A few weeks before going to Barbados, my cousin and I found a glitch fare from NYC to Athens, Greece for under $200 and purchased it without any questions. With her coming back from a mini Euro-trip only weeks before and me planning to go to Thailand for 10 days in December, we decided to just go for Labor Day weekend. We had so much drama with the booking company Explore Trip (PLEASE DON’T EVER USE THEM), I planned on going solo, but it worked out for us to go together again. As short as it was, we did exactly what we wanted to do. Read more about how we spent our holiday weekend in Athens, Greece.
Travel, Check-in, Sightseeing, Dinner and a Show
Our flight left Friday evening and we arrived in Athens around 10 AM. As mentioned, I initially planned to go solo, so I booked a round-trip taxi service with Welcome Pickups recommended by our hotel, the Athens Atrium Hotel. A photo of the driver was sent via email, he was on time and the service was generally convenient. Since our room wasn’t ready until 2PM, we took an Uber ride to the city center and walked around to familiarize ourselves around the city. The drive was no more than 10 minutes and cost only 4 Euros.
After taking a (3 hour) power nap, we went to Hotel Amalia Athens to get a pickup for the Athens Night Sightseeing Tour with Greek Dinner Show. The tour was pretty much what we saw earlier, but with detailed history of the sites from a local guide. It concluded with a dinner show at Tavern Kalokerinos in Pláka. In addition to the good food, the entertainment was great. There was singing, dancing with audience participation and our favorite: dish breaking. 😀
Solo Exploration: Acropolis, Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion, and Saronic Islands Tour
On Sunday we split up for solo exploration. My cousin took a 12 hour tour to the Saronic Islands (Hydra, Poros and Aegina) and I stayed in Athens. My cousin’s seatmate on the plane recommended the Saronic island tour instead of going to Mykonos and Santorini and she loved it. The pics were so pretty, I kind of wish I went with her.
Since I stayed in Athens and my tour was scheduled for the afternoon, I decided to go to the Acropolis of Athens and Panathenaic Stadium. Both tours were self guided and I was in awe of the architecture. It was really unbelievable that I was seeing sites I’ve read about since elementary school with my own eyes. I highly recommend getting to the Acropolis when it opens to avoid crowds. If you have time to learn more, visit the New Acropolis Museum which is a short walk away. It only costs 5 Euros more and filled with a lot of information. Panathenaic Stadium was just as cool. It hosted the first modern day Olympics in 1896 and the only stadium in the world built by marble.
After lunch in Pláka, my afternoon was spent riding to the Southeast to Cape Sounion and the temple of Poseidon. We were able to get a history of the site on our way, but the temple was similar to the top of the Acropolis of Athens. With the long ride and the similarities, it’s a tour that could be skipped. If the tour included beach time, I would’ve been more pleased. The views of Cape Sounion were beautiful though.
Morning Trip to Pláka, Check-out and Airport
I purchased most gifts on my solo exploration, but my cousin didn’t. After breakfast in the hotel, we headed to Pláka which is the old historical neighborhood of Athens for souvenirs. We went into several shops along the way and it was good for us to get so many gifts for such a cheap price.
When checking in the airport to go home, we almost didn’t get home because was an inconsistency with our return flight. Delta made a change for us to get a direct flight and Explore Trip refused to resend the e-ticket reflecting the changes. Our flight was at 2, but the e-ticket said 7AM flight with a layover in Istanbul and France (yikes). Luckily, Delta was able to sort everything out and we got to our gate as they started boarding.
Our trip to Athens was the quickest international trip taken, but we had an amazing time. The food, people, and experience was great; it felt like a dream when we got home. I will definitely go back for a longer stay in the outer islands for a cruise.
Have you been to Greece before?