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Travel Blog

This site is for active and independent travelers rather than tourists. When you travel you encounter the unexpected. A traveler might get lost. But in getting lost you find new experiences. We share what we learn and tell our story with pictures while providing a historical context. We hope you enjoy our blog describing the beauty and experiences of our travels. Click the destinations below to learn more of both history and travel.

"The traveler see's what he see's, the tourist see's what he has come to see." - G.K. Chesterton

Greece - Athens Photography Tour

The Parthenon on the Acropolis

The Parthenon

Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Academy of Athens

Casual dining in the Plaka district

Exploring Athens through Photography

Athens is the birthplace of democracy and western culture. Home to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes and Alexander the Great. Many travelers to Greece start or end in Athens. But with 5 million locals the question is What is the best way to see the highlights? The answer - Explore Athens with a professional photographer. Dimitris of Athens Photo Tours is a home grown professional who knows the back streets, quiet places and how to navigate the Acropolis with the least amount of stress.

Dimitris offers a special rate for Travel is Beautiful readers! 10% discount when you book with the Coupon Code TIB10. Click here to book your tour now.

The Acropolis and the Parthenon

“Acropolis” means city on a hill. Many ancient cities had an acropolis but the most famous is the majestic Parthenon in Athens. Athena is their goddess and the Parthenon is her temple. Our visit began early in the am in order to avoid the crowds. By 10 am the pathways are filled with hundreds of tourists. Fortunately, Dimitris knew a couple short cuts!

The Parthenon on the Acropolis

The maiden columns of the Erechtheum

The Ancient Theater on the Acropolis is still in use today

Temple of Hephaestus seen from the Acropolis

The Parthenon

The Erechtheum on the Acropolis

Doric Columns on a temple in the Acropolis

The crowds arriving at 10am

Philopappos Hill and Socrates Prison

We left the Acropolis and walked to Philapappos Hill. While most visitors visit the Acropolis, I’ve never met anyone in the US that knows of Philipappos Hill which has the best view of the Acropolis in all of Athens! It is also nicely wooded with some shady, tranquil paths leading to the top. Dimitris knows how to see the best of Athens!

The Acropolis seen from Philopappos Hill

Philopappos Monument

Different view of the Acropolis

Framing the Acropolis through the trees on Philopappos Hill

Philopappos Monument

Philopappos Monument

Socrates Prison

Socrates Prison on Philopappos Hill

Socrates lived in Athens and is arguably the most famous philosopher and teacher of western culture. His students included the philosopher, Plato and the historian, Xenophon. Plato’s famous work “The Republic” is the basis for modern western democracies. Aristole was Plato’s student and Alexander the Great was Aristotle’s student. Alexander the Great was the sole ruler of the known world at the age of 25 and died at the age of 32. There is a direct path from Socrates to Alexander though Socrates may not have recognized his teachings in the young general.

Socrates was famously put to death as a martyr for speaking truth to power. His personal defense in the trial is recorded in Plato’s Apology.

On the hill is a cave that claims to be the prison where Socrates resided prior to his execution.


The Temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s Gate

The Temple of Zeus is in a field below the Acropolis. In front of the Temple is the standing ruins of Hadrian’s Gate.

Many stones of the Temple of Zeus have been repurposed over the millennia for other building projects. A few standing columns remain giving visitors a glimpse of the building’s former glory, like fallen soldiers with flowers now sprouting around them. These massive columns evoke a feeling of a great empire lost in a time.

Hadrian’s Gate below the Acropolis

Columns of the Temple of Zeus

More fallen columns of the Temple of Zeus

Fallen columns of the Temple of Zeus

The corinthian columns of the Temple of Zeus

The Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Stadium is a modern temple honoring athletic pursuits.

The Olympic games began about 2500 years ago. History records the first stadium built on this site in 336 BCE by Lykourgos. In 1896 the modern world wanted to recreate the Olympic competition and host the first modern Olympics so this Panathenaic Stadium was built. It is constructed of marble similar to the ancient stadium and stands as a shimmering temple to sport. The stadium hosted the Olympic games again in 2004.

This stadium is a favorite for serious photographers because the layout inspires unlimited fascinating perspectives with the lines of seats and steps.

Steps and seats in the Stadium

Walking the steps of the Olympic Stadium

Curved lines in the Stadium

Rick and Cheryl at the Stadium

Modern Athens

Our next stops included the Zappeion building, viewing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, The Athens Academy and more. The public market was fully stocked with freshly butchered goats for the upcoming Easter feast.

Balance and focus by the guards guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Changing of the Guard

A street performer in Athens

Scene from the market in Athens

The flag of Greece

Athena watching over Socrates at The Academy of Athens

Goats hanging in the market, ready for the Easter Feast

Ancient Agora and Plaka

The Agora was the center of town during the Roman Era. The best preserved temple in all of Athens is in the Agora, the Temple of Hephaestus.

The Temple of Hephaestus in the Agora

The Museum in the Agora is a beautifully restored Roman building with long colonnades casting shadows in the afternoon sun. The building offers a shady place (and it was relatively quiet when we visited) to enjoy fine Greek architecture and art.

The Agora Museum

The Agora Museum

Columns of the Temple of Hephaestus

Statue of the Cult of Apollo from 4th century BC

Plaka is a small neighborhood in “old town” Athens. The streets are narrow with sculptures adorning a balcony. The Plaka steps are covered with cafes and tourists. This is a wonderful neighborhood to stroll and soak in modern Greek life.

Statue in a window in Plaka

The cafes on the steps of Plaka

The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is “an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece.” Buy tickets online and plan on spending a good 4 hours so you can take your time soaking in the exhibits. You probably will walk over a current excavation site as you enter. The site of the museum is located in a way that allows you to view the actual Acropolis. On the second floor is a restaurant with decent food where you can take a break.

Our Home in Psyri

Our apartment was in the small neighborhood of Psyri at the base of the Acropolis. Casual restaurants and pedestrian streets wind through the neighborhood. We stayed at The Athenian Residences. It was a fantastic location and the Athenian Residences were reasonably priced and quiet!

Waiter carrying dinner in Psyri

Psyri night life

Athens is a busy, large, crowded city. Plan your trip so that you stay close to the places you want to see most. Wear your most comfortable shoes and have your camera ready to capture Greek life, past and present!

Explore Athens with a professional photographer. Dimitris of Athens Photo Tours is a home grown professional photographer who knows the back streets, quiet places and how to navigate the Acropolis with the least amount of stress.

Dimitris offers a special rate for Travel is Beautiful readers! 10% discount when you book with the Coupon Code TIB10. Click here to book your tour now.