Back from one week vacation in Greece exploring Athens and Attica. I went with my Mum and neither of us are really capable of simply lying on the beach for too long. Hence this was a trip full of adventure and discovery. A little like stepping back in time and imagining how life was 1000’s of years B.C.
I have so many Greece travel tips and fun bits of information to share. Am going to have to confess right at the beginning however that most of the pictures are taken with my iPhone as I wasn’t going to lug camera around in the heat – so please forgive – smile!
Keep reading for a little day by day pictorial account of 7 days exploring Athens and Attica.
7 Days Exploring Athens and Attica
Day 1: Arrival
*Travel Tip – if you are planning a trip to Greece it pays to book your airport – hotel transfer in advance. There are plenty of taxis waiting for you at the airport but pre-booked transfers can be quite a cost saving.
Day 1 was mostly about the flight to Athens and settling into our hotel which was about an hours drive south of Athens right on the coast.
The evening vibes certainly put us in the right mood for the rest of our vacation.
Hotel: Ever Eden Beach Resort – chosen because the whole complex has been recently renovated.
Day 2: A Shopping Trip into Athens
Getting to Athens by bus cost us a mere EUR 5.30 per person. A fun ride but you have to take into account that there is such a thing as “Greek time” which means the bus will come when it wants to – not necessarily on time! It will only stop if it sees you so there was some logic to my madness of standing on the small side railing – smile!
*Travel Tip – note the Greek have their own alphabet so it won’t be easy to use public transport. Be sure to know exactly where to catch what from. Concentrate on knowing bus numbers or get your destination written down on paper by a local so you have something to show if you get lost.
The best place to stop if you want to go shopping is at Syntagma Square. From there walk down Ermou Street for the main clothing shops. Shoe shops seemed to be everywhere. Save some money for a lovely new pair of sandals.
Later towards the end of this post you’ll find some pictures of what we bought.
Running parallel to Ermou Street is Mitropoleos where we found an abundance of hip food places. We even discovered a cute rooftop bar – Ciel – which also has a great view of the Acropolis.
*Travel Tip – Ciel is also a hip place to stay right in the centre of Athens. It is possible to get rooms for under EUR 100 per night.
The Ergon Deli was our favourite food find. This is also a hip location to stay. Interesting is that I noticed there is also a Ergon Deli in London!
Going back by bus…
…ended up being a problem for us as I had gone with the assumption we could simply wait for the return bus on the other side of the road (WRONG!). Then there was the issue of no timetable and not understanding Greek.
*Solution/Travel Tip – If ever lost in a big city make your way to the Grandest Hotel you can find and ask the Concierge for help!
I made my way to the Hotel Grand Bretagne where the Concierge arranged for us to have the nicest taxi driver take us back to out hotel. The price was the same as every taxi from Athens. Our driver was great showing us a couple of sights en-route:
The lower photo shows lake Vouliagmeni – a famous natural health and spa spot with holistic waters said to stimulate a swimmers well being.
Day 3: Trip to the Peloponnes
Today we took a bus tour all the way to the Peloponnes. First stop being the Corinth Canal which connects the Agean Sea with the Ionian Sea.
Originally they tried to build the canal over 2’000 years ago. However legend has it that this was against the Greek sea god Poseidon’s wishes. The canal was finally completed in 1893.
Treasury of Atreus
A tomb built around 1300 B.C. Once the person was buried the opening seen was closed and a huge feast held along the corridor where I am standing. After the feast the whole corridor was filled up with earth so that it would not be obvious there was a tomb underneath.
Ever since visiting here I keep thinking there must be tombs under all the little hills in Greece – smile!
Mycenae the homeric city of Altreides
On the bottom left you see the famous Lions Gate. The entrance to the Acropolis of Mycenae. The stone over the doorway is said to weigh some 120 tons! Fascinating to think this site was inhabited since the year 4000 B.C. The city reached it’s peak during the Bronze Age (1600 – 1200 B.C.) when important kings lived there.
Epidavros was famous as being the most important centre for worship of Aesculapius, the god of medicine. The theatre is famous for it’s acoustics – regardless of where seated, you can easily hear the sound of a match struck at centre-stage. Dating back to late 4th century B.C. with a seating capacity of an amazing 15’000. Today it is hard to imagine that so many people even lived around here!
Day 4: Easy day with trip to Temple of Poseidon
Set on top of the cliffs at Sounion. The Temple of Posidon was a pretty 30 minute drive from our hotel.
Mythologically Sounion has the story of Aegeus, King of Athens. He is said to have thrown himself from these cliffs when he saw the ship with his son, Theseus, coming back from Crete with black sails. Unfortunately the sails were only black as Theseus left Crete in such haste after his victory that he forgot to take them down.
Day 5: Athens and the Acropolis
A trip to Athens wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Acropolis but warning this is what everyone else thinks too – smile!
Above to the left (and in the bottom right of picture below), you see the Caryatides or Maidens. Six statues of beautiful girls. Interesting to note is that one of the statues was stolen by Lord Elgin and taken to London in 1801!
*Travel Tip: Book your entrance ticket online to avoid the queues. Click here for the official online ticket site.
*Travel Tip: If you wish a tour book an official tour through Trip Adviser and avoid any tour guides on site – they will over charge and more than likely be very difficult to understand.
Top right is the Parthenon, built on the highest part of the Acropolis and the most important building of Ancient Greek architecture. Built during 447-438 B.C. it is an eternal symbol of aesthetic perfection.
Bottom left is the main entrance into the Acropolis.
- “Democracy” as we know it today was first introduced in Athens.
- Athens is the oldest city in Europe, having been continuously inhabited for 5’000 years
- At the time of building the Acropolis Athens was incredibly wealthy. It was built by locals and not by slaves.
- The name Athens comes from the goddess Athena. According to Greek mythology she was the goddess of wisdom and war strategy.
Perfect recovery after a trip to the Acropolis – an Aperol Spritz on the restaurant terrace just across the main entrance of the Acropolis!
Day 6: A trip to Delphi
Of all our days in Greece this was our favourite day. We treated ourselves to a private driver – the same driver who had taken us home from Athens on day 2. This is something I really recommend – no time wasted picking up other tourists and you get to see wonderful places the tour buses normally don’t take you to.
*Travel Tip: Our driver: Sakis Dimitropoulos , Phone: +30 693 80 20 106, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Set in the most beautiful mountain range, Delphi was once the greatest sanctuary and spiritual centre of the world. Most sacred and famous for the Oracle which influenced the fates of both individuals and states for about 1’000 years (from 7th century B.C. to 4th Century A.D.).
First picture and the 2 top above are of the Temple of Apollo. The bottom two show the Treasury of Athenians.
Right at the top of the hill we found the Stadium of Delphi which used to host the athletic contests of the Pythian religious festival. Athletes ran wearing ONLY a helmet and greaves and carrying a shield (i.e. naked).
Our trip to Delphi was followed by lunch in the prettiest restaurant ever in modern day Delphi, sitting under a Maple tree with magnificent view in front of us. Link to restaurant here.
Next stop was a visit to the Monastery of Hosios Loukas dating back to the 10th Century A.D. Pictured above with our guide Sakis.
*Travel Tip: If you go sightseeing in Summer always have some sort of cover up ready to save you from having to wear borrowed, sweaty long skirts, (speaking from experience – smile).
Prettiest end to the perfect day, coffee (or was it Aperol Spritz) in the pretty town of Livadeia.
Day 7: A Day of Rest and Beach
I did warn you at the beginning of this post that we were not big on lying at the beach, but this last day we treated ourselves as a way of recovering from all our exploring. These pictures are of the hotel beach and pool areas…
Pictures of course taken very early in the morning which is why you see no people. Plus of course the fact that the hotel had newly reopened in June this year.
One final photo as promised showing our souvenir shopping. Top left – new dress my Mum bought, top right dress I bought, bottom left second dress bought, bottom right new sandals bought by my Mum. We also bought the tops you see us wearing on day 6.
Really hope you enjoyed exploring Athens and Attica.
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