My 2 Days in Athens Itinerary
Adventures in (relatively) value-priced travel continue! Relocating from Chicago to the UK was not cheap. So I have been on a travel moratorium. Cash flow has improved though, enough that I was able to get away to Helsinki last month. With a long weekend in April looming, I thought long and hard. Where did I want to go and where could I go for a good value?
I really wanted to go to Athens. I am having a Greek Renaissance! All things Greek appeal to me. Greek wine, tzatziki, olive oil, feta cheese, all things white and blue, marble…all things Greek. The last time I was in Athens was 21 years ago! 21 years! So I did it. My new favorite page on the Internet is the BA Holidays page. All the packaged holidays! After a bit of playing around, I settled on a flight and a 3 night stay at the Crowne Plaza Athens City Centre which would give me 2 days in Athens. Done. (The hotel was fine but not as centrally located as I would have liked so I think you can find something better.)
The things we do to save money. The cheapest flight meant landing at 3 am. My taxi driver drove 100 miles an hour into town, which turned me green at the time but in hindsight, got me into bed by 3:30 am. Five hours later, I was up and at ’em. Here’s what I did and where I ate and drank during my 2 days in Athens.
Day 1: Athens Walking Tour
Athens City Walking Tour: To kick off my 2 days in Athens, I booked this perfect 3.5 tour through Viator, which took in all the key sights in Athens: Syntagma Square, the Parliament Building and the the tomb of the unknown soldier, the temple to Zeus and of course, the Acropolis. Our tour guide, Aristotle (not kidding) was awesome. This was a great way to see Athens. I particularly enjoyed seeing all the archaeological finds in the metro.
Day 1 Lunch
Kafeneio. I’ve written this before…the more I travel, the less I want to see things. I had the option of doing the Acropolis Museum after my Athens tour but I needed a break. I needed sustenance. I triangulated TripAdvisor and Foursquare and selected Kafenio for lunch and boy did I get lucky. I got a cozy table in the corner and as soon as I sat down, the gruff Greek proprietor approached me and said — definitively, like I like them to do — “I have cod today. It is very good.”
So I had the the cod and the wine that he recommended and enough Greek salad for four people. I liked it here. Popular with the tourist crowd but I don’t care. Note I’ve learned when I travel that I prefer to have a big lunch and a light dinner so this was my main meal of the day.
Day 1: Acropolis Museum
After lunch at Kafeneio, I headed back to the Acropolis Museum for a wander. I did this on my own but in hindsight, it would have been nice to have a guide so that I knew more about the history. However, a lot of the tours spend hours in the museum and I’ve learned that I am a 90 minute person so when constructing your 2 days in Athens, think about what type of person you are, how much time you want to spend here, and if it makes sense to have a guide or not.
Day 1 Cocktail Time
Winepoint. Salvation in wine! After the Acropolis Musuem, I headed towards Winepoint, and it was the best decision I made during my entire 2 days in Athens itinerary. The lovely Amalie set up a little Greek wine tasting for me, each glass accompanied by delicious, delicious meats and cheeses and breads. Heaven! And there were electric outlets under the bar! And free wifi! I almost didn’t leave. But after two hours there by myself, I thought it best to go back to my hotel and relax for the rest of the evening.
Day 2: Athens Food Tour
Athens Food Tour: For Day 2 of my 2 Days in Athens itinerary, I decided to have a bit less history and a bit more delicious Greek food. Also through Viator, I signed up for this lovely and compact little food tour of Athens. It was a great way to see the city. Highlights included a shop dedicated to products from Lesvos and a walk through the crazy busy meat and the fish markets. I had a good time on this tour, although I had skipped breakfast and was starving three hours in. No fear though, the tour dropped us at Aischylos where we ended with pork GYROS. I love gyros. The Greeks have a way with the pita. This was a very hearty portion and served as my main meal of the day. I even stayed on here a bit after the tour ended just to relax and use the wifi.
Day 2 Cocktail Hour
Heteroclito. After my food tour, I took a wander around town. Multiple newspapers had suggested a stop at Heteroclito so I dropped in for an early afternoon glass of white or two. Heteroclito is very tiny and very sweet. My server brought me little chunks of dry garlicky bread and was lovely in her recommendations. I understand that Heteroclito is heaving in the evenings, but for a Saturday afternoon, it’s a lovely spot.
Day 2 Shopping in Athens
After my wine, I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering through the shopping areas of Plaka and Monastiraki before heading back to my hotel to pack up.
So there you go. That’s all I did during my 2 days in Athens. In hindsight, I wish I had organized this trip for three days. Lots more to see and do and eat.
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