Athens is an enchanting city where past and present mix. The city has grown around historic ancient ruins that keep Greek culture alive while offering the lively pace of a modern metropolis. The streets are filled with bustling cafes and shops as the ancient Acropolis rises above the city. Soaking in the significance of this city and its impact on western civilization is humbling and a bit mind blowing at the same time. All the while, once the sun sets, the city becomes a place to play. No matter the day of the week, the streets are full of people ready to have a good time. There’s an infectious vibe of friendly people welcoming you into the bars and restaurants and everything just seems easy and uncomplicated.
Check out below some of our favorite things to do while in Athens!
Where to stay:
Tucked in the midst of Athens most metropolitan part of the city, lies a contemporary and artsy hotel called, New Hotel Athens. We were fortunate enough to be hosted by them and treated to an amazing stay while in Athens.
Being the first hotel project of the Brazilian designer duo, Fernando and Humberto Campana, YES! Hotel owner Dakis Joannou, hired the brothers due to their vision of implementing eco-sensitive and contemporary handicraft practices to the hotel, (oh so millennial).
This hotel is the epitome of “cool”. Walking in, you see stacks of architectural books lying around in the midst of wooden-based decor and more succulents than anyone from Brooklyn could dream of. The design of the rooms are unlike anything we’ve seen in hotels before, the use of wood throughout the space, the marble and gold shower (*aesthetics*), the golden light in the bathrooms… the list goes on forever. This hotel could be described as quirky and perfect for any young couples interested in staying in the heart of Athens and walking distance from any major landmarks, including the bar and restaurant scene in the Plaka district.
In the top floor you can find The Art Lounge, a beautiful rooftop where you can enjoy the sunset with a glass wine while overlooking a lit up Acropolis in the distance. It was such a nice stay, thank you again New Hotels for the hospitality, you guys made our time in Athens even more special!
Thanks for the warm welcome! <3 New Hotel Athens
Where to eat:
From our hotel, we were lucky enough to be at walking distance of the Plaka district where it’s full of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Tzitzikas kai Mermigas: Located in Mitropoleos street, this restaurant has authentic Greek cuisine that also doesn’t feel like a tourist trap. We had some traditional souvlaki, Greek salad, grilled soutzoukakia (meatballs) and some really nice wine. Highly recommend this spot for a quieter dinner away from the touristic chaos.
Lontos: Here, you’re pretty much paying for a view. It is located in Apostolou Pavlou in the neighborhood of Thissio, with possibly the best view of the Acropolis. We sat here for sunset hour and watched the lights turn on of the acropolis while we had an amazing Greek style dinner, where we shared appetizers to try different things. It’s a little pricer because of the location, but totally worth it!
Plaka District: If you’re traveling on a budget, the best places to eat are probably little spots in the streets such as the Plaka District. This village inside the city of Athens has some of the best little spots to grab a quick bite while exploring the old town. Greek salads are probably the safest bet, along with their chicken souvlaki that you can pretty much eat out of a stick.
What to do:
Plaka: Start your day with some breakfast along the Plaka district, which is a historical neighborhood in Athens full of shopping, restaurants, churches and also known as the “Neighborhood of the Gods” because it’s at walking distance of the Acropolis.
Monastiraki Flea Market: Next up, take a little souvenir shopping street down the Monatiraki flea market. One thing is that you really have to search and bargain if you want to take home something authentic, rather than some cheap keychain or magnet. The streets are long and there are lots of shops, you just have to keep your eyes open in order to find something worthy of your money!
Acropolis of Athens: One of the most famous and beautiful ancient monuments of Athens, The Acropolis lies on top of a mountain, adorning the city with its remains of several buildings that were built in 5th century BC and still remain there today for people to come see it. The history of it is beautiful and worth a read, but if you’re in Athens, we would recommend you visit it close to sunset to get a nicer light for photos and also less tourists!
Parthenon: Another beautiful landmark dedicated to the goddess, Athena, which is considered the patron of their city. This is right next to the Acropolis and you can explore both with the same ticket.
Acropolis Museum: This is the city’s newest museum that has also become their pride and joy. At the foot of the Acropolis, it showcases its surviving treasures still in Greek possession. With an emphasis on the Acropolis of the 5th century BC, considered the apotheosis of Greece’s artistic achievement, the museum cleverly reveals layers of history, floating over ruins with the Acropolis visible above, showing the masterpieces in context. There is also a great restaurant for lunch! Definitely worth a visit!
A for Athens Rooftop: To wind down from the day, after grabbing some dinner, head over to one of Athens many rooftop bars. A for Athens is the spot to get the ultimate view of the Acropolis lit up at night. You can enjoy a cocktail with a DJ mixes some lounge-y tunes, that give the view even more of a vibe. Definitely worth it!
Hope you enjoyed our Athens travel round up! Stay tuned for Mykonos & Santorini!
Dani & Valen