TRAVEL: The Vibrancy Of Athens

They say that Greek hospitality is one of the most endearing qualities of Greece, and I think it can be honestly said, that Greece is an incredibly friendly, vibrant and exquisitely perfect countries. Visiting Athens is such a wonderful experience, with a spark so bright that you can feel the merging of ancient history with modern energy, and it's a city that is possibly one of the most underrated in Europe. Full of ruins around every corner, it's a history enthusiasts dream, with the quaint traditional tiny streets of Plaka, colourful architecture, and bustling streets, with cafe after cafe, and never too far from the iconic Acropolis.
Electra Palace Hotel
View from Aeropagus Hill (near Acropolis)

The Acropolis
Acropolis from the streets below
The Electra Palace Hotel situated in Plaka is such an incredible choice if you're looking for a little bit of luxury whilst staying in the city. Warm, welcoming, the 5 star treatment is a lovely treat! Of course a trip to the sauna and swimming pool is exactly what you need after a long day of ambling around the streets, stacking up mile after mile and wearing out your feet! The lovely Alexandra was particuarly friendly in the spa! The rooftop restaurant in the Electra Palace boasts stunning views of the Acropolis at night, which is a beautiful luminous vision, you can capture the essence of the city from that one monument, the history behind it, and of course the Goddess Athena, of whom the city is named after. For more information on the hotel and planning a stay with them, click here.

Electra Palace Hotel Rooftop Pool
Electra Palace Roof Garden Restaurant
View from the room balcony
Room 209
Beautiful art in the rooms

Electra Palace Hotel pool
Take a walk to the heart of the city, Monastiraki, where you will sense a true hum of Athens, bars, shops, Athens flea market with bundles of gift shops and intriguing little stores. The Greek jewellery is incredible, and truly resembles the gorgeous styles worn by ancient Greek goddesses. Despite the wealthy vibrancy that Athens resonates, there is also the side of Athens that is a little less glamorous. You may be accosted on many an occasion to purchase things, ladies with clothes, forcing them into your hand and begging you to pay, sometimes young boys, selling flowers and desperate to get even a euro from you. There's a sense of anger from tourists, and naturally this is not something that the western world is used to seeing, yet it is a very real reality of the economic crisis in Athens, but it is an incredibly safe city and that is one important fact to remember. For panoramic views, head to the 360 cocktail bar, a hip bar which offers a taste of true Athenian life, with many locals gathering there, a younger clientel at night, but it is also popular with tourists during the day.

The Greek parliament is such a fascinating building, and be sure to watch the changing of the guards ceremony, on the hour every hour, 24 hours a day, which is a piece of real history in a modern day world. A surreal but fabulous ceremony which sees the changing of the two guards outside parliament, whilst the rest of the busy Athenians stroll on by with their morning coffees.

Changing of the guards - Athens Parliament
Greek Parliament
You can never go hungry in Athens, and this is not just because of the traditional Greek taverns with all their delicious souvlaki in copious quantities, but of all the fallen oranges you will find laying on the side of the road, from many of the beautiful trees that grow around the city. Always be on aware of the many motorcyclists around town, although they are for the most part incredibly aware themselves of pedestrians.

Take a few day trips if you can, the outer areas of Athens such as Piraeus and Glyfada are coastal areas that are a perfect oasis in the middle of the landlocked concrete jungle of Athens. Glyfada is an upscale area of the city, with beautiful sea views, small boutiques and a plethora of beautiful apartments. Pireaus is a little more modest, but the views of the aqua blue Aegean are delectable and entrancing! There are many half day tours, including a trip with the very friendly and professional Key Tours who offer half day trips to Cape Sounion, which holds the iconic Temple of Poseidon at the very edge of mainland Greece, with panoramic views that are utterly breathtaking, and the true charm of Greece is seen here. For more information on what to do in Piraeus click here. For more information on what to do in Glyfada click here.

Near Glyfada

Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon
Temple of Poseidon
Athens is home to some of the world's most stunning architecture, and many museums that are just incredible to soak up information on the history of the city. Although not many are free, there is always some piece of history no matter where you look. The Temple of Zeus, behind the National Gardens is also a fabulous sight, and well worth a little walk to at night to see it light up in all its glory. Happy travelling!

For more on ATHENS click HERE for my tour to Cape Sounion!

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