Most people generally plan to stay in Athens 4-5 days. However, we stayed for 2 weeks to complete the better half of our course work. This gave me the opportunity to explore the city. The first thing to know about Athens is its size. IT IS HUGE. The greater Athens area has 58 municipalities and houses over 3.5 million people. I stayed in Glyfada, a coastal area thought of as the “Miami Beach of Athens”. There are so many boutique shops within walking distance and some incredible restaurants as well.
Contributing Author Abby Bruns
Possibly my favorite place to go in Athens is Lake Vouliagmeni. It’s a 30-minute drive from the Acropolis Museum and a 10-minute drive from Glyfada but completely worth it. Vouliagmeni is a mineral spa full of such minerals as potassium, lithium, ammonium, calcium, ferrum, chloride, and iodine, which are known for relieving ailments such as eczema and dermatological diseases, neuralgia, headaches, disfiguring arthritis, chronic gynecological diseases, lumbago, sciatica, and bone and muscle problems. Additionally, there are doctor fish in the lake, the same kind of fish that nibble at your toes for pedicures. The lake also has a restaurant/bar and plenty of lounge chairs with umbrellas perfect for a lazy day in the sun (or the shade).
The Acropolis, Monastiraki, and Plaka
Naturally, when in Athens, going to the Parthenon is towards the top of the list. At the base of the Acropolis is an incredible museum which houses and restores archeological findings from the Acropolis and surrounding areas. If you don't have the time or patience to hike up to the Parthenon and deal with hoards of people (it can get extremely crowded), the museum is the perfect substitute. The Monastiraki market is a great place to walk around, do some shopping, and grab a bite to eat if you are in the area. There is a great fruit stand in the main square and the restaurant, Diogenes, is a few blocks over in Plaka. The Panathenaic stadium is a 10 minute walk from the Acropolis. It’s a 5 Euro entry fee, and definitely worth a quick look around. The stadium is built entirely out of marble and houses all the torches from past Olympic games along with other historic items.
On a free day, we all drove out to Corinth to see the canal, bungee jump, and hike Acrocorinth. The water in the canal was unrealistically blue. It was truly mesmerizing. The canal is also where we bungee jumped with ZULU Bungy, which I highly recommend. My mom has always said I have no fear, especially when it comes to leading my friends to jump off a bridge with me. However, if you do happen to be a bit scared of heights, the drop was not too high and the views were incredible, plus it is over before you know it (you might even want to go again). HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Then we took a short drive over to Acrocorinth where a medieval castle sits atop the monolith. At the base of the monolith are temples from the Hellenistic period. This was one of my favorite historical sites because of the diverse architecture and history surrounding the area.
Restaurants in Athens...
My picks: Tzatziki and Chicken Souvlaki
My picks: Loukoumades, Beef Sofrito, and the Avantis Estate Syrah
My picks: The Suncreen and Elderflower+Cucumber Collins
My picks: Porcini, Bass Fish, and the Bitter Chocolate Mouse
My picks: Moussaka and a Greek Salad
My picks: Trilogy of Greek Salads, Marinated grilled Pork Fillets, and the Chicken Fillet Roll