Avoid Wearing High Heels When Visiting This One European City

You purchased the ticket months ago, your hotel has been booked for ages, you've meticulously planned out your itinerary, and you've coordinated with all of your friends — you're ready to go. Now all you have to do is pack. As you do so, you spot an old favorite pair of shoes you think you can justify wearing for walking despite their subtle heels. While they may be cute, and, depending on the heel and how used to wearing them you are, they may even be comfortable, but you're going to have to think again before packing them if you're headed to Athens, Greece.

There's no rule forbidding heels in Athens in general. You can bring them and wear them on a night out after a day at one of the best hidden beaches in Greece or to a café. However, if you're headed to any of the historic sights that involve monuments, you'll have to leave the heels behind. These are the spots where heels are not allowed, so no photo ops of you in heels when visiting the Acropolis.

No heels in Athens

The hard rule of no heels when visiting historic monuments in Greece came about back in 2009 in an attempt to better preserve the famous ancient sites. Heels were banned because they have the potential to scratch the surface of these monuments. One little scratch won't make too much of a difference, but when you have thousands of tourists visiting each year — even if just a fraction of them wear heels — much damage can be done. "Female visitors must wear shoes that do not wound the monuments," director of Greek Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities Eleni Korka told the Daily Mail. "These monuments have a skin that suffers and people must [realize] that.'"

This rule applies even when attending performances at a historic site, all for the same reason. Additionally, you'll want to leave your snacks behind, as food isn't allowed on the premises either. These rules are all in place for the monuments' preservation and protection.

A protective measure

This rule, while limiting to your wardrobe, is ultimately a protective measure — and not just for monuments. Sites such as the Parthenon and Acropolis have slippery surfaces, so it's advisable to wear shoes with a grip, something most heels do not have. This measure may just save you from an embarrassing and painful fall. With that said, avoiding shoes such as flip flops and flats can also help prevent injury or discomfort in general while visiting these historic sites.

If you forget and wear heels to a monument, you'll likely be stopped, and, if you're lucky, simply asked to remove them; otherwise, you'll be asked to leave and come back later in shoes that comply with the dress code.

Besides no heels, there isn't much of a dress code in place when visiting historic Greek monuments, except to dress respectfully. This doesn't mean you need to pull out anything fancy, but, rather, just choose something modest. So, when you're packing for your next trip to Greece, remember to dress comfortably and casually since you'll likely be walking quite a bit.