Six must do things in Athens

It’s been a month ago that I travelled to the beautiful Greece, so I figured it was about time I told you a bit more about the city I stayed in most of the trip; Athens.

While Greece’s capital disappointed me a bit, as there isn’t all that much to see and certain parts of the city are a bit dilapidated, it also has a few highlights that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. So I guess I ended up with a bit of a love/hate relationship.

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Philopappos Hill

Upon arrival in the city, I immediately headed to Philopappos Hill. This hill is situated south-west from the Acropolis and offers a stunning view on the Acropolis and the rest of Athens (picture above). It’s the perfect way to get acquainted with this ancient city.

I spent a couple of hours up that hill as I was waiting for my friend to arrive in Athens as well, and while I was waiting I was treated to a gorgeous sunset. I simply didn’t know where to look first, to the Acropolis or at the sunset. Both so lovely!

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Anafiotika

This little 19th century neigborhood situated on the northeastern slope of the Acropolis is just waiting to steal your heart. The houses of Anafiotika were build by the people of the Cyclade Islands who came to work for King Otto to build the new capital. They built their houses in the same style as the architecture of their islands; white stone houses with brightly painted doors and shutters.

Just allow yourself to get lost between the tiny streets of this neighborhood and get a feeling of what the Greek Islands look like.

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Mount Lycabettus

Another hill that’s just waiting to be climbed is Mount Lycabettus. This hill offers you an even higher viewpoint of the city with a beautiful view on the Aegean Sea behind it. The climb up the hill isn’t that hard, but it’s best done in the morning or the evening to avoid the heat of the day. There is also the option of taking the funicular from between Ploutarchou and Aristippou street, but in my opinion that’s just a waste of money.

On the top you can find the Chapel of St. George which was built in the 19th century and there is also a restaurant. We climbed the hill early in the morning and then rewarded ourselves with the breakfast menu on the top. We expected to pay way too much for what we would get considering the location, but for €12 we got an entire breakfast with scrambled eggs and feta cheese, greek yoghurt with fresh fruit toppings, an arrangement of cheeses and toast with butter and marmelade. So I can only recommend this breakfast. It was glorious.

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Thissio View Rooftop Bar 

Two of our evenings in Athens were spent in Thissio View’s Rooftop Bar. There are many rooftop bars all over Athens offering a beautiful view on the Acropolis at night and since we only did one, I can’t confirm whether this one is better than others. But Thissio View definitely has the view, the drinks and the good food (recommendation: Caramelized Onions Burger and the Zombi cocktail). Whichever bar you choose, you can’t go to Athens without at least visiting one rooftop bar!

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Thision Open Air Cinema

Watching a movie in open-air while having a view of the Acropolis on your left. It probably doesn’t get better than this. If you agree, then Thision is the place to be. The only downside is that you don’t get to choose the movie. There is only one movie playing and they only change that movie once a week.

We were lucky to have a great movie playing (American Made) so that made the decision easier for us. We chose to go to the 10:30pm screening (so we could still have our dinner at Thissio View), but there was also one at 8:30pm. They always show the movies around those times. A ticket costs 8 euros and you can’t buy them in advance. It’s first come, first served. But for our screening we were almost the only ones present so there is no need to stress about not getting a ticket. Especially not for the late screening.

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The Acropolis 

Yes, I can’t just skip it. When you go to Athens, you simply have to visit the Acropolis. Although this was probably one of the biggest disappointments of my trip. I guess I was just expecting way too much of this site. I think it’s just important to keep the history of those buildings in mind, and it suddenly becomes a whole lot more interesting. While I was a bit disappointed, I still don’t regret going up there. It’s the sight of Athens so no matter where your interests lie, it’s a must.

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I guess Athens is mostly a wet’s dream for those who are really into history as there are many museums, but those aren’t really my thing. Nonetheless I still had the best time in this city even though some things didn’t really live up to my expectations. I don’t think I’ll revisit Athens soon, but the Greek Islands have definitely stolen my heart, so I’m dying to explore more of those!

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