Athens is often just a stopover en route to the islands. It’s a pity because the city is slowly emerging from the crisis with a dynamic underground art scene. This is a good read, and this one too, Athens Rising We managed to squeeze in a few visits on our way back from Zakinthos in the heat of the summer. The investment in a tour guide for the afternoon was a wise choice as it allowed us to make the most of our short visit. This blog post is short and simply highlights the key spots that we enjoyed.
SLEEP in ATHENS
We booked one night at the St George Lycabettus Hotel. What it lacked in style and service, it made up with breathtaking views over the Acropolis. The hotel is perched on a hill, it is worthwhile paying the extra for a room with a view. Five of us were comfortable in one of the family suites. The restaurant is nothing to rave about but the terrace (with a breeze) also has views to die for.
VISIT in Athens
The children enjoyed our three-hour tour with Mrs Krikri (Vickykrikki@gmail.com and tel: +30 6945564978). She speaks fluent English and has a pleasant personality, with enough storytelling and patience to get the whole family through this itinerary:
The Acropolis Museum: opened in 2009, to great fanfare and after much delay. The collections of ancient Greek art are of course fascinating, as is the structure, at the foothill of the Acropolis. With more time, I would have liked to visit the Tower of Plaka and the atmospheric flea market of Monastiraka.
We toured around the city with a local taxi and stopped briefly at the thumb of the unknown soldier and its very tall guards.
We spent a while climbing the Acropolis and marvelling at the many views over the city, with the sun coming down, enveloping the whiteness of Athens with a delicate pink tint.
With more time, we would have walked to the temple of the Olympic Zeus, then to Kalimarmaro and also through Zapion, a beautiful building with classic Athenian architecture. And I was sorry to miss the national museum of archeology as well as spending time at the relatively new Niarchos Foundation, with a rich calendar of cultural events all year long.
EAT in Athens
Our only dinner in town made a big impression on all of us. We managed to get a table on the rooftop terrace of Kuzina restaurant, directly facing the Acropolis. We feasted on grilled calamari and one last real Greek salad for our last night in Greece. Totally worth it.
Other adresses well recommended by our Greek friends:
Ama Lachei in Exarhia, which has a wonderful garden
Barbounaki in the area of Kolonaki, for the freshest fish, unfussy atmpsphere, tables on the pavement and all.