A day in Athens. Or maybe seven.
What to do with a week in Athens, Greece.
I had complimentary accommodation in Athens thanks to FlipKey, a vacation rental marketplace. All views are my own.
Athens, Greece, is one of those cities, like Santiago, where most people only spend a night, maybe two, or skip it altogether, and say it’s not worth going. They say it’s just another big city, they say it’s boring or dangerous or lame. It’s one of those cities people write off.
I had a week to spend in Athens and everyone asked why I was going. And then everyone asked if I was going to the islands.
For a conference. And no.
I had a week to spend in Athens. But, really, I only had a day or two. Most of my time was spent at the conference, TBEX, travel blog exchange, where, by day, I listened to sessions on blogging and, by night, went to the hosted parties. My last day was spent exhausted, physically and mentally. So much so that all I did was meet a friend for lunch and meet another for dinner. My first day didn’t count, I arrived late, went immediately to a conference-related party. And my third day didn’t count as I spent most of the afternoon in a Greek emergency room. Not for me. Long story.
So, despite being in Athens for a week, I only really had a day. One day. And in that day I didn’t leave the area around my apartment and the Acropolis.
There’s more to Athens than that, I know. And I hope some day I get to go back and spend more time exploring the different neighborhoods.
But I enjoyed my day, or seven, in my little corner of Athens.
I enjoyed going to sleep, and waking up, in the nicest bed I’ve slept in in a long time, thanks to the FlipKey apartment I was sharing with three friends.
It’s been no secret that I’d been tiring of hostels. So having an apartment, someplace clean, someplace quiet, conveniently located near the metro and most of the places I wanted to go, was perfect.
We could get to the conference easily. I could walk to many of the tourist attractions easily. We had a fridge to keep leftover souvlaki in, for late night snacking. I had a bedroom that wasn’t shared with 10 strangers. And a bathroom I wasn’t afraid to shower in.
It was a much needed respite.
I enjoyed visiting the Acropolis, and the Parthenon. Probably the most iconic archeology of Greece.
…even if it actually looked like this:
I enjoyed eating. All too much. A mix of rich sauces and spreads and cheeses with plates of vegetables or meats. Souvlaki, roasted eggplant, gyro. And, of course, Loukoumades, Greek doughnuts, covered in a mixture of sweet, thick, chocolate sauces, that we devoured while walking home from a bar one night.
I enjoyed the dogs, who wandered the streets, accompanying me as I crossed the street, who made themselves at home wherever they were.
I might have enjoyed the shopping of Ermou Street, full of modern clothing shops, right outside my apartment door, if I hadn’t already stocked up with conference-appropriate clothes in Madrid. I did enjoy the shopping on Pandrossou Street, full of souvenir shops, where I picked up a small owl, representing the goddess Athena, to add to my collection.
And I enjoyed going out to drink at the many amazing bars. Like Six Dogs (where I ordered a cocktail made from fig infused vodka because I now feel I need to get anything fig), like Drunk Sinatra, like the bar directly across from Drunk Sinatra where we danced all night and the one down the street that had the coolest. bathroom. ever. And wherever it was we ended up, on the last night of the travel blogging conference, where I spent way too much money on a ridiculous cocktail that involved chocolate and cotton candy that I saw some women at the bar drinking.
Hopefully, next time, I’ll get to enjoy more of Athens, have more than just a day out of seven.
KatieDecember 1, 2014at8:08 am
Ooooh this is such a fab post – your pictures are incredible! I especially love the dog making himself at home… and I’m still kicking myself for not trying that cocktail! It’s the last night expensive treats are always due!
Val BromannDecember 1, 2014at11:58 am
Thank you – it was so good meeting you in Athens! That cocktail was so amazing. It was well worth the splurge.
Ed RexDecember 2, 2014at2:14 am
I luuuuuuurve the picture of the dog!
Val BromannDecember 15, 2014at11:51 am
🙂 That dog was so funny!
rebeccaDecember 2, 2014at10:51 am
I personally was not a big fan of Athens. I found it dirty, depressing and dangerous. Perhaps we were staying in the wrong area however, as a friend of mine who has family swears by Athens being great as long as you don’t stay in the city centre, she says to stick to the outskirts a little. I wouldn’t ride it off as a never do.
Val BromannDecember 15, 2014at11:56 am
It’s definitely one of those cities I want to explore more of. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I didn’t find it too dirty, but I was staying on a nice street. Plus I kind of like dirtier places, so I’d love to explore some of the neighborhoods and see what it’s all about.
Oscar FinchSeptember 11, 2016at5:37 pm
Shame you didn’t feel Athens’ fibre but I can understand your view point. As with many cities the centre is always the most popular place for visitors to venture to and usually where they reside for their holiday. If you ever do return to Athens I urge you to take your friends suggestions by visiting the suburbs of Athens as I’m pretty confident you would thoroughly enjoy these neighbourhoods.
Completely different to central Athens and very clean ,green and quaint [depending which neighbourhood] but you should absolutely check them out.
For example check out the following neighbourhoods: Kifissia and Nea Erythrea in North Athens and Glyfada, Voula and Vouliagmeni in South Athens.
Kifissia is more for shopping and great eateries whereas Nea Erythrea has great nightlife.
Glyfada also great shopping and eateries and Voula boasts some wonderful restaurants too.
Vouliagmeni has some wonderful beaches [sandy] but most have an entrance fee or there’s Lake Vouliagmeni with the Doctor fish that give you a pedicure once in the water. Gorgeous relaxing location and only a 25 minute drive from the Acropolis!!
Just a few tips for you…..hope you manage to make it back and I’m sure if you discover these parts of the city you will take some great memories home with you.