*Pentru limba romana, apasa AICI.
The capital city of Greece always welcomes us with holiday vibes. This year, in January, we decided to visit Athens for a short weekend getaway, being just a two hours flight away from Bucharest. We can never say no to the delicious Greek cuisine and some extremely cheap airplane tickets.
If you also want a short city break or you have a long layover on your way to the stunning Greek islands, here is what you can do in 24 hours in Athens.
- Hello, sleepy heads! It’s time for breakfast so you can make your way towards our first tourist attraction and probably the most visited in Athens – The Acropolis. I have put this place on top of my list because, in general, tourists are lazier and this way you can avoid the crowds from the Acropolis around noon. Moreover, if you are visiting in summertime, you have to also avoid the high temperatures that won’t allow you to visit in peace.
That being said, we arrived at the tickets office around 10 am and, after purchasing them at 10 Eur/person, we were ready to explore.
PS: I know everyone wants to see the Pantheon dedicated to Goddess Athena, but be sure not to miss The Odeion of Herodes Atticus, which is pretty well preserved.
- Once we checked the most important attraction, we got lost on the narrow cute streets of Plaka. Although this area has its charm all year round, I must admit during summer you will fall in love with it in a second. Tones of colorful and chic terraces and tavernas are waiting for you to test the delicious Greek cuisine. This is also the reason why I recommend coming back here for dinner.
- After wandering around beautiful Plaka, we headed by foot to Monastiraki because I really wanted to enjoy that stunning springish weather in January (there were like 16 degrees Celsius and the sun was by our side the whole day) and drink a glass of wine with the most stunning view in the city. For this, we chose A for Athens Restaurant situated in the hotel with the same name. I don’t think we could have made a better choice and I am sure the pictures will convince you to pay it a visit.
Although we were not planning on having lunch here, the atmosphere was so nice so we decided to stay longer. The restaurant offers many delicious options and we went for a beef burger with baked potatoes with bacon and cheddar and, for dessert, we chose some American pancakes with berries. Yummy! The prosecco was cold and the music completed the perfect scenery. Oh, I have almost forgotten to tell you the most important part: the restaurant offers the best view of the Acropolis, so you might understand why it is so full all the time (a reservation in advance will be recommended).
- We hardly decided to leave such a beautiful place and we headed towards the center of the city, where our hotel was also situated and probably the most crowded place in Athens, Syntagma Square. Tones of tourists and inhabitants pass through this square on a daily basis. I must say that I was not very impressed by it though. Here you can find Grand Hotel Bretagne, the most famous hotel in town which also offers a stunning panoramic view from its rooftop restaurant, but also the Palace of Parliament where you can observe the changing of the guards, this being one of the most popular attractions in town.
- Because it is already pretty late and in January the day light ends around 6.30 pm, we decided to walk towards Mount Lycabettyus, the most suitable place in town to watch the sunset. I won’t lie and tell you it will be extremely easy since you have to go up on a hill, but the view is definitely worth the effort. If you are not the biggest sunset fan, you must know this is also the best place to see the city from above, including the Mediterranean Sea. Since we are always on the rush (thing I would not recommend you at all), we were barely breathing when we got to the top of the mountain. I think I have only succeeded to get so far because I did not want to miss this amazing sunset spot, taking into consideration we were leaving the next day.
It is hard to put into words the feeling we had there, but I must say it is the perfect place to take your loved one in your arms and realize how lucky you are to be in such a beautiful place. (PS: You must also make some time for pictures since this moment should not be missed).
- The sun went down and the night has come over the city, so Athens is waking up to life. We were headed back to Plaka searching for the most animated tavern to have dinner. This is not very hard since almost every restaurant in the area offers live Greek music and delicious traditional food. We chose Euxapis, situated between Plaka and Monastiraki and I don’t think we could have chosen better than this. So many food options, both for meat and seafood lovers, but also for vegetarians. The atmosphere and the music were definitely our cup of tea.
Since there is no better place to taste some Greek salad than at their home, we started with this dish along with some delicious olives pasta. For the main course, I chose grilled octopus and my boyfriend went for the lamb. All I can say to sum up this experience is that we had a hard time getting up from the table.
- Finally, we decided to go to the hotel and call it a day, but, on the way, we found this cute little wine bar and we thought we should celebrate more our lovely weekend getaway in Athens. I must say I loved the fact that the city is so animated when the evening comes. We chose some Greek wine from Crete, if I recall correctly, at Heroclito Champagne &Wine Bar, where you can find a large variety of premium wines.
- We ended the night at our hotel on the rooftop terrace that offers a great panoramic view of the Acropolis. I loved the fact that they are so beautifully enlightened and you can see them for many parts of the city, becoming a strong point of Athens even by night.
This was our itinerary for one day, but if you have more time at your disposal and you are into ruins, you must put the following on the list:
- Acropolis Museum
- National Archeological Museum of Athens
- Ancient Agora
- Roman Forum
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Hadrian’s Library
I also recommend spending a day at the beach in Glyfada and Port of Pireus. We haven’t had the time to do it on this weekend getaway, but I went a couple of years ago and it was worth it.
Regarding accommodation, as I have already told you, we chose a hotel just 2 minutes away from Syntagma Square because we wanted to make the most of our short time in Athens without having to use the public transportation so much.
The panoramic view from the rooftop terrace was definitely a plus and, as you will notice, most hotels in central Athens have this facility.
Choosing a hotel in Syntagma Square also made our airport transfers easier since you have a direct metro link between the two points. The ticket is 10 Euro/person/way, and it the ride lasts around 40 minutes. You also have a bus option to Syntagma Square (X95), the ticket being cheaper (6 Euro/person/way), but the ride lasts a little longer, depending on the traffic.
More info on the bus timetable HERE.
This being said, I hope you have enjoyed our short getaway in Athens and, remember, I am here for questions or recommendations.
Blonde around the World