Posted 25 January 2007 - 12:25 PM
"What would you recommend to somebody who goes first time?"
The Acropolis and its museum. Wonderful views over the city from the belvedere. From there you can descend by wandering paths through green slopes - in Spring full of flowers - to the Agora, which also has a museum worth seeing.
The Kerameikos - the ancient cemetery of Athens, an evocative site to explore, with huge sections of the Themistoklean fortification wall (and another worthwhile museum).
The Central Market, on Athinas Street, a lively, bustling hive of activity, especially early in the morning.
A meandering stroll through Plaka, the "old city" (which used to be the whole city) to appreciate beautiful neoclassical houses, and a climb up to Anafiotika, where you will think you are on a Cycladic island. Athens isn't all concrete. Everywhere you go you will see good buildings that have escaped the developers: just look up.
I would say the National Archaeological Museum is a must, but it is huge and can be daunting. As you have only four days you may want to spend only an hour or two, in which case I would suggest the central hall on the ground floor, which contains the Mycenean finds, and as many of the sculpture rooms as you feel like seeing. Better to see and enjoy a few of these beautiful things in a leisurely way than to rush through everything.
Athens has many excellent museums. My favourites, after the Archaeological Museum, are the Benaki Museum, the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art, the Byzantine Museum, the Greek Folk Art Museum, and the Museum of Greek Musical Instruments. There are many others: it depends on your interests and the amount of time you want to spend in museums.
You could easily spend your whole four days in museums - or you could spend them equally happily just walking around and getting the feel of the city. Everywhere you go, there are nice places to sit down and rest and eat.
"Where to stay?"
Assim recommended the Great Western Museum Hotel in Exarchia, which is as he says an interesting area. I would also suggest you have a look at Matt Barrett's website (Google "Athens Guides" and it will be the first url to come up) which has plentiful and very good advice on hotels, restaurants, and absolutely everything else: sightseeing, drinking, night life, everything.
"What is worth of seeing/visiting?"
Maybe some trips out of Athens?
I don't think you'll have time! But if you do, possibilities are a ferry to Aegina, the nearest island (takes about an hour, I believe), a bus trip down the coast to Sounion, a ride on the coastal tram, a bus ride to Kessariani (beautiful monastery on the slopes of Mt Hymettus). If you do the bus or tram trips, Sunday morning is the best time - no traffic.
Have a good time. I am sure you will want to return.