5 Days in Athens
Updated: Aug 15, 2021
Our trip to Athens came as a complete surprise; well, at least for me! I did not know I was heading there till about 4 hours before the flight! Yet, this trip was not impromptu to its mastermind orchestrator. This trip was carefully planned and manicured with the most inclusive itinerary imaginable. Fernando had been planning this trip in secret for three months! Researching the best places to eat at, drink at, and become engaged at. So yes, this is a love story and also a kick-ass 5 days in Athens itinerary. I can't take credit for planning this trip; this was all Fernando. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I know it's cliche, but I do feel like I'm marrying my best friend! Without further ado, here's Fernando's guide to Athen's most perfect 5 days with an extra added day trip.
Athens came as a complete surprise. I had no time to plan, daydream, or even learn about this place I was about to visit. I was swept off my feet and taken on a magic carpet ride where culture, tradition, and orange trees ruled everyday life. This blog is written by a traveler that unexpectedly arrived here and curated by a sneaky, playful, romantic boyfriend looking to declare his love overlooking the most scenic sights of ruins, history, and drama. We hope you enjoy our journey; it was a trip I will never forget. Welcome to Athens!
Money-Saving Tip: If you're planning on visiting some of the most popular sites in Athens, I recommend buying the Athens Multi-Site Pass for €30 -- this pass grants you access to many attractions within 5 consecutive days! A great way to save $$ #wheninathens #moneysavingtips
Metaxourgeio-- Where we stayed and our favorite neighborhood in Athens! Now, a full disclaimer -- this neighborhood, although ideal for us, might not be perfect for everyone. It feels a bit grimy, unsafe, and way too local. I'm pretty sure we bumped into a couple of brothels just wandering the streets! But with that said, if you take away the look
(which as New Yorkers we were completely digging ) If you take out the dark alleys with empty streets, if you take away the "sketchy" looking late-night crowds and instead of going by visuals go by facts, we were always safe and never had any problems whatsoever with
anyone! Truth is we found Metaxourgeio
to be quite charming. Not a lot of places have a fully decked out graffiti wall surrounded by blossoming orange trees! This neighborhood was not as busy as the rest and had terrific restaurants, bars, and night clubs. It deserves at least a night visit on your trip to Athens. In this neighborhood our journey began post landing.
We arrived in Athens at 4:10 pm, and every time we land in a new country past
3 pm, we know we're starting our trip with a bar-hopping/ nightlife late day. Lucky for us, all the cool cafes and restaurants were about a 10 min walk from our hotel.
Day 1 ( Half Day ) Metaxourgeio & Kerameikos --
More than a half-day full of activities and site seeing, this is an early evening / late night half-day full of bar-hopping, dinner, dancing, and late night snacking. Athens has so many cool looking neighborhoods filled with cute little cafés that turn into bars at night! Breakfast at 8 am, then drinks at 8 pm in the same spot? Totally doable in some locations. Throughout our itinerary, we'll explore a few neighborhoods; some will be touristy while others will have a more local vibe, but they will all offer amazing foods, drinks, and ambiance.
Let's start with two neighborhoods that are within walking distance from each other-- Metaxourgeio and Kerameikos. Our early evening began at 6 pm, visiting the charming Avid Square in Metaxourgeio. This square is full of trendy cafes making bar-hopping in Athens very easy, convenient, and a must; the perfect place to start your night, especially after a long flight since its a bit more quiet, secluded, local yet still very trendy! Walk the square and grab a drink or two before dinner. In this square you'll find plenty of bars to choose from. We decided to grab a couple of drinks at Blue Parrot ( Open from 9 am-2 am-- see, I wasn't kidding about grabbing breakfast and late-night drinks at the same spot!). We loved the ambiance, and our bartender made us amazing cocktails! Later on, we learned he had won a major competition for crafting cocktails and was sponsored by coke to come to NYC and check out some of our best bars and speakeasies... small world!
*Note: When visiting more local neighborhoods, the names of bars and restaurants will be in greek. See above--this is "Blue Parrot." Something to keep in mind, especially if you don't speak the language. Type the name in English on google maps or use google translate, we never got lost realizing we needed to stop looking for English names.
8 pm-- Dinner at Seychelles
Located in the same square, about a 2 min walk from "Blue Parrot" find this super popular and local restaurant. The food was excellent! We each tried their local house wine (red/white), and although I'm a red wine drinker, the white was out of this world! Their menu is seasonal and constantly changing. We recommend making a reservation as this place sometimes tends to get packed!
9:45 pm-- Afrikana Jazz Club
About an 8 min walk from Seychelles restaurant is Afrikana Jazz Club; where we spent one of our favorite nights in Athens. The live jazz music is Avant-Garde and innovative, with an underground NYC feel. The set changes depending on who's playing and the night's theme. Head here after dinner, and let the tunes carry you away. Check out their Facebook page for updates on performances and times. Afrikana is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Open Tuesdays 7:30 pm- 12 am, and Wednesday to Saturday 7:30 pm-3 am. Cover charges may apply depending on who is playing, still totally worth it!
12am-- MoMix (8pm-3am)
A 5 min walk from Afrikana is MoMix bar. This molecular mixology bar is a must! "Do it for the gram," but IG aside, drinks were exciting and cool looking! You get to see how they make them, and it's absolutely a chemist's liquified work of art! We didn't care much for the potion mix assortment glass, the potions ranged from super sour to super sweet shots, but the full cocktails on the video were super yummy!
1:45am-- Late night snacking at Elvis (12pm-3am)
This spot is perfect for some after drinking snacking or even a mid-day small bite! Find Elvis a 6 min walk from MoMix bar and indulge in a souvlaki ( popular Greek fast food that consists of small pieces of grilled meat and or vegetables in a skewer ). Best part? It's super affordable! We paid 1.35 euros for high-quality meat with a side bread ( french fries are also available ). It was seriously so delicious! The meat tender and juicy, the bread freshly baked!
2:30 am--Head over to Kerameio for some serious dancing and perhaps live music!
Our last stop for the night is Kerameio. Open from 8 am ( another possible breakfast spot the next morning? ) to 5 am. This spot is super local and full of energy; the dance floor was never empty! Great cocktails and, on some nights, live jazz or blues. When we went, there was a DJ, so the party was on! This spot is a 1 min walk from Elvis... you're welcome!
4 am-- Time to go, but before you do, have some bread at Bread Factory.
I love finding inexpensive spots that are open 24 hours and can provide a good snack, on the go breakfast, late-night out drinking hung overbites, etc. Well, this was the spot that did all of that for us in Athens-- The Bread Factory with over 250+ freshly baked pieces of bread daily! The Bread Factory is a chain you can find all over Athens. This one is just a 10 min walk from Kerameio and right outside our hotel, so it was perfect! We're sleeping in and starting our day a bit late tomorrow, so instead of heading to a sit-down cafe for breakfast, we're grabbing some snacks here before starting our full day of site seeing.
Day 2-- Be a tourist in Athens
Today we'll explore all the major tourist spots. Starting with "The Changing of the Guard" -- I have to be honest about this one... It happened by accident. I mean, we knew about the changing of the guard, but having experienced it in other European cities before ( like Rome, for example ), we thought it would be the same kinda thing, so we said " been there, done that, let's skip it," and boy were we wrong! We happened to be passing by the Presidential Mansion ( where the changing of the guard happens ) at exactly the right time! We were walking down a side street and saw one of them pass us, heading towards the tomb of the unknown soldier. The uniform and technique he executed to walk over were so enthralling we had to follow him and witness this changing of the guard phenomenon for ourselves; after all, we were already there! I have to say this was such a beautifully choreographed live art/movement piece. At least that's how it felt to me. I saw ballet, martial arts, respect, discipline and love, all happening to honor the tomb of the unknown soldier (which is guarded 24 hours / 365 days ) If you're in Athens believe me, this is a must!!! and it's free #wheninathens
Right across the street, you'll find the entrance to Syntagma Square. Stroll around, buy a coffee, and people watch.