Athens is one of those cities you can never get enough of. Is it a beautiful city? Not exactly my cup of tea, but I also think that a city does not have to be beautiful to be enjoyed. I’ve been to a lot of pretty cities which mesmerized me with its nature, beautiful buildings, glorious squares and yet I haven’t dreamed about going back. Clearly, Athens is not among them.
If this will be your first time in Athens, don’t worry it is very easy to explore on foot. I have been there twice and I have never used public transport or taxi, except for the airport transfers. You can take the X95 bus from the airport(it takes about 45 minutes), which goes to Syntagma Square in the city centre. If you book a hotel near Syntagma Square, you will be in the heart of the city close to all the attractions and also benefit from the airport bus and underground.
Syntagma Square is the main square of Athens at the top of which you will see the Parliament Building. At the bottom corner of the square, you will notice the glorious Grande Bretagne Hotel. It is probably the best hotel in Athens, but of course it comes with a price. Even if you don’t stay at the Grande Bretagne, I would highly recommend you to have a coffee or a drink at the bar in the lobby whilst you’re there.
From the bottom of the Syntagma Square, you can also enter Ermou Street, where you will find plenty of shops. Ermou Street leads to Monastiraki Square, another popular touristic attraction. The famous flea market is very close to the square.
If you are interested in street art and graffiti, you are going to love the streets of Athens, especially, the Psiri district. Based on my last visit to Athens, I can tell that Gazi and Metaxourgeio districts, where most of the immigrants reside, will become very popular soon thanks to newly opened trendy cafes and bars.
You may wonder why I still haven’t talked about the Acropolis. The reason is I find it very overrated. I went there once but wasn’t too impressed by what I saw. So, if you are not into history, you can skip it or give it just one hour.
There is one thing that we can all agree on. Greeks know how to enjoy life and this reflects on each corner of their country, from the capital to the smallest island.
Lunch/Dinner: Karamandlika ((52 Evripidou – Corner of Socratous)
Tylihto Aiolou for souvlaki.
Dessert: Nancy’s Sweethome (Pl. Iroon 1). Bear in mind that the portions are huge.
Kolonaki district: For fancy restaurants and boutiques.