Athens: one of the most easygoing cities in Europe with the most amazing history, the best sandwiches you could find, and the best iced coffee you will ever taste!
Athens is the capital of Greece and is such a historically important city as it’s often described as the birthplace of democracy. If you studied ancient Greece in school, I am sure you probably learned about the Acropolis or the Parthenon. I unfortunately skipped out on entering the Acropolis due to the weather, so instead I explored the different neighborhoods on Athens.
First, I went to Syntagma Square, which is the main square in the city. Here, you will find the Greek Parliament building and a hangout area for locals. It connects you to the shopping areas on Ermou Street and Adrianou Street, which have tons of shops for everyone. You will quickly notice that Greek people are lovely, super welcoming, and have a great sense of humor.
Don’t miss out on walking through the Plaka neighborhood as it’s colorful and lively and perfectly represents Greek culture. You will find amazing restaurants here that sell mouthwatering gyros with tzatziki sauce that are delicious and super cheap, so don’t feel bad for ordering 2 or 3 so make sure you have a meal in this neighborhood. It’s also super cozy and romantic at night.
Athens is a very bohemian city and has a different “vibe” compared to other European cities such as Barcelona or London. Athens is easy to get around since taxis are very affordable and it’s generally a very safe city. Check out Monastiraki Square that has a flea market, Hadrian’s Library, and for a nice rooftop view, visit Couleur Locale, a bistro that transforms into a rooftop bar after the sun sets. Another tip is to go to Aeropagus or “Mars Hills” for the most amazing view of Athens and the Acropolis. Enjoy the climb, the view’s definitely worth it.
I also recommend to everyone to get out of the city for a day and visit Vouliagmeni Lake, a beautiful, natural lake filled with thermal water that allows visitors to swim during the winter and the summer. It is said that the water has therapeutic benefits, which help heal ailments such as headaches to eczema. If you forgot your bathers at home, don’t worry, you can sit at the café, that offers Greek frappes (of course!), salads, salmon fillet, and so much more. Vouliagmeni Lake is located in Vouliagmenis, a seaside suburb about 15 miles away from Athens city center.
Also, if you’re looking for another place to go by the seaside and you want a more luxurious meal, visit Ark in Glyfada, a suburb approximately 10 miles away from Athens city center. From the outside, it looks like a night club, but it offers the most amazing and relaxing ambiance, which makes it a great place to chill by the sea and have a cup of Greek coffee. Ark doesn’t fit your style? No worries, there’s plenty of cafes a few streets away that have more affordable choices such as Baron Café-Bar, which has both vegetarian and vegan options.
Greece doesn’t just consist of amazing islands, so don’t miss out on Athens because after visiting this vigorous city, you’ll be surprised by what it has to offer but you definitely don’t regret it. Next time you want to take a trip to Mykonos or Santorini, don’t head straight to the port — make sure to take a couple of days to enjoy Athens as well.
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