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Group Travel 101

Athens and Olympia

By: Liz Patterson

If you long to travel to Greece but are not sure where to go, check out these top two most interesting and exciting cities: Athens and Olympia.

Athens

One of the oldest cities in Europe, Athens is at least three thousand years old. Named after fair Athena, the goddess of wisdom, this city is known for its incredible wonder of the Acropolis, its exciting night life, and its historical significance as the origin of modern thinking. The Greek philosophers were the origins of world-changing ideas like democracy, science, and philosophy. Today, Athens is the cultural, commercial, and political heart of Greece.

Yet not only can you enjoy the excitement of city life in Athens, but also the wild beauty of the sea. Athens boasts many fabulous, sunny beaches. Sunbathe, swim, sail, or splash around in the waves and soak in the bright sun and heavenly Greek weather. However, many of the beaches are privately-owned, so make sure to pay an entrance fee first. But to kick back and have fun on the Athenian beaches is well worth any price.

As main attraction to Athens is its world-famous Acropolis. The Acropolis, often called the Sacred Rock, is a hill overlooking the city on which stand three of the most marvelous archaeological sites in Greece: the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Nike. The trip up the hill to these three grand historical wonders is smattered with temples, shrines, and sculptures. And from the crest of the hill you are rewarded with sweeping views of the colorful city of Athens.

Olympia

Mythical home of the Greek gods, origin of the Olympic games, and well-known archaeological site, the city of Olympia, Greece, is a popular and fascinating travel destination. Whether you love history, Greek culture, or sightseeing, Olympia will not fail to interest you. Let’s take a look at some of the many attractions this ancient city has to offer.

First of all, there are the many monuments to the city’s history and art. The Greek era is famous for its elegant architecture. The ancient Greeks were a very profoundly intellectual people, who strove for knowledge, excellence, and beauty. This attitude is certainly reflected in their remarkable artistic style. Unlike the Romans, who were more focused on power and grandeur, the Greek architecture is more subtly impressive.

One of the top sights to see in Olympia is the ruins of the temple built for the goddess Hera, who was the queen of the gods. The remains of this splendid structure, with its beautifully symmetrical pillars, dates back to the 7th century BC. Another architectural wonder is the colossal Temple of Zeus, with its vast size and height, it forms quite a breathtaking sight. You will not want to miss snapping a few photos of this magnificent ruin. But Olympia’s most widely-known attraction is the ancient stadium where the original epic Olympic games were held. Whether you are a fan of history or sports you will find a pilgrimage to this sight worth the time.

In addition to the historical sights, a tour of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia is a fascinating and enlightening trip. One of the largest, grandest, and most significant museums in Greece, the Olympian museum is a destination of a lifetime.

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