my gap year: a trip to athens

for christmas, my mom got a four day weekend trip to athens, and i got to tag along! we went from february 24th to the 27th, and we had an amazing time. this was my first time to greece, and i’m glad we started with athens. the difference in culture was great to experience and the history was magnificent. we stayed in the attalos hotel which has a cute bar on the terrace, and a great location near the city center. just a few shops down the street was cafe veneti, which we tried the first day and didn’t eat breakfast anywhere else for the rest of the trip! it was just a great trip, and i would love to go again for a longer time.


adrianou and pandrossou - two little pedestrian streets that are lined with tiny
theater of dionysus - a major theater in athens built at the base of the acropolis
erechtheion - a temple on the acropolis dedicated to both athena and poseidon
parthenon - the temple built for the greek goddess athena
kerameikos - containing a cemetery and is the area where the potters lived
syntagma square - athens’ central square located in front of the old royal palace
national garden - a huge public park near the center that features some ruins and ancient greek art
museum of cycladic art - a museum within walking distance of the center with an incredible collegtion of clycladic art
monastiraki flea market - a very cute flea market with just about anything


falafel house
cafe veneti (doesn’t have a website-  it’s located next to the bet cafe on athinas street)


✩ syntagma square
✩ walking along Apostolou Pavlou
✩ eating breakfast at cafe vent
✩ dilapidated houses with flowers growing from them

my top tips for traveling athens:

stray dogs and cats
there are a lot of dogs and cats laying or walking around in athens. it may be a problem if you are afraid of them or allergic, but i had a lot of fun seeing them everywhere. i never had a problem with them as they all mind their own business, and a few dogs are very friendly. i had a very sweet, old dog follow us for almost 5 minutes after i pet him!

there are a lot of beggars
because greece has a 22.5% unemployment rate, there are a lot of people on the streets. some of them ask for money, but you will also find a lot selling random items like roses or lighters. there are also a lot of men selling bracelets. if you don’t want it, just keep on walking and keep your hands in your pockets because sometimes they will physically put their rose or lighter in your hands. for people just asking for money, we always gave a euro or so, or a couple times we had an extra sandwich or pastry from the bakery, which they really appreciated.

be careful on the road
drivers in athens can get a little wild, and usually don’t look for pedestrians. be extra careful on big roads and in the city center. just follow the locals, and you’ll be fine. stay when they stay, and cross when a big crowd crosses. and definitely wear your seatbelt if you’re in a car.

take the metro
the roads in athens are very chaotic and dangerous. i would recommend taking the metro to get around, because it runs almost everywhere in the city and is very quick. if you aren’t european, you can type ‘ok maps’ into the google maps app, and it downloads the area on your phone so you don’t have to use internet!

take holidays and sundays into account
we went to athens for a long weekend that happened to be right before lent, so not much was open on sunday or monday. still, there is a lot more to do in athens! quite a few museums, the national garden, and the monastiraki flea market are all open on sundays. you can also walk up mount lycabettus or the acropolis for a fantastic view of the city!