The final destination of my Grecian holiday was the oldest capital city in Europe: Athens. Although the city has an area of 412km, the historic center has been converted into a 3km pedestrian zone. I'm glad I was only in Athens for 20 hours because you can do a walking tour of that lasts 4 hours and after another 2 hours in the museum, I had seen all I wanted.
The walking tour starts at the temple of Olympian Zeus (6th c. B.C.), one of the largest in antiquity and close by Hadrian’s Arch (131 A.D.), which forms the symbolic entrance to the city. From there, walking along Dionysou Areopaghitou Street (on the south side of the Acropolis) you pass the ancient Theatre of Dionysos (5th c. B.C.) where most of the works by Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylos and Aristophanes were performed. Continuing, you will reach the ruins of the Asklepieion (5th c. B.C.) and the Stoa of Eumenes (2th c. B.C.) and from there the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, which was built in 161 A.D.
From there you climb up the sacred rock of the Acropolis, the site of some of the most important masterpieces of worldwide architecture and art, the most renowned of which is the Parthenon. Apart from this, also impressive are the Propylaea, the temple of the Athene Nike and the Erechtheion.
Coming down from the Acropolis you arrive at the Areios Pagos, the most ancient law court of the world. Opposite it is Philopappou Hill, with its beautiful cobbled little roads and the Roman monument by the same name on its top, while close by is the Pnyx, where the citizens of ancient Athens used to assemble and exert their democratic rights.
Walking farther along the pedestrian road you arrive at the Ancient Agora, which was the commercial, political and religious centre of ancient Athens. A visit to the archaeological site will give you the opportunity to become acquainted with the workings of Classical Athenian democracy.
From there, via Ermou Street, you arrive at the Kerameikos, the largest cemetery of the ancient city, with impressive tomb sculptures and stelae. The Iridanos River, sacred in antiquity, runs through the archaeological site.
Now this tour is from www.greece.athens.com or you can find it reccommended in a Rick Steve's book. Since I don't really like being on a planned schedule, I went on my own ass-backwards tour of the city, getting lost a good twenty times. I started in the Acropolis Museum because I must have missed that day in school when we learned about Greek history. I knew little of the monuments or their significance so I was in utter shock when I came face to face with 3,400 year old artifacts. Like the United States was only colonized some 400 years ago, but 3,000 years ago they were building temples and academies and a Parliment that birthed democracy. After cramming three hours and thousands of years of history into my brain, the first thing I wanted to see was the Acropolis.
Mykonos is another of the Cyclades and definitely my favorite. The island spans an area of 85.5 square kilometres and rises to an elevation of 341 metres at its highest point. Aka it is verrryyyy small, but somehow they are able to fit a pretty big city. Maybe it just seems like a big city due to the lack of roads and transportation. From the hotel, it was a steep 15 minute walk downhill into the city center. Mykonos was full of younger tourists, it is known for being the "party capital" of Greece and I got to experience the nightlife firsthand at Paradise Club. Just make sure you are aware the Pardise Beach is the crazy party beach, and SUPER Paradise Beach is the crazy GAY party beach. For gays from around the world travel to Mykonos to party with one another. This made for a very interesting time and probably is the reason that I loved Mykonos so much. Oh, and it is BEAUTIFUL!
Even though there were a number of places around the resort for fine dining, my favorite meal in Crete was in the small fishing town of Elounda, just minutes down the road from the resort. Vitromartes Taverna was literally on the water and served the best hummus, stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanoush and Greek salad that I've had. Well all of Greece had the best Greek salad I have ever had, but this was exceptional and exceptionally low priced. Greek food comes in close second to Italian as my favorite!