Saturday 18 August 2018

A perfect day in Athens

 

Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis of Athens
A street vendor sells fruits in Monastiraki square in central Athens.
The Panathenaic Stadium
A spread of mezze
Thomas Breathnach

Thomas Breathnach

Our visitor spends 24 hours in the Greek capital.

10am: Room with a view

Kalimera Athena! Waking up with views of the Acropolis has the epic impact of any Eiffel Tower or Colosseum moment. Most city hotels charge a premium for the vistas, however. So, an alternative? Airbnb listings in Athens frequently feature oh-so-lit Instagram views of the city for real bargain rates. My studio bolthole in the trending Mets neighbourhood, made for the perfect Hellenic hideaway for just €60.

How: Airbnb.com, listing #15250700.

2pm: Trade the Greek markets

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A street vendor sells fruits in Monastiraki square in central Athens.
 

Few experiences offer a traveller more national nuances than a good ol' grocery haul. In Athens, laiki agora are Greece's original farmers' markets, where locals stock up on everything from A to tzatziki. Each neighbourhood tends to host a market once a week but if that doesn't work, fill your shopping basket at Athens' landmark Varvakios Market.

How: Varvakios Market, Athinas 42 lies 500m from Monistaraki Metro.

5pm: Feel the Olympic air

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The Panathenaic Stadium
 

What better way to work off your moussaka than by jogging around the ancient Panathenaic Stadium. Feeling social? Grab a workout at Athens CrossFit or join a yoga class at downtown studio, Bhavana. Something more leisurely? A volta (or outing) to grab a Greek coffee is the most Athenian pastime of all!

How: panathenaicstadium.gr; €5, bhavanayoga.com; €15, facebook.com/AthensLionsBox, €10.

8pm: A Date with Athens

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A spread of mezze
 

The Acropolis is Athens' star attraction, but at €20 it's pricey and slightly marred by scaffolding and territorial tour guides. Instead, take a hike through the olive groves to Filopappou Hill, where you'll find the best views of the Parthenon - and awesome sunsets, too. For a feast fit for Bacchus, wander down to one of Monastiraki's lively late-night tavernas, for a spread of meze, souvlaki and moreish Cretan wine.

How: Kallipateira has delicious mains from €9; kallipateira.gr

Do it

Aegean Airlines flies direct from Dublin year-round (aegeanair.com). See visitgreece.gr for more.

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