A couple of weeks ago we left Belgium once again for a nice trip to Greece. We started with a couple of days in Athens and a day trip to Delphi, followed by some days of pure relaxation in Rhodes. The trip was definitely an interesting one but also quite different from what we were expected. In this post I’ll talk about Athens, what we saw, where we stayed and what we ate.
First steps in the city
I’ll be honest with you and say it straight away: we didn’t get a good first impression on Athens. The city feels dirty, the buildings are not well preserved, there are tags everywhere… When the shuttle dropped us off in our apartment street we thought “What is that dodgy place?”. Luckily, the flat was amazing (check the accomodation section of this post) and the street turned out to be not dodgy at all. After dropping our bags we decided to go for a walk in the city and probably start visiting some historical places.
Walking through the city we were surprised to discover the small Byzantine churches (from around 11th century) that still stand in the middle of everything else.
Another cool thing is that you can actually see the Acropolis from a lot of different streets. I know it was the whole point of building it on the highest hill but it’s still impressive to see it in real.
We then arrived at the Roman Agora. As we were planning to visit as many sites as possible as well as the Acropolis, we bought the combined ticket. This ticket is 30 euro per person and gives you access to the different sites of Athens including the Acropolis (that is already 20e). However, it is not always interesting and not for everybody. Students for example pay less or not at all in some places. In winter, some entrance fees are also reduced. The ticket can be bought at any of the sites and is valid for 5 days in these different places: Acropolis + North and South Slopes, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Olympieion (Zeus Temple), and the archaeological site of Lykeion.
The Roman agora is pretty small and well destroyed but is still worth a visit. The gate is quite nice and the Tower of the Winds definitely needs a closer look. Don’t expect to spend too much time there though, it’s quickly done.
Very close by was the Ancient Agora so we decided it would be our next stop. It is way bigger than the Roman Agora and richer in ruins and statues. You also have access to the museum and its numerous everyday life items found from different periods. And of course you’ll see the Temple of Hephaestus (or Theseion), very well preserved and impressively looking.
Up to the Areopagus
Exiting the Ancient Agora we went through the site of the Ancient Schools (there’s literally nothing left, it is free to go through) towards the Acropolis. On the way we found the Areopagus, which was in ancient times the place of judgement for homicides. It is now a spot for people to take breath-taking pictures of Athens and the Acropolis.
Food and drink
After spending some time taking pictures and admiring the landscape we went back down to find a place to eat. We wanted Greek cuisine of course but not too far from the flat. We finally decided to stop at Melilotos. It’s only now that I’m looking for it on the internet that I see how good the reviews for this restaurant are! We picked it completely randomly and were not disappointed. It was what we wanted, something not too busy (nor touristy…) with Greek cuisine. The staff was really kind and the food super delicious! I recommend it!
After dinner we didn’t really feel like going straight back to the flat and our host Chris had told us about the cocktail bar The Clumsies, 3 houses from the flat and apparently ranked #9 in the top 50 bars in the world (we checked, that’s true!). We therefore went there for a last drink and I have to admit that my cocktail was incredibly good! We liked it so much that we went back the next day, for a tasting board!
For our stay in Athens I chose the Emerald Suite apartment. We quite like being in a studio or apartment during our city trip as we can cook if we need a lunch pack for a day trip or just have our breakfast in bed at anytime. It’s convenient! This time, I followed the few reviews about this place on Booking.com and decided to trust them as they were all amazing. And they were true! The owner Chris was the kindest and most welcoming you could get, and the studio was beyond our expectations. We could see that everything has been though with care and taste. It was super clean, full of useful things (and food even if the rate was room only), of really decent size and great style. I really loved our stay there and couldn’t recommend it enough! Oh and I only paid 165e for 3 nights!
I’ll leave this post here and come back in the next one to tell you about our second day in Athens, our guided tour of the city and the Acropolis and way more!