Hi everyone! If you’ve been following my Instagram, you’re probably well-aware that I recently took a trip to Greece! I’ve been posting tons of food photos recapping all the delicious, Mediterranean goodness that we chowed down on during our short (but sweet) stay.
Because there’s so much I want to share for those interested in visiting (or just drooling at all the delicious food pics), I’ve decided to try something a little different here on my blog: a trip recap!
We started out in Athens, then hopped over to Mykonos, Paros and Santorini, so I’ll be splitting up the trip recaps into a few different blog posts with information on all the things you should do, see, and eat on your next Greek vacation. First up today: my Athens trip recap!
Day One: Tuesday
After stepping out of the plane, tired and extremely jet-lagged on the first night, we opted to take the train into the city to our hotel.
Even though we constantly complain about the rising price of the train tickets in New York, it was nothing compared to Athens. While the normal train tickets are pretty reasonable (22 Euro for a three-day ticket), a one-way ticket from the airport into the city cost 18 Euro for two of us. Yikes.
We were staying pretty close to the center of Athens at an Airbnb we had rented near the Omonia Square train station. Still, it was an hour-long ride on a packed train to get from the airport to our place…not fun.
Regardless, once we finally got there, we were super happy with the place we had rented to stay in. It was a small studio with no-frills-attached but it was on the top floor of an apartment building with a private balcony and a view of the Acropolis right outside!
It was already pretty late when we arrived, so we quickly scoped out a place to grab a bite to eat and settled on Klimataria, a cute restaurant just a few minutes away that was draped with foliage and vintage decor.
Felipe got the moussaka and I got a Greek salad. We also had some complimentary bread and olive oil. While it was all very delicious and definitely reasonably-priced, our meal was a bit rushed as we were informed that they’d be closing early as soon as we got there. In fact, I didn’t even get a chance to take a good photo of our food–and if you know me, you know that’s saying something! 😀
All in all, I think this place is worth a visit, but go a bit earlier in the day to have a better experience.
Day Two: Wednesday
The next morning, we woke up pretty early in an attempt to cram in as much sightseeing as possible into our day since we would only be in Athens for one full day.
The first stop on our trip was Meliartos, a bakery/cafe in Plaka with a wide assortment of yummy pastries and Greek goodies guaranteed to make you drool almost as soon as you enter.
Felipe’s breakfast of choice was spanakopita, or Greek spinach pie. Meanwhile, I choose peinirli (or “pizza boat”) with vegetables. This was super tasty (Felipe may or may not have stolen a few bites) and included gouda cheese, pumpkin, eggplant, mushrooms, green pepper and tomato sauce. Yum!
After perusing the shops in Plaka a bit, we made our way to Hadrian’s Library. We got a bit lost (per usual) but were lucky enough to run into a very friendly local woman named Galina who acted as our tour guide and literally led us to our destination (thanks again!).
One thing I loved about Greece is that everyone is so friendly and happy to help. I usually avoid asking for directions and try to figure it out myself, but Felipe and I probably asked 100 people to point us in the right way on this trip and 99% were super nice and helpful.
Our first taste of the Greek ruins was amazing and awe-inspiring. Even just touching the massive pillars and realizing how long ago they had been built was absolutely incredible.
It was still pretty early in the day, so we headed over to the main attraction: the Acropolis! This place gets packed with more and more tourists as the day goes on. If you go in the middle of summer as we did, it also gets hotter and hotter too. Definitely squeeze this into your day as early as you can to avoid the crowds and the sweltering heat as much as possible.
You’re basically packed in like sardines with a million other tourists as you make your way up the stairs, around the Parthenon, and finally over to a beautiful spot overlooking the city with a perfect view of Mount Lycabettus in the background.
After snapping our fair share of pics and taking in the breathtaking sights, it’s safe to say that we had worked up an appetite. Plus, by this point I was desperate to find some shade, although it was already pretty clear that a sunburn was inevitable. We headed back to Monastiraki Square, one of the main shopping districts situated in the middle of Athens, to find a bite to eat.
We eventually settled on a place called A for Athens, a cocktail bar and restaurant on the top floor of a hotel by the same name. Not only does this place boast a tantalizing menu and drink list, but it also offers one of the best views of the Acropolis as you enjoy your lunch.
Felipe picked a platter with a bit of everything: salmon, bruschetta, capers and red peppers with a creamy dipping sauce. Meanwhile, I opted for one of my all-time favorites: a veggie burger!
Don’t get me wrong, the veggie burger was very good. But the roasted potatoes that came with it were the real star of the show. I have no idea how they did it, but those roasted potatoes were out of this world. Easily the best roasted potatoes I’ve ever had, and I’m not exaggerating.
Next stop: Mount Lycabettus. This is a giant hill that offers an amazing view of Athens after a hike or a cable car ride to the top. For me, the hike was totally worth it. It’s exhausting, hot, and you can expect to get sweaty, but the views on the way up are just as good–if not better–than the views at the very top.
We went for sunset and arrived just in the nick of time. We got there a solid 45 minutes before the sunset, and it was already packed. We managed to snag one of the last spots along the railing to get a prime view of the sunset. The view was incredible–and check out that sweet farmer’s tan I’m already starting to develop 😉
We took the funicular back down to the bottom and then headed back to our place to change. We had made reservations at Chocolat Royal, the perfect way to end our jam-packed day of sightseeing.
We were running a bit late, so we ended up taking a taxi ride to the restaurant instead of walking. It was cheap (just 4 Euro!), and after practically wearing our shoes out from walking so much all day, it made me wonder why we had avoided taking taxis earlier in the day.
Everything about this restaurant was amazing: the views, the wine, the food, the service. It was a hidden gem nestled into the perfect location and was mostly populated by locals rather than tourists.
We split a Greek salad as an appetizer along with some delicious assorted breads and dips. I had a ravioli dish as my main meal and, while Felipe always complains that my food is better than his, this was one rare instance where this wasn’t the case. He ordered the honey-roasted pork with sangria and rosemary and was practically licking the plate by the end of his meal.
All in all, while we were so impressed with all the food in Athens, Felipe summed this restaurant up pretty well when he said that it was one of the absolute best meals he had enjoyed in a long time.
If you’re headed to Athens, I recommend penciling this place into the end of your day for a satisfying and delicious meal to round out your trip.
Day Three: Thursday
Our flight out of Athens was pretty early so we didn’t have a lot of time to spare, but we did want to squeeze in one last meal before leaving. We settled on City Zen, a rooftop bar and restaurant with yet another amazing rooftop view (can you ever get sick of it?) and some delicious brunch options.
We went with a Mediterranean tramezzeni, a wrap that featured ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, olives and feta, plus some tea, coffee and orange juice.
This place is definitely worth a visit if you have the time to spare. It had a pretty expansive menu, so you could stop here pretty much any time of the day for a quick bite or just grab a cocktail and enjoy the view.
With our stomachs full and our taste buds happy, we packed our bags and hopped in an Uber to head to the airport, ready to go to our next destination: Mykonos!
Hope you enjoyed this Athens trip recap! Stay tuned for the next part of my recap with all the details on our time in Mykonos, featuring plenty of beaches, sights, and–of course–even more good food.