Athens is a magical city, important to world history on a level that few other cities can claim.
From its roots as one of the most important city-states of Ancient Greece to its current incarnation as the beating heart of modern-day Greece, Athens surprises, dazzles, and charms visitors who can look past its occasionally gritty exterior.
These quotes about Athens will have you dreaming about your upcoming trip to Greece, or let these Athens quotes speak for you when you can’t find words to describe your experience. Alternately, you can use these quotes for your Athens Instagram captions!
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The Best Quotes About Athens & Instagram Caption Inspiration
General Quotes About Athens
“Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts and eloquence”
– John Milton
“Let there be light! Said Liberty, And like the sunrise from the sea, Athens arose!”
– Percy Bysshe Shelley
“A great city, whose image dwells in the memory of man, is the type of some great idea. Rome represents conquest; Faith hovers over the towers of Jerusalem; and Athens embodies the pre-eminent quality of the antique world, Art.”
– Benjamin Disraeli
“And thence from Athens turn away our eyes To seek new friends and stranger companies.”
– William Shakespeare
“Many of our ideas of democracy, so much of our literature and philosophy and science can be traced back to roots right here in Athens.”
– Barack Obama
“Athens is like a sluggish horse, and I am the gadfly trying to sting it into life.”
– Jostein Gaarder
“Such is beauty ever – neither here nor there, now nor then – neither in Rome nor in Athens, but wherever there is a soul to admire.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Quotes About the Acropolis
“I want Rome and the Coliseum, the Acropolis, Athens; I want beauty, and the flame of life.”
– Eleanora Duse
“We approached Athens from the north in early twilight, climbing a hill. When we reached its peak, we were dazzled to look down and see the Acropolis struck by one beam of the setting sun, as if posing for a picture. “
– Donald Hall
“Earth proudly wears the Parthenon as the best gem upon her zone.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The Parthenon is really only a farmyard over which someone put a roof; colonades and sculptures were added because there were people in Athens who happened to be working and wanted to express themselves.”
– Pablo Picasso
Quotes About Ancient Athens
“An Aristotle was but the rubbish of an Adam, and Athens but the rudiments of Paradise.”
– Robert South
“How great are the dangers I face to win a good name in Athens.”
– Alexander the Great
“If Athens shall appear great to you, consider then that her glories were purchased by valiant men, and by men who learned their duty.”
Famous Quotes from Athenians
“Nothing is more useful than silence.”
– Menander of Athens
“One thing I know, that I know nothing. This is the source of my wisdom.”
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
“At Athens, wise men propose, and fools dispose.”
“Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.”
“Wait for the wisest of all counselors, time.”
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
“I am a citizen, not of Athens, or Greece, but of the world.”
“If I had engaged in politics, O men of Athens, I should have perished long ago, and done no good either to you or to myself.”
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”
“The madness of love is the greatest of heaven’s blessings.”
What to Pack for Athens
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.
– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.
– A water bottle with a filter. While often, the tap water in Greece is drinkable, there are places where it isn’t, including some popular tourist destinations like Santorini. We generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.
– Motion sickness pills. Many Greek roads are winding, especially around the coast. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.
– Travel safety items. We think Greece is very safe to travel, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Stephanie or I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack. It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.
Where to Stay in Athens
$ – BUDGET – AVERAGE UNDER $50 PER NIGHT
If you want to be in the heart of the historic district, but you prefer hostels (and their prices) to more traditional hotels, stay at the Dioskouros Hostel. Here you’ll get all the amenities of staying the Plaka at a traditional hostel price. The rooms are bright and clean, with free wifi and a communal garden to relax in.
$$ – MID-RANGE – AVERAGE $50-100 PER NIGHT
Located in Monastiraki just two minutes from the Plaka, Tempi Hotel is a small, family-run hotel just two hundred meters from Monastiraki Square. Rooms are cozy with air conditioners and ensuite bathrooms. There’s a communal kitchen for when you get sick of gyros and meze. (Though who gets sick of gyros and meze?!?). Free wifi and the option for breakfast.
$$$ – LUXURY – AVERAGE $100+ PER NIGHT
To enjoy a bit of luxury in the middle of Monastiraki, check into the four-star Emporikon Athens Hotel. The rooms are sophisticated and swanky, with a mid of modern textures and colors with a traditional take on comfort. Located in Agia Irini Square, the building dates back to the nineteenth century. This is a true Athens boutique hotel in one of our favorite parts of the city.
More Athens Travel Resources
Headed to Greece? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip. First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.
If you’ll be spending time in Athens, check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned!
We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.
Finally, Make Sure You Come to Greece with Travel Insurance!
I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world!
Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.
While Athens is safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe. The saying goes “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel,” and we think it’s true!
Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.