For those of you who follow Love You More Too on Instagram, you saw that Colton and I had an amazing anniversary trip to Greece. We spent 4 nights in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. We did so much in the time that we were there, that I have decided to create a travel series to split the trip up between the three destinations. Today, I bring you “what to do in Athens.”
Athens is a city full of historical sites, archeological wonders, great restaurants, bars, cafes, stray cats, and graffiti. The city was tagged all over, which is unfortunate because it took away from some of the beauty. There are gorgeous mural walls too.
There is a lot to see and do, but you can cram it all in a day or two if needed. Everything is walking distance between each other, but you can always get a City Hop pass to get you from place to place quicker.
Getting to Athens
We flew in to the Athens airport from DFW. I read a lot of reviews that said they set up their own transfer from the airport to their hotel. We opted out to save some money and had no problems with taxis the whole time we were there. All of drivers spoke English, didn’t overcharge, and the taxis were easy to get.
Taxi service from the airport is the most convenient way to get your hotel. There is a flat rate charge (38€ from 5:00 am-midnight and 50€ from midnight-5:00am) to the city center. Just exit the airport, wait in the taxi line and take the next one). We waited less than 5 minutes in line, were on our way and dropped off at the door of our hotel.
Where to stay in Athens
Colton and I stayed in two different hotels (one on the front end of our trip and one on the last). We found that Syntagma Square is a great location. It is safe, walking distance to everything, full of nearby restaurants and bars, and has a ton of hotels.
Hotel Arethusa is a good hotel for the value. It was inexpensive (less than 70€ a night), included breakfast, air-conditioning, and had a bathtub (this is a big deal for European hotels). It was dated and simple, but clean. The breakfast was great and full of options; cereals, eggs, meats, breads, yogurt, and more.
Delphi Art Hotel
Delphi Art Hotel was small (not unusual for European hotels), but clean. Breakfast buffet was included. It was lovely, and they even provided a breakfast box for us for our early departure for our ferry. Delphi’s location was not as centrally located, but still not a far walk from everything. However, the back alleyways leading to the hotel were a little sketchy at night.
What to do in Athens
Archeological Sites – The most famous site in Athens is the Acropolis, or the city on the hill. It is something you read about in history books, but seeing the Parthenon in person is truly a once in a lifetime experience. For 30€, you can get access to all the archeological sites including the Acropolis, North and South slopes of the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Olumpieion, and the Roman Agora. I recommend carving out most of your day just to visit these sites. They are walking distance from one another, but it is a long walk in between. The multi-site pass is good for 5 consecutive days.
Plaka- This old, historical neighborhood is beautiful to walk through and gaze at the old buildings.
Monastiraki Flea Market- It’s not a traditional flea market Monday through Saturday. There are a ton of shops full of souvenirs, fake designer sunglasses and purses, art, music and jewelry. I am not much of a shopper, but it was beautiful winding through the street looking at everything and stepping inside for some air. On Sundays, locals set up tables to sell their items so it feels more like a flea market.
National Gardens- Athens is full of streets and buildings, so getting lost in the National Gardens is a sort of escape from the city.
Panathenaic Stadium- This beautiful stadium built entirely of marble was the home of the first Olympics. It’s free to see from the outside, but it costs 5€ to walk around on the inside. We didn’t pay to walk inside, but saw it from the outside and read about it on the plaques.
Cine Thisson– This was one of the highlights of our trip. Cine Thisson is an open-air cinema rated by CNN as one of the 10 most enjoyable theaters. Here, you can watch new releases, old-favorites, or foreign films. The cinema has one screen and typically has two showings. There was something magical about watching The Godfather outside in a packed theater in Greece with a night view of the Acropolis.
Mount Lycabettus- If you are looking for something athletic to do while in Greece, other than all of the walking, hiking Mount Lycabettus is a must. Although it is over 900 feet above sea level, the hike up winds back and forth to keep it from getting too steep. There is a cable car or option to take a taxi, but I highly recommend the hike. Once you get to the top, stop and enjoy the incredible views from the highest point in Athens.
Bar hop in Syntagma Square- There are several great bars throughout Syntagma Square and it gets busy at night. See below for a couple recommendations of our favorite stops.
Gazi- The Gazi district, an old gasworks precinct, in Athens is a lively area full of restaurants and coffee bars. See below for food and drink recommendations.
Where to eat and drink in Athens
Sardelles (aka The Butcher Shop) in Gazi- This was one of the best meals we had on our trip. The Butcher Shop staff was kind, the food was delicious, and we even had free watermelon to finish out our meal.
Gyros & Souvlaki– You can’t go wrong with any of the Greek restaurants in the city. We ate at big places, hole-in-the-wall places, and even cute little cafes on the street. All of it was great. Check out my tips post for more information.
Taqueria Maya- Syntagma Square is full of great restaurants. Since we are from Texas, we have a deep appreciation for tacos. We saw this street taco restaurant, read all the great reviews and decided to check it out for ourselves. They had great tacos and the spiciest salsa I have ever eaten (don’t worry, they have mild and medium salsas too).
A for Athens– This rooftop bar offers outside patio seating as well as an indoor, air-conditioned area. The menu boasts specialty cocktails and coffee drinks. It has a hip, modern atmosphere and offers gorgeous views of the city.
M?– There are coffee bars everywhere in Athens. M? is located in the Gazi district. We had a delicious and creamy frappe with ice cream before dinner. Check out this place or one of the many other coffee bars in the area.
Six d.o.g.s.– This bar/gallery/concert venu is located in Syntagma Square. When you walk in, immediately go down the stairs to a beautiful secret garden. The cozy tree-house vibe of this bar is welcoming. Colton couldn’t get enough of the popcorn they serve with their drinks. It’s open all day, so you can grab coffee in the garden during the day as well.
Baba Au Rum– Is a Greek rum cocktail bar with a fifties vibe just off of Syntagma Square. Their menu alone is impressive with tons of rum drink variations. If rum isn’t your thing, they have a full bar and can make whatever drink you want. We loved the vibe, decor, and drinks here. Their drinks are creative, specialty crafted, and served in individualized glasses and mugs.
Eat it every day.
Frozen Greek yogurt is the best. I didn’t have bad gelato or froyo the entire time I was in Greece. Chillbox, was one of the chains in Greece and there were several locations throughout Greece. Each yogurt or gelato place we went to didn’t disappoint.
I hope you found this post helpful f0r what to do in Athens. You can also check out this post for general tips for traveling to Greece. Come back next week for things to do in Mykonos.
Do you want to visit Athens? What are you most looking forward to seeing when you go? Leave me a comment below.