Updated: Oct 16, 2019
We made it. To and fro from Athens, Greece. Great trip but we have to admit there were a few things we wished folks had mentioned to us. Since they didn't we shall share what we discovered. Throw your tips in the comments!
1. Athens is an old old city and the major attractions are relatively close to each other if you pick your lodging carefully. We stayed in a great area that was essentially on a cross street between Plaka and Syntagma Square. Both happen to be major tourist destinations. Read reviews carefully before booking and use google-maps to get a visual on how far you are from where you want to go if walking. Do walk. It's a great way to see this fantastic city.
2. Use public transport (no, that's not a contradiction to our above sentence). It's great and every major attraction is within a 3 to 5 minute walk from either the Metro or the bus stop. Buy the 3 to 5 day metro pass if you are going to be in the city for well..3 to 5 days. It was cheap and you can ride all day and night,both the bus and the metro. Take the metro from the airport. An Uber or cab ride is expensive. Unless your flight takes off at 6am, then take an Uber. Cab drivers will attempt to scam you. Ignore them. Keep your purse/bag close to you. Traveling while black means standing out in certain places, especially to the ne'er do wells.
3. Hop On, Hop Off bus: Do this. We would almost recommend you do it the first day as it stops at every major/minor attraction and/or neighborhood and helps you familiarize yourself with the layout of the city. We also recommend that you do a complete circuit with the bus first then hop on, hop off.
4. There are 50,000 slippery steps to get to the top of Acropolis/Parthenon. They really should mention this just a tad bit more. Buy the cheaper pass for the Acropolis, seriously you will be exhausted after all that climbing. Go to the museum on a different day. And make sure the tread on your sneakers or walking shoes is great because those 50,000 steps are composed of break your neck stone. Hold tight to your good weave because the wind ain't playing once you reach the top.
5. Don't eat anything Greek or Greek inspired for weeks before your trip. 90% of the restaurant offerings are well...Greek. Gyro's, Doners and Kebabs for everyone! And potatoes. And olive oil. So much olive oil.
6. Customer service is ringing you up and not throwing you out the door. That's it. Don't expect more and you will be content. Not happy, just content. And you don't have to tip when dining out Americans. We liked that.
7. Indulge in Coffee. All of it. There's a coffee shop on every corner, side street and dark alley. We didn't have one bad cup of coffee the entire trip. Try the "Greek Coffee." Don't drink the silt.
8. Bring hot sauce. Amber learned this the hard way.
9. Don't stay in Hondo. It's not for tourists. Yes, it's cheap on the hotel booking sites. But no. Just don't. Do stop there for 30 minutes or so. No more. Really.
10. Go easy. The city is alive and kicking til the wee hours of the morning. We rarely ate dinner before 10pm and most restaurants/bars were open til 2am, some 3am. This meant we could really vacation and sleep in while still seeing everything we wanted to see including museums and historical sites. A lot of the sites are just sitting there on the side of the road. Fascinating.
All that to say, go to Greece. Go in the Spring or Fall, summer has got to be blue blazing hot. Eat all the food, drink all the coffee and stay out late.
Kat & Amber said so.