If you’ve been visiting my blog over the past week, you’ll notice there’s been many more travel posts than usual. For that, you have my recent cruise trip around Greece and Albania to thank, which allowed me to visit some fantastic new places.
One of the cities I visited was no other than the Greek city of Athens, taking me right back to my days in school when I studied Greek Mythology. On this particular trip, with it being part of a cruise, we had just 5 hours to roam freely around Athens and see what we could see. So with time up against us, we set out for an action packed few hours…
The first thing we did was making a hop-on hop-off bis ticket purchase, in which we boarded at the port. I think it was 15 euros each, and with that you got the earphones for a guided tour along with detailed maps about all the destinations. I was actually impressed with how easy it was to get around Athens – I thought we’d be a bit confused with where to go and what route to take.
Our first stop was to see the Acropolis, in which we set off on a 40 minute walk past the acropolis and to all the view points that allowed us to see the stunning views of the ruins and the main city. The walk took us past lots of old columns and ruined buildings seeping with history, eventually bringing us out at the Plaka, which is the main shopping streets of Athens.
Plaka was full of family ran, independent bars and restaurants that served only local Greek cuisine and had that real traditional vibe. I love going away to a new city and feeling like I’m right in the middle of the authenticity of the city. Greek locals, Greek cuisine, and a real Greek atmosphere.
It was so pretty, walking through the tidy little streets filled with tourist shops and eateries. After this, we walked back through to the Acropolis again before jumping on the bus to take us to see the Temple of Zeus.
Following the temple, we spent the remainder of our afternoon visiting the National Gardens of Athens, which is an absolutely beautiful parkland area spanning many miles. It was so well looked after and themed like tropical gardens, with glistening lakes, palm tree lines paths and shaded little covers with benches and seating areas invited people for a rest.
It was an absolute pleasure to stroll around the National Gardens and take in its beauty. It’s rare to see such grounds in pristine condition, right in the center of a busy and slightly dirty main city. It was like a corner of tranquility, peace and calm in the middle of chaos.
Athens had never overly appealed to me before my visit, or at least, it was never on my bucket list. But after spendng 5 little hours here, I saw just how interesting it is as a city, and what it has to offer. It is brimming with history and old ruins, whilst having a rustic, traditional town feel, with these insanely beautiful gardens splat bang in the middle. What a place!