Welcome to the city where democracy was born. When you think about Greece you visualise beaches and islands. Athens may not be the city you associate with vacation. The fact is that Athens offers a lot more then you might think in the first place. Athens over the weekend or during a week is really is one of the best city vacations you can do in Europe. I recommend that you stay centrally so that you are within walking distance of the city’s attractions. It is wonderful to walk in the old quarter around the Acropolis.
Athens has a lot of nice museums you can explore. I visited the museum of Cycladic art the last time I was there. Some of the museum offers additional photo exhibitions as well. During the summer months, the city explodes by many cultural events. It’s all from festivals, theater shows, dance events and concerts. More information about current events can be found here.
What to see
The city’s main tourist attraction, queues in the entrances are the shortest in the morning and during the winter season. If you visit the Acropolis hill during the summer, you need a hat or cap and bottle of water, as it is always warmer on top than at the entrance. Opening hours and ticket information at the official website.
Herodion theatre, below the acropolis hill, was built by the Athenian philosopher Herodion Atticus as memory of his wife. The theatre is open during the summer and many cultural events and concerts is taking place here during the summer evenings.
The Acropolis Museum, modern and beautiful, where you can follow the history and originals of the statues up close. It´s also cozy to have a cup of coffee or eat in the restaurant with the best view of Acropolis hill.
Plaka is the old town below the Acropolis hill, where there are plenty of restaurants, cafés and shops. The area was populated here in the 17th century and have today many neoclassical buildings in pastel colors and is really nice to stroll around. It is known as the “Neighborhood of the Gods” due to its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites.
Anafiotika is the residential area under the Acropolis hill that looks like a small village. Here, artisans moved from the island of Anafi to renovate King Otto´s palace at the end of the 19th century. Anafi is the island from the island group Cyklades, which this area received its name from.
Monastiraki square is the meeting point for tourists and Athenians. Tzistarakis Mosque was built during the Ottoman Empire and is now a ceramic museum. You have the Metro station here and many shops in the streets around the area. Collectors love this place as you have basars and a flea market in this area as well.
I am not an Athenian or a Greek,
but a citizen of the world.
Every Sunday att 11.00 you can watch the ceremony of Evzones or Tsoliades when they change the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The place is in front of the Greek Parlament at Syntagma Square. You can watch the ceremony every hour every day, but Sundays has a special ceremony and with the official costumes.
Where to eat
Eat like a greek or local when you are in Athens. Here are the restaurants I have visited and I recommend. Athens offers tourists a lot of food tours as well, because food matters and it tells us something more about the history of each city.
- Quick Pitta– Mitropoleos 55. This place offers the best classical Pita with Giro in a fresh and modern interior.
- Skoubri –Drakou 14. Fish restaurant witch resides in the upcoming area Koukaki. Fresh dishes and light interior with a nice fish meny.
- Seychelles – Keramikou 49 Metaxourgeio. Trendy restaurant housed in a cute, early 19th century building. Don’t forget to make a reservation its a popular place.
- To Kati Allo – Chatzichristou 12. A family restaurant serves greek homemade dishes, magirefta, in an old style taverna. It could be greek bean soup, moussaka and other traditional dishes that my mother used to make.