Destination 4: Athens – 2 Nights

Timeline: September 04 – September 06

Day 13: Arrived to Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport in the morning. Took a taxi from airport to hotel Divani Palace Acropolis, which was located within walking distance of the famous Acropolis of Athens. Divani Palace was a good hotel, the only shortcoming was that although it was advertised as Acropolis view, it only offered an angled view due to the location of the hotel however, the staff were nice and accommodating. They allowed for an earlier check in, and upgraded the room to a higher level with clearer view of the Acropolis. After a short break at the hotel, headed to the streets of Athens. Athens streets were dense and so lively with tourists, shops, local people and businesses, traffic and the great Acropolis sitting high, observing how the history keeps repeating itself. Had a quick gyro wrap for lunch, next destination was Acropolis Museum, which was a newly constructed building on the hillside of the Acropolis. There was a small fee, 5 Euro, for entrance to the museum (definitely worth a visit). Museum is built on top on an ancient archeological site and has a great architectural design. It also holds amazing artifacts from the ancient world of Acropolis, and the excavated city underneath. There’s a café on the top floors that serves refreshments and has a scenic outdoor space with view of the Acropolis and nearby buildings. Spent 4 hours at the museum and headed to the olive garden outside of the building. After a bit of resting in the garden, walked towards the outskirts of the historic sites. It was a beautiful park filled with the local crowd and tourists, lined up for a live play at the Acropolis amphitheatre, Odeon of Heroes Atticus, kids playing and people chatting and eating street snacks (fresh charcoaled corn was amazing!). For the rest of the night, walked around in Makrygianni neighborhood. Pretty narrow and crowded streets, surrounded by cafes, restaurants, shops and art galleries. Visited Ioannidou art gallery , very interesting Greek style modern art displays.  Last stop of the night was dining at a patio in the same neighborhood, under extended branches of old trees in a restaurant serving traditional Greek beef dish accompanied by fresh Greek salad and of course yummy zucchini fritters. Walked back to the hotel to close the night.

Inside the Acropolis Museum, the Erechtheion

Day 14: Visiting the Acropolis in the morning and the ancient Greek Olympic Stadium in the afternoon. In the morning after breakfast at the hotel, walked towards the great Acropolis which was about 10 minutes away from eth Divani Palace hotel. Entrance lineup wasn’t too long, picked up tickets from the box office and entered the site. The Acropolis is surrounded by scattered archeological remains such as amphitheaters and temples and there’s bit of hiking required to go through these sites an get to the top of the hill where the Parthenon, Erechtheum, Temple of Athena Nike, and the rest of major remains are located. Top of the hill could get crowded and hot with the sun and there is no cafeteria or water on the site. Spent 3 hours at the Acropolis (including the hike) which was enough to cover all the sites and taking pictures.

Athens through the eyes of the Acropolis

 

The Acropolis, standing tall despite millenniums of disasters, wrath, and human grudge

After the Acropolis, headed to the Arcadia Restaurant in Makrygianni to rest, eat and refresh for the next destination in the shady and green patio of the restaurant. The Arcadia food was amazing, tried the Zucchini Fritters and Greek Salad for appetizer, and Traditional Moussaka and Homade Chicken Gyro for mains. Highly recommended and it’s right by the Acropolis site and the Museum.

The Arcadia Restaurant, Athens

From the Arcadia restaurant, walked towards the ancient Greek Olympics or Panathenaic Stadium. It was breathtaking to visit the origin of Olympics games that was built in 330 BC for the first time, and has been in use since then. Although there’s been various stages of refurbishments and reconstructions, most of the marble structure remains unchanged and there are still some artifacts standing from the ancient times.

Marble seats of the king and queen, Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium

There was no line up at the stadium’s entrance. There was a small fee for the ticket and an audio guide. Spent 1.5 hour at the stadium that covered the main arena and the indoor exhibition of Olympics torches, pictures and artifacts. From the stadium, walked back to the Thissio and Makrygianni neighborhood and chilled out the last night of the 14 day trip, at the crowded streets of Athens under the eyes of the ancient Acropolis. Farewell Athens!

The magnificent Odeon of Herodes Atticus, still in use for performances

Day 15: Departed from Athens to Toronto with a 1 stop flight: from Athens to Copenhagen and from Copenhagen to Toronto.

Some tips for visiting Athens:

  1. When visiting the Acropolis, pack a small snack and water bottles as there is no cafeteria or water fountains along the way.
  2. Visiting the Acropolis is a hike, suitable shoes and outfit is required (hat, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, small backpack).
  3. Entrance line to the Acropolis could be long, try to get there early in the morning.

 

End of 15 days Turkey and Greece itinerary. Look for more itineraries by itinhub in future posts.