Jun 10, 2015

Athens in 24 hours

Visiting Athens for just 24 hours? Waste no more time!

You can start your day early having breakfast the “Greek way”: eat a pie and have a coffee standing or, even better, walking. You can find them in bakeries scattered all over the city and they come in many versions.

Start your tour from Syntagma Square, in the heart of the city. In front of the House of Parliament you can see the changing of the guard (every hour) and then take a refreshing walk inside the National Gardens. Take the southern exit of the Gardens towards the Zappeio Mansion and head to the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro).

If you must take just one walk in Athens it should be the pedestrianised one around the Acropolis Hill. Start your walk from Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, visit the New Acropolis Museum, the Acropolis hill and the Parthenon, see the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus and mount to Filopappou Hill with the great view of the hills of Imittos and Parnetha. Continue your walk towards the picturesque neighborhood of Thisio and the Monastiraki flea market and finally wander around the narrow and classy streets of Plaka.

They say the best way to learn a new place is to taste the local food, and Athens is a real gastronomic paradise. There are plenty of small and traditional types of restaurants where you can have lunch or dinner: taverna, oinomagirio or mezedopolio. They offer classical Greek recipes, a variety of platters to share and of course the popular Greek souvlaki, a must-taste delicacy. Combine your food with generous amounts of wine, ouzo, tsipouro or beer. Should you have a sweet tooth, you should definitely taste the local syrup deserts, the rice puddings, the mastiha or the traditional spoon-sweets made of various citrus fruits.

The Kolonaki area is a must-visit for shopping and art lovers. It offers a great variety of luxury shops and art galleries, as well as some of the best museums in town. Many Greek designers choose to have their ateliers in this vivid and posh neighborhood and one can combine shopping and coffee breaks in one of the many cafés found everywhere around. Should you need to escape the crowded streets of Kolonaki, you can take the funicular or walk the road up to Lycabettus hill. The view of the Acropolis hill, the city center, the mount Parnetha and all the way to the sea is breathtaking. On the top of the hill, the small chapel of Saint George is a great spot to watch the sunset and the big city lights.

Such a full and interesting day should come to an end with a fun night out. Athens is quite popular for its night life and the many different choices it offers. You can choose the areas of Gazi or Psiri where you can combine dinner with late drinks. There’s a great variety of wine bars, crowded clubs, live music scenes or small and quite cafés for every taste. However, if you wish to visit something really different and you are in the mood for a late night out, you should try the popular bouzoukia: big clubs where singers perform live and people drink, sing and dance on the stage.

The great variety of monuments, tasteful food, vivid nightlife and the constant change of scenery the city offers may be a sufficient reason to change your mind and extend your stay!

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