It’s that time again: escaping school to explore a few new countries. I am sorry I am posting these late but I have been busy with jam-packed days to make the most of my time off. This trip was planned around a wedding I attended in Cyprus. Jeddah airlines don’t have any direct flights, so most flights stop in either Athens or Egypt. I have actually never visited Europe before, and Greece was a country that was highest on my list for places I want to see, so it was an easy decision for us to travel around Greece for a little bit more than a week before heading to Cyprus.
We originally had a great cheap direct flight from Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) to Athens, but this was cancelled a few weeks ago and we had to opt for a super bad flight with an 8 hour layover in Riyadh (also in Saudi). But this was better than paying $600 more for a new flight. We departed Jeddah at midnight, and chilled in Riyadh throughout the night until 9 AM. I attempted sleeping on the floor, but only ended up taking a nap for a few minutes. But David and I both crashed for the whole flight from Riyadh to Athens. The flight was pretty empty so I went to an empty row to sprawl out and sleep.
We landed in Athens at around 2 pm, and took the metro to a stop near our hostel, about a 45 minute journey. From the airport you can buy a “three day tourist pass” for use of all the public transport for 30 euro. But we prefer walking most places so we just bought the 10 euro airport to Syntagma pass, and then the other times we used the euro we bought the 1.90 euro passes. Our hostel was about a 15 minuteish walk from the metro, so David lugged our bags (bless him) and we checked in at about 3:30. The hostel was in a pretty sketchy location but when we booked it about three weeks ago almost everything was fully reserved. But what was great that it was in walking distance to “downtown” Athens, being about a half hour walk. So without a true plan we headed out for the day at four. We walked towards a spot called Monastiraki where there was a bunch of restaurants, cute alleyways, and a large shopping market area. We window-shopped and wandered around without a strict plan. We took a look at some of the restaurants which looked amazing with beautiful terraces with vines and live music. We walked through art galleries and all around the area. We started at Monastiraki and made it through the areas of Plaka and Syntagma. It all worked out well though because we walked directly to some famous ancient ruins or as David says “historical great place” called the Agora, which was the marketplace at one point in history. It was super cool to see these historical sites persevere even in the middle of this bustling city.
We continued along side streets and alleyways until we got to a beautiful lookout to the Acropolis. We snapped a bunch of photos and continued up in the slope until we arrived to the entrance.
It’s pretty expensive to see all the historical sites in Greece, but especially the Acropolis area. Full price was 20 Euro per person, and being a cheap human we went and asked if there was a student discount. Fortunately, David showed his first and said he was from France, and then we both got in free (students from EU countries get in free). So if you ever go to Greece it’s great to be a student cause everything’s half off or free (woooo)! The Acropolis where the Parthenon, Temple of Athena, Herodes theater, and many other antiquities are. We spent a few hours wandering about, taking photos, and reading about these important historical sites. We even got to listen to part of a concert that was performing in the old theater which was very cool to see.
From the recommendations we read online it said to visit the Acropolis as soon as it opens due to the crowds, but when we went (around 5/6) it wasn’t super hot and the crowds weren’t crazy. There are two hills near the Acropolis, and we went to the one right next store known as Philopappos hill. It wasn’t really a hike but more of a walk, but all of the hills in Athens have amazing sunset views overlooking the city. The sun doesn’t set until 8:30 so we enjoyed some time sitting on the top of the hill and enjoying the views. The sunset was spectacular, I highly recommend this spot for sunset, and you can see the Acropolis very well. After the sun went down, we headed back to the restaurant area we had visited earlier. We found a very cute authentic Greek restaurant with outdoor seating and nice music. It was super nice, and I lucked out that they had a “Greek sampler” for vegetarians, which I haven’t seen since. They had all the typical Greek Dishes but with veggies replacing the meat and it was amazing!! I had spinach pie, zucchini fritters, stuffed pepper, and mousaka. It was delicious! After dinner we walked off our dinner by continuing down the streets and alleyways checking out some stores and cafes. By the time we were finished walking around it was like 11:30ish, so we headed back to our hostel which was a 30 minute walk away. We walked 11 miles just in the afternoon. We fell asleep super fast after our lack of sleep the previous night, and were well rested for the next day of adventuring.