One Day in Athens

Athens - stadium -
Athens from afar | the stadium

In a city that has been around for as long as Athens, you are guaranteed a rather spectacular glimpse of ancient history. Construction on the Acropolis started some time between 460 and 429 BC, and artifacts found here, dates back to the Neolithic Era. The Acrpololis was aptly named- ‘Acro’ means ‘high’, and ‘polis’ means city- and to this day, the Acropolis enjoys some of the best views of the city we today know as Athens.

At Athens, wise men propose, and fools dispose.
– Alcuin

When travelling to the Greek islands, chances are you’re going to stop over in Athens. From here, you’re just a short flight away from Santorini, Mykonos and Corfu- to name just 3 of the 227 inhabited islands of Greece. If ever you find yourself in this ancient city, take time to discover some of the ancient and modern secrets of Athens.

The truth about being a tourist, Acropolis, Athens, Greece- thegoodgreeff.jpg
The truth about being a tourist – the Acropolis | Athens | Greece

What To Pack

Visiting this city in the heat of summer is absolutely for the brave.  When temperatures soar to 40°C it gets tricky to keep to the smart-casual dress-code the city maintains. The men are dressed smartly, and the ladies are not afraid to show a bit of skin.

As with any major tourist destination, you could possibly disappear in the masses of hiking boots, backpacks, head bands and reflective active-sunglasses, but we firmly believe in living like a local. Dress up just a bit and take a chic sunhat and some great sunglasses to wear while discovering some great spots sampling local cuisine.

Many of the major sights are perched atop sparsely scattered hilltops around the city. Make sure you have comfortable shoes that can stand the some-what rough terrain when visiting the ruins.

How To Get There

Arrive by air, by water, by rail or by road. Athens airport (Airport code ATH) is situated about 40km ESE from Athens. Although Athens is not situated on the water, Piraeus Port is a mere 10km away. If you are travelling to the islands by water, this is where you will embark. The city is situated on the mainland (Europe), and you can travel by rail or by road. The neighbouring countries to Greece are Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. Italy is also close by, but you’d have to cross the Ionian sea.

What To Eat

As Greek as it comes, try these popular favourites in their home town:

  • Souflaki – Skewered meat.
  • Kebab – Think sausage without the casing, rolled out and flattened with a rolling pin, or a flat, elongated meatball.
  • Mousakka – Lasagne made with aubergine instead of pasta, topped with béchamel and cheese.
  • Tzatziki – Dipping sauce made with yogurt, cucumber and garlic.
  • Dolmathakia/ dolmades – flavoured rice wrapped in grape leaves.
  • Spanakopita – Spinach, cheese and filo pastry.
  • Baklava – a sweet treat with honey nuts and filo pastry.
  • Loukoumades – think doughnut holes served with honey or sprinkled with icing sugar.

What To Drink

  • Ouzo – anise flavoured aperitif.
  • Ouzito – Think Ouzo margarita
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Retsina – A resinated wine drink. The flavour comes from Aleppo Pine resin which is said to have been used to seal the wine barrels as long as 2000 years ago.
  • Tsipouro – Strong, distilled pomace brandy containing 40%-45% alcohol.
  • Metaxa – A brandy-like spirit with aged muscat wine and a secret botanical infusion.

Things To See And Do

  • Parthenon
  • Acropolis
  • Acropolis Museum –
  • Kolonaki – packed with shopping opportunities, bars and cafés. (beware of the ‘designer-inspired’ stores)
  • Temple of Hephaestus
  • There is a myriad of city and walking tours you can pick and chooses from.
  • Piraeus – the harbour of Athens, and one of the largest in the world. Some great spots for seafood with a more relaxed atmosphere than the city.
  • Mount Lycabettus – for the views

If ever you make your way to Greece, make sure to stop by Athens. The city that is a little worse for wear, still offers some of the best local cuisine a weary traveler can hope for. The weather is warm and sunny and the views aren’t half bad either…

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