Ah, Greece, the cradle of civilization. Land of history and wine and olives and beaches. If you’re headed to the islands, you probably want to get there as fast as you can to indulge in the last three items on that list. But, if you’re flying through Athens, you may also feel a tug (a twinge of guilt, perhaps) if you don’t visit the city–it’s basically the epitome of history.
So, you book a couple days in Athens. No worries, doll, I’m here to make this stop as comfortable as possible for you and get you off to the beach where you belong.
This post represents a summary of my own 2 day stint in Athens before I jetted off to the beautiful island of Crete. Read on and let me know in the comments what I have to see next time:
My family and I stayed at the AthensWas hotel, which was a cute little luxury boutique hotel right in the shadow of the acropolis. While the rooms are perfectly fine, the real treat is the view from the rooftop restaurant, called Modern. The top floor Hellenic Suite (or Hellenic Grande Suite, which is the combined Hellenic Suite + The Executive Suite) also shares this view from a sizable deck area. We stayed in the combined suites, which was a tad tight for the 5 of us, but would be perfect for 4 people. The best feature of the suite was the very large veranda with the view of the Acropolis, which was just a stunning venue for breakfast in the morning (yes, they’ll bring the included breakfast to your room, though it will be a slow delivery after you order) and just sitting and enjoying in the evening.
Athens is all about the acropolis and you absolutely can’t miss it. Schedule a day each for the site and the museum. Boyfriend and I overslept a little on our second day in Athens so we actually skipped the museum and went shopping (don’t tell the hardcore history buffs), which was fine with both of us since he’d been to the museum before and I figured we’d be back someday.
The acropolis truly is amazing though, and worth the hike up there for the view both of the acropolis up close and the sweeping views of the city. It was really hot the day that we went, but with water we made it through, though we needed a break once we got back to our hotel. Wear shoes that have some grip, because the stones are slippery.
Another random activity that we did was go to a fish spa. It essentially looks like a weird pedicure place, with big tubs full of water and little fish swimming around. And you put your feet in the tub and let the little fishies…suck on your feet. For 30 minutes.
It was one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever had to have all of these little mouths sucking on my feet. They don’t have teeth so it doesn’t hurt but it sort of tickles. It was not my favorite feeling and I don’t think I would do it again, especially because my feet didn’t feel a whole lot softer afterward, but it was an experience. I’m glad I did it…once.
There are two shops in particular that I need to tell you about. One is called Forget Me Not. It had a lot of really cute things and if you were looking for souvenirs that weren’t the typical recreations of greek statues and cheesy t-shirts, this wold be a great place to go. The other place was Melissinos Art, a sandal place where you go in and get greek sandals custom fit to your feet. You pick a sandal, they fit it to your foot, and then they hammer nails in place to keep the shoe how they’ve fit it. It was a great experience and really affordable too–the shoes were like 35-45 euros for a pair.
Whatever you do, be sure to eat. We didn’t have a bad meal the entire time we were in Greece, though my family members who did an extra day in Athens did have a bad meal at the acropolis museum (because duh, museum food is never good). The Modern Restaurant on the roof of the hotel was actually very nice. It isn’t very large, but wasn’t too busy when we were there, so it worked out fine. We ate there our first night because we were too tired from the jetlag to think much about going anywhere, and we were not disappointed. This was probably the nicest meal we had in Greece, more upscale than the others for sure.
Another place that we found was right by the acropolis museum and was called Athenai Bistrot. It seems like it might be a tourist trap, but it was delicious so who even cares? There’s seating outside which was lovely. We ate one of our best meals here, and it was full of delicious rich foods like lamb and cheese. Yum!
Have you been to Athens? Let me know in the comments what I should be sure to do on my next trip there!