We arrived in Athens with low expectations. Everyone we talked to said it was dirty, big, crowded and just a city you pass through. But from the moment we arrived (maybe it had to do something with the view from our hotel), I fell in love.
All of the winding back streets let out on colorful murals and greenery.
Hotels covered from head to toe in blossoming bougainvillea.
In total, we were in Athens for 3 days, which was the perfect amount of time to get to know the city before we set out for Mykonos and Santorini. If you find yourself in Athens, here are my recommendations for things to do and sights to see.
Things to do in Athens
Get Sandals Made
Get some Greecian sandals made at the famed Poet Sandal Maker. Slightly touristy for my regular travel-taste, but awesome and worth it. I got the "Cleopatra" and the "Ionian".
Eat at Psaros
Psaros is one of the oldest Taverns in the Plaka, which is also a great area to walk around. The whole area is really cute at night, with a bunch of winding little roads and cobblestone, hills and lights.
Drink on a Rooftop
Have a drink on one of the many rooftops in the city – we stayed at The Hotel Grande Bretagne which has a CRAZY view of the Parthenon and Parliament from the top.
Watch the changing of the guards at the Parliament building or just go hang out with one the guards during the day.
Wander the Gardens
Wander through the National Gardens. A free and easy afternoon stroll.
Drink a Frappe
Drink a frappe or two (or three). I liked them "medium, sweet". Here's how to make a Greek style frappe at home.
Explore the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum
We spent maybe 3-4 hours total wandering around and walking through all of the sites. Bring sunscreen and book a guide if you want to learn the history while you wander. The museum has a nice cafe on the rooftop that is a great place to rest your legs (and drink more frappes!).
Visit the Markets
Head to the central market (the one for locals) is filled with stalls selling nuts, fish, meats. Stimulating to all of the senses, and a great way to get a feel for the country your are in - I love wandering through the real markets wherever we go.
Hike Mount Lycabettus
Enjoy the view from the top. Our hotel's view was good enough so we ended up just eating a gyro at a cafe near the base. Which on that note...
Eat Plenty of Gyros
Seriously delicious and the cheapest way to feed two for lunch. If you do takeaway at any of the busy restaurants you save a few extra euros (we ate for 6-7 Euros total for lunch this way every day) and get your food way before the people waiting to be sat.
Stay tuned for more from our Greece trip!