Everything you hear and see about Greek weddings is 100% true! We had such a fun time celebrating – listening to live music, dancing in circles, throwing flowers and money – into the wee hours of the morning. In hindsight, our biggest mistake was not pulling an all-nighter (or perhaps it was booking a 9AM flight). Needless to say, we had a rough start to our morning and only made our flight to Athens thanks to the disorganization and tardiness that is the Greek airline system.
July 17, 2016 – Acropolis & Plaka District
When we planned our trip, we purposely deprioritized Athens based on feedback and recommendations we received from others. When we arrived, I fully expected there to be anarchy in the streets, especially given Greece’s recent economic situation. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Athens is just a normal city with a huge history. Though my perspective is limited to the short time we spent there, I really enjoyed Athens and would recommend it to others visiting Greece.
In desperate need of food, our first stop was Kosmikon Grill House, a cute corner restaurant in the Plaka area with outdoor seating, good service and tasty food. We ordered our new favorites – Greek salad and chicken gyros.
Re-energized from lunch, we were ready to take on the Acropolis. We purchased tickets (20 EUR/person) and made our way up the slope, stopping every so often to read about the ancient ruins we passed including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (theater), Beulé Gate and Monument of Agrippa. The entire archaeological site is stunning and so well preserved that it’s difficult to believe it’s more than 2,500 years old!
We eventually made it to the top and were awestruck by the size and beauty of the Parthenon, the crown jewel of the Acropolis. We did a full loop at the top of the hill visiting the other monuments – Old Temple of Athena ruins, Erechtheum, etc. which are equally impressive. In total, we spent around 2-3 hours exploring the Acropolis before the heat and need for water took over. Note: I highly recommend bringing bottled water with you, especially if you go during the summer. There are water fountains at the top but otherwise, no convenient place to purchase water, seek shade or rest.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering around the charming Plaka District, exploring all the cute shops and buying last minute souvenirs and gifts. For our last European dinner of the trip, we wanted to go somewhere special. We ended up at Dionysos Zonar’s where we sat outside, watched the sun set and enjoyed a nice dinner with an uninterrupted view of the Acropolis all lit up at night. Overall, the food was good, service was good and the ambiance was unbeatable.
It was the perfect ending to an amazing trip!
Accommodations & Country Specific Details
Stay: Hilton Athens
We chose to stay at the Hilton in Athens because we had hotel points to burn but it ended up being a nice transition back to reality. The hotel is massive, modern and clean and the bedrooms were spacious and comfortable. The staff were also extremely helpful and efficient. The hotel is located about a 30 minute walk from the Plaka neighborhood in an urban area.
To Athens: By air through Aegean Airlines.
Around Athens: We walked everywhere in Athens. Again, our experience was somewhat limited but you can easily walk between the Plaka area and Acropolis.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language: Greek but had no problem finding English speaking people.
Outlet Adapter: The standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type F.
Passport/Visa Requirements: U.S. Passport valid for at least six months from date of travel. No visa for visits under 90 days required.
Weather: We visited Athens mid-July and it was HOT. Temperatures in the 90’s with blue skies.