My stop in Athens was a mere 24 hours and a city where I definitely wish I had more time. I had zero expectations for Athens other than the historical, touristy must-dos. It was a balmy 98 degrees the day I was there and I was really not looking forward to trudging to the top of the Acropolis. It looks intimidatingly high and as someone who pretty much only does barre and dog walking for exercise I was not exactly looking forward to it. Once you start going up though, it’s actually a much easier hike than you think. It pretty much zig zags so regular people and not just olympians can get to the top. So don’t miss seeing the Parthenon just because the hike is intimidating. I promise it’s totally worth it.
Once I got to the top of the Acropolis, it was so windy and felt amazing in the heat. There were so many people wandering around and everyone was completely amazed by these huge, ancient structures. It was such a great experience.
After such a long hike, I was ready for some kebab and a coke with all the ice they would give me. Fun fact: Europeans just don’t really put ice in drinks. I remembered this from previous trips to Europe so you have to know to just order ice with everything.
Athens and Rome really did a great job at convincing me to get a Vespa when I got back home. I mean, it would be so cute right? I should do it. Don’t you think?
Where I Stayed
While searching for hotels, I was pretty unimpressed with the mid-range offerings. You know I always go Starwood first if I can, but the partner hotels they offered were booked or less than stellar. I started looking through other options on Booking.com and Expedia and just couldn’t find anything I’d want to stay in for even 24 hours for anything less than a few hundred dollars.
Airbnb and VRBO are definitely the way to go in Athens. Lots of apartments and homes have been remodeled and you can find some great spots for such a great price.
I stayed in this apartment and it was absolutely perfect. It was just a few blocks from the Acropolis so maybe a 2 minute walk to the ticket line. There were also lots of little restaurants, coffee shops, and pastry shops in the surrounding blocks.
Where I Ate
The Plaka is definitely where you want to grab lunch. There are lots of restaurants around and souvlaki (gyro) options. It’s touristy because it’s the old town, but I’d rather have a quick and yummy lunch and get back to wandering through Athens. And maybe stopping at Zara.
For dinner, GH Attikos was my favorite spot to be lucky enough to get in to. It’s a rooftop restaurant just at the bottom of the Acropolis so you have wonderful views as the sun sets and the lights come on. The food was amazing, my favorite thing obviously being the fresh-made baklava that was basically just two pounds of honey.
What I Did
Hike the Acropolis. So worth it.
Wander the streets of Athens. I walked and walked and walked and walked until I felt like I’d seen everything. Then I realized I saw like 2% of Athens. My hesitations with Athens were that it wouldn’t be that pretty because obviously they’re not doing all that great financially. I was so surprised how vibrant the city was and the architecture was just incredible.
Syntagma Square. This is where the Greek parliament building is located. Surrounding it are some of the embassies which are also beautiful. I love any country willing to paint their parliament building blush. Plus there is plenty of shopping near Syntagma.
What I Wore