Today's post is about Athens; from our recent trip to Greece & Paris. This is going to be a long post, so grab your coffee and snack and sit back 😀
Day 1: Hellenic Parliament - Syntagma Square - Ermou Street - Acropolis of Athens
We were in Athens for 4 days, out of which 2 were holidays for Easter (when everything is shut). There was no other option, hence, we pretty much just relaxed on those 2 days and covered most of Athens on the remaining 2 days.
We started our day with Hellenic Parliament in Athens. The highlight of this is the elaborate changing-of-guards' ceremony. It's quite a show that happens every Sunday morning at 11 am. Each guard stands immobile, on duty for 60 minutes and then this changing ceremony is performed for the shift change. During this ceremony, the guards give a performance in real-life slow-motion so as to protect the blood circulation after 60 minutes of immobility. The uniform of the guards is as spectacular as the show they put up. It's beautiful and has its elements of history and grandeur.
After this, we headed to the Syntagma Square that's just across the Hellenic Parliament. It is the central square of Athens. You can find routes to almost every place from here. It's a very lively square, with all the touristy stalls around and people chilling by the fountain. Next, we moved towards the famous Ermou Street.
It's the most sought after shopping district in Athens. It wasn't a broad street but a cozy one, with all kinds of brands on either side of the street. By this time we were really hungry and when we saw the stalls of Greek street food "Koulouri", we knew we had to grab one. These come in endless flavors - chocolate, feta cheese, potato, etc. These are super yummy and so filling; come in a ring shape, and are quite big for a snack, I'd say SHARING is the way to go! We strolled the street, checking out some traditional shops, souvenirs, flea markets shops, and such touristy stuff. Then we had lunch at a lovely cafe-restaurant on the Ermou street. The food in Greece is awesome, you guys. The portion sizes are huge, the taste is heavenly and the people are super nice.
After the hearty meal, we walked down to Acropolis. The best part of Acropolis is that it is visible from almost everywhere in central Athens. The walk for Acropolis is not a very long one from the Ermou street (~15 min). If you have very little time in Athens and you'd go to only one place in Athens, let it be Acropolis.
Once you reach uphill, at the main citadel, you are welcomed by the gorgeous views of the city all around. This place actually takes you back in time into the Greek history. It's grand and has so many sites nearby to explore. If you like knowing things with greater details then I'd suggest going to the Acropolis Museum first so that you have a better base, but if you want to skip museum, it's still inviting.
We sat there for some time and relaxed while absorbing all the history and views.
Day 2: Lake Vouliagmeni of Athens
This was not the actual day 2 of the trip. On the actual day 2, we were out of Athens (coming soon in another post). This is just the 2nd day when we were in Athens. It was more of a laid back and easy going day for us.
We started a little late. After breakfast and such stuff, we headed to Lake Vouliagmeni. It is a natural thermal water lake with healing properties. It is managed by a company —Thermal Spa Vouliagmeni – Tourist enterprises SA. As it is a natural lake with thermal springs underneath, it has great healing properties due to the geological phenomenon of the underwater life. Although it's a natural lake, there is a basic entrance fee that you have to pay, which includes sun bed, locker facility, and shower.
We spent a good amount of time at the lake and then headed to the city center for lunch. We had lunch at Indian Haveli (we were craving Indian food). This restaurant offers superb Indian cuisine. The interiors are beautifully done with Indian paintings and furnishings. If you go to Athens and like Indian food, definitely check out this place; it's diary approved! 😀
How's What in Athens, Greece?
FOOD: Very good, amazing variety and the best part is getting numerous vegetarian options in almost all the restaurants! For Indian food, I recommend visiting Indian Haveli.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Buses and trains are good, though we usually preferred taxis. You can also get a rental car if you have a valid license.
SAFETY: Usually it is safe but as with any other tourist place, being cautious is the way to go. Also, Omonia square is one place where a lot of disturbances are present, so avoid going to that area during the night, daytime should be fine with some extra care.
PEOPLE: Extremely helpful, courteous, and full of life.
OUR STAY: We stayed at Hotel Atrium, which is a budget hotel. We preferred spending on traveling, exploring and food, instead of a hotel. But this is a very personal choice, hence to each his own. It was a decent property, with big and clean rooms, staff was also very helpful and courteous. If you are a vegetarian, then you may not like the breakfast spread as it has almost nothing except the fruits, dairy and bakery items.
So that's a wrap of my first post from our visit to Greece. I hope you enjoyed reading through and watching the pictures.
Have you been to Greece? What was your favorite spot in Athens? Share in the comments below. I'd love to read.
Do you like to travel? You can check more of my travel posts here.
I'll be sharing more posts from this trip soon, keep checking this space. As always, thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!