Although I was in Athens for longer than 24 hours (3.5 days to be exact!) I was working for two of the days and the entirety of the last day was spent in the airport for our flight home – so the only day we really had to play around with was Sunday.
Since I was going there for work I hadn’t done too much homework on the city and what there was to do and I didn’t have many expectations either. This meant I hadn’t built up my hopes for the city and the opposite happened where I was pleasantly surprised with all it had to offer!
We stayed in the region of Chalandri at The Acropol Hotel because it was closest to where we had to go for work. It worked out at something like €50 a night and although it said on booking.com that it was only a one-star hotel, I would give it at least three. The staff were lovely, the breakfast was really good and the rooms were more than adequate for what we needed! Chalandri is about a 20 minute drive into the centre of Athens but that turned out to only cost about €10-12 in a taxi which is a huge contrast to the price of a taxi in Ireland so we felt it worked out well choosing a hotel in this location.
Things To Do:
Aside from the historical sites I found there wasn’t a huge pile to see in Athens – but then again, they have enough historical sites to last a lifetime!
The Acropolis is the most famous site to see in Athens which sits majestically at the top of a hill in the center of the city. It is open from 8am-7:30pm in the Summer months and 8:30am-3pm in the Winter according to the Athens Info Guide. We paid €20 each for a ticket but that included entry into the museum as well as one or two other monuments that we sadly didn’t get to see on our trip. There is zero shade up there so I would recommend wearing something that covers yourself and to wear shoes with good grip as the stone on the floor is extremely slippy – that is if you make it up the hill walking in the blistering heat! The views are amazing, but I actually found they were more amazing when you were looking at it from afar as it looks so grandiose.
The Parthenon is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis. This can be seen when you go to the Acropolis and in my opinion, is an extremely impressive building! Built for Athena in 432 BC and considering the renovations only began in 1975 it is amazing to see how far they have come in restoring it.
Odean of Herodes Atticus:
This is another area up by the Acropolis & it is a stone theater which was completed in 161 AD. It was a venue used for music & theater and had a capacity of roughly 5,000. Interestingly to this day it is still sometimes used for various events!
The Ancient Agora:
This was the commercial, trading, administrative and social center of Athens back in the day. Socrates, Sophocles and Aristotle used to spend time there to express their ideas and thoughts. It is a really beautiful site and it’s not too far from the Acropolis.
Places To Eat & Drink:
We went to a few really cool places, and two for food and two for drinks really stood out as some of the best places I have ever been (not just by Athens standards!). There are two main districts to go out in Athens, Plaka district and Monastiraki.
The most amazing rooftop bar I had ever experienced was called ‘360‘ in Monastiraki. We didn’t book in advance but you probably should when you go to avoid any disappointment. The food was lovely, the cocktails were great but the view is what really makes this spot something special! You have a completely unobstructed view of the Acropolis lit up at night time and it is just magical (hence the name 360 as you have a panoramic view of the city)
Another restaurant we went to was Nalú Café bar down in Alimos by the beach. This venue has an amazing view of the beach and the entire atmosphere is great. There was a much dressier vibe in this venue that the others we went to in Athens.
Two bars in the centre of Athens that were amazing were ‘TAF (The Art Foundation)‘ and Six Dogs. You would walk passed TAF if you weren’t looking closely for it as it is basically a doorway leading into a hall – and this hall leads upstairs to an art gallery and out into an outdoor area with high tables and chairs. We went here on a Tuesday evening and the place was absolutely jammed! It is a really hipster place with exposed brick walls and doorways into rooms but no doors. Then Six Dogs is probably one of the coolest pubs I have ever been to. There is a huge outdoor area with a loose stone floor and trees growing randomly from the floor. This means that tables are kind of all over the place and it gives it a really laid back, outdoor vibe. There is even a swing hanging from one of the branches that you can sit on while you sip your drink!
In 24 hours you should have time to see all of the ancient sites above, as well as make one or two of the bars and restaurants mentioned (or all, if you are so inclined!) Athens really pleasantly surprised me as a city because I was often told that it wasn’t nice. I suppose compared to the likes of Santorini which is a dreamland of white and blue it might not compare well – but since I have no been to the islands I can say that Athens really is an enjoyable, laid back city which is great to explore! My last and final tip would be to try Souvlaki while you are there.. It will change your life!
Have you been to Greece before? If so, what parts have you been to?