Athens, Greece

Travel Guide: Athens

My first installment of our Greece travel guides... Athens! Along with our itinerary & tips for traveling during the pandemic.

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Travel Guide for Athens, Greece

Before diving in, make sure to check out my full Greece Packing List for my outfit details.

Here are my other Greece travel guides as well: Santorini // Paros // Mykonos

Getting There During Covid

SO thrilled to be sharing my first travel guide for our trip to GREECE! Within the next two weeks I’ll also have guides for Santorini, Paros, and Mykonos, so be sure to take a look at those as well for the full picture of our trip

For a little context, we planned this trip back in 2019, with the intention of taking it to celebrate my sister’s college graduation in the spring of 2020. Of course, that didn’t happen and we have been postponing the trip ever since. Thanks to the vaccines and strict Covid protocols for traveling, we were able to make it happen. 

In order to travel to Greece, we left from JFK Airport in New York and took a direct flight there (it was a little over nine hours long). We had to show our vaccine cards and a a Passenger Locator Form, AKA a PFL, that we filled out ahead of time (and got a QR code to show). We didn’t have to get tested or show any proof of negative tests, but just to be extra safe, we all got PCR tests beforehand. And then of course we were masked up the entire travel day. If you are traveling to Greece anytime soon, please don’t take this post as a reference for the Covid protocol, as it is constantly changing. Instead, take a look at the Greek government’s travel site for the most up-to-date information.  

But other than that I’d say it was thankfully a pretty relaxed travel experience getting to Athens. Again, I would consult this site if you’re looking to travel there anytime soon— to make sure you’re up to date with with the regulations and forms you’d need to fill out beforehand.

Once we were there, we found that the Covid precautions throughout the country were taken very seriously– we wore our masks anytime we were indoors, but didn’t experience any curfews or capacity caps that we noticed. In all, we were just so excited to finally be there that we would have worn our masks every single minute if that meant we could go! Luckily most of what we did was outside, and not in any major crowds, so it was a great place to get fresh air and naturally social distance. I’ll talk more about what we had to do to return in my Mykonos travel guide.

Athens Travel Guide
We flew Delta and had a great experience

Overall Trip Itinerary

Here’s a brief overview of our itinerary and few notes from us on the timing of everything…

Day 1: Fly into Athens

Day 2: Fly from Athens to Santorini  

Day 3: Santorini 

Day 4: Afternoon ferry from Santorini to Paros 

Day 5: Afternoon ferry from Paros to Mykonos 

Day 6: Mykonos

Day 7: Evening ferry from Mykonos to Athens 

Day 8: Fly home from Athens 

  • This was enough time to explore the town of Oia on Santorini but we wished we had an extra day there to do a boat excursion and see it from the water.
  • Paros is DEFINITELY worth going to (we wish we had had at least two nights there and had rented a car to explore the island), but is too long of a ferry ride from Santorini for a day trip.
  • Mykonos was probably my favorite island overall— it’s the perfect combination of gorgeous beaches and fabulous shopping/nightlife! 
  • Overall, we weren’t ready to leave Greece at the end and wish we had more time in Paros and Mykonos!
  • Next up on our list of Greek islands to visit: Antiparos and Naxos. Any others we should add in too?! 

Also, I should mention that this was a total dream trip for us, and blew away our expectations! It was a fast-paced itinerary but if you like to be on the go with some relaxation peppered in here in there, I would recommend it! This trip (or any time spent in Greece really) would be perfect for a visit with your family, a girls trip, or a honeymoon… that would be especially dreamy as we visited and stayed in some of the most romantic places I’ve ever seen!

Where We Stayed

St. George Lycabettus Hotel— This is a five star boutique hotel that is located about 35 minutes from the airport, in the city of Athens. The room we were put in was exceptionally clean, and it had a wrap-around balcony that overlooked the Acropolis! Definitely try to get a room that overlooks the Acropolis— it’s a sight and so magical when it lights up at night. The hotel also has a stunning rooftop pool, bar, and restaurant (Le Grand Balcon), all of which have clear glass railings that you can see straight through to the surrounding city and the Acropolis. It was about a 20 minute walk to the Acropolis from the hotel— through the bustling shopping center of Plaka which was so much fun to see. It’s the perfect spot if you want to be within walking distance to the Acropolis, but not in the loudest part of the city, and have a little oasis with the rooftop pool club and sprawling views throughout the property.

Athens Travel Guide
The view from the hotel’s ‘LA Suite Lounge’
Athens Travel Guide
Athens Travel Guide
The hotel’s rooftop pool! It was 80+ degrees so this looked LOVELY
Athens Travel Guide
Athens Travel Guide
See my ‘Greece Packing List‘ post for outfit details

What We Did

Tour of the Acropolis— As soon as we got to our hotel, we freshened up and then walked over to meet our tour guide for the ‘Skip the Line Acropolis of Athens Walking Tour.’ We went with a group, which ended up being fun because we got to meet people from all over and tour the Acropolis together. Our tour guide was super knowledgeable, funny, and kept us all engaged (which is a feat considering jet leg was setting in!). I would highly recommend kicking off your first trip to Greece with a tour of the Acropolis, because it sets up the whole history of the country and puts it into context before you visit and see it all!

Shopping through town—After the tour we strolled through the Plaka area and window shopped. We were told to not purchase anything there though, as the outlying islands had most of the same finds, but for less expensive prices (we then found this to be true for the most part). It was fun to walk through nonetheless, and there were a ton of cute cafes and restaurants you could duck into for a drink or bite to eat.

Athens Travel Guide
Athens Travel Guide
Outfit details here! Use code AMY10 for the dress & size down 1 size
Athens Travel Guide
Athens Travel Guide
Athens Travel Guide
Athens Travel Guide
Athens Travel Guide
Walking through Plaka– it was so quaint!

Where We Ate

Le Grand Balcon at St. George Lycabettus— We ate dinner at the end of our first day at the restaurant located on the top floor of our hotel, and it was an exceptional experience. Seriously— an incredible view of the Acropolis all lit up and the city below us, as well as unbelievable dining options. We had the BEST Greek salad my mom had during the whole trip (and she tested them out at nearly every restaurant we went to). My sister and I had the salmon and it was unbelievable! This is a must-visit for a meal, no matter where you’re staying in the city.

Grand Bretagne Rooftop—Before dinner, we stopped for a quick cocktail on the rooftop here and it was breathtaking! Another sprawling view of the Acropolis, and it was on our way to our hotel from the Acropolis tour, which made it convenient to pop in to for a drink. It was a great spot to people watch as well! 

Athens Travel Guide
This was an unbelievable spot for lunch but I cannot find the name! It’s the first restaurant on your left if you exit the hotel and take a left & walk down a few stairs…
Athens Travel Guide
Truly a memorable meal on Le Grand Balcon of our hotel… can you spot the moon?!
Athens Travel Guide
Athens Travel Guide
A rooftop drink at the chic Grand Bretagne is a must!

See my additional Greece travel guides: // Santorini // Paros // Mykonos