly ruins, the city and the country has a lot of history. It is quite impressive to see how the different architecture styles from the last 2000 years merge together into a city. This makes Athens unique.
Similar to the traffic light system in Germany, the Greek government implemented different measures based on the risk of each region. During my stay in Athens, I got to experience the closure of restaurants and indoor museums from one day to another. As this was something that I expected, I try to do as much as I could during the first days. Also, because at the time, I didn’t know outdoor archeological sites weren’t affected by those measures, since all the information was in Greek and online translators are not that reliable. Luckily, restaurants were still open for takeaway and the weather was lovely, so I could just grab some food and eat at a park or plaza.
My first stop was the Acropolis. The Acropolis is ranked one of the most over-popular, overcrowded and overpriced attractions in the world. However, the Corona restrictions made the visit very pleasant. One of the reasons, people like to visit the Acropolis is the view. It offers 360 degree panoramic view of Athens, so you can see most archaeological sites and the Aegean Sea. The descriptions at the site won’t really tell much about the history and the different buildings on the Acropolis. That’s why you have to combine your visit with the Acropolis museum, just a few meters away. The museum itself is a world-renowned modern building and it houses archaeological findings of the Acropolis. The museum also displays a short movie about the history of the Parthenon. It’s very interesting to see how many years of war and theft it had to endure.
I have to admit that after the visit to the Acropolis, the other sites didn’t seem that exciting. Nevertheless, the Panathenaic Stadium is also worth visiting. It was the first stadium were the Olympic Games were hosted and the only stadium built entirely of marble. Another well-preserved building is the Temple of Hephaestus located within the premises of the Ancient Agora.
Athens also has some green areas where you can go for a walk, for example the National Garden, the Stavros Niarchos Park or Filopappou Hill. The hill offers the greatest view of the Acropolis. It was so beautiful that I went up twice on my trip. The Flisvos Marina is also another place where you can spend a couple of hours walking by the sea.
During my stay in Athens, I decided to make a spontaneous day trip to Aegina, an island close to Athens. The ride on the Flying Dolphin only takes 40 minutes from Piraeus Port. Aegina is not really a touristy place, but it’s a perfect place to relax. Since the island was a low-risk area, the restaurants and cafés were open, so I took the chance to sit by the coast while tasting Greek coffee. If you go to Aegina, then you can visit the Temple of Aphaia. This site is also in good condition, so it’s worth a trip across the island. Furthermore, you can go to the Temple of Apollo and the Archeological Museum which are close to the port. Aegina is also known for pistachios (declared a Protected Designation of Origin product), so you’ll find them in different products at the shops: ice cream, butter, oil, sweets, stuffed into sausages…
Thank you for following our “Travel during Corona“ series. I hope you have enjoyed the reading!
Note: At the moment of travel, this region/country was not on the list of risk areas according to the Robert-Koch-Institute .
Before making any travel plans, check the latest advice from the Federal Foreign Office. You can download their app (Android or iOS) to stay up-to-date or check the IATA’s website for the latest entry requirements.