Athens is a wonderful city, you can actually feel something magical cultivating in your belly as soon as you step foot off the plane. There is an abundant of historical sites to see, mesmerizing alley ways to explore, delicious cuisine that will leave your mouth watering for more and you belly near ready to pop, and friendly locals overfilling with joy and kindness waiting to give you their personal recommendations of where to go next.
Here are my tips on what to do in Athens, in three days
This is the name of one of Athens’ oldest neighborhoods, in the foothills of the Acropolis. The Plaka district, although very touristy, is a busy, good vibes area with many quirky bars and quaint restaurants hidden within its winding narrow streets, worth making a stop at. The flea market was a highlight, I recommend making a day of walking around, checking out the shops in the district and then bar hopping throughout the area in the night.
If you are in the mood to try something seriously cool check out Vouliagmeni Lake. The water in this rare geologic phenomenon are continuously replenished both by the sea and the underground thermal springs offer a natural and unique thermal spa experience. During your dip in the shallow end of the pool you can enjoy a complementary skin exfoliation by, Garra Rufa fish, which suck your dead skin away. Don’t worry this is painless, however might leave you squirming if you’re ticklish. Cost 16 Euros, about 30 minutes for downtown Athens.
One historical site you don’t want to miss! What would a trip to Athens be without a visit to this magnificent structure? Probably one of the most famous and most visited monument in the world, these structures will leave you speechless with the precision of their design and enormous size. With so much history pouring out of every crook and cranny make sure you give yourself extra time to walk around, especially if visiting during the summer (peak season I would recommend going in late winter or spring to avoid the long lines and crowded views) as well as lots of sunscreen and water. Athens is HOT in the summer! Be careful to keep all your photos and poses modest and clean (they blew a whistle at us for doing a handstand in the gravel!) and be sure not to touch anything. It is open from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm every day, although these hours can change depending on the season and sometimes it is open in the evening of the full moon in the summer. Cost: 20 Euros
ABOVE: Acropolis is the theater of Herod Atticus built by the Romans in 161 AD and still used today for classical concerts, ballet, performances of high cultural value and Yanni.
There are many, MANY more things to do/see here but given my short time these were my top picks. If you have more time I highly recommend doing some research and checking out more.
Places to Stay
Airbnb is utilized all over Europe, it’s my preference when traveling with a group and is usually much cheaper than staying in a hotel. I also like the option to cook, even more so when with a group. Cooking together creates a special bond that allows everyone to slow down and get to know one another on a more personal note than when you’re hustling in and out of noisy restaurants in the city.
This huge penthouse apartment central Athens can sleep 15, has 4 bathrooms, and 6 beds. It includes a large outdoor roof top garden with awesome views of the city AND the Acropolis, perfect for enjoying an afternoon cocktail on the deck with friends. If you want to stay in the heart of the city, Electra Palace Athens maintains warm, heartfelt Greek hospitality, cozy rooms, supreme amenities and delicious breakfast. Pamper yourself with a facial or massage at the spa or keep your cardio in check at their wellness and fitness center. As a bonus, if you stay more than 6 nights here they offer one night for FREE
If your itinerary includes a trip to Vouliagmeni Lake, Apollonia Hotel Apartments is a trendy, convenient hotel that offers free continental breakfast, a swimming pool, free high speed wifi, and is only 30 minutes from Eleftherios Venizelos Airport and a quick walk to the beach. It offers three different types of fully equipped rooms that cater to solo travelers, families, or large groups. I used booking.com for this stay and if you do too you can receive a $25 discount.
Places to Eat
Athens is full of a variety of restaurants open from dawn through the late night. Whether you prefer upscale or fast food, you will never go hungry in this city. Below is a list of some of my favorite spots.
Be prepared to eat Feta with EVERY meal!
Yard Restaurant– Great food, ambiance, and service. Perfectly located close the Acropolis.
Estrella Athens – Great for a delicious breakfast or brunch. Check out my mouth watering berry pancakes!
A few places outside the city also worth checking out
- Lamarina– located at Marina Zeas, this is a nice place to relax while waiting on your vessel or kick your feet backhand enjoy the sunset following a long voyage.
- A for Athens Cocktail Bar- Voted one of the worlds 30 best rooftop bars this is something you definitely don’t want to miss. The views of the acropolis as well as the rest of the city is magical. You can close your eyes while sipping on a cocktail adorn with a delicate flower, breath in the warmth of the night and actually feel connected to its history.
View at sunset from A for Athens Cocktail Bar
If you’re feeling extra special check out Dinner in the Sky. This will set you back about 120 Euros, but honestly it’s
worth every penny
Said to, “take you to heaven,” this unique experience can seat up to 22 people, serves you a mouth watering 5 course menu, and lifts you up to 50 meters offering stunning panoramic views of the city.
- Allow plenty of free time to roam the city. There are hidden treasures behind every corner; a man seamlessly playing his violin, giddy children chasing pigeons at the harbor at sunset, tiny alley ways ornately decorated with bright colors and shiny bells.
- You will most likely be coming by airplane or ferry when traveling to Athens, both thankfully are pretty simple. The metro to the Acropolis station runs roughly 8 Euros, 14 for two people.
- NOTE: The ride takes about 45 minutes one way, plan accordingly if you’re traveling back to the airport.
- The cost of ferries will vary depending on what other island you are coming from. I used Ferry Connections they have wonderful customer service and the availability to book an open ticket for added flexibility when plans change.
- NOTE: You have to check in at the ticketing office to obtain your tickets prior to departure, so plan to be there a little early.
- Taxi cabs are abundant, but unfortunately have a bad rap for unfairly charging foreigners a higher fare. The metro is another means of getting around the city and is easily navigable. I recommend using Uber as this ensures a fair price, you can download the app to your phone and request a car while connected to wifi and the trip will continue even while you’re not connected. For $5 off your first FOUR rides use this promo code: savannahh245ue