Athens is the city I lived for almost a decade, this hungry for every kind of experiences decade of my twenties. I can even count the intensity of my staying in the city by the kilometres on my Vespa’s counter (more than 150.000 in ten years, the majority of them inside the city’s centre). As I did not really grow up in the city I consider the whole city as my new home, from its north suburbs till the sea. People that grow up in Athens develop a certain connection with their neighbourhoods so they choose to socialise within the boarders of it (and yes this is a nice thing in Athens, it is a big small city). But we are not analysing the anthropogeography of the city in this article, I will rather focus on (my favourite) museums, restaurants, cafes, markets of this unique city.
The city’s historical/cultural output is undoubtedly huge, so once visiting you cannot skip monuments like Acropolis Hill (the ticket includes also Zeus temple and Hadrianus library, does not include access to Acropolis museum though). If you want to avoid the rather expensive ticket of Acropolis Hill, it is highly recommended to have a walk in Philopappos Hill (the view from the top is just amazing and free). Another spot with spectacular view is Lycabettus Hill, that can be combined with a nice walk in Kolonaki area (if you are more into shopping and fine dining) of Exarchia area (Athens’s rebellious neighbourhood with nice bars and taverns). On the top of Lycabettus Hill you will find Saint George Chapel and a small canteen (try to visit the hill just before the sunset, the colours of the Athenian sky will compensate for the steep hill walk).
As far as museums is concerned the choices are numerous but if you have time only for one then National Archeological Museum should be your choice since the museum’s collection is one of the most impressive in the world (more details in http://www.namuseum.gr/index-en.html). In my opinion and exhibits wise, the National Archeological Museum has a lot more to offer than Acropolis Museum (http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en), of course if you have time for both it will be perfect (small tip: in Acropolis museum you can ask for a free ticket that gives you access to the cafe of the museum with amazing view to Acropolis but not to the exhibition. One more thing, try the cold chocolate there).
The historic centre can be walked in two hours, so wear comfy shoes, grab an ice coffee to go (like the locals love to) and start walking. Hope this video can motivate you a bit https://vimeo.com/81687535 .
In the next post I will give you my favourite cafes, bars, restaurants and markets so stay tuned (you can subscribe with your email address to our site and you will receive an email every time we post something, we will not bother you more that twice a week, promise).
Michail I. Lafkas