Travel Tip #1: Get to the Acropolis at 8am. Seriously. Not 8:15, not 8:30, get there at 8:00. It doesn’t sound like that much, but those extra 10 or 15 minutes can really help you get a jump on the crowds so you can take unobstructed photos without tons of other people in them. And by getting there slightly earlier, you also get to avoid that much more of the stronger sun. As an aside, don’t be fooled if you’re not feeling thirsty or hot at the top of the Acropolis because it’s windy up there; you’re very likely getting quite dehydrated if you’re not taking care of yourself.
Travel Tip #2: Once you’ve visited the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum (note: closed on Mondays) is a must-see. And one tip is to go on a gallery talk. My friends and I had the fortune of being the only people on the tour that we went on, so it was essentially like having a private tour guide of the Acropolis Museum. And our tour guide was an actual archaeologist, and she was awesome! Highly recommended.
Travel Tip #3: Go to a Greek island. It doesn’t matter which one. Or go to multiple ones. Even if you only have a couple of hours, you can make a mini-trip to Aegina, which is one of the closest islands to Athens. It takes a little over an hour to get there on the big boats (which I recommend over the much more turbulent but faster small boats), and it’s completely worth the detour.
Food Tip #1: Stani is a must if you can tolerate dairy. It’s an old-school dairy bar that serves the most delicious yogurt I’ve ever had. At first, I was shocked to see people ordering an entire block of yogurt for themselves, but after trying it, I completely understood how one person could eat so much yogurt. And their cream pie dusted with cinnamon is pretty delicious as well.
Food Tip #2: For good taverna food, Paradosiako is a good bet. Although it did seem a little overrun with tourists, the food was hearty and delicious, and it felt like you were eating out of someone’s kitchen. We particularly enjoyed the fava bean dip (perhaps the epitome of what comfort food), the stuffed peppers, and anything with eggplant.
Food Tip #3: Kostas is often recommended for their souvlaki (and my friends seemed to enjoy their grilled meat in pita very much), but I was very pleasantly surprised by their vegetarian sandwich as well. It was just vegetables and yogurt in pita, but it was seasoned well and much better than I was expecting. It’s not much more than a snack, though, but it’s so cheap that it hardly matters. For specifically vegetarian food, Avocado is a welcome respite when you’ve been traveling for a while and just need food that feels good to eat.
Have any favorite Athens tips you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments!