I first visited Athens Greece 21 years ago when I was 9 years old, then again 9 years ago at 21, and for the third time, during the summer of 2017. As I’ve traveled to Athens at various stages of my life, I’ve seen the city go through a transformation. While it may have taken an economic dive in recent years, the struggle and strife could not hold down the spirit of the Grecian capital. The economic conflict of recent years could have made some cities break, but not Athens. If anything, the recent hardships made Athenians unite and show the same creativity, culture, and character that constructed their empire reign in the 8th century BC.
When To Go
Many flock to the Greek islands in the summer months and choose Athens Greece as their jumping off point. However, Athens is way too hot in the summer months and it’s best to visit in the spring or fall when temperatures are in the 60’s and 70’s.
How Long To Stay
For many travelers, Athens is merely their connecting city to get to islands like Santorini and Mykonos. However, I would recommend spending 3 perfect days in Athens Greece. You should at least stay 2 nights in the city in order to explore its many museums, cultural sites, and culinary delights. This is a city steeped in history and one day just won’t cut it.
Where To Stay
Athens Greece is a financially feasible European city for tourists. Prices for 5-star hotels are lower than the island counterparts of Athens, making it a great place to experience luxury service at 3-star prices.
- Grande Bretagne: We stayed at The Grand Bretagne for 3 nights. It’s in a central location, walking distance to the Parliament and Acropolis, and close to the nightlife of Plaka. If you stay here, you HAVE TO visit their spa. Even if you don’t book a treatment, you can enjoy their steam rooms, indoor pool, and saunas. The Grand Bretagne also has a fantastic rooftop pool with a view of the city. With the incredible location, steep history, and luxurious amenities, it’s no wonder The Grand Bretagne is the #1 hotel in Athens.
- Electra Metropolis: Converted from the Ministry of Education, the Electra Metropolis is a great option for those wanting a funky, fresh, artsy hotel.
- Alice Inn: There are only four rooms in this small hotel located in the Plaka. At 60 euros/night, this is a fabulous choice for those wanting a cultural experience in Athens. Another option – rent out the entire Inn for a family!
Where To Eat
- Varoulko: Head down to Piraeus, the port of Athens, for a Michelin-starred meal on the Aegean Sea. We highly recommend the catch of the day served with risotto.
- Thanasis: No frills, no fuss at this fabulous Athens gyro restaurant. Make sure to get your gyro wrapped in pita! For the best kabab in Greece, order the Thanasis kabab – SO good!
- Nolan: This restaurant mixes local Greek flavors with Japanese cuisine, making it the hottest ticket in town.
Where To Drink
Glykis: Hop off of your red-eye flight and head straight to the Plaka for a cup of coffee at Glykis.
The Alexander’s Bar: Cloaked with an 18th century tapestry of Alexander the Great, this bar is opulent, elegant, and boasts some of the best cocktails in all of Athens.
Baba Au Rum: Consistently appearing in the world’s top 50 bars, Baba Au Rum has a 7-page list of rum and the party goes all night long.
Drunk Sinatra: This small, cozy bar boasts a vintage style and extensive cocktail list. Visit anytime – day or night, and enjoy cocktails, coffee, and cuisine.
Where To Tour
While you could eat and drink your way through Athens, no trip would be complete without visits to its historical sites.
The Acropolis: Athens is home to some of the most important monuments in Greek history and they are all at The Acropolis. This cultural site includes the Parthernon and temple of Nike. Tip: visit the Acropolis first thing in the morning ~8 am to watch the Greek army raise the Greek flag high above the city of Athens.
The Acropolis Museum: After a visit to the Acropolis, stop by the Acropolis museum which houses the country’s most famous artifacts.
Olympic Stadium: Head to the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the original Olympic Games.
The Parliament: Head to Syntagma Square to watch the official changing of the guards every Sunday morning at 11 am.
What to Pack
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