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Athens: Ancient city in the heart of Greece

As the capital and largest city in Greece, Athens is known as one of the world’s largest cities and has a history that spans more than 3,400 years. With its long-standing history, many come to visit the porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheum, the Temple of Hephaestus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

As the capital and largest city in Greece, Athens is known as one of the world’s largest cities and has a history that spans more than 3,400 years. With its long-standing history, many come to visit the porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheum, the Temple of Hephaestus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

As the capital and largest city in Greece, Athens is known as one of the world’s largest cities and has a history that spans more than 3,400 years. With its long-standing history, many come to visit the porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheum, the Temple of Hephaestus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

As the capital and largest city in Greece, Athens is known as one of the world’s largest cities and has a history that spans more than 3,400 years. With its long-standing history, many come to visit the porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheum, the Temple of Hephaestus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

Completed in the second century, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is located south-east of the Acropolis. The historical sites and points of interest are spread far apart, but the city offers a very economical hop-on, hop-off bus system.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

Completed in the second century, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is located south-east of the Acropolis. The historical sites and points of interest are spread far apart, but the city offers a very economical hop-on, hop-off bus system. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

As the capital and largest city in Greece, Athens is known as one of the world’s largest cities and has a history that spans more than 3,400 years. With its long-standing history many come to visit the porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheum, the Temple of Hephaestus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

As the capital and largest city in Greece, Athens is known as one of the world’s largest cities and has a history that spans more than 3,400 years. With its long-standing history many come to visit the porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheum, the Temple of Hephaestus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

One of the most picturesque locations in Athens, the Acropolis is an ancient citadel that sits high above the city and includes the world-famous Parthenon. City views from the top give travelers some of the best picture opportunities in Athens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

One of the most picturesque locations in Athens, the Acropolis is an ancient citadel that sits high above the city and includes the world-famous Parthenon. City views from the top give travelers some of the best picture opportunities in Athens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

Located on top of the Acropolis sits the Parthenon that is dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. The Parthenon is known as the finest example of Greek architecture in existence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

Located on top of the Acropolis sits the Parthenon that is dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. The Parthenon is known as the finest example of Greek architecture in existence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

One of the most picturesque locations in Athens, the Acropolis is an ancient citadel that sits high above the city and includes the world-famous Parthenon. City views from the top give travelers some of the best picture opportunities in Athens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

One of the most picturesque locations in Athens, the Acropolis is an ancient citadel that sits high above the city and includes the world-famous Parthenon. City views from the top give travelers some of the best picture opportunities in Athens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Ever since I arrived in Italy nearly two years ago, there has always been one destination I've wanted to visit that has alluded me until now -- Athens, Greece.

With summer winding down and fall setting in, I figured this would be the perfect time to visit the ancient city.  With an average temperature of 83 degrees in September, the weather is perfect to tour the city or spend time at the beach.

After few weeks of planning and preparation, a friend and I were off on a weekend excursion to Greece. After departing on a tow-hour flight from Milan, we arrived in the beautiful city of Athens, whose history has inspired books and movies for decades.

The airport, which is about an hour outside the city, has a few different options for tourists to reach the main downtown area. Travelers can take a train, which has approximately three stops for 20 Euro, or a taxi for roughly 30 euro. We decided to take the longest, but most economical route -- the bus. For only 5 euro passengers can travel directly from the airport to Athens' main square and back 24 hours a day.

After an hour bus ride, we were dropped off in the main square that is the largest tourist area in Athens. Bound to find our hotel by foot, since GPS said it was only a 10-minute walk from our drop-off point, we grabbed our bags and set off into the crowds of Athens. Fair warning, a 10-minute walk in Athens during peak business hours takes nearly an hour. With masses of people and a maze of narrow streets that twist and turn, and the city can be difficult for even the experienced traveler.

As the capital and largest city in Greece, Athens is known as one of the world's largest cities and has a history that spans more than 3,400 years. With its long-standing history many come to visit the porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheum, the Temple of Hephaestus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

However, we had our sights set on two historical monuments, the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. One of the most picturesque locations in Athens, the Acropolis is an ancient citadel that sits high above the city and includes the world-famous Parthenon. In my opinion, the view from the top offers travelers some of the best pictures opportunities in Athens.

While touring the city we soon found out many of the historical sites and points of interest are spread far apart, but the city offers a very economical hop-on, hop-off bus system. For a low price travelers can ride for two days with unlimited stops. The bus stops at every major point as well as the beach. I highly recommend using the bus as taxis can get expensive. Just look for the red and blue signs located at any big tourist site to sign up.

Other than historical sites and museums, the city offers some of the best restaurants I have eaten at throughout my European travels. Also at night, the city comes alive with locals filling the streets and the sound of music coming from every corner of the city.

If stationed in Italy or even just Europe, Athens is definitely one destination that needs to be visited.