After a first visit with a few bumps in 2014, I did a lot of research to ensure our second visit to Athens was much more enjoyable, particularly as Karl was running the Athens Marathon. If you like these ideas, don’t forget to star them on Google maps on your phone so once you’re Athens you have all the good places already saved.
Here are my top tips (beyond the standard tourist experiences) for Athens:
- Avoid Taxis
I really can’t emphasise this one enough. Either take public transport, pre-book a taxi either online or through your accomodation or use Uber. To check out different transport options I like to use the website Rome2Rio as it collates all different transport options from your accomodation. You can get a price estimate and even pre-book your Uber online too on Uber’s website.
2. Book nice accomodation
You can find some great boutique hotels and Airbnbs in Athens. Having decent accomodation will really make the experience more enjoyable. To be in the centre of town and walking distance to most things, look for accomodation near Monastiraki or Syntagma Station. If you’re just passing through Athens and don’t want to see the city, you can stay near the port or beach. There are dozens of good options, here are a few:
- By the Port (close access to island ferries): The Alex
- By the beach: Maison 66
Catch the subway to Neo Faliro then visit the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, designed by star architect Renzo Piano, the cultural centre contains facilities for the National Library and National Opera, galleries, incredible gardens and beautiful rooftop. This is a internationally impressive building and cultural experience. Check out the website before visiting this new landmark. After your visit you can stroll along the waterfront to Flisvos Marina, Flisvos park then tram back towards the centre of town.
4. Get High
The best way to explore central Athens is to get above ground. Rooftop bars, restaurants and cafes are some of the nicest experiences in Athens and they also have the best views of the Acropolis and surrounding metropolis.
Our favourite was the rooftop at A for Athens during the day and while out late at night with friends, 360 Cocktail Bar.
5. Explore the tiny historic neighbourhood of Anafiotika
Tucked under the Acropolis, this neighbourhood feels like a little Greek island village and far away from the chaos of the nearby plazas. Go chill in a little bohemian cafe (preferably on a rooftop again) like Yiasemi.
6. Have dinner in an old school house
Our absolute favourite experience on our last visit was a large group dinner at Restaurant Scholarhio. It was authentic without being contrived and the perfect spot to eat, drink and catch up with friends.
7. Walk the National Garden
Just a short stroll from the centre of town, the beautiful National Gardens are a peaceful green oasis from the chaos of the capital.
8. Wine tasting in the City.
Enjoy a curated flight of greek wine with greek antipasto in a relaxed yet cosy environment at Cinque Wine and Deli Bar.
9. Get a (barber) haircut at Toni Barbiero
A spontaneous visit after our wine tasting led to one of the best haircuts of Karl’s life! Just to top off a great trip.