Athens – my kind of a city

Hi guys! We just came back from a 10 days trip to Greece YAAAY. We’ve spent 3 days in Athens and 7 more days in Chalkida. However, this blog post is solely about Athens and I have to warn you… lots of pictures will be shown in here.

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Ok, so… what about Athens? Oh well, for me, Athens is just perfect. I really mean it. It’s our 5th time visiting the city. A little bit awkward right? Why visiting this city so many times? Because we love everything about it! It’s a city we could visit again and again. In fact, we could even see ourselves living here. We like it that much!

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It’s all about the mixture of history with the ancient sites such as Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora etc… combined with the graffiti that is all over Athens and also including the super delicious food aaaand as an extra topping… the people. Because man… how I love the Greeks!

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How did this trip happen? Well, we’ve had our Sicily tour back in June, but we still felt that we needed more sun and more “vitamin sea” added to this summer.

And because we have our Greek nephew living in Chalkida, we decided to visit him… again :D. But first, we wanted to spend some days in Athens. Until now, we’ve visited Athens only as one-day trips from Chalkida so we wanted more this time… We wanted to really get to feel the vibe of the city!

So we booked our Ryanair flights (175 Euros in total for husband and I – round trip tickets). Two weeks before leaving, my cousin also decided to join us so she booked the same flight. More people, more fun YUHUUU. At 15:30 we were landing in Athens ^^

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PS: I think Ryanair should really learn to clean up their windows, right?

We stayed at Petaluda (rated as “Very Good 8.5” on Booking) – the rooms are in a neoclassical building, 250 m from Victoria Metro Station and it’s more like an airbnb, not a hotel… but very spacious and clean. The owner was super nice and prepared our breakfast every morning… Awww! What did I just tell you about the Greeks?

We initially paid 70 Euros for 2 nights and when my cousin decided to join us, we added an extra bed and paid a total of 90 Euros for 3 persons. The location is also very good, only 2 stops to Monastiraki (city center) by metro. Therefore, I really recommend this place if you are on a budget and still want to stay somewhere nice and be close to the city center!

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About the public transportation… Well, our nephew and his girlfriend picked us up from the airport with their personal car. Lucky us!

However, as you may see in the picture above, the metro line 3 runs from the airport to the city center stations of Syntagma and Monastiraki. The trip takes 45 minutes and costs 10 Euros. The metro station is a 5 minute walk from baggage claim and elevators are available. There are both machines and ticket windows staffed with people.

Also, if you’re arriving or departing at night, then the bus is a good alternative to the metro as it runs 24/7. The buses are X97, X96, X95 or X93 and are cheaper than the metro.

A single ticket in the city costs 1.40 Euros (90-min ticket for all modes), excluding the airport route, of course. More information about the public transportation you’ll find here.

Finally, here starts our DAY 1. After we checked in and changed our clothes we went directly to eat some… GYROSSS

We have our favorite place to eat Gyros in Athens and this restaurant is named Smile. The prices are very reasonable, considering that the restaurant is very close to the Acropolis. A gyro is 3 Euros and one big Mythos beer is 3 Euros as well.

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Cheers! Ahh there is another super nice thing about this restaurant! They have some white pebbles you can color and leave them there as a cute memory. They have thousands of pebbles colored by people from all over the world. Oh and we even found our pebble from 2016. Yaaay

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From there we just went for a walk in the Acropolis area, drank some more beers, ate some ice-cream and photographed some cats, of course :)) Athens is full of cats, they’re just everywhere!

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This is how the Athenians live, they are so relaxed and I really think their motto is “Don’t worry, be happy”… although they’ve had and still have their political problems. ;(

After more walking around, we found ourselves in the middle of Pittaki Street, next to the Little Kook Café. This street aims to transport you into a total fairy-tale… you feel like you’re Alice in Wonderland over there. You even expect to see the rabbit just around the corner inviting you to have some tea… trust me!

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That night, we decided to go out because a very well-known Romanian DJ was playing at Terraza Club (entry price – 10 Euros each). It was a blast!

After the party, we wandered the city until dawn and then walked back to the accommodation when we finally decided to go to bed for a few hours. It was just about time, wasn’t it? zzzZZZZzzZZZZzz

DAY 2. Me and my cousin woke up in the morning, had our breakfast and went directly to the Acropolis. The rest of the guys didn’t join us because they wanted to sleep a bit more, being tired from the other night.

We took the metro until the Acropolis and then we waited in line for approximately 15 minutes before buying our tickets to see this ancient marvel. It was not my first time visiting the Acropolis, but I’m never getting bored of the extraordinary view up there. You can literally visualize the entire city!

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We bought a multi-site ticket that costs 30 Euros per person. The ticket is valid for five consecutive days and it gives access to the Acropolis and six of the other must see archaeological sites in Athens, including the Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library and the Roman Agora. More info about the tickets you’ll find here.

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This ancient citadel is located on an extremely rocky outcrop above the city and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon.

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The Theatre of Dionysus is a major theatre in Athens, built at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis. Dedicated to Dionysus, the god of plays and wine, the theatre could seat as many as 17,000 people with excellent acoustics. It was the first stone theatre ever built.

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The remains of a restored and redesigned Roman version can still be seen at the site today. It is sometimes confused with the later, smaller, and better-preserved Odeon of Herodes Atticus, located nearby on the southwest slope of the Acropolis.

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Also, from the Acropolis you can see the Temple of the Olympian Zeus which is a monument of Greece and a former colossal temple at the center of the Greek capital. It was dedicated to Olympian Zeus, a name originating from his position as head of the Olympian gods.

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Oh and here’s another must-see place in Athens -> Mount Lycabettus. Well, this isn’t exactly a mountain, it’s actually a hill at 300 meters (908 feet) above sea level. Pine trees cover its base, and at its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant named Orizontes.

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The hill is a tourist destination and can be ascended by the Lycabettus Funicular. The railway station can be found at Aristippou street.

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Mythologically, Lycabettus is credited to Athena, who created it when she dropped a limestone mountain she had been carrying from the Pallene peninsula for the construction of the Acropolis.

After spending a couple of hours on the Acropolis, my cousin and I decided to go back to the accommodation, change our clothes, wake up the other guys and go somewhere to eat because we were literally starving being already noon.

So said, so done. This time, we chose a restaurant near Plaka – Monastiraki. I don’t recall the name of the restaurant, shame on me… However, the prices were also very good.

After we ate, me and my cousin went visiting The Ancient Agora because it was really close to where we were at that point and it was included in our Acropolis full ticket.

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After taking 7239873 pictures that day, my camera went off battery ;( Oh boy oh boy! Panic! Well, actually I didn’t panic because I had my charger with me and asked the guys from the restaurant we ate before, to keep my battery charger connected for 1 hour. Meanwhile, we just wandered through the Plaka market.

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Here as well, I have another favorite place where I buy authentic handmade leather sandals. I buy a pair every year when visiting Athens and I always go to the shop wearing the sandals I bought the previous year :)) So yeah, this means they’re super well made! Of course I bought a new pair this year as well haha.

After recovering my battery, we stopped a bit and been thinking where to go that evening. Hmmmm….

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And then… BAMMMM… it hit us! We started the GPS and off we went to Lycabettus Hill. We didn’t use the funicular because we had our nephew’s car. You can drive the car until you find a big parking lot which is at an intermediate level. There, you’ll find some benches where you can admire the view. A lot of young Athenians are hanging around there all night, drinking beers and having fun. So this is exactly what we did! We bought some wine, found a nice spot and enjoyed the night view over Athens. It was great!

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We also climbed the top of the hill to admire the view from the highest point and I can tell you that it’s really worth the effort. You can go up there only by foot after you’re parking the car, but it’s just a 10 minutes walk. Nothing too hard, trust me.

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After spending a couple of hours up there, we decided to go back to the accommodation, being a little tired after such a long long day. So here ends our DAY 2

DAY 3. Our nephew and his girlfriend needed to go back in Chalkida at noon, because they had to attend a baptism in their family. Cousin, husband and I decided to remain in Athens and catch a later train for Chalkida. We were still having a lot more to see!

First, we started by wandering through Psirri neighborhood. It’s full of nice restaurants and nice… graffiti. I will just let the pictures speak for themselves!

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Afterwards, we wandered through the Plaka neighborhood. Another beautiful place with many restaurants and very good vibe!

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Also, from the Plaka neighborhood, you’ll find a great spot to photograph the Ancient Agora. Looks great, right?

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Next stop: The Areopagus which is a prominent rock outcropping located northwest of the Acropolis. Its English name is the composite form of the Greek name Areios Pagos, translated “Ares Rock”. In classical times, this was the place where the elders of Ancient Athens met for law making.

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At night, the rock is overtaken by the teenagers of Athens – grab a cold Mythos from a periptero (“kiosk” in Greek) on your way up and join in the crowd for a spectacular nighttime view of Athens. However, be careful when climbing the rock, because is slippery and you can easily get injured. Below are some photos taken from Areopagus. Enjoy!

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We also tried to find the Anafiotika neighborhood. I’ve read about being very beautiful and different from the rest of the city. We managed to find something, but not quite what I was looking for. Oh well, maybe next time!

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Next stop: Temple of Olympian Zeus. We didn’t use any public transportation, we just walked around the city. The sites are not that far from each other so the walk through the city is very enjoyable. This site was also included in our Acropolis full ticket.

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Then, we walked through the National Garden (formerly the Royal Garden) which is a public park of 15.5 hectares in the center of Athens. It is located directly behind the Greek Parliament building.

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Oh and turtles. You’ll find lots of big turtles wandering around the park. Soooo so cute!

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We then walked by the Parliament Building and went back to Monastiraki. We still had few hours to spend before catching our train to Chalkida so we thought it was a good idea to have one last drink in some place with beautiful views over Athens.

One perfect spot for this is for sure the place named “A for Athens”which is practically an urban hotel in the city center, right next to the Monastiraki square. On top of this hotel you’ll find a beautiful terrace with such an extraordinary view. Sounds good, right?

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The rooftop was full, we couldn’t find a place to stay but at least I took a great shot up there. TADAAAAA

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After that, we found another cute terrace where we stayed awhile before taking the metro until Larissa Station. From there, we had our train to Chalkida. The ticket price was 6.50 Euros per person and the ride lasted about an hour and a half, as I recall.

So that’s all folks! Bye bye my beautiful Athens! See you soon! Sooner than you’ll imagine!

Things we didn’t do, but maybe YOU’ll do:

  1. visit the Panathenaic Stadium (absolutely forgot about it. OOOPS)
  2. visit the Acropolis Museum (not a museum kind of girl shhh)
  3. visit the Piraeus Port (been there in the previous years so we skipped it this time)
  4. go to the beach (try Glyfada – 30 minutes away from the city center)

Until next time,

Andreea.

  • Our stay in Athens: 08.09.2017 – 10.09.2017
  • Bucharest – Athens and return flight: Ryanair 175 Euros
  • Accommodation: Petaluda 60 Euros
  • Total: 235 Euros as a couple

 

3 thoughts on “Athens – my kind of a city

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