Greece is such a beautiful country and so rich in history and culture. I think my first exposure to Greek culture was the animated film Hercules. I can’t say that this sparked my interest of visiting Greece but something in fact did spark my interest. I was on Pinterest and making a travel board of destinations I aspired to travel to one day, and came across pictures of Athens and Santorini. I immediately was sold and knew I had to go to Greece.
I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic and believe in fairytale endings. I pinned Santorini and Athens and told myself I was going to go to Santorini for my honeymoon after my wedding. Mind you, I wasn’t in a relationship at the time nor do I still even know if I will get married. Bottomline was that I knew I was going to Greece. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to wait until my honeymoon because I would be going for spring break! I would be spending 12 days in Greece!
Getting to Athens: I left from Madrid, since this is where I’m currently based. I bought my ticket on SwissAir and I HIGHLY recommend flying Swiss. The service is top notch and the chocolates alone won me over. As I mentioned in a previous post, Swiss chocolate lives up to the hype. My ticket was around 300 euro if I remember correctly. I’m sure I could have gotten a better rate had I bought my ticket earlier, but I was still unsure of where I was going and then kind of last minute decided on going to Greece. My advice, plan ahead and always check different websites for deals.
Accommodation: As for most of my trips, I stayed in a hostel. I didn’t particularly care for the one that I stayed in too much, but it was for a very short time so I made do. For hostels I recommend checking hostelworld . It can be a hit or a miss and more times than not, hostels are a hit for me. Really it’s about preference. I personally enjoy staying at hostels especially when traveling alone because it’s an easy way to meet new people and make new friends.
Athens has so much to offer and most of it sits on the Acropolis. Sightseeing in Athens is amazing. To see these structures and know that they were built hundreds of thousands of years ago and are still standing; it’s quite impressive to me.
Walking around Athens really felt like I was walking through history. The architecture of the buildings, seeing ruins and imagining what life in Athens was like. I have to admit that this trip wasn’t an educational trip for me. I was more concerned with sightseeing and taking fabulous photos rather than taking the time to learn about what was around me. Since then, I have educated myself on the sights I was blessed to see. With each site I will give a brief history so that if you visit Athens you’re already a step ahead with your knowledge.
Before I dive into the sights, I have to take a minute to talk about food. I’m one of those people that always has to take photos of my food and has to stop and eat everything in sight. Anybody that knows me, knows that I love food and that I truly enjoy cooking. In short, food makes me happy and I love it and no matter the calories or carbs if it looks good, I’m trying it. I will say though, sometimes I’m reluctant to try new food but most of the time I do end up eating most everything.
Where do I even begin with food. Greek food is definitely one of my favorites. I love Saganaki because I love all things cheese. Shrimp saganaki, lamb, gyros, soulvaki and I could go on for days. If you go to Greece, I highly recommend eating traditional authentic Greek food instead of eating watered down tourist Greek food. Believe there’s a difference. I mostly know this due to my Jamaican upbringing. I remember going to other cities and even some places in Jamaica eating the food and wondering to myself how an establishment could sell this food and say that it was “authentic” Jamaican food. I’m talking jerk chicken that tasted like regular grilled chicken, curry chicken that was bland, and stew chicken that tasted like regular chicken with gravy. I’ve found the best way to find authentic traditional food while traveling is to ASK. Ask the locals on the street where you can get traditional food, ask where they eat, where their friends eat. Another good tool is TripAdvisor. Another good thing to do to find good food that is authentic, is to walk around and observe who is in the restaurants. If there are a lot of local people, chances are you should eat there because the food is going to be AMAZING!
Now for the good stuff, the sights! A couple things to note:
- If you are a student BRING YOUR STUDENT ID— Your ticket will be free with your university ID
- The hours are different in the winter months and summer months. During the winter months hours are 8:30-15:00 (3PM) and during the summer 8:00-19:30 (7:30PM)
- Your ticket gives you access to multiple sites so don’t lose your ticket! For more information about combined tickets and prices click here
- Getting to the Acropolis: You have a few options
- Metro: Take the 2 (red line) and your stop is Akropolis
- Trolley: 1, 5 and 15
- Bus: There are MANY buses you can take
- By foot: From Syntagma Square, follow Filellinon Street to Vasilissis Amalias Avenue, until you meet the walkway of Dionysiou Aeropagitou. Follow it all the way up and you will see the Acropolis on your right hand side.
I spent my first few days in Athens before leaving for Santorini and made the mistake of thinking that the Acropolis would be open until the evening. I was wrong and didn’t think to check the hours before making the journey. I arrived at the Acropolis and it was closed. I went during what is considered a winter month, March, so it had closed at 3 (15:00). So I had to wait until I returned from Santorini to visit the sights and take pictures. I did manage however to take a few photos without entering the actual Acropolis.
When making your way up to the Acropolis there is a giant rock like structure and some stairs to get to the top. Here you have a nice view of Athens and the Acropolis. I stopped here to take countless photos and was more than pleased with how my photos turned out.
Keep in mind that there are locals that are pickpocketers so be mindful of putting things down and having things out. A few youngsters attempted to take my bag because I had it on the ground in between my friend and I and I eyed him and watched him until he looked me straight in my eyes. At this point, I looked at him with the “I’m not even playing” face and sternly said, “I dare you to try and take my things, I will chase you and I WILL get my things back so don’t even think about it.” He obviously could tell I was not for the games and left my stuff alone, and being the melodramatic person that I am, I made a scene and yelled so that all the other tourists were made aware of this boy and his friends out to rob people.
Acropolis, Greek for highest point of the town, is dedicated to its patron goddess, Athena.
The Parthenon is a temple that was built in honor of the goddess Athena. Athena was considered the Patron of Athens and was the goddess of wisdom, craft and war. Construction of the Parthenon began in 447 BC and completed in 432 BC. It is considered the most important structure still standing from Classical Greece. It is an enduring enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, western civilization and Athenian democracy.
The Herodian Theater (Odeon Herodes Atticus) was built in 161 AD by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. The theater was used a venue for concerts and has had some notable performers including Dianna Ross.
Ruins on the way up to the Acropolis, considered the slopes of the Acropolis. There are two slopes the northern and southern.
Temple of Olympian Zeus also known as Olympieoen, was built in dedication to Zeus. Zeus was the king of the Olympian Gods.
Athens is definitely a place to add to your travel list. Not only is it rich with history and amazing views but it also has AMAZING food!