When my parents agreed to baby sit our lovely three kids for 4 days, we were looking for the closest destination to Tel aviv and found out it was Athens! I know people usually visit the islands of Greece but we didn’t want to waste any time from our precious “alone time” together, me and my better half.
After a two hour flight we found ourselves on the streets of Athens. Our vacation goal was to enjoy every moment, not planning too much - rest, read books and get lost in the streets. When it was too hot we walked back to our room for a short nap.
Athens really reminds me of the older parts of Tel aviv and sometimes Berlin. Old kiosk “islands” in the middle of the street, amazing local food, stationery stores from another time and cool graffiti in the streets. When you’ve had enough of the older styles you can easily find cool coffee shops, hipster bars and really good fusion restaurants. My only problem was the coffee!! I couldn’t drink it at all, it was too strong and sour for me, even with sugar or a cookie on the side...
I listed for you all the places we visited, the food we ate, the special spots we found, everything in a walking distance from the hotel we stayed in!
The cute and cozy hotel we stayed in, Niki Athens hotel, was just perfect for us. Clean, minimalistic design, warm and welcoming staff, nice breakfast and a walking distance from all the places we wanted to visit.
First thing we did, like always, is to find a nice coffee shop near the hotel and Thirdplace.Athens, was defiantly a good choice. Industrial vibe, terrazzo tables and pink chairs. we read some magazines, had a pastry with our iced coffee (my first and last one in Athens...) and moved on to explore the streets around us.
We started our afternoon checking out Dickie Dee, a unique and fun ice cream shop that serve their ice cream in a cloud of cotton candy!! We chose pistachio which was so delicious! trust me, you’d want to try it.
In the evening we took it easy and let ourselves get lost in the beautiful Plaka area, feeling like tourists: exploring the narrow streets, listening to traditional greek music, walking down a lot of old stairs and tasting random local food.
What is the best thing to do after a good sleep? trying out some greek donuts!
LUKUMADES, it’s a nice place that serves delicious small donuts balls covered or filled with different flavors like greek honey and cinnamon, chocolate, pistachio or even feta cheese.
One thing i’d rather not but have to admit, we checked out this spot a few times and still couldn’t get enough!!
Looking for a coffee shop where we can quietly read a book, we found ourselves with Sangria and “baby-lemonade” cocktails in a really cool bar, Barrett, which is also really nice at night time. Green plants, good music and pretty cool illustrations on the walls made us stay there and read our books in a different yet fun environment.
When we left the bar on Protogenous St. I stumbled upon a local fashion designer store, Badila, with really nice and light fabrics and treated myself with a pair of striped pants and a black and white dotted jumpsuit! This tiny street had a very cool vibe with graffiti, skateboard shops, cafes and bars.
After sweets, cocktails and some shopping we decided to check out Hedonistit recommendation for lunch. (If you don’t know this amazing lady you should follow her right away!). O Thanasis, a local greek restaurant with the best (!!!) kebab I have ever tasted. The traditional greek salad was also just perfect.
In the late afternoon, after a good nap, we decided to check out the historic attraction of the city, the Acropolis. The time we choose was just perfect, not too hot, the sun started to go down and colored the impressive columns and arcs in sunset colors. we enjoyed walking around, thinking about how it looked like more then 2000 years ago, seeing Athens from above and listening to the greek music show rehearsal in the amphitheater right below the Acropolis.
We then continued to the beautiful Plaka area and found a tiny greek restaurant, yiasemi, where we ate delicious greek beet salad and cheese pie while sitting on the stairs, just like the locals, crowded with young athenians catching a light supper and some local beer.
Thision open air cinema, was our last stop for that day. We love going to the movies and we don’t get to do it that much in our daily routine so when we found this cute open air cinema, with beautiful views of the Acropolis - we were super happy! Don’t forget a jacket it was a bit chilly up there.
Starting our day with a walk in the old streets of Athens, taking photos, eating some cashews from the street vendor and watching old locals sitting next to a supermarket cart full of fresh watermelons...
After 20 minutes we arrived at Takis bakery. We got multiple recommendations about this local bakery so we had to check it out. when we entered the tiny place the first thing I noticed was the smell. It was the exact one I remember from the bakery my grandparents used to have years ago. It has that magic of the past: where regular customers are waiting in line to get their favorite kind of bread and all those sweets and pastries organized in old wooden boxes.
I think we tried most of the things because we really didn’t know what to choose! Thin greek sesame bagels, cookies, cheese pastries... Our favorite was their delicious bread sticks in different flavors and spices like turmeric, dried onions, raisins and nuts.
Looking, again, for a nice place to read a book we find a small cafe, Vanilla bistro, just a 2 minutes walk from the bakery. We sat by a nice table that looked like it was taken from the owners grandmothers house, and had a beautiful sun flower pattern on it, I ordered a cold fruit smoothie and rested a little.
For lunch we went to a Greek-Japanese fusion restaurant called Nolan. It was refreshing to eat in a minimalistic and modern atmosphere and the food was sooo good! Everything we tried was special and delicious, starting with the Zucchini and smoked eggplant with miso, trying also the cod burger served in a super soft banh, and the sirloin with leeks. After a chocolate-caramel dessert we were ready for a nap!
On the last day of our short trip we went back to the places we liked and also found a beautiful deli and restaurant, Ergon house, that happened to also be a foodie hotel.
There you can find local olive oils (I totally fell in love with their packaging), craft beer, spices, fresh fish and meat, fruit, vegetables, good halva and much more. It’s nice for breakfast or just to have a drink.
On our way back to the hotel we found 2 other nice nearby places, 4 seasons, a cute organic product shop and Anamesa, an underground store and coffee shop (literally it was under ground), with well designed accessories and clothes for both men and women.
That’s it for now! after sleeping 11 hours a night, drinking cocktails for lunch, napping and reading a whole book, from cover to cover - I’m super satisfied and happy, ready to come back home!