On a stopover? Not got very long and need a fool proof schedule? You've come to the right place travel buddies! I had literally 24 hours in Athens before flying out for a week of blissful Greek island life.
First things first, book yourself into a hotel in a great location, I stayed at Athens Tiare Hotel, it is in a great location (located in Omonoia Square), near the metro and in great walking distance from the Parthenon. The room was clean, had a great shower and all the amenities you need, it wasn't fancy and had an awful view, but I was out all day and used it to sleep and change!
Next, get your trainers on because you are about to be on your feet all day, and it's completely worth the aching calves and sweaty brow! Are you ready? Great. Grab a map, get on your feet and let's start the day at the Parthenon. (First tip: walk to the Parthenon, you will pass numerous historical sites on the way up, saving you from having to spend out to visit these.)
Get to the Parthenon before 8am, there is a military ceremony of raising the Greek flag every morning over the Acropolis, this is done since the Nazi's raised a Swastika flag in 1941. It's an incredible view, performance and moved me into seeing how far our world has come since those devastating wars. (Be warned, the Parthenon is not the beautiful and pristine monument you may believe it is, it is covered in construction, but still an incredible piece of history and epic view.)
Once you have viewed the Parthenon, head back down through Plaka (gorgeous hillside area, full of character, beautiful photo opportunities and cafes), hit one of the hillside cafes, we visited Melina Merkouri Cafe, this cafe is in place of one of the last Greek Goddesses, they're omelettes and coffees are great! Grab yourself a Freddoccino whilst your at it, an iced chocolate coffee...delicious!
Now you've had a feed, hyped up on iced sugar and have some historical nostalgia running through your veins...let's get walking. It's time to head to Lycabettus Hill, one of the most spectacular view points. You can grab the metro, bus or a taxi, but I decided to walk it, being relatively fit and fueled up! You can either walk all the way up Lycabettus Hill, but with my time limit I decided to get a cable car up and down it, stopping for unbelievable pictures, and a chilled glass of Prosecco in Sky Bar! Get it done.
It's pretty sweaty by this point, so if you have the time, grab a quick shower and get back out! Start with a stroll down a street called Pittaki, the vibrant colours and bustling presence just drew me in, strolling around the tiny paved streets, filled with bars and small restaurants...the perfect afternoon lunch spot in one! I opted for a tiny little wine bistro called Cinque Wine & Bistro...it was faultless. The cured meats, cheeses, olives and wines, could not be faulted. It is a small family run business, buzzing in the evening and quiet and personal during the day. I had a personal wine tasting, and was told exactly where the meat, cheese, olives and wine were sourced within Greece! Exceptional!
From there I decided to bar crawl my way throughout the streets, ending at the next best thing... A for Athens rooftop bar. Wow. Don't be fooled by the entrance into a small, dingy, damp smelling hotel...as when you reach the bar, the service, cocktails and views over the Parthenon change your mood entirely. You can venture up to the open air roof for the sun to set, or stay indoors with a just as incredible view, plus the people watching opportunities are second to none!
From here roam the markets, and end your evening at 360 bar, another incredible rooftop bar, lit up with fairy lights, buzzing with tourists and locals and awesome dinner, looking over the Acropolis.
Tipsy, full and so in love with Athens, I stumbled back to the hotel to sleep it off before jumping on a flight to island life.