MY GREAT WEEKEND IN ATHENS

Planning a trip to Athens?
Great idea for a destination where history, art, culture, food and entertainment will keep you busy from morning until dawn. I go there often, I leave on Friday and back on Sunday or even Monday. Here how to discover the city in 3 days.
I started big with the most classic step and the most spectacular destination:
the Acropolis. Scattered on a hill, the Parthenon, the temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaea monuments, Erechtheum and the theater of Dionysius await for you. Many steps, but without major problems. No strollers.
Obviously very crowded. Do like me, visit it around mid-afternoon, you’ll find less tourists and less lines at the box office.
Don’t miss the nearby Acropolis Museum, with its essential modern and minimalist architecture, almost a fortress that wants to protect those priceless beauty and treasures. Open until 8pm, Friday at 10pm. Closed Monday.
Do you fancy a Greek look?
Get inspiration in theNMuseum of Folk Art and the Museum of the History of the Greek Costume, located at Dimokritou 7, the BenakiMuseum, located Koumpari 1, that currently showing the exhibit ‘Doulamas, the magnificent. An exceptional overcoat’In these great venues, You will find traditional clothes,  historical costumes,jewels and wonderful embroiderie. Then rush to shop in the stalls of Monastiraki, a neighborhood famous for its weekend flea market and vintage stores.
I took a cab (very affordable there) to the Stavros Niarchos Center, one of the newest masterpieces in the City. Designed by Italian famous architect Renzo Piano.
It houses the National Library with more than 750,000 books! Have a tour, a coffee or a snack and  a guided tour of the majestic National Opera Theater, where ballet and opera lovers can applaud the stars of dance and the masterpieces of Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and many others.
You can get there with free shuttles from the popular Syntagma Square.
Do you want Athens (and the sea) at your feet?
Here the answers for day and night.
Mount Lycabetus is your destination.Take a taxi (very cheap) to Aristippou St, Kolonaki. You can walk or take the curious yellow funicular (5 euros). Short ride, breathtaking views and, of course, a selfie. You can walk down and enjoy the view.Get ready for an unforgettable dinner!
I discovered the GB Roof Garden Restaurant, located on the terrace of the sumptuous Grande Hotel Bretagne. It was a perfect ‘Welcome to Athens’ and a magic evening with one of the best view of the city. Not only the view, but also food was delicious Executive Chef Asterios Koustoudis, created dishes inspired by the new Mediterranean cuisine.
Grilled sea bass with steamed vegetables and extra virgin oil.
To end up an amazing dinner I had a taste of two amazing desserts created from Arnaud Larher ,  5 times  nominated ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France‘. One of  top 10 chocolatiers of France. I just follow the MD suggestions: they were paradise!
The best way to discover Athens?
Ask a local….. actually contact This is Athens , great tours that will give the possibility to discover Athens as a real NTT , non touristy tourist!
You ‘ll see parts of Athens outside the tourist zone! This service is excellent, and it is free and staffed by volunteers, shows just how passionate they are about their city.
My lovely guide Danai took me to see so many things, even a solitary street where a national guard soldier was practising the traditional walk.
Let’s get lost in the market!
Varvakeios
, historical, chaotic traditional market, in the streets Athinas, Evripidou, Sofokleous and Vissis. There you will find everything from improvised sellers to souvenirs, to spices, to antiques. There is even a street dedicated exclusively to handles.
Do NOT forget to buy some amazing pistachios!
The Anafiotika district.
I went there without knowing where I was going … I felt like I was in a Greek island! It is a semi-abandoned village hidden in the hills. Small houses full of graffiti, narrow streets populated by lazy cats. Perfect location for a lunch in one of the many tabernas, including Elaia, Zorbas, Psara and my favorite To Kafeneio, pure Greek cuisine like the tasty handmade dolmates. I had one of the most traditional dish: yellow fava purè with onion, lemon. olives, capers and feta cheese.The Riviera is waiting!
On Sunday afternoon I discovered a heaven just few kilometers away he center of Athens.
It’s the  beautiful 5 stars boutique hotel Margi located in Vouliagmeni, the most exclusive area of the Athens Riviera.     Margi is just a few steps away from the most elegant sandy beaches but just close enough to Athens Historical sites. With its superb cuisine and organic food from its farm, friendly and attentive staff as well as exquisite design, this hotel offers a memorable experience for travelers all year round. I had a wonderful lunch served at the sunny swimming pool. The super fresh shrimp salad was superb!Over the years, owner Maria Stavridis’ and her son and Architect Yiangos Agiostratitis have created the warm and chic atmosphere of the hotel by combining artwork from all corners of the world with soft traces such as candlelit tables and plush furnishings.Next stop YOLENI’S, Joannis Filippidis is the young Executive Director in charge of this great Greek Gastronomy Center , located in the central and trendy area of Kolonaki .
The venue offers cooking classes, olive oil seminars,  wine tastings, among a restaurant, a bar and a great selection of greek products. ‘ We have the best pita in Athens, told me Joannis, try one…” He was right: crunchy pastry like dough and a delicious filling with eggplant and cheese., not too salty, just perfect. they are freshly baked in the groundfloor can be taken to go as well.

Yoleni’s produces 3 wines, called GReat (Gr+eat, you got it?)  and in the menu you can find rotisserie, eggs, wonderful pizzas.

A ‘ WOW’ evening?
Wear your trendiest outfit and dive into the Hellenic nightlife. Better not to go there by car or taxi: the streets are clogged, use the subway (very efficient until 2 am) to get off at Gazi or Keramikos, the most frequented districts of Athenians and tourists. Find music, pubs, clubs and ouzo non stop.
Here a secret and a discovery.
Diporto, a dungeon-restaurant. No sign, hard to find but, thanks to the address and my photos, you will reach the goal.
Frequented mainly by local workers, plus some intrepid tourists. Spartan ambience, food  is homemade and very fresh. No menu, the dishes are chosen directly from the pots: a few choices served with bread, water and wine (only white). Two entrees, a couple of main dishes with meat or fish and of course a rich Greek salad with black olives and feta cheese. I tasted a spectacular chickpeas soup and a bean stew. Gruff owner (and chef). Don’t even think about asking him for a selfie …
Low prices, but not very low … but the atmosphere is magical and the food super tasty. Attention: it is open only at noon, closed Saturday and Sunday, but if you arrive  in Athens on Friday morning or if your return is on Monday afternoon, you can make this experience truly unique.
Here the address: Sokratous 9 &, Theatrou.
Good hunting and καλή όρεξη !

FOR MORE INFO
athenscvb.gr
www.visitgreece.gr
www.thisisathens.org

http://www.visitgreece.gr/
GB Roof Garden Restaurant
Margi
YOLENI’S,
National Greek Opera

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