Athens, Greece- one city I was excited to visit, as it boasts an abundance of history, culture, architecture, mythology and philosophy. I love London, but summers are disappointing and I always crave for warmer days, so I jumped at the opportunity of visiting Athens with Visa.
I remember Athens from my high school days, its stories and mythology had always fascinated me plus it was the birth place of so many things: democracy, which means literally, rule by the people, the first stadium, Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro literal translation "beautiful marble"), it is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble, place of birth of the Olympic games. The modern Olympic Games were based on the ancient Greek Olympiad which is documented as far back as 776 BCE. For 1000 years, the ancient games were held at Olympia in honor of Zeus, the king of the gods in Greek mythology.
I left cloudy and cold London without any Euros on me, I dont usually carry cash with me when getting around the city so it didnt feel like a novelty to go on holiday without it, plus I could always check Visa Travel App to find the nearest cash point. The weather didn't disappoint and I enjoyed 48 hours of sunshine and over 35℃.
There are so many cool neighbourhoods and places to see in Athens- starting from the Acropolis standing tall above the entire city and from where you can see as far as the sea- and one is also spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a great place to eat. 48 hours are definitely not enough, however it was a sufficient time for me to realise a few things: Athenians are very friendly, Athens is a city best explored walking, I need to go back and add a few more days to my visit so I can spend some time in one of the islands.
Where I ate:
- Filippou, 19 Xenokratous | Kolonaki, Athens 106 75, Greece. This is an old taverna-restaurant opened in 1923, good service and delicious food, if you want to sit on the terrace I would recommend booking.
- Philos Athens 32 Solonos str. 10673 Athens, Greece. Recommended by more than one person when I asked where I should eat in Athens and now I couldn't recommend this place enough myself: a concept store with the most stunning interior, friendly service and superb brunch. I would love to have it as my local in London.
- Nisos Marina Flisvou | Marina Flisvou, Paleo Faliro, Athens 175 61, Greece. One of the places people recommended I watch the sunset was Floisvos Marina, this restaurant is just the perfect spot to enjoy some food whilst watching the sun goes down. I enjoyed fried calamari from the fresh fish selection and it didn't disappoint.
Where to find great coffee
Taf - small and cosy cafe, perfect for a pit stop.
Places I visited
I spent a morning at the Acropolis Museum admiring the great collection its house, learning about how the Pantheon was built and generally re-learning about its history. The entire museum is built on top of a archaeological site, The occasionally transparent floor provides a view of the archaeological excavation, while its upward slope alludes to the ascent to the Acropolis.
I took advantage of the museum restaurant to enjoy lunch on the terrace admiring the view on the Acropolis and the Pantheon, aside the great view, lunch was not amazing, so I would suggest grabbing a coffee instead if you want to sit outside.
I got lost wandering around the streets of Plaka and stumbled across the prettiest scene: a man sitting outside a busy restaurant enjoying his coffee, the street framed by beautiful flowers. I must have stood there for a good 5 minutes capturing it with my phone and, then, my camera, whilst he was oblivious to it.
Many suggested I watched the change of the guards at the Parliament near Syntagma Square, I didnt have a chance, so I decided to spend a few hours in the National Gardens and Zappeion, major scene for some of the most significant moments in the country’s history, it has always been integrally linked to the Olympic Games. Even though its uses were varied – from the Olympic Games village and a hospital to a storehouse and even serving as barracksnow used for meetings and ceremonies, both official and private.
Where I stayed
Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel is centrally located, situated at the foot of the Acropolis hill, and with friendly staff.
Disclaimer: this post has been written in partnership with Visa, views are my own and places featured in the post are not sponsored by Visa.