Writing about Athens has been a little bit of a daunting task since I visited in October with my boyfriend Harpall and totally-third-wheeling-flatmate Mel. How do you summarise lazy days full of coffee, cheese and sun into one post? Well… not easily! Prepare yourself for a picture-heavy post all about the European city of cool.
Although it is so tempting to ease yourself into doing nothing on holiday, there is one sight you do need to see – the Acropolis. Set high in the hills of Athens, the Acropolis is a collection of ancient Greek temples and structures that were used by Ancient Greeks for worship. It also serves as the centre point of the city, from where you can easily walk to and explore other parts of Athens, and have a panoramic view to click away at.
From the Acropolis you can walk down to the Agora and the Stoa of Attalos, which now acts as a museum and a pretty good shelter from the sun if you’re a bit tired from the walking. Some of these sights require an entry ticket, but they are a pretty good price and completely free if you have a student card.
ACROPOLIS CAFÉ LIFE
Now on to the real good stuff! Next to the Acropolis and Acropolis train station is a pedestrianised street Makrigianni with a line of cute cafés to dine at before you hike up to the Acropolis. Our first taste of Greek coffee was at Elaea Café; to be honest, the verdict was unsure – a little grainy and sweet. The real hit was a slab of cheese drizzled with honey and sesame seeds.
Another street near the Acropolis to indulge in café lounging is Adrianou in Monastiraki, where we tried a dessert of real hotch-potch sweetness in Ciccus Café. Ekmek is custard and cream piled on bread, doused with honey and cinnamon. Afterwards, you can just turn a corner and wander the shopping alleys for olive-wood spoons and Greek-style throws.
WANDERING IN PLAKA
When I asked my Greek friend Agis for some Athens hangouts, I was mighty impressed when he pulled the stops out with this super-chilled coffee joint named Yiasemi. We stopped here for brunch (iced chocolate and baklava) and admired the ivy-covered walls and spiral staircase filled with potted plants.
We then headed up and down the slopes of Plaka district, but it didn’t take too long for us to stop again to eat! We tried spicy cheese dip (Harpall loved it, me.. not so much), dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) and fed tiny little kittens squeaking at our feet. I don’t care if you’re not meant to feed strays, how can you say no to those eyes?!
NIGHT LIFE IN PSIRRI
Psirri is sort of like the Athens equivalent of Shoreditch. It’s an absolute maze to explore between its graffitied walls, but if you’re heading in the right direction, you come to this incredible crossroads of pubs, restaurants, tavernas and bars, all under fairy lights. On our last night, we tried lamb chops and greasy chips at Oinopoleio, an old taverna more known for its wine, even though I didn’t have any of it!
Round the corner was a very cool, but very empty bar called The Party. We’re not sure why it was so empty, apart from that it was a week day. The positive about it being so empty is that the DJ started catering his music for us, which we loved. I tried to get Harpall to get up and dance with me, but he was so so reluctant, which I think amused Mel a bit (or a lot).
Our final stop in Athens was to take in the jaw-dropping view of a lit-up Acropolis from A for Athens Hotel. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to end our trip.