Thursday, 6 January 2011

Kots' Best of Athens

At Athens Airport, grab the free “2Board Magazine”. It has some great itineraries and recommendations

Best Museums
  • New Acropolis Museum (grab a coffee or lunch on the top  floor deck with incredible views of the Parthenon)
  • Archaeological Museum (renovated before the Athens Olympics in 2004)
  • Benaki Museum (for a nice overview of Greek history, from ancient to modern)
  • Cycladic Art Museum (also a good top floor spot for lunch  with a view)
  • Byzantine Museum 

Best Tourist Sites
  • Acropolis/Parthenon
  • Archaeological Walk around the Acropolis (pedestrian area goes around the entire parameter of the site -- superb walk, many places to also take a break)
  • Lycabettus Hill and St George Church (for huge views of Athens including the Acropolis)
  • Panathinaikon Stadium (site of first modern Olympic games)
  • Zappeion (there was a kids Christmas market there, not sure if still up -- area can be reached by foot from the Panathinaikon stadium or from Constitution Sq)
  • Roman Agora (in the Plaka area)
  • Plaka (touristy but nice to walk through all the small streets. If you want to eat in this area, don’t go to places with photos of their food or menus that prioritise English over Greek)
  • Syntagma (Constitution Sq) -- enjoy the ceremonial guard and their wacky outfits 

Best Areas for Coffee/Drinks
  • Kolonaki (Tsakalof St, Griveon/Delfon streets, Skoufa St)
  • Adrianou (also for food)
  • Syntagma (Valaoritou Street, 6th floor of “Public” store on Syntagma Sq for great views)
  • Makrigianni (pedestrian area beside the new Acropolis  Museum)
  • Gazi (funky former industrial area, near Thisseion metro station)
  • Glyfada (coffee, food, stores, beach front walks)
  • Faliro Boardwalk (Ostria café has access to the beach)
  • Mikrolimano (Piraeus) 

Best Shopping Areas
1.       Monastiraki flea market
2.       Ermou Street (all the major labels -- vibrant pedestrian street)
3.       Kolonaki (for higher end stuff)
4.       Glyfada

1.      For the quintessential souvlaki experience go to the base of Mitropoleos Street right at  Monastiraki square. There are three classic restaurants there that spill on to each other (Thanasis, Savvas and Bairaktaris)
2.       Adrianou (pedestrian street running between Monastiraki to Thisseion metro stations -- great Acropolis views

a few specific recommendations:
  • “Fasoli”, “Meat Bar”, “Oikeio”, “Kalamaki Kolonaki” (Kolonaki)
  • “Kuzina” (Adrianou)
  • “Alatsi” (Museum belt, near Hilton)
  • “Sardelles” and “Mamacas” (Gazi)
  • Ariston (for hand made Greek cheese, spinach and other pies -- near Syntagma on Voulis St).
  • “Palia Taverna Tou Psarra” (Plaka -- touristy but nice  location)

Musical entertainment: Bouzoukia
  • Not for the faint of heart, but classically Greek. On Friday or Saturday nights only, see Sakis Rouvas at Athinon Arena (Piraeus Street) – no reservation for bar area/reservation needed for table. But warning, the party starts, very, very, late. 

1.       Kinepolis in Kifisia
2.       Technopolis (fun exhibits in Gazi)
3.       Avenue Mall

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