I can’t believe two months have already passed since I’ve returned from my European adventure! If you missed it, I shared the base of my itinerary and highlighted the U.K. portion of the trip. Today I want to share about the first city I visited in Greece…Athens, of course! While planning this vacation, I heard many mixed reviews of this historic city but I believe it’s worth a visit. Take a look at what you should eat, see and do for two days in Athens, Greece!
2 Days in Athens, Greece
Athens International Airport (AIA) is located about 30 minutes away via bus from downtown Athens. We opted to take public transporation from the airport into the heart of the city which only cost about 5 Euro and took about 25 – 30 minutes. Beware: the buses are crowded and don’t have air conditioning! We thought the cost savings was worth it.
After checking in at our AirBnB in the Plaka neighborhood, we decided to walk around and grab a bite to eat. I would definitely recommend staying in this area. While it was a bit touristy, the Plaka is in walking distance to all of the big historic sights.
This picture marks the start of my obsession with Greek cuisine. Just thinking about Greek salads, moussaka and baklava makes my mouth water!
We started our day early and headed straight to the Acropolis. I would recommend to bring water, wear closed-toe shoes and be prepared to be surrounded by a lot of tourists! While many sites and people recommended to pre-buy the tickets, I don’t think this was necessary. We waited in line for about 15 minutes and got in very easily. I’m sure this is dependent on the time of year and time of day you are visiting, so keep that in mind!
Athens is a HUGE city. I’m not sure why this surprised me, but it did! Over 1/3 of Greece’s entire population lives in Athens.
While I’m not a huge history buff, it was amazing to think about all of the life that has happened in this very place. In retrospect, it would’ve been neat to have a tour guide for this portion of the trip…or my Aunt Lynn who is a walking history book and one of the smartest ladies I know! To learn more about the history of the Acropolis, click here.
After we spent 1.5-2 hours or so walking around the Acropolis, we hiked down to the Monastiraki flea market to do some shopping and grab lunch. One thing that I love to visit in new cities is their markets. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by the Monastiraki flea market. It was filled with a lot of tourist shops that sold items like magnets and graphic t-shirts. We soon left this area and decided to just walk around and explore the winding streets.
The mid-afternoon heat got to us and walking around just didn’t sound pleasant anymore. We opted to get on a hop on-hop off tourist bus and saw a lot more of the city. I’m actually really happy that we did this because I was starting to get a negative impression of Athens but was pleasantly surprised to see the blue waters of the coast line. This also got me reallllly excited to get to the islands. I remember my travel-mate Rachel saying, “Promise me you won’t be mad that I took you to Athens.” I didn’t realize why she was saying this at the time…but once I got to the islands, I soon understood! More on that later…
That night, I tried ouzo for the first time. While I can’t say I loved it (it tastes like black licorice), the bar we went to was pretty cool. We decided to splurge on a nice dinner and boy I’m glad we did! Seeing the Acropolis lit up at night, drinking red wine with some of my best friends and feasting on Greek treats really did make me feel like I was in “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”. #GoalAccomplished
If I had to do this portion of our trip over again, I would’ve probably only stayed one full night in Athens instead of two. While I’m certain there are many more wonderful things to see and do in this city, the islands were calling my way and I had to go.
Next up, Santorini!