Who says Greece is not a great destination for a trip with kids probably doesn’t know Crete! This last summer we had the pleasure of returning to Greece – the first time was on our honeymoon 🙂 – and this time we went to Athens and Crete with the boys. It was a wonderful week.
Greece was at the top of my wish list a while ago and the invitation to a friend’s wedding was the most perfect reason to take us back to this amazing country! The wedding was hosted close to Athens, as we had already known the city we decided to stay only 2 days and then head to Crete for a week of sunshine and beach.
Although the islands are usually among the main Greek attractions I think that those traveling to Greece for the first time should stay at least two days in Athens, which is enough time to get to know the main atractions.
Below you will find some options on where to stay and nice things to do around!
Where to stay in Athens
Athens Gate was where we stayed on our honeymoon! And for me it is one of the best hotels in Athens. His location is perfect, he is glued to Plaka which is the central region where there are many dining, shopping and beautiful views of the Acropolis. The hotel terrace where breakfast is served has a beautiful view too!
I must confess that what made me book this hotel was the pool! lol We went in August for the warmest time of year in Greece. As we had the wedding at the end of the day we needed a hotel that was about halfway between the celebration and party venue and not too far from Plaka as we wanted to tour the city too! The President Hotel is about 10 minutes by taxi from the center of Athens, it worked quite well for us.
We stayed at the Stanley on our last night in Greece, back from Crete before returning to London. The Hotel is relatively close to Plaka and its location is also good for those planning to visit the nearby beaches. There is also a pool on a nice terrace overlooking the Acropolis. We found the pool to cold, even in August on a very sunny day we couldn’t get in.
What to do in Athens
It’s impossible to visit Athens and not be completely amazed by the Acropolis! The complex of architectural structures is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and could not be otherwise. Even for those who don’t care so much about history, visiting the Acropolis is a unique experience. There are several buildings, among the main ones are the Parthenon and the Erechtheion – both temples dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, so set aside at least half a day to visit calmly.
For those who are history enthusiasts and want to delve into the details of the Acropolis, the museum is a good option. Only his architecture is worth the visit. You can buy combined tickets to visit the Acropolis and the Museum.
Syntagma Square is one of the most famous spots in Athens. Surrounding it is the Parliament that was originally built as the palace for the first king of Greece! Next to it, you will usually see two guards in typical Greek uniforms.
Changing of the guard ceremony happens every hour, and on Sundays at 10am happens the most complete ceremony including band and everything. By chance we got there just in time and watched with the boys, they enjoyed it a lot. From Syntagma Square the best option is to go for a walk through Plaka!
Plaka is the historic center of Athens, with narrow streets, plenty of shops and restaurants. This neighborhood makes you feel in a small town and suddenly you stop in a square, look sideways and see Acropole up high, beautiful! Another nice thing about getting lost in the little streets of Plaka is to run into churches or old buildings in the midst of what is a more modern Athens.
Restaurants in Plaka – Athens
On this last trip to Athens, we ate at a very traditional restaurant in Plaka, Savvas. Of those serving mega dishes of gyros, kebab, potatoes, and salads. It was divine! And upstairs the restaurant has a nice view of the Acropolis. A great option for those who are touring the region.
A slightly more upscale option with a breathtaking view of Athens and Acropolis is the Rooftoop at A for Athens Hotel. You can just go up for a drink and enjoy the view or have a meal. The evening view of the Acropolis is very popular then for dinner it’s best to book a table in advance.
In the next post all the details of our trip to Crete!