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A Local's Guide to Vacationing in Greece: Athens Edition

A Local's Guide to Vacationing in Greece: Athens Edition


I am excited to finally share with you the first in a three parts series of the Local’s Guide to Vacationing in Greece. For those of you not familiar with my story, I have strong roots in Greece. I have spent many summers there since the early 90’s and my immediate family lives there now. I will begin the series with the city closest to my heart (for many reasons), Athens. Here is my guide to the best places to stay, eat, visit during your time in this amazing city.


Athens is a big city and choosing where to stay can be a little daunting when planning your visit for the first time. I recommend a minimum of 2-3 days in the city for a chance to explore some of the best it has to offer. If you wish to be close to the shops and walking distance from many historical sites, stay at the Noble Suites – located close to Acropolis. The elegant neoclassical décor, proximity to many must-see sites and exceptional service, make this hotel our go-to place every time we visit.

I’m from the Mediterranean, so nothing can compare to the sound of the waves and the scent of the sea for me and The Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasson is one of the best places to stay and soak up the sea in the Athenian Riviera.

Speaking of the Athenian Riviera, some of the best beaches are located here. We love going to Astir Beach in Vouliagmeni – located only 15-20 mins outside of the city center. A little further, down the Attic peninsula, you’ll find Lagonissi Beach and Sounion Beach (home to the Temple of Poseidon, Sounion is one of the most popular areas around Athens).


There are so many wonderful coffee houses, taverns and restaurants in Athens that I had a hard time narrowing it down to the absolute best (in my opinion).

Start your day with a delicious coffee and a savory pie from Sapore in Nea Smirni - I might be biased because this is my sister’s shop but they have the best coffee and service in Athens! If you visit, tell her Vana sent you! For mid-morning snack or an early dinner, check out Louvron in Pagrati – a laid back traditional café with a beautiful and intimate atmosphere (especially in the evening). We’ve enjoyed their tapas style dishes that pair so well with their traditional wines and tsipouro.

For a memorable dinner with a view of the Acropolis, I highly recommend dining at GH Attikos – an outstanding traditional fare on a rooftop terrace. You must make reservations in advance.

Barbounaki is a local’s favorite for seafood dishes located in Plaka. Enjoy a glass of wine in a comfortable outdoor setting...with a side of people watching (IYKYK.

Last but certainly not least, you must must stop by the Ergon House. This foodie boutique hotel is located at the foot of Acropolis. Ergon House is the first of its kind in that it combines a marketplace, a modern-day Agora made up of fresh produce, a butcher, a bakery, a delicatessen and roastery, along with a bar and restaurant which celebrate the best of Greek cuisine culture. For a relaxing experience after visiting Acropolis, enjoy a light fare on their rooftop terrace planted with olive trees.


If there’s one thing you do in Athens, it has to be a visit to Acropolis.  Located on a rocky outcrop above the city, Acropolis contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historical significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. Also worth checking out is the Acropolis Museum located just around the corner.

If you’re visiting Athens during the summer months, you must attend a live performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus theater. If you love history and have a little time, take a drive to Cape Sounio to visit the Temple of Poseidon – you can book a tour or rent a car and make it part of your Athenian Riviera tour.

For a chance to shop some fun Greek handicrafts, handmade jewelry and delicious treats to bring home, you must plan to stop in Monastiraki. A little further is the Plaka neighborhood where you will find charming old narrow streets lines with old and new homes as well as museums, restaurants and cafes.

Looking for a picture-perfect shot? Take a hike up to Lycabettus Hill (the highest spot in Athens) and enjoy some of the most sweeping views of the city. Light a candle at the little white church of St. George. Our family has a tradition of hiking up at the top the last night in town. The view of the city at night is breathtaking.

I hope you found this guide helpful for your visit to Athens. All experiences shared here are my own and I am not being paid or sponsored to include them on this guide.  Everything I've shared is safe and recommended to do as a family. Stay tuned for part two, the Local’s Guide to the Greek Islands coming up next.