The historical-critical approach to Atlantis as a real place
Atlantis did exist, but it is wrong to read Plato's descriptions literally. The real place corresponds much closer to other known ancient civilizations.
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Atlantis was meant a real place although it looks quite unreal in modern eyes. Let us start: The mythical parts of the story are typical foundation myths of cities. Also Athens and Rome have such myths but are nevertheless real cities. Furthermore, Plato himself still believed in gods. Plato also believed in a cyclical pattern of human history as we find it not only in the Atlantis story. Furthermore, the 9,000 years of Atlantis do not take us back into the stone age, nor are we allowed to "forget" a zero and to write 900. The correct interpretation is within the context of Plato's time, and there we find that all ancient Greeks had a wrong idea of the age of Egypt (from where the Atlantis story allegedly is). Egypt was considered 11,000 and more years old, which is wrong of course, but nevertheless not an invention, but a mistake. So, the 9,000 years point to a date after the real foundation of Egypt, i.e. after 3,000 BC. And so on, and so on. If you read the Atlantis story literally, you end with fantasies, or with the idea that Plato invented it. But if you know the historical context, if you know what typical mistakes existed in Plato's times, then you see that it is meant to be a real place. The question remains: Which one? Surely a place and a civilization we already know. The search for the historical-critical Atlantis goes on e.g. on page Atlantis-Scout.