Hills, History and Hidden Beauty – 2 Nights in Athens

I am back from 2 glorious weeks in Greece with the husband.

Despite not being my first holiday, this is the first time I truly feel like I have had some proper downtime. We saw the sights, ate delicious food and spent some much-needed time together just relaxing.

I still spent time writing and I found that having a clear headspace allowed for lots of inspiration, so over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some posts about my holiday and lots more! So grab a cup of tea or glass of wine and come to Greece with me.

Our holiday has finally arrived. Feeling wracked with guilt after dropping Toby off at the cattery, I was so glad that we had decided to stay at the hotel the night before so I didn’t have to be in the empty house without him.

My alarm went off at 3 am and we were at the check-in desk by 4 am for a 5:45 departure. Feeling suspiciously spritely so far, we had decided against our usual airport breakfast and sat at a champagne bar instead, I initially ordered a coke zero but felt I should keep some tradition and had a glass of pink bubbles also, although I didn’t really want it, what I really wanted was water so I picked up a huge bottle for the flight.

Deciding that it was time for new traditions, I did not drink alcohol on the outward flight. Shedding the boozy bird persona I had been living for so long felt quite good.

We land in Athens around midday and we are met by our wonderful driver, Panos, who tells us where we should visit on our stay, he gives us his number in case we want a lift anywhere and then talks to the husband about football, I zone out, taking in my surroundings.

We arrive at our hotel, which is located in the heart of the city, it’s the perfect location for our 2-night stay. By now I’m tired, I have a headache and I feel sick, I realise I haven’t eaten a thing, and the concierge recommends a restaurant right around the corner so after eating some chicken souvlaki, we go back to the hotel for a quick power nap, before heading out to explore Athens.

I am surprised to find that behind the grey facade you see as you drive into Athens, there is a maze of hidden lanes, overflowing with al fresco restaurants filling the air with delicious smells, cute cocktail bars adorned with flowers that are an Instagrammers dream and plenty of boutique shops selling not only souvenirs but beautiful clothes and accessories. It was beautiful.

The view of The Acropolis overlooking a square in Athens, taken from a rooftop bar.

We eventually arrive at the main square and we catch our first glimpse of the Acropolis which is sat majestically on a high hill overlooking the city below. We head to a rooftop bar for some drinks and take in the amazing view. We find ourselves somewhere good to eat on Trip Advisor, we don’t go anywhere without checking our trusty travel companion first!

On our way, we pass more historical sites, along with so many cats! It would seem that Athens is a cat paradise, they are adorable but they make me think of Toby. I hope he’s ok.

Cats in Athens walking among the ruins

The sun is setting as we arrive at the restaurant, which is just below The Acropolis, high up on the hill, giving a fantastic view over the city below, which gradually begins to light up as the evening closes in.

The Acropolis lit up at night

We enjoy some delicious traditional Greek food before making our way back to our hotel through the beautiful lanes, now filled with the evening crowd spilling from restaurants, bars and streets into the warm night air, for some much-needed sleep, ready for a whole day of exploring tomorrow.

After an early wake-up for our flight, I would have quite liked a bit of a lie-in today, but with only 1 day left to explore Athens, we needed to be up and out.

First stop, The Acropolis. We wanted to avoid being at one of the highest points in Athens in the midday sun, but unlike in the UK, where it takes a while to get going, the sun is boiling hot first thing.

The queue to get tickets was quite long, I’m not sure why I was expecting anything less as it’s pretty much the main attraction here! The site was huge and as we wound our way up and around the hill, the crowd got thicker and the sun got hotter. I had no idea before coming to Athens that it’s practically up a mountain, at least that’s what it felt like to my unfit self!

The Acropolis

Next, we visited the Acropolis Museum, which was thankfully air-conditioned, taking us out of the midday sun we had wanted to avoid. We stopped for a quick lunch, before making our way to the rest of the historical sites. We walked through the National Gardens, which was filled with an array of trees blooming flowers in beautiful shades of pink and purple, to the Panathenaic Stadium, where I decided not to climb the seemingly never-ending, steep steps to the top.

The Panathenaic Stadium

We had a quick pit stop and I rehydrated with a couple of Aperol Spritz before exploring The Temple of Olympian Zeus where we were surprised to find a tortoise wandering around the ruins. We passed through The Arch of Hadrian on our way back to our hotel to freshen up for what Trip Advisor had in store for us on our last night in Athens.

A tortoise in the temple of olympian zeus

Tonight we were going to eat what has been reviewed as the best Moussaka in Athens at Liondi. I LOVED this restaurant, apart from the delicious Moussaka, it had brilliant staff and a great vibe. We ordered a bottle of Merlot, which comes from their very own vineyard and tasted divine at the end of the meal we were given a free shot, which thankfully was not ouzo and a dessert of homemade cheesecake, which was unreal and I have not stopped thinking about since.

The best moussaka in Athens from Liondi

Satisfied with all the delicious food and wine, we took our aching feet back to our hotel for another early start the following day as we head to Santorini. After all the walking, I was quite looking forward to a long boat trip.

2023-06-27 12:08:00

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