A Lovers' Guide to Athens
Planning a romantic getaway to Greece? You’re probably thinking of Santorini or Mykonos, but I’m here to make a case for ATHENS! I’ve heard many times that if you’re planning a trip to Greece, you should plan on spending just 1-2 days in Athens. I mean, sure… if you’re only planning on seeing the major sites in this ancient city, 1-2 days should suffice. But Athens can be an incredibly romantic destination if you do it right… and I’m here to help you. Besides the obvious must-sees, here are some ways you can plan a romantic getaway to Athens!
GET TO KNOW THE LOCALS BY…
TAKING A COOKING CLASS
My favourite thing about travelling is getting to know the locals, their culture and their way of life. The best way to do this? AirBnb experiences!
We started our trip to Athens with a cooking class. This is one of the best ways to immerse yourself into the culture of the country you’re visiting. You’re also learning a new skill that involves food which sounds like a win-win to me.
Jared and I were lucky because we had this experience all to ourselves. We met our instructor Greg at a local cafe that his family owns. We started our cooking class with a shot of Ouzo (at 9am… yikes) and a Cappuccino freddo (a must if you’re visiting Greece). Then we headed back to the kitchen to begin our cooking class. We made 3 dishes:
A cream cheese and ham stuffed bagel - a super popular breakfast served at Greg’s family’s cafe.
Peinirli - a Greek pizza boat (originally brought over to Greece by immigrants living by the Black Sea).
A chocolate and graham cracker stuffed pastry
The best part of this experience? Getting to hang out with Greg. We talked about what living in Athens and Greece is like. We were also there on December 31st, where we got to witness the Greek Christmas tradition of Kalanda was taking place (where kids go door to door singing carols with a triangle in hopes of receiving some cash - like Christmas trick or treating but with money).
SCHEDULE A PHOTOSHOOT OR PHOTO WALK
Let’s face it… were you even in Athens if you didn’t have the photos to prove it? All jokes aside, a photo walk is a great way to see the city from a local’s perspective. Jared and I got engaged in Athens and we wanted to take our engagement photos in Athens. And this is the part where I introduce Evan to you. We found Evan through AirBnb experiences, where he offers a photowalk experience. I messaged him very last minute because I did not anticipate the proposal, and Evan was so accommodating and immediately fit us in for a shoot! The shoot was so much fun. Evan is an amazing photographer and so incredibly knowledgeable about Athens! I highly recommend his photo walk just because Evan is one of the most amazing people you’ll meet.
I’ll write a post on our engagement shoot that I’ll post in the “Wedding” section at a later date!
ENJOY A MEAL WITH A VIEW…
A FOR ATHENS
By far the best meal with a view restaurant we’ve ever been to in any city. The food is amazing and fairly priced. Plan to spend sunset on the rooftop! The views are stunning and unbeatable. I’ll just let these photos do the rest of the talking.
Another beautiful cafe/view point. Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in all of Athens. With 360 views of all of Athens, you really shouldn’t miss it! Now the cafe is overpriced and definitely a tourist trap, but a cup of coffee isn’t a bad idea.
ANY RESTAURANT ON THE PLAKA STEPS
I know I know… not another tourist trap. But tourist traps are traps for a reason, right? I remember walking by the Plaka steps and telling Jared “I must sit on these steps for a meal before I leave Athens!”. I didn’t care which restaurant… I just wanted to sit, relax, and enjoy the buzz around these stairs. The restaurant we ended up choosing was Παληα Ταβερνα Κρητικου… or the Old Taverna Kritikou. We were lucky to have a seat on the little balcony overlooking the steps. A fair warning - meals are over priced and ehh, and yes… you know it’s a tourist trap because there are hawkers out trying to lure you in. But it’s all about sitting on these famous steps, right?
Not necessarily a view of Athens but this cafe is the stunner. We were waiting for a restaurant to open so we only stumbled upon Tazza by chance. Although we didn’t have a meal, we enjoyed a big cup of hot chocolate. The two we ordered were the Kalingo (amazing blend of spices in 65% cocoa hot chocolate) and the Guanaja (70% cocoa… dark, rich, and sure to make any serious chocolate lover happy). The decor of this bistro is stunning, quirky, and fun. It’s a great Instagram hotspot too!
SPEND A ROMANTIC NIGHT IN…
Before you say “but wait… can’t I do that anywhere?”… Athens has some of the best AirBnb’s of any location we’ve visited. Jared and I almost exclusively stay only at AirBnb’s. Budget travelling as a couple means that you’re caught somewhere in between hostels and hotels. Booking an AirBnb is tricky. You never know what to expect, and you technically are staying in a residential area which means you’re pretty much on your own. Many times, your host is there to help you via messages, but something that needs immediate attention can be tricky.
Ok, but enough about AirBnb’s. Why travel all the way to Athens to stay in? Combine point 1 (getting to know the locals) and point 2 (spectacular views). That’s my answer.
Everyone who hosted us in Athens was so incredibly hospitable. One of our hosts even cooked us breakfast the next morning and sent us to the airport! And every AirBnb we stayed at had an INSANE view. These were some of the most romantic evenings of any trip. Jared and I bought food from the local market, cooked in our apartment, and enjoyed the beautiful views by ourselves.
Now where did we stay in Athens? You’ll find out next week! Or if you’re reading this later… just head on over to the next post!
However many days you choose to stay in Athens, romantic or not. I hope you enjoy these tips! Honestly, Athens is amazing. There’s so much more that meets the eye. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with Athens the way I have, but what can I say? Athens is for lovers!
Till next week!