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Cruising from the port of Piraeus, Greece? Do yourself a favour and immerse yourself into the magic of Athens before setting sail.

From delicious food, fabulous shopping and incredible history, Athens has a plethora of enriching and alluring experiences to kickstart you Greek Odyssey.

Glorious Greek gastronomy

Spend a day eating

The Mediterranean diet has been touted as one of the healthiest, tastiest and most tantalising of all. If you’re foodie, then you’ll be in Elysium, or heaven, in Athens. If you like trying the local street food or prefer high-ending dining, there is something for every tastebud.

Here are a few must-haves while wondering around on your foodie trek.

Breakfast: Coffee lovers will probably overdose on caffeinated beverages. Greek coffee is potent and a great morning kickstart, but you cannot go to Athens and not have at least one Café Freddo every day. It’s like an iced coffee but with a huge amount of creamy froth. Very addictive. Enjoy your morning Café Freddo with a flaky Greek pastry, sweet or savoury.

Lunch: Thanasis in Monastiraki is a favourite among locals and tourists. Touted as one of the oldest restaurants in Athens, do not pass up this place thinking it’s a tourist trap. The kebabs are succulent, the tzatziki is the creamiest and the fluffy pita is only 30 cents! The service isn’t overly friendly, but this eatery is always busy, so the wait staff is run off their feet.


Delicious Greek Kebabs


Dinner: You can’t go wrong with any rooftop restaurant in Plaka, but Anefani ( Ανεφ?νη) has great food, great wine and a great view of the Acropolis. Order the house wine. A dinner of saganaki cheese, Greek salad and moussaka, wine and soft drinks cost about 40 Euro. Please note: smoking is allowed everywhere, so don’t be surprised if people are smoking while you’re eating. Also, if you like your personal space, a rooftop table might not be your vibe as every centimetre is used to accommodate as many diners as possible.

History comes alive

Spend a day sight seeing

Walking around Athens you will be surprised at how many archaeological sites you’ll discover. The biggest tip is to go on foot. This way you’ll see so much more and stumble across places that weren’t on your list. Block out a full day to see as much as you can.

Start at the Acropolis Museum and give yourself at least two hours. Go early and beat the crowd. Next, the Acropolis where you’ll marvel at the Parthenon. Wear good walking shoes as it’s about a 45min walk on an unsealed path.

Don’t miss out on visiting the Agora of Athens. Again, wear good walking shoes and make sure you walk all the way up to Temple of Hephaestus. From exploring the museum to walking around the Agora, block out at least 3 hours, maybe even longer. It’s a fascinating area to explore.

Head to Syntagma Square to watch the changing of the guard which happens every hour, on the hour. Then to the Arch of Hadrian, it’s a great place to snap an Instagram pic and not far from the serenity of the botanic gardens.

From flea markets to high-end boutiques

Spend a day shopping

If you like digging through crates for unique vinyl, scoring some leather hand-made sandals or just looking at antiques, the Flea Market in Monastiraki, is a treasure trove of curious knickknacks. There are also the typical souvenirs and lots of, um, interesting phallic ornaments.

For luxury clothing and accessories, head to the up-scale suburb of Kolonaki where you’ll see designer items with a Greek flair.

Interesting souvenirs

Athens is a bustling, safe, gritty, historical and fashionable city. It oozes charisma and there are surprises around every corner. Take your time to explore and soak in the beauty and the mystery of this cosmopolitan city has to offer, and you might just find that the reality outshines the myths.