I have already covered Athens briefly with my travel vlog, but I wanted to revisit it here on the blog by sharing some of my top recommendations. Considering it’s coming up to a year since my trip to Athens, I guess there’s even more weighting in my tips as these are the memories that have stayed with me a year on!
As I said last time, I think Athens often gets overlooked as a stopover to the Greek islands, and indeed we were met with many surprised faces when we said we were stopping in Athens. Our trip was a long weekend; (Thursday-Sunday), so if you find yourself in Athens en-route to a Greek island, you could probably fit in at least a few of these!
Visit: Historical Sites
As a city home to so many milestones (the first Olympics, birthplace of democracy & many more inventions we still use today), Athens is truly steeped in history. It’s one of the few places in the world where one can admire relics of the past that are still preserved today. You’ll encounter ancient ruins of all kinds at every corner you turn, but these 4 are must-visits:
|Good to know: If you’re thinking of visiting a few of the sites, definitely look into the tourist saver card, which allows entry into a few of the main attractions. It’s also worth bearing in mind that most of these are open air, so if you’re visiting during the warmer months, consider going in the evenings when it’s cooler.|
You probably picture the Acropolis when you think of Athens, even if you don’t know it by name. It goes without saying that a trip to Athens isn’t complete without a visit to this iconic site. Enjoy magnificent views of the city as well as marveling at the expertly-preserved ruins. I’ve heard the museum is well worth a visit too, however we didn’t have time when we went.
Again, this site really brings the past to life, as you can imagine it being used. Hadrian’s Library is right next to Monastiraki Metro station.
The Ancient Agora
Visiting the Ancient Agora paints a vivid picture of life in Ancient Greece; it was once where citiziens would congregate for markets, elections, performances and more. You’ll find an impressive collection of artifacts here too. The site is quite expansive so make sure you allow for enough time to wander around it all.
Arch of Hadrian
Another ruin worth seeing, the arch dates back to Roman times and was supposedly built to welcome Emperor Hadrian to the city.
Food in Athens is fresh, delicious and easy on the wallet. You don’t need to pay a lot to enjoy a good meal, and believe me – the food is good. I don’t think we had a bad experience anywhere.
|Good to know: don’t be surprised if you are brought the bill before the food has arrived – this is the normal process!|
Enjoy a cold frappé coffee.
A Greek speciality, these are popular with the locals and can be ordered at most of Athen’s many cafés. Check out some café suggestions here.
There’s a little square on this street that’s packed with restaurants frequented by both tourists and locals. Sit outside and enjoy a gyros (kebab meat with salad, in a wrap, sometimes with fries inside!) in the evening when it’s lit up beautifully.
Chocolat Royal for drinks with views of the Acropolis
Set across three floors, this restaurant and bar offers a range of cocktails along with spectacular views of the Acropolis. Find it here.
Try traditional Cretian food at I Kriti
Some travel experiences you never forget, and discovering this tiny family-owned eatery is one I know I’ll remember for a long time. ‘I Kriti’ (Η Κρήτη) is tucked away, unassuming from the outside, but the food doesn’t get much more authentic than this. Ask for their ‘drink of love’, a homemade wine made from geranium flowers that can’t be found anywhere else in the world! Find it here.
Stroll through the Thissio neighborhood at sunset
This was easily one of my favourite memories of our trip. It was our first evening in Athens and we found ourselves in Thissio, a beautiful district in downtown Athens. Here you’ll find many historical sites, restaurants & more. Starting at Thissio metro station, time your visit just before sunset and you’ll be treated to mesmerising views as you walk towards the Acropolis Museum.
Don’t be put off by the fact that this museums bills itself as the museum of ‘science, art and mathematics’, here you’ll learn all about the origins of some of the most everyday inventions we still use today. You’ll be amazed just how many started in Ancient Greece!
Don’t forget to share your Athens recommendations in the comments below!