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zamboni

Anyone Been To Athens? (Greece, not Georgia)

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Have a business trip to Athens in late January/early February and will have about 1.5 to 2 days to sightsee.

At a minimum, want to hit the big sights - Acropolis/Parthenon, Ancient Agora, Plaka - during my time there.

Any ideas about what to see/do during this compressed time would be appreciated, including how to get around.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by zamboni

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- it's corny, but there are two promontories in Athens - the Acropolis & Lycabettus - and i'm just a sucker for taking the funicular up Lycabettus at night and dining with a view above the Parthenon at Orizontes. The restaurant is mediocre and overpriced as most tourist traps, but that image & feeling will stay in you mind forever.

- watching the sun rise at Sounion (where tourists go for the World's Best Sunset) after a night of partying makes Montauk look like Pittsburgh. Party with the locals if you can.

- how to do that is to stay in a hotel near the Plaka/Agora, below the Kallirois. that is the student section of town, so any taverna will have kids you can chat up to find out where the action is. it's been too long since i been there to recommend specific places

have fun. not a great town, but fun if you do it right and incredibly picturesque

ETA: If you party (or go to Lycabettus or get a cab to take you to Sounion at dawn) negotiate a set price w your driver up front. they will gouge you if you dont (but are fair if you do).

Edited by wikkidpissah
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37 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

- it's corny, but there are two promontories in Athens - the Acropolis & Lycabettus - and i'm just a sucker for taking the funicular up Lycabettus at night and dining with a view above the Parthenon at Orizontes. The restaurant is mediocre and overpriced as most tourist traps, but that image & feeling will stay in you mind forever.

- watching the sun rise at Sounion (where tourists go for the World's Best Sunset) after a night of partying makes Montauk look like Pittsburgh. Party with the locals if you can.

- how to do that is to stay in a hotel near the Plaka/Agora, below the Kallirois. that is the student section of town, so any taverna will have kids you can chat up to find out where the action is. it's been too long since i been there to recommend specific places

have fun. not a great town, but fun if you do it right and incredibly picturesque

ETA: If you party (or go to Lycabettus or get a cab to take you to Sounion at dawn) negotiate a set price w your driver up front. they will gouge you if you dont (but are fair if you do).

Good stuff - thanks GB.

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There's a subway, fwiw. Was there 7 years ago with the kids. All my son remembers...not me carryimg him by piggyback all the ####### way up the Acropolis, no- only thing he recalls was me getting pick-pocketed at some point that day (probably while lugging the little ingrate up the hill).

If you're there long enough, drive 90mins or so south to Sounio- temple to Poseidon iirc, right on the cliffs overlooking the water...gorgeous.

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We stayed in a hotel called Met34 last year.  Not in Plaka, but easy walking distance and in a good area for walking around.  Decent price, huge room and great service.  I'd highly recommend it.

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Get Tanner in here. He can tell us all about how he met REM there for the 900th time.

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52 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

There's a subway, fwiw. Was there 7 years ago with the kids. All my son remembers...not me carryimg him by piggyback all the ####### way up the Acropolis, no- only thing he recalls was me getting pick-pocketed at some point that day (probably while lugging the little ingrate up the hill).

If you're there long enough, drive 90mins or so south to Sounio- temple to Poseidon iirc, right on the cliffs overlooking the water...gorgeous.

Not enough time - have to stick to the main city stuff, but maybe next time for sure.

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9 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Not enough time - have to stick to the main city stuff, but maybe next time for sure.

Gotcha. Keep a hand on your wallet.

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Love Greece.  Spent most of my time in Crete.  Just had a few partial days passing through.  Watch out for the friendly bar owners and the bar girls.   They will be really friendly and get you to buy a drink for them which ends up being about $50.  So beware of scammers and pick pockets.  

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Went to Athens for about a week in September.  We stayed right outside of the Plaka area near Monastiraki Square.  We got around the whole trip between walking and using their Metro.  Their Metro was really nice and super easy to use, I'm not a big traveler, but I thought it was easy.  You can actually take the Metro right from the airport to that area for a couple Euro if you don't have transit set up all ready, we actually did that there and back when we took a mid-trip trip to the Islands for a couple days.

As for what to do, we had a really great walking tour that hit the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Royal Gardens in about a half day.  We enjoy the small (10-15 person) guided tours over just walking around that stuff by ourselves.  The Acropolis Museum wasn't huge, but was a really nicely done and had all of the preserved statues they have left from the actual acropolis site.  It wasn't a part of our tour, but we went the next day and it was nice to see the sight first, then see the artwork from it.  Besides that we did a lot of walking around the Plaka area and just finding street cafe's to eat at and browsing.

We really enjoyed our hotel, 360 Degrees Pop Art, small but nicely appointed rooms, and location was really good right of the Square and near Metro.

ETA: We aren't really nightlife people, so we were out late ever, but when we were out (days/evening), we felt pretty comfortable walking around those areas.  I heard so many warnings about Athens being dangerous, but in the area we were in, we felt safe the whole time.

Edited by The Tick
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46 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Gotcha. Keep a hand on your wallet.

Noted. As a fellow New Yorker, I’m used to chronically playing pocket pool.

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1 hour ago, zamboni said:

Noted. As a fellow New Yorker, I’m used to chronically playing pocket pool.

Ironically, the day it happened I anticipated trouble and left my wallet- only brought cash, one credit card and my driver's license...all in a ziplock bag in my front pocket. They still got it.

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Athens is fun but I've never been in the winter/off season.  You have enough time to do the touristy stuff but that's about it.  I'd recommend checking the major sites you noted in addition to walking around aimlessly and hitting various bars/restaurants.  Also renting a Vespa is recommended if you're comfortable on a bike/scooter and don't mind risking your life.  Great way to putt around town.  

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Also ironically, I'm playing pocket pool right now

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9 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Also ironically, I'm playing pocket pool right now

🎱

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14 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Ironically, the day it happened I anticipated trouble and left my wallet- only brought cash, one credit card and my driver's license...all in a ziplock bag in my front pocket. They still got it.

I think pickpocketing is a mandatory class in most southern Europe elementary schools.

Edited by zamboni

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For that short of time just see the major stuff.  I liked the islands/olympus a lot more than athens, but it was still memorable.  It's been over a decade since i was there so can't really recall restaurants/hotels.  But i do agree about the pickpockets.  You might get one of those waist belts.  They are annoying to deal with at times, but I've used one for two decades in some really shady areas and never been pickpocketted.

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I was there for 4 or 5 days in oct 2017 

a fun city , very easy to walk around and use their metro 
some great food and pretty reasonable prices . I might be able to look up a couple of restaurants that some locals took me to 

with 2 days knock off the main sites 

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49 minutes ago, waiver wire said:

I was there for 4 or 5 days in oct 2017 

a fun city , very easy to walk around and use their metro 
some great food and pretty reasonable prices . I might be able to look up a couple of restaurants that some locals took me to 

with 2 days knock off the main sites 

Restaurant recommendations would be great - thanks.

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1 hour ago, zamboni said:

Restaurant recommendations would be great - thanks.

Definitely try some of those greek donuts.  They're awesome:  https://www.lukumades.com

Edited by Major
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