feature: Athens city guide
Athens gives an entirely new spin to what we know of a classical city. We're fascinated by the beauty encapsulated through ancient ruins. To picture what it was like to live amongst them during their prime, wondering if people during the time would know that we'd be treasuring these broken pieces of marble structures now, so far along in history. Athens has some of the most admirable ancient landmarks, which reflect some of mans best advancements in political and societal culture, but unlike other ancient cities, Athens truly packs a punch. From roaring drinking spots that keep going til dawn to trendy takes on the Greek classic, Souvlaki. It's seriously the best of both worlds.
Finding a good Airbnb in Athens is very easy. The main areas to visit for food, drinks and seeing the sights are in the city centre between Plaka and Monastiraki so all the neighbouring areas would be a win. If you can see the Acropolis from your window than you're good to go! We ended up in the Mets neighbourhood, near the Panathenaic Stadium, which is a 15 minute lovely stroll to Plaka.
One part of our trip that we were most excited about were the food and drink spots! We got some great recommendations from our friends who were born and raised Anthenians. The people in Athens are super proud of the city and love to give suggestions of where to go, what to eat and even what to pass, so be sure to ask around for local tips!
Just north of Monastiraki in Omonia we found the best Greek yoghurt in town. Stani has been in business since 1931 and offers a selection of milk produced dishes such as rice pudding and yoghurt. They also offer a great range of Baklava. Just to mention, Baklava with pistachios is the only way! Garnished with roasted walnuts and heaps of local honey, this heavenly yoghurt dish is called Yiaourti me meli and was probably invented by the greek gods themselves. And for the best meaty, creamy, spicy, most delicious Souvlaki? You need to go for Kostas. In the business for over 65 years, this cute little place is easily missed as it's found down a little side road in Syntagma. Choose between chicken and pork topped with delicious Tzatziki and the freshest tomatoes and parsley. The shop is long and narrow and gets pretty packed so be sure to keep an eye out for this famous Souvlaki joint!
There's so much to do from the ancient ruins to wandering through the museums that explain to history of them all. All the finest details can be discovered exploring the pottery museums as well as some of the oldest residential buildings in the city. We visited the Benaki Museaum, full of portraits, Greek folkore clothing and ancient potteries that served all past time practices for the locals. Luckily, we visited on the Thursday and all the main exhibitions are free on this day! So be sure to keep that one in mind when planning your visit. We also visited just in time to see the changing of the guards near the Presidential Mansion on our exit from the museum.
My advice would be to space out your tours through the week. There's a lot to cover and it can get pretty hot. You'd want to balance out the ancient sites with cute lunch spots and foodie hits. There's a greta combo tour ticket that last 5 days and it only costs €30. You can visit the Acropolis and other major sites with the tickets and can space the visits out thorugh the week. If you end up cramming it all into two days, like me, then it might be right to take a trip out to the coast for the remainder of your time in the city. There's a beautiful new building located in Kallithea which has great sunset views and is a favourited spot for local Anthiens! The Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre is used to host operas and is great at getting locals to come together and stay fit. The centre runs sunset Yoga sessions and water sport activities in the canal just outside the space. We visited late in the afternoon, just in time for the spectacular sunset views on the roof!
Our journey in Athens ended, but we were keen to travel somewhere quieter. The super upbeat city vibes of London and Athens are often too similar. You know? So it's always a fun idea to get a different vibe, see the varied lifestyles, and be inspired. We ended up on Andros Island. It must be very different off-peak, than it is on. Now in October, it seemed to be very quiet, which was perfect for what we were looking for. But keep this inmind when figuring out what type of holiday you're looking for. We were happy to follow no rules, no schedule. Just to wake up slowly, eat, drink and laze around on the beach and mountains. Andros is two hours away from Athens, we missed the bus and ended up getting a €30 taxi from Athens Airport to the port. You can swap this for a €3 bus if you can catch it! W