Athens: Greek Island Hopping (Part 1)
Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world and known for its history, culture and ancient monuments. The most famous monument of Athens is the ancient temple, the Parthenon, which sits high above the center of the city as a part of the Acropolis. This UNESCO World Heritage site has one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Athens, making it one of the top places to visit.
We suggest getting to the Acropolis by foot from the north east side. The climb is quite easy and during this hike you can visit the ‘Anafiotika’ neighborhood. Anafiotika is very scenic and tiny neighborhood which was built according to typical Cycladic architecture with white walls and narrow streets. The presence of bougainvillea flowers make it feel like you’re on a Greek island in the heart of the city.
Other neighborhoods worth exploring are Monastiraki, Plaka and Psyri. All these areas are located next to each other so it’s an easy stroll through their winding streets. Monastiraki is one of the more busy areas in the city and that’s why you’ll find a lot of tourist shops around here which makes it a great place to find souvenirs. We had so much fun spending the afternoon walking around the several antique shops and markets where they sell a lot of old and interesting items but also beautiful antiques.
Plaka is the modern part of the area where you will find a lot of big brand stores like the H&M and Zara and a large number of traditional Greek restaurants. Psyri is known for its vibrant nightlife where the many people dine late into the evening while listening to live music in the streets.
If you are looking for the best place to stay in Athens we suggsest staying in Psyri. There are many affordable and really nice looking Airbnb options in this central location. We stayed at a very modern and new Airbnb on Pl. Iroon. From here it was only a walking distance to many amazing restaurants such as Voliotiko Tsipouradiko and Kalimeres Bistro.
Athens is a perfect location for a city trip of 3 to 4 days, if you have some extra time then we definitely recommend you to visit some of the Greek islands as well!
A great way to explore the rest of Greece is by ferry, if you book ahead of time you can find really cheap tickets from Athens to all the islands in the area. All the ferries leave from the Piraeus harbor which is both the largest passenger port in Europe and the second largest in the world. We used Ferry Hopper to book our tickets.
Travel Tip: if you travel to the ferry harbor by public transport then give yourself at least 30 minutes to find the ferry. The signage in the harbor area is not really clear and it could still be quite a walk from the subway station to the actual gate where your ferry will leave from.