From Amsterdam to Athens!
This was actually my second visit to Athens (for my mom as well), and you can read about my first trip here. I had so much fun the first time, and I always promised Zack I would come back with him one day (it was one of his top bucket list cities). 4 years later and we made it happen!
I’ll be sharing our daily itinerary along with some travel tips too, so buckle up cuz there’s so much to tell!
We landed in Athens around 7:00pm, took a taxi to our Airbnb, quickly got settled in, and then headed out for a late dinner.
We walked to the Plaka and grabbed dinner at Kosmikon, which is ironically the exact same restaurant that I had my very first meal in Athens when I visited back in 2018. Even though it’s in a more touristy area, the food is amazing and the Plaka is just an iconic destination, sitting right beneath the Acropolis.
After dinner, we headed back to the Airbnb to crash for the night. And speaking of Airbnb – I need to share about ours a bit. It was totally epic. A two-story penthouse WITH a rooftop AND an incredible view of the Acropolis. It was a literal dream, conveniently located, and incredibly affordable (probably because it was off season) but seriously – just check out the listing.
Our first full day had a packed schedule – there was a high chance of rain for the following day, so we wanted to take advantage of the nice weather just in case!
First up: an early wake up call to get to the Acropolis, the most iconic site in Athens.
Here’s my best Acropolis advice / things you need to know:
• Buy your tickets online ahead of time.
• Arrive early – even if you bought tickets ahead of time. We arrived 30 minutes before they opened and weren’t even the first in line!
• There are 2 entrances, the main entrance and the south entrance. While the south entrance typically has shorter lines, the main entrance is the shortest path to the top – and that’s what you want! As soon as the gates open, book it to the Parthenon at the top (Safely, of course. The ground can be really slippery!). It will feel like you have the place entirely to yourself, and you’ll really get to soak it in without the crowds that aren’t far behind you. Then on your way back down, take the long way down and enjoy the ruins that you rushed by.
• Wear appropriate clothes. The ground is a mix of uneven terrain and super slippery areas, so good shoes are key! Plus take into consideration the time of day/year – summer will be super hot, so sunscreen and water are a must!
Ok, back to our visit: We booked it to the Parthenon and it really was magical seeing it almost completely empty. It’s just such an iconic site. The architecture itself but also the birds eye view of Athens. We spent probably 1.5-2 hours taking in the sights and slowly making our way back down.
It was time for a late breakfast, and I knew just the place: Chandelier in Plaka. On my previous visit, my friend and I just stumbled upon this place, and they had the best Greek yogurt and pastries. My friends, the Greek yogurt really just hits different. Drizzled with honey (GREEK honey, of course), some toast…also drizzled with honey, fresh fruit, a Greek coffee for Zack and some fresh juice for my Mom and I. The owner even brought us some fresh pastries on the house. I have no idea what they were, but they were amazing. There was so much food (just look at the photo) and guys – it was only 8 euros a person. WHAT?! Honestly still shocked over that.
We spent the next part of the day wandering around Plaka and getting lost in Anafiotika, my favorite – it’s a residential area but the homes and streets are so picturesque.
It was time for a cocktail break and there was only one place I wanted to go: Cafe Plaka. Had the best cocktail of my life there in 2018 (again – a random find while exploring). It was a Mastic Mojito, and I haven’t stopped talking about this drink – just ask Zack. I was hoping I didn’t hype it up too much, but no. It was perfect. We sat on the roof and enjoyed our drinks, the view, and the company.
In the afternoon we checked out the Panathenaic Stadium and Zack ran a lap around the track. My mom and I cheered him on from the sidelines.
For lunch…or more like a midafternoon snack…we stopped at Lefteris o Politis. We discovered this hidden gem when researching restaurants to try. This was a locals only place for sure and standing room only, but this was my favorite meal from Athens…and quite possibly the entire trip. They specialize in spicy souvlaki, and it was so freaking good. If you’re going to Athens, this has to make your lists. Maybe even above the Acropolis. (Ok maybe not, but you get the idea.)
Decided to head back to our Airbnb for a little break before heading to Lycabettus Hill for sunset. It was a decent walk to get there and a pretty good incline to the top (we had been walking all day so that definitely factored in), but it was a beautiful view of Athens, and the sunset was pretty good, even with the clouds rolling in.
We headed back across town to have a late dinner on the Plaka steps. There’s tons of restaurants to choose from, and it’s a really unique area to dine.
And that’s a wrap on Day 1!
As expected, it was a rainy morning in Athens with on and off showers. We spent the morning in the Monastiraki neighborhood (where our Airbnb was located) and checked out a few ruins in the area (they were included in the Acropolis combined ticked) including the Ancient Agora, the rebuilt Stoa of Attalos, the Roman Agora, and Hadrian’s Library.
For lunch we went to Diporto, a hidden Greek tavern. This place was really cool, and you definitely get an experience that feels really authentic. While I do think more and more tourists are discovering it, half the fun is finding the place. It has no sign and is outside of the main tourist area. You’ll follow steps down into a room below street level where the restaurant is located. Another twist: no menus. Once you sit down you’ll be given a loaf of bread, some homemade wine from one of the barrels surrounding you, and a few plates of whatever they’ve cooked up that day. No frills but delicious food. We were served a chickpea soup, another bowl of something that I can’t even remember but it was tasty, and a plate of fish that quite honestly intimidated me but they were actually amazing. Oh and the icing on the cake for me – in the bathroom there was a mama cat with 4 kittens. Heaven.
The entire meal was only 20 euros too. Unbelievable!
After lunch we slowly made our way across town with a pit stop for gelato and another drink at Cafe Plaka before stopping to visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus (also included in the Acropolis combined ticket).
It started to rain a little more steady, so we decided to spend a few hours checking out the Acropolis Museum. It was pretty cool and definitely had some interesting exhibits – if you’re looking to spend some time inside (like escaping the rain…or heat depending on the time of year), it’s a good option, BUT if you’re pressed for time, I’d say skip it.
We grabbed dinner at a place near our Airbnb called Enastron. We drank retsina wine and ate baked feta plus a few plates with various meats, veggies, and pita. Delish and very filling.
Our last full day in Athens was actually pretty chill. We started by walking to the top of Philopappos Hill (it’s a pretty easy walk). The wind was crazy, but the view of the Acropolis and Athens was incredible.
We stopped for a bite at Mikro Politiko. I read somewhere to try the falafel – and I will relay that message to you: try the falafel. It was so good. We also got some souvlaki – also very tasty.
We spent a few hours wandering through the National Garden, making our way back towards our Airbnb. We made a quick stop at a grocery store to grab some wine then spent the afternoon sipping wine on our Airbnb rooftop, soaking in the sunshine and view of the Acropolis.
For dinner we decided to go back to where it all started: Kosmikon. The same restaurant we ate at the first night. It’s just such a nice vibe and fun area and was really the perfect way to end our time in Athens.
And of course we had to grab a little gelato to cap off the evening.
It was a super early wake up call to catch the train and head to the airport. Zack was headed back home, and my mom and I were off to our next destinations: Santorini and Milos (blogs coming soon!).
Athens really is such a cool city with so much to do and see…and eat. Seriously, Greek food is definitely up there on my “countries with the best food” list. It was great to have the opportunity to visit Athens again and share some of my favorite memories with my husband and mom. Plus make so many new ones!
I’ll be linking all the blogs and videos from our trip below as they come out, so be sure to check those out for even more!
AMSTERDAM TRAVEL GUIDE
SANTORINI TRAVEL GUIDE
MILOS TRAVEL GUIDE