Athens is one of those cities that capture your heart and you’ll be dying to go back. In recent years, both Sarah and I had heard some unflattering things about the famed city, named after the Goddess of Wisdom, following economic hardships that have hit Greece. As with most Mediterranean cities, Athens's streets are dotted with cats and culture. Similar to Rome, Athens is a city you can wander around and come upon breathtaking architectural marvels without trying. Unlike Rome, Athens appeared to be a more peaceful and less crowded city. While roaming we almost always found other nomads to strike up a conversation with and not once did we feel the need to guard our handbags.
So, why Athens? On our way to Mykonos and Santorini, Sarah managed to work a layover in Athens which brought us to the city for just 24 hours.
For starters, Sarah and I have never acquired the ability to sleep on planes. Keeping this in mind we knew following our 12 hour travel time we would be arriving in Athens with a full day ahead of us. To keep us happy and "with it" we decided to treat ourselves to a top notch hotel for the night. This brought us to King George, Luxury Collection Hotel. By far one of our best decisions of the trip. The staff was simply phenomenal and the restaurant had delectable food garnished with a stunning view of the Acropolis. We would recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Athens. If you are lucky enough to stay here, you absolutely must check out the breakfast buffet - it was the highlight of our stay!
Being history buffs, Sarah and I both had to check out the ancient Greek marvels!
Topping our list of sights is the Acropolis featuring the crown jewel: the Parthenon. Admission to the Acropolis gives you access to the Parthenon and a handful of surrounding temples as well as the best views in the city.
The Theatre of Dionysus, also known as the God of Wine, can be seen from the Acropolis and is one of the major theaters in Athens. It is easy to get to as it is in close proximity to the city center.
If you have time, the Athens Archeological Museum has an amazing collection of artifacts dating back to 8000 BC. Some of the highlights of the museum include the Mask of Agamemnon, Santorini frescoes, and The Artemision Poseidon.
Tzitzikas & Mermigas features an exceptional 20 Euro per person 7-course tasting menu. Great food, great wine, great service. Be sure to make a reservation because this gem is one of Athens worst kept secrets!
Telemachos has a reputation among locals for having some of the best meat in town. This hot spot has a definite Greek influence on their menu with a contemporary spin.
Souvenir shops in Athens are much cheaper than the Greek Islands! One of our new favorite symbols is called a nazar, or evil eye, and has a centuries-long reputation for protecting its wearers against bad intentions. You can find this symbol in virtually any souvenir shop you may stumble upon.
Conclusion: We can’t wait to go back! Athens has secured a coveted spot on our list of favorite places! It was truly an incredible experience and wish we had had more time to explore the colorful streets.
As the Greeks say, Καλό ταξίδι (Bon Voyage)!