I recently spent a long sun soaked weekend in the spectacular, historical capital of Greece. To sum it up it was an absolute marvel, the sights were truly stunning and even though it was very touristy, it didn’t take away from the city itself. In this guide I will present to you the best things to do, eat and drink.
We found Urban Free Tours online and it was brilliant! We spent 3 hours roaming around Athens and taking in local landmarks and historical monuments. We didn’t enter any of the monuments but our guide took us around the essentials, we went to the Agoras, the Temple of Zeus, the National Gardens (which are gorgeous and have turtles) and much more. Our guide Vassilis was funny, personable and passionate about Athens which made for an educational, laid back, fun filled morning. Urban Free Tours runs every morning from 9.45am. It is a free tour and at you pay what you think it was worth.
The Acropolis is the most popular and most spectacular part of Athens. This ancient Citadel is home to some of the most significant buildings in Greek history and you also get some of he best views of the city. The park also includes 2 ancient theatres, temples and relics of pillars and monuments from millennia past. The best times to visit are early in the morning or at around 4pm. The hill on which the Acropolis lies is also a great shortcut for getting around the town and bypassing the busier streets in the centre.
The Acropolis Museum sits at the foot of the hill and is bursting with all things Acropolis, including recovered marble from the Parthenon, statues and relics. A lot of the statues that couldn’t be recovered or were too decayed for display have been replicated so that visitors can get a feel for the full glory of the sculptures. The top floor of the museum is dedicated to the Parthenon and displays all of the marble sculptures that were recovered from the Acropolis itself. Underneath the museum lies an ancient town which can be viewed through glass panes in the museum floor. Entry is €10.
Athens is full of winding roads bustling with restaurants, bars and shops selling everything from magnets (both tasteful and not), leather slippers, sandals and bags and olive oil beauty and health products. There is always a lively atmosphere and while some of it is absolute rubbish, the shoes and bags are well worth a look and the olive oil soaps are gorgeous and only €1.
We didn’t have a bad meal while we were away, whether we were dining in small tavernas or more formal restaurants we enjoyed every meal. Not to be missed on the menus are the tzatziki and the spanakopita.
After getting up before 6 to catch our flight its safe to say that we were pretty tired on the first night but that didn’t stop us from enjoying a simple, authentic meal in Kalamaki Bar, a small souvlaki bar that serves fresh, quality dishes at reasonable prices. This local restaurant has a lovely relaxed vibe in a street full of lively bars and restaurants. Drakou 15, Athina
Strofi is a restaurant with a view! Situated four doors from our AirBNB and directly opposite the Parthenon, book a table on the terrace if you can. The food itself was really good, there was a varied menu including meat, fish and vegetarian options. As always we shared a few starters including my faves (zucchini balls) followed by kid goat in parchment paper which was a delight. Rovertou Galli 25, Athina
One of the best meals that I had all weekend was at Scala Vinoteca, a gorgeous, modern Italian restaurant that was completely brilliant. We started with langoustine croquettes adorned with black truffle and parmesan stones and I then had a lobster bolognese which was divine. The chef also sent over an amuse-bouche, a plate of smoked nori and a dessert platter of macaroons and truffles. It was one of the best Italian meals that I have ever had and would go back in an instant. Sina 50, Athina
Fourteen is a neighbourhood bar which is good anytime. We stopped here numerous times over the weekend for afternoon beers, pre dinner drinks and post dinner margaritas. It’s a lovely place which sprawls out into the streets, it also does food which looked nice but we didn’t try it. There is also a good fish restaurant next door that I’d recommend. Drakou 14, Athina
The Clumsies has been voted the sixth best bar in the world, and after visiting it completely lives up to its merits. This bar has three different sections, each as wonderful as the last, it has a great atmosphere, cocktail menus with invisible ink (!) and most importantly, the cocktails are legit! Praxitelous 30, Athina
Gargaretta is a bar/ restaurant with a great selection of wine, beer and cocktails. Full of locals and visitors alike, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your drink completely. 1, Rovertou Galli St, Athina
Where are your favourite spots in the city? Let me know in the comments!