Athens is the capital of Greece and the heart of Ancient Greece, it has everything going for it; an old town, new city, history, beaches and tortoises.
What we did:
We had 4 nights in Athens which was enough to get a feel for the city and experience a lot of what it has to offer. We spent some time exploring ourselves and also booked a couple of couple of tours through Kids Love Greece.
Open top bus tour
We started with the City Sightseeing Athens open top bus tour so that we could get a feel for the city. I always think that this is a great idea, especially with children as it saves lots of walking or having to navigate public transport. Our first stop was to see the changing of the guards outside of the presidential mansion and tomb of the unknown soldier. Watching the guards is a brilliant experience, they change every hour and the marching and ceremony is amazing to watch.
There has been a stadium on the site since 330 AD and was rebuilt in marble in 144 AD. It hosted the Zappas olympics in 1870 and 1875 and the opening an closing ceremonies of the first modern day olympics in 1896. It is seriously impressive to walk around the stadium and imagine the crowds sitting in the marble seats or run on the track. There is a tunnel leading out of the stadium that takes you to a tiny olympic museum, this is worth a visit and Pip enjoyed looking at the places that the olympics have been held in.
The entrance fee is 5,00€ (2,50€ concessions).
We also managed to have a wander in the National Gardens, a visit to the main shopping area for some supplies and then stopped for dinner at Savvas at Monastiraki with an amazing view of the Acropolis as the sun went down.
Full day tour to Cape Sounion.
We were picked up by our tour guide Andreas and driven out of Athens, along the Athens Riveira to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. This was a kid friendly tour so Andreas spent some time telling Pip some of the stories from Greek Mythology. We spent some time looking around the temple and even met a tortoise just hanging out.
After theTemple we drove back towards Athens and stopped at Archelon Sea Turtle Rescue Centre where we had a tour of the centre, met some of the residents, learned all about turtles and the work that the centre does and even adopted our own baby turtle. Pip is already planning on going back to volunteer when she is old enough.
We had lunch over looking the sea and then stopped at Vouliagmeni Lake. The lake is a thermal lake and you can swim in the warm waters, it was closed for reburishment when we went so we walked some of the trails above the lake and watched the windsurfers on Vuliasmeni bay. Our last stop was for ice cream on the way home.
Harry Potter Walking tour
This was the highlight of our time in Athens, Pip is a huge Potterhead and we really enjoyed the tour. Our guide Katerina picked us up at our accommodation and gave Pip her acceptance letter for the Greek school of Witchcraft and Wizardry and let her pick her wand and house. We then spent the morning exploring Athens on foot and taking magical classes, learning spells and finding out about the Greek Mythology that inspired JK Rowling. My favourite part was stopping for Greek coffee and spoon sweets before a divination lesson on how to read the coffee grounds.
Lycabettus hill is the highest point in Athens, at the top of the hill there is the tiny chapel of Agios Georgios and a restaurant. There is a path that winds it’s way up the hill but as it was ahot day we chose to get the funicular railway up and then walk down. The views from the top and on the way down are amazing and we even spotted a tortoise.
The funicular costs 7,50€ for a return journey or 5,00 one way.
The narrow streets of Plaka are the oldest part of Athens in the shadow of the Acropolis. Here you can find all sorts of souvenirs and places to eat. We spent the morning buying olive oil soaps, evil eyes and greek mythology playmobil.
Acroppolis and Acropolis museum tour
Our final tour in Athens was to the Acropolis and Acropolis museum. Again we did a kid friendly tour with Kids Love Greece which was perfect for Pip as she could ask lots of questions and focus on the things she was really interested in. We visited the Acropolis first and spent time learning about the history and visiting the temples, amphitheatre and structures. Our tour guide brought an ipad with her so that Pip could see what the buildings would have looked like when they were built. We then visited the Acropolis museum to see the statues and treasures up close.
We stayed in an apartment about 15 minutes walk from the Acropolis, it was a great little base for getting around and also having a kitchen was great so that we didn’t have to eat out for every meal. Our review of the apartment is here.
Athens was really easy to get around on foot, we didn’t use the metro because we made use of the hop on hop off bus tour and then took a taxi (using the Beat app) for the couple of journeys we needed to make. Staying close to the Acropolis was definitely the right choice as it was very central.
Thoughts on Athens:
We really enjoyed Athens as a city break and it was very child friendly. Lots of things to do an things that captured Pip’s attention. The fact that Athens also has beaches means that you could combine a beach and city break in one trip.
We visited in April 2022 when Pip was 9.
One thought on “4 days in Athens, Greece.”