25 September 2013

Athens, The Acropolis, Plaka and Greek food! Hello Greece!

I have been meaning to write about my trip to Athens for a while now. Each time I've approached it i had a bout of writers block. I don't intend that to reflect negatively on Athens, not at all, i quite enjoyed my time there. If fact i was utterly surprised by how cool it was given how many people told me it was a sh!thole. My first day there made such an impression that the idea of not seeing more and just heading off to Metora as i'd originally planned had to be reconsidered (though the idea of rushing around after the craziness of Italy may also have had something to do with it).

A view of the ruins of Acropolis lit up against a dark blue sky
The Acropolis at night

Anyway, what should i share with you? What do you want to know? There is just so much i hardly know where to start. The open air cinema with a view of the Acropolis? Walking around the Plaka area, the vibe, shops and restaurants? The visit to the Acropolis itself and the gorgeous view? Eating my way through Athenian restaurants and their rooftop terraces? The walk around the Acropolis where the street is lined with handmade necklaces, leather bracelets, wallets, old records made into art and everything in between? The people, how friendly, helpful and cheeky they were? Take your pick, for three days, there were plenty of good experiences.

Yay! Made it to the Parthenon
The food

It is easy to eat yourself silly in Athens. The food is fresh, delicious, generous, and cheap. The restaurants and cafes, even in the "touristy" spots, are easy going and don't mind you taking your time and just sitting relaxing, chatting and enjoying yourself. Simple favourites were tzatziki, Greek salad and Dolmades. I did try several different mains and i wasn't disappointed, everything was good!

Drinks with friends before dinner

Taking a walk

One of the best free things i can recommend doing in Athens is simply taking a walk around the Plaka area and around the Acropolis.
From the Monastiraki metro just meander along whichever street takes your fancy before heading along the Andrianou. This will take you along a street that will have shops and restaurants on your right and a view of the Acropolis on your left.
Take the first left you come to and walk along Apostolou Pavlou and then Dionissiou Areopagitou. This route will take you around the Acropolis along a street lined with restaurants, cafes, bars and lots of vendors selling hand made jewellery, wallets and other crafts. I found a chocolate cafe here with a lovely view of the Acropolis as the sun set. It will also take you past the outdoor cinema.
The end of the walk will find you at the Akropolis metro station. Its a really nice walk to do day or night. Do the whole thing or in parts, either way you will enjoy it.

Cafe rooftop terrace with view of Acropolis

Not sure where or what this is, i just stumbled across it in my wanderings.

The history

There are a lot of archaeological sites in Athens, the Acropolis being the most famous. The stunning views out over Athens are worth the climb to the top. I'd downed my bottle of water on the climb up and was happy to find a bubbler (water fountain) to refill it and a cool breeze to cool me by the edge of the site while taking it all in. Sitting at the top, facing south-west, the sea was on my right and, on my left the entire city was laid out in front of me. I could spot all sorts of other sites from there and get a good look at my surroundings.

Almost to the top...

Erechtheion - one of the temples in the Acropolis

View from the top of the Acropolis - Looking out over the Odeum of Herodes Atticus (ruin) and Filopapou Hill

Has that inspired you to check out Athens? I hope so! Here are some tips for finding your way. If you have been already, what did you enjoy about the city?

Getting to Athens from the Airport
Both the metro and rail connected directly to the city. I hopped onto the metro line (8 Euros) and after an hour found myself at my hotel. Nice and simple.

Getting around Athens
The best way is via metro. It is cheap (4 Euros for a 24 hour pass) easy to use, reaches all the main attractions, is safe, clean (relatively- some lines are older and trains have graffiti on the outside) and reliable. For info on Athens transport have a look at this site.


  1. Greece wasn't really on my travel radar, but maybe it is now. I do love historical sites, so makes sense to visit.


  2. Happy to hear that! It is worth a visit, even if its part of a larger European trip.

  3. Greece is definitely on our list next year for must sees. Along with Russia, Dubrovnik, Portugal and Turkey.Thanks for sharing, such a culturally rich place to visit!

  4. You'll have a great time in Greece! Thats a cool list of places, i've only been to Turkey so i'm looking forward to reading about the rest.