How to Make the Most of a Day and Night in Athens
Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world. Often thought of as the birthplace of democracy, medicine and philosophy, this ancient city is still a bustling hub of Greek culture. A sprawling metropolis has sprung up around the historic ruins, and there’s lots to see and do.
If you have a few hours to spare whilst waiting to board your yacht, or you’re mooring in nearby Alimos Marina overnight, there’s plenty to squeeze in…
Visit the Acropolis
The most famous landmark in Athens is the ancient Acropolis. This citadel dates back around 2,500 years and sits atop the main city centre. It’s impossible to miss and should definitely be top of your list of things to do. Of course, every other traveller will also be visiting so expect it to be busy, especially in the mornings. You can avoid some of the queues by walking to the south entrance, which tends to be a little quieter.
See the Temple of Olympian Zeus
While you’re at the Acropolis, you’ll be able to see the broken columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. This fascinating monument is also well worth a visit. It’s one of the biggest temples in Greece, and was originally built in 132AD. You can walk there from the Acropolis metro station, passing through one of the original entrances to Athens, Hadrian’s Gate.
Explore the Markets
If you’re feeling peckish, the Athens Central Market is abuzz with stalls and vendors selling almost everything you can imagine. It’s worth going on a food tour of this area to sample many local delicacies and dishes and then stock up on provisions to take back to your yacht.
From the Central Market to the Plaka area it’s only a 20 minute walk. Here, you can check out the Monastiraki flea market and also stop for some lunch if you haven’t already eaten. Ydria is a fantastic classic Greek restaurant that comes highly recommended.
Climb Mount Lycabettus
Athens is a spectacular place, but it’s sometimes hard to get a scale of just how sprawling and magnificent it is. Mount Lycabettus gives perhaps the best view in the area, and it’s only a short venture outside the main centre. You can either take a short hike or the funicular to the summit. Time it to be at the summit for sunset for a view that will not disappoint.
Enjoy Some Greek Food
After a busy day of sightseeing, enjoy some of Greece’s famous food in the downtown area of the city which is buzzing with eateries.
Tzitzikas kai Mermigas, located next to Syntagma square, is popular with both locals and tourists. It offers authentic Greek cuisine at affordable prices. Alternatively, there are also plenty of tavernas nearby where you can try a range of traditional local dishes including moussaka, freshly-baked homemade bread and the most delicious – and authentic – Greek salads. Be sure to try the Souvlaki (meat skewers), Spanakopita (spinach pie), and Baklava (sweet pastry with honey and nuts). If you’re a coffee drinker, an Amygdalota cookie is a must on the side.
Soak up the Nightlife
Athens is just as lively at night as during the day. If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink, there are plenty of bars to choose from - whether that’s a rooftop bar, a quiet drinking hole, or a packed club, there is something for everyone.
Sample some homemade sangria at Lord Hu or a rum cocktail at Baba Au Rum. Ouzo is a staple on all drinks lists but if you’re feeling braver and have a strong constitution, raki (anise-flavoured spirts) and tsipouro (pomace brandy) are not to be missed. Just be sure to go easy as hangovers and sailing isn’t a great combination! For live music, Bios Terrace often hosts it, and also has some spectacular views of the Acropolis.