If you’ve never really given it thought to visit Athens, Greece in the past, I hope that the following 5 reasons will make you consider and make it on your bucket list places to go. It will truly inspire you.
If you’ve never tried Mediterranean food before, please go do it now 😍 In all actuality, it is truly so good, light, flavorful, and something you will love. Greek salad to start with is so simple and so filling AND the feta cheese omg (which I didn’t love before but now 💕). Greek yogurt forreal, forreal, so good and topped with honey omg! and don’t get me started on souvlaki or tzatziki or my go to whenever and wherever, a gyro. Ultimately the freshness in the food was unlike anything I really experienced, for that long. In the past I have had quality ingredients like when visiting family in Mexico, but it was short lived as I only visited for 1-2 weeks. The everyday freshness in Greek ingredients that I got to experience for those 3 months were all that, and then some.
Our democracy, the Olympics, philosophy, science/math, medicine, all the way to alarm clocks and odometers have origins tracing back to Greece. One of the things I found incredibly astounding was the living history in ALL corners of Athens. I will never forget the time I was in line at H&M and I looked down to realize that I was stepping on Plexiglas that gave me an entire view of the ruins very much alive underneath. If you stay in the Plaka area, you’ll pretty much have an incredible view of the Acropolis from every point, but you will also pass each corner finding a piece of history. Each metro stop is literally a mini museum of all the things they have found underground while constructing the underground transportation system. It’s incredible. Ruins of old civilizations, homes, market places, places for gathering, libraries, everything that became a foundation for how the majority of the world lives and functions. It’s truly remarkable and incredible. History is so alive in this city, and it is embraced as it coexists with everything new. It is something you have to see for yourself.
Even if you’re not much into going out at night, the sounds of bustling restaurants, people talking over a glass of wine and dinner, people walking around in search of gelato, and people walking to find the next bar to check out, will all make you want to go out and see what the Athenian nightlife is all about. Especially in the Plaka area (by the Acropolis) there will be people out almost all night grabbing dinner, drinks, desert, or just walking around and marveling at the beauty of history and the Acropolis lit up at night. It’s honestly so beautiful, and one of the prettiest and liveliest sights I have EVER seen. Now, if you are into going out and having a good time dancing the night away to Greek pop hits and other popular songs, I would check out the gay district called Gazi. It’s not too far from the Plaka area, it’s actually walkable, and you’ll definitely be guaranteed a fun time bar and club hopping around this area. Or if you’re into swanky types of ambiances, check out A for Athens in Monastiraki, a rooftop bar where you’ll have one of the most amazing views of the Acropolis and all of Monastiraki square. It will take your breath away. If you’re into trendy, cool, and stylish bars, then definitely make your way to Six D.o.g.s. Literally one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to that has it all: style, art, just enough swanky feel with underground feels. Check it out when you’re in Athens!
Even though the Greek economy has been suffering on various levels for what feels like a long time, I will say that the Greeks don’t let that affect them, at least on the outside. This was something that I found comfort in, in the way that the Greeks were able to look past a bad situation, whether it was a bad day, or a few bad years in national economic distress, the Greeks always made the most of it. This meant that you still saw locals going out to eat, laughing out loud when in company of their loved ones, ready to help someone in need if they looked in front of their shops or restaurants, and always, always ready to take a coffee break at cafes around Athens. My professor always said that Greeks don’t need social media to know what’s going on with other people and their lives, all they had to do was go to a coffee shop, and enjoy their Freddo cappuccino and look around. Not kidding, their outdoor seating is actually faced towards the street, so you and whoever your with can hold a conversation, but also look at who’s walking by.
The Greeks as you already know are responsible for the various way in which the world functions nowadays. Everything from how to govern countries, to some of the biggest sporting events celebrated, Greece has had built a culture of innovation, curiosity, warmth, family, and natural beauty. Greece is about going forward, but not forgetting your past. Athens is where so much of that still remains, and we are still very lucky to witness it all. The new and the old – the tradition, the sacred, and the innovative. Everything from the food, the (extremely good looking) people, the history, the architecture, the scenery, the ruins, and the modern – I don’t think there is quite another place like Greece to really spark your curiosity, and make you want to question and find answers to things that before, you might have not thought about. It’s inspiring, and I extremely suggest you experience and live it for yourself.
So if you haven’t considered Athens into your list of places to visit next, again, I hope that this list inspired you a bit to look deeper into a country that sometimes only gets attention for islands like Mykonos or Santorini. While those islands are also gorgeous, I feel that Athens really delivers that experience that captures the essence of Greece; new and old.