September is a few weeks away and since traveling requires us to organize and plan (unless it is a spontaneous trip), looking forward to the trip is always a plus. Thinking of city destinations, rather than beach resorts at the start of fall, we look over to the other side of the Atlantic for a quick cultural fix. September weather is mild in the Mediterranean and so travelers will enjoy the benefits of the warm climate, without all those things that can make the peak of summer unbearable in a city.
Athens and Lisbon are two capital cities with a lot to offer in the early fall and here are the top three things to do if you visit this September:
Ancient columns all around Athens.
1. Site Seeing Without The Crowds
There is nothing like exploring all the sites and landmarks of this ancient city, without the hordes of tourists that usually form big queues.
The Acropolis is your first stop. Literally meaning ‘highest point of the city,’ it is a citadel built on a massive rocky outcrop that overlooks the whole of Athens. Visit this famous UNESCO World Heritage centre and see the legendary Parthenon, the astonishing Erechtheum, and the stunningly preserved Herodeion Theatre located at the base of the rock.
The Acropolis Museum is your second stop. Spend half the time than usual to queue to enter, while be aware that the Acropolis Museum houses so many artefacts that you should allow at least and hour and half to visit all the interesting exhibits.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus is accessed via Hadrian’s Arch in close proximity to the Acropolis Museum, a short walk from the stunning luxury design hotel AthensWas, located on the most famous pedestrian street that engulfs the Acropolis.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus.
2. Saunter Around Like A Local
Do not miss the chance to explore the city, the local way! The Athenians built their livelihoods around the Acropolis, so there are numerous picturesque areas worth visiting, that will give you the genuine sense of the local scene. The areas of Monastiraki Square, Plaka, and Anafiotika are all interconnected in so much that a carefree saunter around one will eventually lead you into the other, without you realising where one ends and the other begins. Monastiraki Square is the main meeting point, with stunning views of the Acropolis, plus the famous Flea Market. From there walking upwards towards the Acropolis, you will get to Anafiotika which is an old, quaint residential area that much resembles islands’ architecture. In the evening the streets are alive with tables and chairs from various tavernas that you should sample at least once.
Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis at night.
3. Shopping Spree
Summer sales run up until the end of August, to make way for the new season fashion. Athens city has two main shopping areas: the high street fashion brands of Ermou Street and the haute couture fashion brands that can be found in Voukourestiou Street in the high class area of Kolonaki.
A view from the Alfama Castle.
1. The Fall Of Festivities
Festival enthusiasts will fall in love with Lisbon in September. There is so much going on from multimedia to music shows that you will maybe have a hard time deciding which to see!
Jazz Meo Out Festival: Running from May to September, do not miss the free entrance Jazz Festival that congregates at the Parque Palmela and the Campo Grande Garden, every Saturday and Sunday of September. Shows start at 17:00.
LISB/ON Festival: This festival can be considered as a three day party in the secret sound garden of Parque Eduardo VII and is perhaps the ‘coolest party’ in Lisbon. It is an urban musical experience with various artists from many musical genres: rock, jazz, dance, mainstream, fusion, and more. Live bands in concert plus DJ sets promise to awaken your senses.
Fado Festival: Perhaps the most iconic of all, the Fado festival is simply unmissable as it pays tribute to the wonderful and moving cultural Fado singing that the Portuguese are known for.
2. Saunter Around Like A Local
Visiting Lisbon is not complete without strolling the gorgeous areas of Alfama and Baixa. Alfama is a hilly, mesmerising neighborhood; a medieval maze of streets reverberating with the sounds of Fado, boasting spectacular views, and the imposing castle of Sao Jorge. Baixa is Lisbon’s downtown area, characterised by wide squares, cobbled mosaic pavements, and 18th Century architecture. Walk the famous pedestrian Rua Augusta Street, while you can check the old Rua do Ouro (Gold Street) and the Rua da Prata (Silver Street) filled with jewelers stores.
3. Sail Away
From Lisbon you can go on to explore the glories of Spain and Portugal with a cruise that takes you on sailing journey along the coast. Discover the beauties that lie on the shores by embarking once, without further transfer worries! You can go as far as Gibraltar, passing by Portimao and Cadiz, then moving on to Motril and arriving in Malaga at the infamous Costa del Sol (coast of the sun).