After flying in from Istanbul we arrived around mid day in Athens. Having studied Greek mythology growing up I was super excited to start exploring as soon as possible!
Day 1: Arrive & Wander
We took the metro into town and it was free due to the current financial crisis. After making our way to the Church of Kapnikarea by accident I navigated to my hostel (City Circus was my favorite hostel of the trip!) near Monastiraki Square and dropped my bag there. After finding a hostel for my friend (I recommend booking ahead so you don’t have to hunt around while sweating with your big backpack like she did), we went walking in the Thissio Pedestrian Zone and then went to Savvas for dinner. The food was AMAZING. I fell in love with Greek food that night!
Day 2: Explore the ruins!
I finished the wonderful Greek breakfast at my hostel (if you ask nicely they might let you eat before it officially opens!). I tried to meet up with my friend but we missed each other so I walked up to the Acropolis on my own. I arrived at just before 9 AM and I noticed that the crowds were increasing by the moment. I hurried over to the Parthenon and took some pics and enjoyed the view. Looking back on it I wish I had gone with a tour so I could have absorbed more of the history.
Then I went to the Acropolis Museum which was pretty cool because there were artifact that you could see up close. If you happen to go there be sure to stop at the Museum Cafe and try the “Greek Doughnuts” while enjoying a view of the ruins.
From there I walked over to Syntagma Square and checked out the Parliament building. I just happened to arrive while the guards were changing. That was pretty neat to see!
Next I enjoyed a slow walk through the National Gardens and saw the outside of Congress Hall. The gardens would be a lovely spot to have picnic, but I just munched on a granola bar and headed to the Temple of Zeus! There were much less people here so I could really enjoy my time there. AND I just happened to run into my friend W here. lol We went to Hadrian’s Arch together and then randomly decided to get a mani-pedi.
I guess if you are walking and staying in hostels for a few weeks, it is nice to pamper yourself a little by indulging in a 25 euro mani/pedi. It was also nice to escape the mid-day heat!
Can I just say again that Greek food is delicious! I had fried eggplant with yogurt sauce, and kebab with pita for dinner. I seriously could eat Greek food everyday and be happy. Also, Greek wine is cheap and refreshing after a long day of sight seeing.
Day 3: Mycenae Day Trip
I didn’t originally plan it, but I wanted to squeeze in another UNESCO site and since my hostel organized the tours it was super easy to book a day trip to Mycenae, Nafplion, and Epidaurus.
Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus was pretty awesome! When I was there they were starting to set up the stage for a show later that night. It would be incredible to see a show there because the acoustics were set up so that your voice is amplified so well that you can hear someone talking in a normal voice at the top of the theater.
After the tour I met up with my friend for the 9PM showing of “While We Were Young” at the outdoor movie theater in the Thission. It was one of my favorite things that I did in Athens because even though it was a movie in English (with Greek subtitles) I didn’t hear anyone around us speaking English! Also, while we were chatting and eating popcorn before the movie started, we could enjoy the view of the illuminated Acropolis.
The next morning I caught the VERY early bus (which was free due to the crisis) to the airport for my flight to Santorini!
Comment below: Have you been to to Athens? What was your favorite part?