Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Phil's Guide to Athens

When our friend came to town last month, Phil wrote this wonderful guide to Athens. He's like Rick Steves, without the $10 million net worth.

To see everything he's listed for Athens proper, you'll need about 3 days. To see everything he's listed in total, you'll need 8-9 days, plus a driver (or ferry) to take you to the places outside of Athens. If you're with us, you could probably guilt, bribe, blackmail, or otherwise convince us to drive you. Here's a scan of Phil's list, followed by a typed version, if you're too fancy for handwritten.

Phil's Guide to Athens

Things to see:
All prices are approximate. You can get discounts in some places with a student ID. Some of these sites are linked to blog posts I've written about them. Click, if interested.

(plan for approx. 3 days; download the TfA ticket app for android or apple if you're planning to use public transportation; wear good walking shoes)

Acropolis and Mars Hill (Areopagus)
  • 20 euros for combo ticket from April-October
  • Go as early as possible.
  • If you don't go as early as possible, go to Temple of Zeus/Hadrian's Arch site first and buy your combo ticket there.
Acropolis Museum
  • Separate entrance fee, about 5 euros
Ancient and Roman Agora
  • Included in Acropolis combo ticket
  • Ancient Agora is much cooler, plan to spend more time there
Monastiraki and Plaka streets/markets
  • Souvenir central. Also, pickpocket central.
  • Plaka is a great place to take very Greek-looking photos to show off on instagram
  • Monastiraki is a great place for gyros
Temple of Zeus and Hadrian's Arch
  • Included in Acropolis combo ticket
  • Really great place to take a distance-photo of Acropolis
Panathenaic Stadium
  • Separate entrance fee, about 5 euros
Syntagma Square, Parliament, National Gardens
  • Free!
  • Full changing of the guards ceremony in front of Parliament every hour. Less cool ceremony every half hour.
National Archaeological Museum
  • Separate entrance fee, 10 euros
  • Between Victoria and Omonio metro stations
  • Not the nicest neighborhood
Lykavittos Hill
  • Free to explore.
  • Great views of the city. There's an old Orthodox church on top, and a restaurant.
  • You can walk, or pay to take a funicular (about 8 euros). It's a steep hill, and a hard walk in the heat.
  • Free to explore.
  • Interesting place to walk around, if you're in the northeastern suburbs.
  • Close to The Mall Athens, if you want to see a movie, or shop for U.S. brands at European prices.

Outside of Athens:
(would need 5-6 days, and a driver or ferry to see all of this at a brisk pace)

  • 1 hour drive from Athens
  • Temple of Poseidon archaeological site (about 4 euros, 8 in the summer), and gorgeous beaches (free)
  • 2.5 hour drive from Athens
  • Ancient site of the Delphi oracle (about 8 euros)
  • Gorgeous mountain views
  • Touristy ski town
  • Definitely an all-day trip

Day Trip Islands
(prices vary, depending on ferry service; you can get a combo ticket and see all three in a day for under 100 euros)

  • 1 hour ferry
  • Ancient stuff, pretty beaches, very close
  • 1-2 hour ferry
  • Rick Steves' favorite
  • No cars on island
  • 2 hour ferry
  • Uncharted territory for Phil and Jane

Peloponnese Sites
  • 1.5 hour drive from Athens
  • About 8 euros
  • Ancient fortress with definitely haunted cistern
  • On site museum included in entrance fee
  • Plan on spending 2 hours here
  • 1.5 hour drive from Athens
  • About 4 euros
  • 2 sites included in ticket: ancient Olympic stadium, and Temple of Zeus
  • Short add-on trip when looking at other nearby sites
  • 2 hour drive from Athens
  • 3 ancient fortresses: the big one is about 5 euros, the second biggest is free, the third is on a tiny island off the port, and probably not worth the ferry ride.
  • Fantastic gelato
  • Can spend most of the day here
  • 2 hour drive from Athens
  • Site of an ancient theater
  • Best seen with a ticket to one of the summer productions they have at the site, or as an add-on when visiting other sites nearby
  • 1 hour drive from Athens
  • Site of the Corinth Canal (free)
  • Ancient Corinth archaeological sites (about 8 euros)
  • Plan a half day, at least

Places to Eat:

Traditional Greek tavernas often won't open for dinner until 8pm. Some close for the month of August while the owners vacation. You should always be able to find something open downtown in the tourist areas of Plaka and Monistiraki. McDonald's is across the street from Syntagma. No judgements.

Greek Food:
  • Monastiraki Square
  • Famous, touristy, but lots of locals still come
  • Great gyros
Karavitis Taverna
  • Classic taverna
  • Address: Pafsaniou 4 Athina, 11635
  • Taverna in Kolonaki, near Lykavittos Hill
  • Address: Ploutarchou 15 Athina, 10675
  • Taverna in Kolonaki, near Lykavittos Hill
  • Address: Xenokratous 19 Athina, 10675
Dipylo Restaurant
  • Monastiraki
  • Address: Ermou 121 Athina 10555
Tzizikas & Mermigas
  • Near Syntagma
  • Address: Mitropoleos 12 Athina
  • Quick Greek food near U.S. Embassy
  • Address: Dim. Soutsou 8 Athina 11521
"Paper Chicken" (See Phil's photo for Greek name)
  • Near U.S. Embassy
  • Roasted chicken and french fries dumped on a paper-covered table
  • Address: Sinopis 18 Athina 11527
  • In Psichiko, northeast suburb
  • Address: Adrianiou 31 Athina 11525
Taverna Kissos
  • Fantastic, small taverna in a quiet neighborhood in Chalandri (northeast suburb)
  • Address: Roumelis 28 Chalandri

Flower Pizza
  • Near U.S. Embassy
  • Salads, Naples-style pizza, and (for some reason) omelettes
  • Address: Dorylaiou 2 Athina 11521

The Burger Joint
  • Neo Psichiko (northeast suburb)
  • Address: Soloumou 4-6 Neo Psichiko 15451

New York Sandwich
  • Near-ish to U.S. Embassy
  • Address: Sinopis 3 Athina 11527
Hole Bagels
  • Chalandri (northeast suburb)
  • Address: Leof. Pentelis 142 Chalandri 15234

Taqueria Maya
  • Very good, very close to Syntagma
  • Address: Petraki 10 Athina 10563
California Grill
  • Chalandri (northeast suburb)
  • Address: Kolokotponi 10 Chalandri 15233

Para Siempre
  • Tapas near U.S. Embassy
  • Address: Charitos 43 Athina 10676

Enjoy, friends!

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