Our Greece trip was broken down into three parts, pure relaxation, urban exploration (Athens) and island life. Our longer vacations are usually made up of 60% relaxation and 40% activities. I’m the restless traveler who can’t stay in one place for too long and my husband is content sitting by the pool all day. For this reason we need to mix things up so that everyone gets to enjoy their vacation. Our 3 days in Athens were spent visiting historical monuments, eating delicious food and island hopping by luxury ribbed boat. In my opinion, three days in Athens is all you need when visiting Greece. Unless you love archaeology and museums, then you may want to consider extending your visit.
Stay At Hotel Grande Bretagne
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The Hotel Grande Bretagne, is a local landmark situated in the very heart of Athens with spectacular views of the Acropolis. The property was built in 1862, and has hosted politicians, diplomats, famous movie stars and VIPs from all over the world. For an honest review of our stay at this iconic establishment you can check out Hotel Review: Hotel Grande Bretagne Athens.
You simply cannot go to Athens and not visit the Acropolis. It is the most striking and complete ancient Greek monumental complex still existing in our times. Several monuments make up the Acropolis: the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the temple of Athena Nike.
The Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum has undergone many changes in the past several decades. The museum was completed in 2007 and now has over 14,000 square meters of exhibition space. It offers all the features you would expect in an international museum of the 21st century. As you walk through the ground floor, the occasionally transparent flooring provides a view of the archaeological excavations of a large urban settlement dating from Archaic to Early Christian Athens. The permanent exhibition is shown in five different galleries across the museum.
Estiatorio Milos Athens
My husband and I are big fans of Estiatorio Milos which opened its first doors in our hometown of Montreal. Having been to the New York, Las Vegas, Miami, London and Montreal locations, it was only fitting to complete our tour in Athens. Estiatorio Milos is recognized as one of the finest Mediterranean seafood restaurants in the world. Acclaimed chef Costas Spiliadis has made it an unparalleled culinary destination for discerning foodies. Our all time favorite dishes: MILOS SPECIAL, GRILLED OCTOPUS, TOMATO SALAD and FAGRI (comparable to red porgy, white snapper and even pink sea bream).
The Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus is located at the center of Athens. Today only 15 of the 104 Corinthian columns remain standing. The temple was dedicated to Olympian Zeus and during the Roman period it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece. You will also see Hadrian's Arch when visiting The Temple Of Olympian Zeus. Hadrian's Arch separates the old and new cities of Athens.
Restaurant Varoulko located at Mikrolimano marina, in front of the sea, is only a 20-minute drive from downtown Athens. You will enjoy a unique seafood experience with creative dishes made entirely of fresh ingredients found daily in local markets. Mikrolimano marina is a pretty happening place and there are several restaurants and bars to try for a pre/post dinner cocktail.
Across the road from Hotel Grande Bretagne you will find Syntagma Square where you can watch the changing of the guard ceremony. This ceremony happens every Sunday at 11:00.
Strofi is one of the most historic restaurants in Athens with a great view of the Acropolis! The traditional moussaka cooked in a clay pot is the best moussaka I’ve ever had. Shhhh don’t tell my mother! Make sure to select the terrace for the best view of the Acropolis when making the reservation.
This is the venue of the first modern Olympic games, also known as the Kallimarmaro Stadium which means made of fine marble in Greek. It is now used for sports, events and for the handover ceremony of the Olympic flame every four years. The audio guide is included in the price of the ticket and lasts approximately 20 minutes.
GB Roof Garden Restaurant & Bar
The Hotel Grande Bretagne, is a local landmark situated in the very heart of Athens with spectacular views of the Acropolis. The GB Roof Garden Restaurant & Bar, located on the roof of the hotel, is not to be missed! The food was excellent and so was the service. The standout dish from the dinner menu was the Orzo Pasta with Lobster, Tomato and Herbs.
The Ancient Agora
Also known as the center of the ancient city, the Ancient Agora is a large gathering place where citizens would assemble. The space was used for various events such as elections, markets, athletic competitions and more! It is said that in order to uncover the ancient city, 400 modern buildings covering the area were demolished.
Ribbed Boat Island Hopping
Athens is a great hub for a boat excursion and we decided to do that on our third day. While on our luxury ribbed boat we explored Hydra, Dokos and Spetses. This is a wonderful way to explore nearby islands at your own leisurely pace without the crowds or the time constraints.
The best time to visit Greece is during the summer but Athens is best during fall or spring. The heat can sometimes be unbearable during the summer months so that is something to consider when planning your trip. Does extreme heat bother you or do you not really pay attention to weather when planning a vacation? Let me know in the comments below!
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Check out the video below for more on our 12 days in Greece!