After spending a glorious week in Santorini, it was time to head to Athens. I hated saying good-bye to Santorini, but I was very excited about Athens! The Greek capital has a lot to offer including all those iconic places you’ve always heard of! This is Adventures in Athens!
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Grande Bretagne
The Hotel Grande Bretagne is a gorgeous hotel. Very centrally located in Syntagma Square, it was built in 1842.
This lobby definitely lives up to the “Grande” in its name!
Entering one of the suites!
The foyer opens up to a gorgeous sitting room…
and then into an equally beautiful bedroom.
Even the balcony was very ornate and detailed.
Check out this giant, very impressive bathroom!
The hotel has long, majestic hallways that provide peace and privacy.
I loved the welcome treats they left us! Not only did we get chocolate, but we got silk scarves too!
Hotel Grande Bretagne has everything you could possibly want and more. Located right across from the House of Parliament, the hotel is also within walking distance to shopping and markets. Keep reading below for one of its best highlights!
WHERE TO EAT
GB Roof Garden
If you want the best, iconic view in all of Athens while you eat, then you must have breakfast and/or lunch at GB Roof Garden at the Hotel Grande Bretagne.
I highly recommend the breakfast buffet, along with ordering the French Toast. It is AMAZING!! I couldn’t believe I was eating breakfast while gazing at the famous Acropolis. This was a place I’d only dreamed about seeing and then I got to eat breakfast with it casually in my view!
Kappari is an outstanding place to grab authentic Greek food. This salad with strawberry, mastelo cheese and a honey balsamic dressing was fabulous. These fried meatballs with Haloumi cheese, honey mustard dressing and a mint, dill yogurt sauce were delicious!
However, it was the Manouri cheese in a pie crust with honey and sesame that was my absolute favorite! This is a MUST try. I promise you won’t regret it. There will be attempts to recreate this one at home!!
Galaxy Restaurant and Bar
Definitely grab dinner at the Galaxy Restaurant and Bar which is located at the Hilton Athens.
Go early enough to grab a drink and watch an incredible sunset with the Acropolis in view!
Then have yummy appetizers…
and if you are a sushi eater, try their sushi! I got the Tokyo Roll and the Double Salmon Roll (minus the cucumber 😉 ) and they were really good!
Head out to the terrace once more after dinner to see the Acropolis all lit up at night. It’s so pretty!!
WHAT TO SEE
Explore the Acropolis
The Odeon is located just under the Acropolis. Built in the 2nd century AD in memory of Tiberius’ wife, it was used as a concert venue.
The Erechtheion is a temple that was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.
On one side of the Erechtheion is the Porch of the Caryatids. It features 6 female figures as the columns.
Arguably, the most iconic building on the Acropolis is the Parthenon. It was built starting in 447 BC and was dedicated to Athena. As you can see, it is under construction and from what I understand, has been for a little while now.
It was truly an amazing sight to see!
Equally amazing is this view from the Acropolis! It was just stunning!
See Mars Hill which is the Roman name for the Hill of Ares (or the Aeropagus). The Greek mythology significance is this is where the Greek god of war (Ares) stood trial for killing Poseidon’s son. The Biblical significance is this is where Paul delivered one of his most important gospel sermons addressing Greek idolatry.
Walk through the Agora and don’t miss the Temple of Hephaestus up on the hill. It is a beautiful temple in the Doric style architecture.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus dates back to 174 BC and has extremely tall columns. Because of these columns, it was considered to be one of the largest temples built in the ancient world.
The Panathenaic Stadium is the only stadium in the world made entirely of marble. It was the host of the opening and closing ceremonies for the first modern Olympics in 1896. It was also used as an Olympic venue for the 2004 Games in Athens. This is where the finish line is for the Athens Classic Marathon as well as where Greece holds the ceremony to hand over the Olympic flame to the host nation.
Witness The Changing Of The Guards
Be sure to catch the Changing of the Guards in Syntagma Square (Constitution Square) which faces the Greek Parliament.
The Evzone guards change every hour, but on Sundays at 11:00am, they do the official ceremony complete with the official costumes and you don’t want to miss it!
Walk Down Pittaki Street
This charming little alley way was once dim and dark until Athenians decided to clean out lamps and chandeliers from their own houses along with shopping for quirky antiques as well. Now it’s an alley worth walking down to see all of its personality!
Walk through Athens’ oldest and one of its nicest neighborhoods, Plaka. It has charming streets and restaurants with a whole lot of personality! I loved the “Where is my mind?” sign I found while walking around!
Plaka is located right below the Acropolis. The Plaka Market is where you will come across the most unique finds and the perfect souvenirs as well as some of the finest shopping on the famous Ermou Street.
For a neat photo opportunity, go to Philopappos Hill and look back at the Acropolis.
This was one of my favorite photos of the trip! Thank you to Amanda for this photo.
There is so much rich history in Athens and it is a beautiful city. For most people, bucket list dreams come true in this city and that was no different for me. I hope that this list helps guide you to the best things of this amazing place! Have you been to Athens? What was your favorite thing you did there? Leave me a comment and let me know!
‘Til next time…
*Thank you to the Hotel Grande Bretagne and the Galaxy Restaurant and Bar! I am truly grateful for the experience and as always, all opinions expressed in my posts are my own!