We arrived at our Air B&B to be greeted by the Acropolis. It’s probably the most impressively cheap view in the city we could have found and I could have stared out of that window all day or night! It was a prime location, just 30 seconds from Monastiraki Square and station which meant that everything in Athens worth seeing was walking distance.
The view from our cute little studio quickly made us want to get out and explore! So after a nap we left and walk towards our first stop; the Acropolis Museum. The best laid plans never quite make it and we quickly discovered that the Acropolis Museum was closed on a Sunday so we wandered down towards The Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch instead. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Athens and it was so long ago, I don’t really remember much about the city centre, but the quaint streets were full of character and plants to die for!
We bought a combined ticket for €30, well I did, Jack’s still a student so managed to get a ticket for free because he’s a jammy dodger! If you’re planning on visiting three or more ancient sites it is a good deal. With the combined ticket you get access into the:
- The Acropolis of Athens and it’s slopes
- The Ancient Agora of Athens and the Museum of the Ancient Agora
- Aristotle’s Lyceum (Archaeological site of Lykeion)
- Kerameikos and the Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos
- The Temple of Olympian Zeus (Olympieio)
- The Roman Agora of Athens and the Tower of the Winds
- Hadrian’s Library
My number one tip is to not queue at the Acropolis to buy your ticket; this is where the hoards of tourists are. Instead head to one of the smaller sites like the Temple of Olympian Zeus where, for us, there was no queue. Or you could buy one online using the Fund for Archaeological Resources and Expropriations website. Later, once you’ve bought your ticket and you actually want to go to the Acropolis, you’ll walk right past the queues of people and thank me!
Ticket in hand, in we went to get dwarfed by the columns. They looked large from outside the gate, but up close they were something else.Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera and this was probably my favourite snap of the holiday.
I mean, look how excited I am over it! (You can read my review on it here)
We wandered the streets, cruised through the market because I’m all over a little souvenir and headed towards our dinner spot. Jack and I are part-time vegetarians, as in at home we only eat veggie, but when we’re on holiday or if someone else is cooking we will eat meat. In Greece we were very excited for the gyros, souvlaki and lamb, which alongside a Greek salad (possibly one of my favourite dishes) and the Greek level of garlic and onions we were so ready!
For dinner we headed to All That Jatz, just down the road from our Air B&B. Jack had the kebab and I had lamb gyros with a Greek salad and hand cooked chips. I just wish I could find somewhere locally that sold flat breads like the ones you can buy in Greece. I would eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! It was a good start to our holiday.
Then obviously we headed to an ice cream parlour on the way home. Also known as: we went home, I threw an ice cream strop and we headed back out again to get ice-cream.
Are you even on holiday if you haven’t had an ice cream? Answer: No.
This cute place called Full Spoon hit the spot and even serves everything in recyclable products; spoon and all.
Our plan was to visit the Acropolis this morning, but we were both so tired from the last few weeks craziness that there was no chance we were getting out of bed!
I honestly don’t think I would tire waking up to this view though.
This beautiful little cafe offers a buffet breakfast for €10 which includes bottomless tea! Bottomless Tea = Happy Husband. It’s quirky interior full of plants and outside seating on the steps, alongside so many different options to eat AND being serenaded by a pianist created the perfect chill environment and we stayed here for hours. They might say that breakfast stops at 10, but we were still there at 12:30 eating breakfast. Even if you don’t make it for breakfast, they have a normal menu and the cakes also looked amazing!
We then headed back to the Acropolis Museum for a second time and actually made it in this time. The streets are just so pretty, I can’t get enough of wandering this city.
Once at the museum, the outside is equally as interesting to look at as the museum is built on top of an old Athenian neighbourhood. You can look down and clearly see buildings, paths and even a well which people throw money into from the walkway.
Inside, you’re not allowed to take photos inside, but I took a couple of sneaky ones. The museum is on three levels and each has a section of clear glass where you can see the below and/or above level and people walking around. It would have been enough to give my Auntie a heart attack, but did make us feel a little queasy at times. It hold all of the artefacts taken from on top of the hill and it’s slopes and there’s a video you can watch to talk you through what they are doing on top of the hill to restore it to it’s former glory. I recommend you visit here before braving the climb as it gives you a good idea of everything ahead of the climb.
I also remembered how much I love Greek writing! Seriously, how does someone carve something so neatly and it look so cool.
We sat and had lunch at the cafe outside of the terrace which overlooked the hill. I’m pretty sure I really upset the Greek lady serving us when I asked for no olives in my sandwich. I just don’t like them, ok!
After taking in the view we headed up to the top floor where you’ll find a life size replica of the Parthenon with the different artefacts they have found in their correct placing. You can look out the window and see the Parthenon on top of the hill which is also quite cool.
After the museum we wandered the streets and headed down to the National Garden and sat and people watched outside the Zappeion building. The gardens were cute and there were some serious palm trees!
At the other end of the National Garden you will get to the Parliament building. I highly recommend you stop by here during the changing of the guards as it’s literally hilarious. From the outfits to the actual moves carried out by the guards, just trust me!
From the Parliament building we could then walk straight down Ermou, the main road for retail shopping, to our apartment. On our way through we came across the cute little Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea, one of the oldest in Athens.
For dinner we headed to The Greco’s Project just across the square where we ordered far too much food, including a Greek salad (obviously), moussaka battered courgette with a garlic dip I wanted to put my whole face in and more kebab with flat bread. It was a good job we didn’t have far to go to get to our next stop.
From our apartment we could see a rooftop garden between us and the Acropolis which looked packed the whole time we’ve been here. The 360 bar isn’t quite 360, but it is still pretty cool. You sit surrounded by olive trees and it’s got good table service, so you don’t even have to move. The view is pretty impressive too!
After our failed attempt of getting up early yesterday, we finally made it up to the top of the Acropolis to have a go at being proper tourists. There is currently a lot of work going on at the top of the Acropolis, you can see huge parts of the building which have been fully rebuilt or repaired. Every piece they have found have been marked to be put back in the correct place when they finally get there. I’d love to come back in 10 years and see how far they’ve got!
As you walk up the slopes towards the Parthenon you go past two different theatres, one of which, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, is still used today. It reminded me a little of the amphitheatre in Croatia which was so cool to watch gigs in!
It was also really interesting to see the different timings of repairs that have happened to the site. During the Victorian era they just used any part of the marble to fix and carve into the part they were fixing. They also literally used bricks and you can see some of those parts exposed too.
My favourite building was the Erechtheion, with its porch of the maidens. I feel like I need some maiden columns on my house!
Although I loved the top of the Acropolis, it WAS SO BUSY! Like I could barely move busy. Athens is one of the stops of a number of cruise ships and you can definitely tell in town when they arrive. I don’t understand how people who cruise can deal with the amount of people they are constantly surrounded by. Our plan was to get up the Acropolis at 8am when it opens, but sleep won and we weren’t quite a bit later. I definitely regret that in our attempt to get down from the top. My favourite moment was when Jack had stopped to take a photo and security tried to direct him down a different way. He confidently told him that he wasn’t going to go a different way to his wife, which had me in hysterics. It still hasn’t set it yet.
Jack and I collect art work from local artists that we find on our travels and on our way back across town from the Acropolis we came across probably my favourite piece yet!
For lunch we headed to Six Dogs, a quirky outdoor restaurant/bar with a beautiful garden. Some of the areas to sit also had swings which was pretty cool. We each had a hot dog and shared a salad. It’s really reasonable for lunch and is quite a hidden spot for something so central.
Our next stop was our apartment which is on the edge of Psiri, the quirky district in Athens. It’s streets are full of street art, boutique shops, funky bars, abandoned buildings next to brand new modern designs and of course, lots of plants. Below are just a few of the photos I took, but the area is just full of some of the best art I’ve ever seen. It’s beautiful and definitely worth a visit!
This one was our favourite piece that we came across. Created by a famous graffiti artist called Paparazzi, a high definition print was even in a pop-up art shop just over the road from it. I was very very tempted to buy it, but we settled for a photo instead.
For dinner we headed to Lithos in the Psiri district to a local restaurant called Lithos. This was one of the more authentic dinners we had, Jack loved his fish, my lamb was a little overcooked which was disappointing but the baklava was amazing!
We then headed across town to another rooftop bar called the Thea Terrace Bar, which is in the Central Athens Hotel. The rooftop has one of the best views of The Acropolis and the cocktails are pretty impressive too. After a long discussion about Jack wanting a long cocktail we finally settled on his choice, which came in a martini glass. We also encountered probably one of the most awkward dates on the table next to us and even though we couldn’t understand a word that was being said, it was stupidly entertaining. Clearly, we need to get out more!
Jack was absolutely set on where we were going for breakfast on our final day on the way to the airport. O Kostas is a locals favourite that only serves souvlaki. They are not pretending to be anything fancy, but it is so good! I would highly recommend you make this one of your stops while in Athens, but the locals definitely come first. It’s been serving since 1905 and the front of the shop show a photo of O Kostas and how the shop used to look in that exact spot when it first opening which is really cool.
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