Greece is one of those dynamic travel destinations with far more to see than you’ll ever have time for. You’ll want to make your time in Athens as short and action-packed as possible so you have time to enjoy the luxuries of the picturesque islands, charming villages, and rolling mountains. In this first post you can find an itinerary that hits all the must-have experiences for your first day in Athens. The second day itinerary can be found here.
Tyropita is a delicious Greek pastry made from phyllo dough, olive oil and feta cheese. Greek bakeries have numerous varieties to choose from including with spinach, olives, deli meat, and sometimes even chocolate. You are unlikely to find a restaurant to sit down and eat eggs and pancakes so order a variety of pastries and a frappe for “take-away” and enjoy at…
2. Breakfast at Mars Hill
Find a boulder to sit on and soak in the white speckled majesty that is the Athen’s valley. The Greeks actually call this Areopagus, but the Romans referred to it Mars after the god of war.
3. Ascend the Acropolis
Regardless of the season, the Greek sun is persistent and unwavering. You’ll want to climb the steps to the Acropolis in the morning before the sun rises too high and before the stampede of tourists arrives. The Acropolis is the plateau upon which the treasured Theater of Dionysos, Parthenon, and Erechtheion are built and is a must-see when visiting Athens.
4. Wander through the Ancient Agora
This was the ancient marketplace of Athens, and sits just below the Acropolis. Be sure to stop by the Temple of Hephaestus (pictured above behind the greenery) and swing through the Ancient Agora Museum.
5. Gyro in Thissio
Gyro is to Greeks as Cheeseburgers are to Americans. The meat is shaved in thin juicy chunks and combined with tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and tzatziki inside pita bread. If you ask really nicely, they may even let you shave the meat off the spit!
6. Shopping in Monastiraki
The entire downtown area beneath the Acropolis is a labyrinth of quirky shops. Get relief from ancient ruins by discovering hilarious gifts for friends or having broken conversation with shop owners of breath-taking handmade arts. Spend the afternoon getting lost. Truly! Get lost! To find your way back, just look up and find the acropolis or ask a local where the nearest metro stop is.
7. Sunset at Lykavittos
An hour or so before sunset begin your trek up to the tallest point in Athens: Lykavitos Hill. The city transforms into deep bold colors and sparkling lights, a sight that is entirely captivating. A quaint church sits atop the hill that is worth checking out before the spectacle begins. There is a restaurant atop the hill as well, but if you’re feeling budget-conscious, I’d opt for a tavern in Monastiraki or Thissio for dinner where you can enjoy live music, people watching and the glow from the Acropolis.
Visit again on Tuesday for How to Make the Most of your 2 Days in Athens: Day 2