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My Athenian experience



Written by Maria

As one of the continent’s most popular destinations during summertime, people from around the world flock to its famous islands for the sun, and to the capital for the history. There is more of Greece though. You just have to invest and give it time. I love Greece. It’s warm; it’s affordable; it has delicious food, beautiful islands, and lively locals; most of the time they are friendly too. It can be the perfect summer destination. Things in general cost half of what they do in other parts of Europe but it's no longer that cheap a destination.

When in Athens visit the Acropolis. You have to. The magnificent temple of Parthenon located on the top of a hill is a great place to learn about Athens and its history while you get a great view of the city and the nearby archaeological sites. During the summer the place is swarming with tourists but the views are exquisite -even though sadly the temple and the surrounding ruins seem to be always under construction!

Athens is fun. It can seem like an intense, somewhat rough-around-the-edges city that you usually pass through on your way to a beautiful greek island without a pit stop. Yet there is depth and richness to it, if you you give the city a fair chance and travelers shouldn't skip through too quickly. It's bustling and has quite a few great secret addresses, along with iconic landmarks (hello, Acropolis). If you take the time to do just a bit of planning (or even if you don't), you can easily choose to start or end a trip to Greece in this historic city. Spending much-needed relaxing time on one or more of your destination islands can be the highlight of your trip but make time for the city too. It's quite extraordinary that Athens has been inhabited for over 7,000 years. It doesn't look that old. Take the time to explore its neighborhoods, many of which can be navigated in a single long walk when the weather is on our side; it usually is. Since Athenians know how to have fun, book dinner at a taverna and linger over delicious mezedes and, my personal favorite, fresh seafood dishes; not excluding the meat options that everyone traditionally loves of course. The nightlife is always vibrant as well. You will find the place to suit you without a doubt to enjoy a good straight drink or an inventive cocktail

If you only have the time to do one thing when in Athens, you have to take a casual walk starting at the Central Municipal Market, which flanks the busy Athinas street. It's literally spilling over with wonderful food, from every local or exotic spice and nut to many varieties of cheese and bucketfuls of olives. Don't hesitate to have a meal at one of the small restaurants that you'll most certainly discover tucked into the market or buy generous slices of Greek cheeses like feta, graviera, or a special aged kefalotyri and a sampling of fresh or dried fruit like grapes, figs, apricots -and don't forget the olives for your next picnic. From the Market, you can walk along Athinas and up to Pláka, the city's most charming and picturesque area featuring small winding streets peppered with shops and ouzeris, then further up to Anafiotika, a very special area nestled on the hill below the Acropolis. The streets here feel a lot more like a Greek island than the cosmopolitan city below.

So take my word, these are three unique places that will give you a clear snapshot of Athens, its energy, people, cuisine and all-around vibe.

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