3 Days in Athens

After spending 10 days of walking, eating, drinking and shopping our way through the islands of Greece, I cannot think of a better way to take in the sights and history of this beautiful country. Entering the country was very simple. Show proof of vaccination upon boarding your flight (or when checking bags) and fill out your passenger locator form before getting to Greece (don’t worry, the airline will provide you with all of the details).

Once you arrive at customs in Greece, you will show them your Passport, Proof of Vaccine and required entry documents.  I stood in line at customs for less than 5 minutes, my bags were already off the plane by the time I’d arrived at baggage claim and there was no line for taxis to take us to Athens where we started our journey in Greece. 

Taxis in Greece are sleek. You’ll hop into a yellow Mercedes with nice clean quilted leather interior with a driver that’s basically a tour guide telling you all about the sites and history that you are passing as they bring you to your destination.  Our driver recommended we find souvlaki for lunch and that’s exactly what we did after checking into our hotel.  For a fantastic snack, try the cereal bars -- amazing handmade granola bars dipped in Greek yogurt and sprinkled with things like dried fruits and nuts.  Every time I passed a café I would stop and purchase a couple as they are excellent snacks to keep you going as you wander the streets, they are also amazing late-night snacks as you are adjusting to the time zone. 

Lunch below the Acropolis

Cuisine

You will not have to search for places to eat, drink and shop when in Athens. You will stumble upon gelato shops, fresh pressed juice stands, cocktail bars, roof top patios, cafes, convenience stands at every corner, restaurants that have outdoor seating perfect for people watching and my favorite… plenty of restaurants with a view of the Acropolis. 

One of my most memorable meals in Greece was at 11:00 a.m. and we were the first customers of the day. We sat at a beautiful round table facing the Acropolis. I ordered a Greek salad, which to my surprise has no lettuce but is filled with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, green pepper and olives with a very healthy size of fresh Feta cheese drizzled with flavorful spices. Who knew you did not actually need lettuce in a Greek salad?! We also ordered tzatziki, which always comes on a plate by itself, so be sure to order a side of pita bread.  I also enjoyed a glass of traditional Greek wine and sparkling water with lemon as we prepared to go explore the Acropolis afterwards.

Live musical performance still happen at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Sight-Seeing

There are so many amazing things to see and do in Athens without having an agenda.  You will stumble upon small beautiful churches blocks apart from one another.  Fluffy friendly cats roam the entire city and the locals leave food and water out for them so they do not beg for food when you are dining. You’ll see them sitting on the steps of shops as if they are their pets.

The Acropolis is so much larger than I could have ever imagined and I learned so much about Greek history that you’ll just have to go explore it for yourself.  However, when we were there, because of social distancing, we had the most amazing photo opportunities where we could capture pictures without other people in them very easily.  I’d recommend going in the early morning or later in the afternoon/evening to avoid the heat if you are traveling in warmer months and to capture the amazing sunset over the city.  If you go in the middle of the day like we did, pack lots of water, sunglasses and wear good walking shoes as you will be walking on gravel and stone that can be a little slippery.  Don’t forget to stop at the Acropolis Museum afterwards to see amazing statues and items that you cannot see when you are up walking the grounds. 

I also happened to see the Changing of the Presidential Guards as they walk around the outside of the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.  You will also see the Guards walking around the Parliament while soldiers protect them from being harassed by the tourists and/or pedestrians. Very cool to see!

You'll find local vendors (and cats!) everywhere you look in Athens

Shopping

It will not be hard to find places to shop in Athens as there are shops everywhere.  I was able to explore a few shopping areas within two days. 

  • Ermou Street is an area with many familiar brands such as Sephora and Guess as well as several European brands.  If you keep walking you will see lots of amazing restaurants with a beautiful setting for evening dining and musicians performing in the streets. 
  • Monastiraki is the neighborhood with the largest market in Athens where you can purchase traditional leather sandals and bags, spices, olives, cheese and souvenirs.
  • Plaka is an adorable little part of the old town with very small streets that appear to be for pedestrians only. There are many restaurants and shops and everyone’s very friendly here. It’s also at the foot of the Acropolis so you will see amazing sights.  Watch closely as you walk around, you will stumble upon uncovered history right beneath your feet without warning, it’s really a beautiful place. 
  • Kolonaki is an aristocratic area with all of the luxury brands such as Gucci, Dior and Cartier. You will see many high-end restaurants and bars as well as hotels.   

Three days was the perfect introduction to Athens; just enough time to prepare us for our island-hopping adventure! Tune in HERE to explore the islands with us.

We can help you plan your own Athens adventure! Contact one of our travel advisors today.

 

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