When in Athens: 5 local tips and tricks
Athens is widely known for the Acropolis, the sunny weather and its mouthwatering souvlaki, but as with most popular cities, Athens has a secret side which not many visitors know about. I've partnered up with Greeking.me to share with you 5 carefully selected local secrets that will show you a different, more 'original' aspect of the Greek capital that will take you beyond the romantic Plaka neighbourhood!
1. Farmers Markets - full of colour, smells & goodies
Farmers markets are an old Greek tradition. One day per week, each neighborhood hosts one, which is visited by most Athenian people, regardless of age and income. It is an experience worth doing for anyone who wants to discover the original aspect of the city. You can find a lot more than just fruits and vegetables. Keep your eyes open for other things, such as clothes, toys, plants, textiles, home ware and anything else you can (or can not) imagine, as this is the most vivid form of trade, an outdoor exhibition right in the heart of the society. The biggest market in Athens is Varvakios Market, located in Athinas Street. Walking around Varvakios Market is a unique experience, where you will discover the wealth of the fertile Greek land.
Not many people know how easy it is to reach the seaside from downtown Athens. Anyone who has been to Athens will tell you that the seas of Piraeus are not the most attractive, but Marina Flisvos is truly worth your time! All it takes is taking the tram from Syntagma Square (Line T4, [Syntagma-S.E.F], Direction: S.E.F) and stopping at Flisvos Station, and it only takes 30 minutes!
Flisvos Marina is an ideal place for gazing at the sea while enjoying a relaxing walk, a cup of coffee or a nice book. It is a pedestrian area with beautiful cafés & restaurants, many locals and an amazing view to the blue sea. If you have some spare time during your trip, don’t hesitate to go; this place won’t disappoint you!
3. Exarcheia - the rebellious neighborhood
Credit: Dimitris Kamaras
If you are into fashion brands, lifestyle and gourmet restaurants, then this neighborhood is NOT for you! If, on the other hand, you have a fondness for alternative things, rebellious stories and free-spirited people, then you have found your Athenian paradise. Exarcheia, even from the beginning of the 80’s, represents the uncompromised neighborhood of Athens.
Besides many anarchists, artists, writers and students, you’ll discover amazing street art, alternative bars and inexpensive taverns with savory food and cheap wine. Another equally interesting area is Psirri. It used to be a downgraded area until many sophisticated bars & taverns opened around its little square. There you can find delicious mezedes (the Greek word for appetizers), amazing nightlife, fascinating graffiti & many more.
4. Open-air cinemas
What is better than enjoying your movie under the clear summer sky, while holding a cold beer & gazing at the illuminated Acropolis? Well, we cannot think of anything better! This is the reason why Athenians love the romantic feeling of open-air cinemas. When the weather gets warmer, it is ideal to spend a couple of hours in a charming summer cinema downtown. Cine Paris in Plaka & Cine Thisio are among the best. Never forget that the Athenian nightlife is famous for a reason; it lasts until the sun comes out!
Loukoumades might just be Greece’s favourite dessert. Sweet honey-puffs, deep fried and crispy, drizzled with honey syrup and cinnamon. Can you resist? The origins of this irresistible recipe date back to ancient times. In many resources it is mentioned that Greeks used to make dough-ball fried in olive oil & "sacrificial cakes made of grain and honey", which were offered to the victors of the Olympic Games. This mouthwatering dessert is a small jewel of Greek gastronomy -there are plenty others, sweet & savory, that will make your trip to Athens an unforgettable experience!
Athens is iconic in almost every way; it combines literally everything from ancient history, inspiring culture, heavenly food, vivid nightlife, alternative neighborhoods, welcoming people and much, much more. The best way to really explore this captivating city is the local way. For every wanderluster out there; Athens is waiting for you to be discovered, and the Greeking.me tailor made tours are here to help. Interested in learning how to cook like a Greek God? Take the Greek cooking class and get cookin'! Ready to dance the night away? The Greek folk dancing class is made for you.
Greeking.me offers these and many more tours, and if you're looking for something a little more private, you can contact them and prepare a tour just for you and your family or friends. But wait - there's more! By using my special discount code - ANTI10 - when booking a tour of your choice, you get 10% off your purchase! #Bargain
See you in Athens!