Greece – Part 1 – Athens

Athens Acropolis
Athens Acropolis

Greece – What an amazing country and incredible destination, Recently we had the amazing experience to visit this gem of a country for a whole week. A week is not nearly enough time for this incredible destination, but you can get a taste of a little bit of everything, which will prepare you for wanting a return trip. Greece offers many different experiences, including history, culinary, family friendly trips, islands, beaches, romance, honeymoons, incredible wedding destinations, luxury stays, golf courses, spa relaxation trips and many more. We had the opportunity to visit Athens, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos on this adventure. Check out our tips for each destination.

Athens, is the capital city of Greece with a registered metropolitan population of 3.7 million inhabitants, but indeed there are 5 million people estimated. It is in many ways the birthplace of Classical Greece, and therefore of Western civilization. The design of the city is marked by Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman civilizations. Today, greater Athens is by far the economic, political and cultural center of modern Greece, with nearly half of the country’s population.

Top Tips for Athens

Athens is not a cashless city – there are a lot of ATMs around, so make sure you take your debit card and get cash for all the places that won’t take credit or debit

The metro is your friend – Athens metro is easy to navigate, and with only 3 lines connecting the city you can get almost everywhere and not get lost

Use apps – taxi’s can be found near major squares and are relativly cheap. The app BEAT will allow you to choose a specific taxi driver that speaks English.

Beware of pickpockets – don’t leave your phone sitting out on the table at the cafe, and make sure your wallet is in your front pants pocket

Nightlife starts late – Greeks like to start the party late, and usually won’t head out until 2am.

Tips are optional – but highly appreciated

Our Favorite Spots in Athens

5th-century B.C. hilltop temple monument

Ruins of iconic 5th-century B.C. temple complex on Athens’ rocky hilltop undergoing restoration. The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon.

Iconic 5th BC Athenian temple ruins

Restored, landmark temple ruins on archaeological site with iconic Doric columns built from 447 BC. The Parthenon is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power.

Ancient treasures in contemporary venue

Ultramodern glass & steel museum housing ancient artifacts from the Acropolis archaeological site. The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece.

The Acropolis Museum

Acropolis temples & family-run tavernas

In the shadow of the Acropolis and its ancestral temples, on the slope of the hillside, is Plaka, a neighborhood with a rustic touch and narrow cobbled streets full of tiny shops selling jewelry, clothing and local pottery. Cafes and taverns run by families are open late and in the Paris Cinema, open-air movies are shown. Within walking distance, the whitewashed houses in the Anafiotika neighborhood give the small enclave a certain air of a Greek island.

Ruined temple completed under Hadrian

Vast temple begun in 6th century B.C. on the site of an ancient outdoor sanctuary dedicated to Zeus. The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a former colossal temple at the center of the Greek capital Athens. It was dedicated to “Olympian” Zeus, a name originating from his position as head of the Olympian gods.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus

Iconic Greek ruins with a museum

Famous landmark featuring the ruins of an ancient Greek gathering place & a museum with artifacts. The Ancient Agora of Classical Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora, located to the northwest of the Acropolis and bounded on the south by the hill of the Areopagus and on the west by the hill known as the Agoraios Kolonos, also called Market Hill.

Monument and history

Syntagma Square is the central square of Athens. The square is named after the Constitution that Otto, the first King of Greece, was obliged to grant after a popular and military uprising on 3 September 1843. It is located in front of the 19th century Old Royal Palace, housing the Greek Parliament since 1934.

Syntagma Square

Ancient Greek art & archaeology museum

Neoclassical museum of Ancient Greek art & archaeology, with sculpture, metalwork, vases & jewelry. The National Archaeological Museum in Athens houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide.

National Archaeological Museum

The Agora, classic landmarks & tavernas

Lively Monastiraki is known for iconic landmarks including the ruins of Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora and the rebuilt Stoa of Attalos, with a museum exhibiting Athenian objects. Handcrafted soaps, handmade sandals and souvenir shirts are sold at the motley market stalls in Monastiraki. The surrounding streets are full of taverns and traditional restaurants, many with views of the Acropolis.

Iconic temple of ancient Greece

Honoring Athena & Poseidon, this famous, ancient Greek temple features a porch with 6 caryatids.  The Erechtheion or Erechtheum is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.


Where we Stayed in Athens

In Athens, we stayed at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, a 5 star luxury hotel right in the heart of Athens; steps from Syntagma Square and the Hellenic Parliament. For dinner we enjoyed Mediterranean cuisine at the GB Roof Garden Restaurant with an amazing view of the sparkling night Acropolis. This luxury hotel also features a spa and is close to a golf course.

With breathtaking views of the fabled Acropolis, regal Syntagma Square and the Parliament, lush Lycabettus Hill or the original Olympic Stadium, the multi-awarded 5 star Hotel Grande Bretagne offers an unrivaled perspective of Athens’ mythical history. Located right in the heart of the city since 1874, the multi-awarded landmark hotel is within walking distance of exclusive shopping areas, museums and the business district. With meticulous attention to detail, the 320 rooms and suites marry charming old-world elegance with state-of-the-art facilities, whereas the 58 suites enjoy additional benefits including personalized Butler Service. Visit the picturesque GB Roof Garden Restaurant for the finest Mediterranean cuisine or the Winter Garden for an afternoon high tea and do not miss the GB Spa for a signature massage, beauty treatment or an indulgent respite in the thermal Suite. Meet our Concierge team members, who stand ready to unlock the secret treasures of Athens.

We also visited King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel, a 5 star luxury hotel right in the heart of Athens; steps from Syntagma Square and the Hellenic Parliament. With just over 100 rooms this hotel feels a bit more exclusive than the Grande Bretange. We also enjoyed Greek cuisine at Tudor Hall Restaurant. This luxury hotel is also close to a golf course and has a large ballroom for events or weddings.

Dating back to 1930 and located in the centre of Athens, the 5-star King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel, represents the absolute essence of a fascinating boutique hotel. Perfectly situated for captivating experiences, a truly inspiring and gracious venue, King George is located within walking distance from the wonders of Athens. The Acropolis, Agora, Plaka and Thission are nearby, so are upmarket boutiques, world-renowned museums and the city’s vibrant business district. With 102 rooms and suites, a Penthouse Suite with private outdoor pool overlooking the fabled Acropolis, the awarded Tudor Hall Restaurant featuring authentic Greek cuisine and incomparable views of the city’s landmarks, King George finds its best expression in the outstanding personalized service.

wct logo wide

Windy City Travel is Here to Help

Call (312) 951-0710 and let Windy City Travel help with your Greek Adventure.
Trust in our travel professionals; let us handle the travel details so you can relax and enjoy!