Why Everyone Needs to Visit Athens

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Athens, Greece

The underrated city

Before heading to Athens, I was warned many times about the awful conditions and safety concerns, some articles even referring to it as post-apocalyptic. What no one told me about was that the people are so warm and welcoming, the streets are rich with history and it certainly has it’s pretty moments. Tell someone you like Athens and they’ll think you’re crazy. I will admit there are pretty terrible areas, just like with any city. But it also has it’s beautiful parts, just like any city.

You would expect it to be run down, it is after all one of the oldest named cities in the world. Nearly everything you see is ancient. Coming from Australia, a country with a history that only extends back only a few hundred years, it’s surreal to see medieval remnants on every corner.

I always like to keep an open mind when visiting any country. I take anything written in the media with a grain of salt. Athens was one of the places that surprised me most, so I wanted to share it with you guys, as always.

Although there are many pretty parts in Athens, I wouldn’t call it a pretty city, instead it’s chaotic and fun. It can feel luxurious, decayed, as well as frantic and stylish. It’s intense, in a way that makes you feel alive. You just have to know where to go and where to stay.

So why should you consider visiting Athens? Before making any assumptions that it is merely a pit stop, let me show you a side of the city you might have not known otherwise.

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The Food

The gyros, the Greek salads, the fresh fruit… the food is incredible all over Athens. Despite the city essentially being in the middle of a dessert, the quality of fruit and vegetables are nothing like I’ve ever tasted before. If you head to Monastiraki square during dinner, it is ALIVE. The alley named Mitropoleos is lined with lively restaurants that are packed with local Athenians and serve good inexpensive food. It’s my favourite part of Athens. If you continue walking down that alley, you will stumble upon restaurants lined with fairy lights, white picket fences & palm trees. Truly charming. Here’s a few of my favourite places.

Dinner in the Sky This place is LITERALLY what it says it is. I don’t know why hardly anyone knows of this considering it’s such an amazing experience. In the centre of Athens, a table of 22 people plus chefs, are quite literally lifted up 50 metres into the air. Just make sure to book on the website beforehand!

Eleas Gi – For great service, incredible food & a beautiful view over the city. The setting is almost surreal, perfect for both lunch and dinner!

Bairaktaris – If you’re looking to try some authentic Greek gyros, look no further than Bairaktaris. It’s located in Monastiraki square, the perfect setting to grab some takeaway and sit around the benches nearby. Plus, at 1.80 euro, you can’t really go wrong.

Cinque Wine & Deli Bar – I didn’t get a chance to visit this for myself but have heard rave reviews about it so I thought I’d share it with you all. This modest family run bar is not much to see at first, but it’s hospitality, service and food will win you over. From what I’ve heard from many travelers, the staff make you feel right at home and I mean, can you really have a bad time tasting cheese and wine? Get there early as this place becomes very popular at night!

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The History

Athens has been the center of Greek civilization for some 4,000 years. As I mentioned earlier, it is literally one of the oldest named cities in the world dating back to 3000 BC! The earliest buildings date from the late Bronze Age, about 1200 BC, when part of the town spread to the south of the citadel on the Acropolis. The Acropolis and the Parthenon were both built in the 5th century, democracy originated from Athens in 500 BC, theatre first started in Athens, as well as the Olympic Games. It is without doubt the historical capital of Europe.

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Shopping

It feels like the shopping in Athens in never ending at times but I’m not complaining one bit. When I went past the Monastiraki flea market, it was hard to comprehend just how much there was. But I’m not complaining, I absolutely LOVE the shopping in Athens and again, I feel like it’s so underrated. The markets and shops around Monastiraki square are my favourite to explore. Make sure you grab yourself a takeaway Mojito whilst you’re strolling around! You’ll find purses, woodwork, leather sandals, clothes, jewelry, accessories, food, and other random bits & bobs. It’s the exact same things you’ll find on the Greek islands, but for half the price.

Sitting close to Syntagma Square, The Attica Department Store is Athens’ most luxurious and exclusive department store. Basically, it’s an eight-floor, 300,00 square foot (!!) shopping UTOPIA featuring designer boutiques and international brands.

For something a little different, visit Metaxa street in Glyfada, located right on the seafront. It’s one of the busiest shopping streets in town with fresh seafood restaurants nearby for afterwards!

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Nightlife

Athens is the city that never, ever sleeps, so you’ll never be short of nightlife options. I’ve had people tell me that Athens has no nightlife or it is unsafe for travelers, and that could not be further from the truth. From Spring to Summer, Athens comes alive with rooftop terraces and beer gardens. It almost feels a little dreamlike – sipping on a mojito whilst overlooking the Acropolis all lit up. I’ve left a few of my recommendations that I think you’re all going to love as much as I do!

A for Athens

If you’re looking for a rooftop cocktail bar overlooking the Acropolis and Athens skyline, it doesn’t get much better than this. Drinks are a bit pricey but the atmosphere completely makes up for it. All the cocktails were fun and flavourful but the Mango Swizzle was my favourite! Get in early as this place gets real packed after dark.

Galaxy Bar

Rated among the best in the world, Galaxy Bar is located on the 13th floor of the Athens Hilton Hotel. It’s a modern cosmopolitan bar, serving many creative cocktails with a stunning view of the Acropolis to the sea of Piraeus.

Bios terrace

A very urban multi-leveled building hosting a theatre, art gallery, bar and cafe. It’s definitely a must-see if you have a spare night in Athens. The fact they serve ice-cream cocktails completely sold me, but if you’re still not won over, the view and setting just might!

Brettos

Brettos is said to be Europe’s second oldest bar and is the oldest distillery in Plaka with over 100 years of operation. Even if you stop in for an ouzo or wine, you can’t miss the colourful bottles and lights that decorate the walls.

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Why Everyone Should Visit Athens, Greece

Hospitality

The hospitality in Athens is some of the best I have ever experienced, so much so that I felt necessary to mention it. From bartenders and waiters, to shop keepers and receptionists, everyone goes out of their way to make you feel so warm and welcome. I learned that hospitality has always been taken very seriously by the Greeks since Ancient times, as the Gods themselves were thought to protect strangers. They feel compelled to provide the best hospitality, even if it is beyond their financial means.

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Where to Stay

ATHENS ACCOMMODATION
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A for Athens Bedroom

I’ve stayed in more than a few hotels in Athens now, and while they were all individually nice hotels, nothing quite compares to A for Athens. The hotel staff are so warm and friendly, they made us feel right at home after 10 hours of traveling. The rooms are modern, incredibly spacious and well kept. It’s located in Monastiraki square, less than a minute walk from the shops and restaurants, which is exactly where you want to stay in Athens. If you’re interested in the Acropolis, it’s in walking distance from the hotel. They also have a rooftop bar that serves food and cocktails with a stunning view of the Acropolis.

Why Everyone Should Visit Athens, Greece

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Have you ever been to Athens? Is somewhere you’ve ever considered? Would love to hear your opinions!
  • Sofia

    I am absolutely in love with your blog! Athens looks amazing.
    And I must thank you because I’m going to Paris this summer and that post about the 50 things you must do in Paris was amazing!

    Sofia | theglamchapter.blogspot.com

    • Oh thank you so much Sofia, so sweet of you to say! Indeed it is :) so happy my post could help you, have the best time in Paris! xx

      • Sofia

        Thank you lovely! x

  • Stunning pictures – really captures the whole rustic Greek vibe. Your post was also very raw and descriptive, I must admit I do like exploring places that aren’t as popular with tourists – really gives you a chance to discover somewhere new and unspoilt.

    http://www.thedigitalreview.co.uk/“>The Digital Review

    • That means so much, thank you! :) xx

  • Gorgeous pictures! Athen’s hasn’t really been on my radar but now I really want to go! x

    • Thank you Sarah!! I think everyone needs to experience it at least once :) xx

  • missgetaway

    Oh I’ve always wanted to go to Athens. It looks like such a beautiful place. Love it!

    Love, Kerstin
    http://www.missgetaway.com/

    • There are so many beautiful things about it! Thanks so much for reading Kerstin & I hope you get to visit soon :) xx

  • Ashley Christabelle

    Oh my gosh, it is a dream of mine to go to Athens! Looks so gorgeous. :) x

    http://www.ashrealasitgets.blogspot.com

    • Oh I hope you get to see it for yourself soon!! An amazing city it is xx

  • This was such an interesting post! We do hear bad things about Athens, but as you stressed very well it’s such an ancient city that it is without a doubt a great place to visit. I’m glad you spoke about why we should visit Athens, it has made me want to go even more! It is a goal of mine to see the Ancient Greeks remains there at the Acropolis, it’s a sight we wouldn’t see anywhere else. The food must be amazing as well!
    Your way of describing the city reminds me Palermo, capital of Sicily, which I’ve visited a couple months ago. It’s exactly the same time of city – authentic, thousands of years old, full of life and good food! :)

    Julia x
    Last post: Bloggers vs. Perfection | http://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.fr/2016/07/perfection-is-just-concept.html

    • I’m so happy you agree, Julia! It’s definitely somewhere I think everyone should visit at least once for the history alone. Ohh Palermo has been on my bucket list for so so long! It looks like such an incredible city :) xx

  • Athens is a beautiful city, and some area are even magical ! It’s true Athen’s that reputation is not very positive, but as you say you have to take this with a grain of salt and make our own opinion
    http://www.nobletandem.com

    • Couldn’t agree more with you Sophie! :) xx

  • Iliana Mac

    I was born and lived all my life in Athens (I’m 20 years old) and I have to say that if you know where to look for fun and have good friends with you, you’ll never feel disapointed, you will always have fun, great memories, and amazing views stuck in your mind <3 Love from Athens x

    • So true – you just need to know where to look and where to stay! Thanks so much for commenting lovely :) xx

  • Your travel post are so perfect! You put in all the right information and they look amazing, constantly so amazed with your blog content :)

    elwillmer.blogspot.co.uk
    xx

    • Aw you are SO sweet :) thank you!! That means the world to me xx

  • Glenna Rose Kontopuls

    LOVE Athens! My husband and I go each summer to visit his family. It definitely gets a bad rap, but I could wander the medieval streets and lanes for days. It’s a little gritty, like the 70s-era NYC of my imagination, but it is authentic and real. Easter is THE BEST time to visit; cooler weather, more flowers in bloom, the streets are deserted because most Athenians went to the islands for the biggest Orthodox holiday of the year.

    glennarosegoes.com

    • YES! It gets the worst rap, but it really is so special. That’s exactly how I imagine it :) Ooh thank you for the suggestion!! I will keep that in mind Glenna :) xx

  • Rhea Taylor

    Your blog is absolutely stunning! It makes me dream bigger both fashion and travel. Thank u for sharing a beautiful blog!

    http://www.myarmsaroundtheworld.com

  • Betsy Traynor Collins

    The photo of the three pink doors in Athens (I believe) is absolutely stunning and I’d love to visit the area on an upcoming trip to Greece. Do you by chance remember about where they were?