Curiously, we have always wanted to visit Greece, largely associating this country with the images that we see constantly showing us the typical architecture of the Greek islands or beaches of crystalline water, however it seems to exist an empty space when it comes to the Greek capital, Athens. We wanted to know more about this city and find out what has the best to give, and I can tell you, it was one of the biggest surprises that we had!
Two things stand out immediately as we land at Athens airport: The size of the city, stretching from the bare mountains to the Aegean Sea, and the weather, with a nice 33 degrees Celsius and a totally clean sky (We were already missing the real thing Summer!). The connections from the airport to the city center are quite good, with direct connections by the blue metro line, direct buses to Syntagma square or taxis with fixed rate of € 38 during the day for any location within the city.
Regarding accommodation, we chose to use the AirBNB platform, which allows us to stay in central locations at a much lower cost than we found in hotels, with a cost per night of around 30-35 €.
We started our journey through the magnificent acropolis, a last remnant of Greek civilization and the origin of all modern democratic systems. The ticket costs € 20 and allows a free visit to the acropolis and its hills, populated by other small temples and other formations of the ancient polis. One of these monuments in the hills is the Odeon of Heródes Attic, which is worth the visit included in the ticket. The greatest advice we can give is to visit the acropolis early in the morning to avoid the high temperatures that are felt in the middle of the day and could make the experience less pleasant. Do not buy the combined ticket for 30 €, in our opinion, it doesn’t worth it.
After enjoying the magnificent view of the acropolis, one of the biggest surprises is yet to come, as we begin the descent through the famous typical Plaka neighborhood. Here, among narrow streets lined with flowers and creepers, there are often musicians playing chords of traditional Greek music, huge restaurants and small taverns, where we advise you to drink a fresh fruit juice, which here is mostly fresh fruit bought in the market and delivered in cars or motorbikes that make regular deliveries throughout the day. It is worthwhile to get lost in these labyrinthine streets and finally arrive at Anafiotika, a corner of narrow white streets, only contrasting with flowers and doors of various colors. This is one of the most typical places of Athens, maintaining a unique style that takes us to the Greek islands.
Continuing to descend, we found ourselves in one of the liveliest quarters of Athens, Monastiraki. Here you find the main restaurants of traditional Greek food, souvenir shops and huge street vendors selling fresh fruit. The mosque of Tsisdarakis marks with some imposing sight from the main square and reminds us of the sublime Turkish influence that is sometimes still noticeable in the architecture of the city.
Finally, we wanted to end the day with one of the best views that the city has to offer, the view of Mount Lycabettus. The climb is steep, but getting up there was well worth it. The 360º view of the city includes all the main monuments, with the port of Piraeus in the background and the Panatenaico stadium as a reference right in the center of the city. After all the moments of inner peace that the view of Mount Lycabettus offers, the descent through the luxurious district of Kolonaki is truly fantastic, with numerous well-tended green spaces and the obligatory stop on the Kolokaniou square for good Greek beer.