12 Hours in Athens
Let me start off by saying that 12 hours in Athens is not nearly enough time. Not even close. But that's the running theme of honeymoon travels, so by the time we got to Athens, we accepted our fate, vowed to return and spend more time there, then went off to make good use of the time we did have!
Because we were short on time, we decided to spend our time exploring the one part of Athens we most wanted to see: The Acropolis. With this in mind, we booked a room at A for Athens right in the middle of Monastiraki Square and within walking distance to the Acropolis. The area appeared to be a little gritty at first sight, but we found it to be safe and convenient to shops, restaurants and, of course, the Acropolis. A for Athens was a no-frills hotel that offered a comfy stay for one night. The rooftop bar was a popular spot for many locals and tourists alike. And the view of the Acropolis was gorgeous...especially at dusk.
When in Greece, eat a gyro! I've had a few gyros in the past, but they typically aren't my meal of choice. I was determined to find a good gyro in Athens that would hopefully warm me up a bit more to this Grecian sandwich. Luckily, I didn't have to go very far as my research led me straight to Bairaktaris Taverna in Monastiraki. Mars and I ordered chicken and pork gyros respectively and we were not disappointed! I could've eaten two. Another Grecian dish that intrigued me was the moussaka at Dia Tafta restaurant. Moussaka is a casserole style dish that usually has an eggplant or potato base and is filled with ground meat, tomatoes, veggies and spices. While that may sound a little suspect...I promise it's delicious!
See & Do
As I mentioned before, the Acropolis was high on our list of things we wanted to experience in Athens, so after grabbing gyros, we headed to see the ancient site. Mars and I wondered if the ancient Greeks realized back then how the Acropolis would impact tourism years and years later.
While definitely a tourist site, it was still amazing to see the Acropolis and the Parthenon up close and in person. There were tons of other things we didn't get to see like the Panathenaic Stadium and the Acropolis Museum. We also wanted to explore the Plaka area and Syntagma Square.
Below are some additional tips for visiting the Acropolis
- Skip the long lines by visiting early in the morning or closer to dusk.
- Instead of entering the Acropolis at the main entrance, walk further up the hill to the enter from the South entrance. The lines are much shorter.
- Unless you've read up on all the background of the Acropolis before hand, rent an audio guide, opt for a guided tour or bring a guidebook. The grounds are undergoing a lot of reconstruction and unfortunately, there aren't many details about what you're seeing.
I definitely suggest spending at least two days in Athens in order to really explore the city. It is also a great starting point for exploring the Greek Islands.
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Ever been to Athens? I'd love to hear about things that surprised you about Athens in the comments below!