Food and Travel Blog!

Food and Travel Blog!

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

History! History! History! As one of the oldest countries in the world Greece is filled with such great history. If you are a history buff, a fan of Greek Mythology, or a person that just likes to travel to places far, far away; Greece is a definite must for you to visit. During my visit to Greece, I was most impressed by the friendliness of the people, the ease of travel throughout the country, and the scrumptious flavors of the food. This trip was a dream trip celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary.

The city of Athens was the first stop during my eight day visit to the country of Greece. If you are going to travel to Greece, I highly recommend that you include multiple cities and islands to visit during your time in Greece. My itinerary included two days in Athens, a three day cruise, and a three day stay on the island of Santorini. Make sure you read the separate blog on  our stay in Santorini.

Where to Stay and Play in Athens

During the two day stay in Athens we stayed in the district of Plaka. Plaka is a very touristy area, but is centrally located to all the historical sites. This area is very pedestrian friendly, and filled with many shops and restaurants to choose from every day. As we walked the narrow streets night and day in the district Plaka, the aroma of delicious foods filled the air. There were many sidewalk cafes with reasonably priced menus. I love sitting down for a meal at these cafes, eating and people watching. It was also nice to have street musicians come up and play a nice song for you while you enjoyed a satisfying meal. Please be aware at the end of the song, the musician will look for a tip.

Our hotel was the Electra Palace Hotel. Upon entering the hotel you notice the large lobby area with a sitting area and fireplace to your right, another sitting area to your left, and the reception desk straight ahead. The ambience and interior decorations made for a nice first impression. The staff was very nice and helpful.

We were able to walk to all of the major historical sites from our hotel; no site was more than two miles away. The rooftop terrace and restaurant of the hotel had an amazing view of the acropolis, and was a perfect place to get some great photos and of course selfies. They even had a designated spot marked for people to take selfies with the Acropolis showing in the background. I also loved the terrace located on the ground level which was where we ate breakfast each morning. The breakfast buffet provided by the hotel was your typical continental breakfast with fruit, breads, pastries, cereal, eggs, and breakfast meat.

Below are a few options on how to get around to see and receive the historical information of Athens.

Guided Tour

You can book a guided tour through a travel agency prior to your arrival, or book a guided tour at your hotel once you arrive. You can choose a full-day tour or half-day tour. Someone from the tour agency will pick you up from your hotel and take you to a bus filled with other tourist. Prior to the start of the actual tour you will ride around for a bit picking up other tourist from designated stops. Once the tour begins your tour guide will introduce himself/herself. Some sites you will only pass by and not have a chance to get out and take pictures, other sites you will have a brief stop to get out and take pictures, but not enough time to actually go inside or walk around. During the half day tour the only site we actually had the opportunity to get out and walk around and explore was the Acropolis. During the tour of the Acropolis the tour guide walked us around and provided us all the historical information, and at the end he released us to explore on our own for about one hour. At the designated time we all met back at the bus, and were dropped off at our various hotels.

The pros of the guided tour is that you receive all of the historical information form an expert/professional tour guide. Moreover, you get to ride all over the city to see where the sites are located if you want to go back on your own and spend more time. The cons of the guided tour is it can be a bit pricey, and you don’t have the opportunity to spend much time at some of the sites, or you just pass by the site. Sometimes  you felt rushed, because of the time schedule.

Hop on Hop Off Bus

The Hop on Hop Off Bus is another option for touring around the city, and is less expensive than the guided tours. This bus stops at all the major sites and provides recorded audio of historical information as you ride around the city of Athens. The great thing about this bus is you can get off take your time to walk around the sites, and hop back on once your done. The buses run about every 15 minutes.

Recommended Place to Eat

If you stay in the district of Plaka, one place I can definitely recommend for a nice very casual dinner is Smile Gyros House. It is located on Mitropoleos Street. We enjoyed the mixed grill with potatoes and a salad. Oh, the flavors that came from the different meats made me do the happy dance. The meal was very, very tasty. Don’t forget to squeeze lemon juice over the meat; Mama Mia!