Travel Diary: Athens
Welcome! Happy Friday! I hope you're all staying warm and indoors. I am wearing my winter jacket, scarf, and hat indoors while listening to Christmas music, if anyone was wondering where I'm at today.
This post is the first of my three part travel diary following the 9 days I spent in Greece last month. First up: Athens.
I must admit, Athens was mainly planned to be our port of travel into Greece and to the islands but we ended up spending two delightful days soaking up the sun, plenty of wine, and some history.
Where To Stay:
The New Hotel, Athens
Filellinon 16, Athina 105 57
Why stay at The New Hotel?
1. Stellar service. Everyone at the hotel was wonderful. They made us feel right at home, offering lots of help and suggestions on how to spend our two days in the city.
2. The hotel smells a m a z i n g. I know this probably sounds a little funny, but it was all very inviting.
3. The New Hotel is filled with quirky art, from entire walls made up of table legs, to a retro phone booth on the lower level, to modern mirror art in the hotel bathrooms. Each suite at the hotel also has murals from different artists plastered across at least one major wall.
4. The breakfast bar is delicious, almost overwhelmingly so. They have your standard breakfast fare, and then some traditional Greek bits and pieces, which made my favourite meal of the day that much better.
5. They have a beautiful rooftop lounge overlooking a different view of the city than what you'll typically get.
6. It's located within 12 minutes walking distance of everything you would want and need to see in a weekend. We only took a taxi once on our way to the airport.
7. All round, it's a complete 5-star experience and I can't thank The New Hotel enough for hosting us and making sure we were well taken care of.
Visit their website here.
What To See:
1. Plaka - Walk through the streets of the Plaka neighbourhood. The best way to discover it is to get lost in it (and grab some gelato along the way). Keep reading below in the Where To Eat & Drink section to find out where to get the best gelato.
2. The Acropolis - I don't consider myself to be one for history and typical tourist spots but the Acropolis is definitely something. Wear appropriate footwear because the marble steps on the way up can be very slippery - a few people around us even fell while trying to get to the top. Also, unless you're visiting in the peak of summer it can get extremely windy up there so carry a scarf and a hair tie.
3. Anafiotika - Even if you're not keen on trekking up to the Acropolis, do it for the view on the other side once you reach Anafiotika. Be sure to map it or ask someone along the way to point you in the right direction. A good landmark is the restaurant Psaras Taverna.
4. Syntagma Square - Syntagma square can be an absolute mess of tourists, but they have some great restaurants and bars to choose from, where you get a great view of Acropolis and the hill leading up to it.
Where To Eat & Drink:
1. Psaras Taverna - Traditional Greek food with the most darling view of the neighbourhood below - Anafiotika. Psaras is a great place to people watch while enjoying a traditional Greek salad and the most tender lamb stew.
2. Coco's Gelato - This place is hard to miss while walking around Plaka on Nikis Street. The salesman at the front is 1) amazing at his job 2) will let you sample some of the delicious honey they sell in-store (think thyme, lavender, and more). To the side of the honey station is a gelato bar and there's fro-yo in the back too. Do yourself a favour and get the chocolate orange flavour.
3. A for Athens Rooftop Bar - We liked this place so much we visited on both of our days in the city. The view is unbeatable, drinks are not too expensive, and the music and overall vibe is great. It can be difficult to find a table as it gets quite crowded around sunset, so go early.
4. The Clumsies - This was by far the coolest spot we visited in Athens. The decor is dark and moody with neon signs lighting up random corners. The menu includes crafty drinks like "Euphoria", "Hydrogen", "Anarchy", and about 30 more with descriptions of the inspiration behind each. "Metamorphosis" was my absolute favourite. Try and get a seat at the bar to see how their peculiar drinks are made - it's a show worth seeing.
5. AVOID: Nolan - One of the restaurants that was highly recommended on multiple blogs was Nolan and I have to say we were pretty disappointed. The ambiance is great and the food sounded great but we ordered three of their sharing style dishes and each of them came to us twenty minutes apart at lukewarm to cold temperature, which put a damper on the whole experience. The service was good but the cold food just was not worth their price point.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this quick roundup of where to stay, what to see, and where to eat and drink in Athens. Hopefully it will come in handy if and when any of you plan a trip to Greece! Feel free to send us a message on Instagram for more suggestions.
1 down, 2 to go...
Next up: Mykonos!